What Does 2023 Have in Store? A Review of New Technology Trends
·26 January 2023
As January draws to a close, most of us have settled back into our daily routines. While 2022 was a year of transition, we believe 2023 will usher in new opportunities — and new challenges. Let’s take a moment to talk about what this year might look like.
The Future of Work
The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in an unprecedented transition for the global workforce. Work-from-home technologies such as web and video conferencing, virtual desktops, zero trust network access, and Hosted PBX solutions grew rapidly both in use and functionality. In 2022, with the Covid-19 virus better understood, workers began to take their first steps back into the office environment.
As 2023 begins, we believe this will be the year that determines the very future of how we work. While the technologies mentioned above are surely here to stay, it will be those that learn to truly capitalize on their potential that will ultimately have the greatest success. The question for you is, how can your organization leverage these technologies to achieve your goals?
This is an especially important question when placed against the backdrop of exactly how employees will work in the future. Are employees working from home for good, headed back to work full-time, or going hybrid? Will there be a mass callback to the office? Most importantly, how do forward-thinking organizations secure, support, and manage the new extended office environment?
The Future of Security
A lot has changed in the security arena, as well. As emerging threats become more sophisticated, so too are the tools used to keep you safe. The traditional VPN has given way to ZTNA; SD-WAN is fast becoming SASE. Cybercriminals are leveraging AI (artificial intelligence) to construct and deploy new and never-before-seen malware, while leading security vendors leverage the same AI to defend against them.
Even Uncle Sam is paying attention to Information Security now. Recent changes to Federal Trade Commission policy pose major ramifications for any business that fails to safeguard consumer information. Even if you run Mary Lou’s flower shop down the street, you can be fined — maybe enough to put you out of business. With a maximum fine of $11,000 per day per occurrence of non-compliance, and up to $43,000 per day per consent violation, the risk is very real. Can your business afford to be exposed to this level of risk? Do you have the right security strategy in place to minimize these new threats?
For these reasons — as well as a litany of additional security threats — the trend of double-digit growth in cybersecurity spending will likely continue. In fact, it’s not unusual for us to see customers budgeting twice as much on security services in 2023 as they did in 2022. This is particularly true as remote work continues to entrench as the new normal, and cloud-based services continue their massive year-over-year growth.
The Future of Cloud Services
Despite the growth of Cloud, we’re seeing some pullback from the big public Cloud services. While “Big Cloud” is still growing hand over fist, some customers are exploring the many benefits of alternative cloud services. Other customers, driven by regulatory requirements, performance issues, and as a mechanism to control Cloud Sprawl, have begun to explore data repatriation: moving data back to on-premise or collocation-based systems.
Enter the new “Multi-Cloud” paradigm, where the question is no longer to Cloud or not to Cloud, but rather which type of Cloud(s) is right for your organization? Public? Private? Hybrid? Big Cloud? Alternative Cloud? Moreover, is your technology partner equipped to have this conversation and provide the guidance you need?
The Future of Mobility
Employee mobility and the trend of anywhere-anytime access has been accelerated by the move to remote work. Not too long ago, the idea of conducting a web conference while driving would have been considered downright ludicrous; today, we have Teams, Zoom and WebEx apps for Apple CarPlay. Just 5 years ago, a typical cellular data connection was under 20mbps and often encumbered by very strict data caps; today, we have 5g capabilities exceeding 10gbps in some areas and data caps that are far more generous. Virtual Desktops enable legacy application usage from nearly anywhere, while application modernization represents yet another evolutionary step forward.
It’s almost impossible to imagine a reversal of this trend. Organizations that are slow to embrace it will undoubtedly be left behind.
The Future of Computing
When we think of computing, most of us think of traditional CPUs that perform calculations and run applications. This definition is quickly changing, with rapid advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing.
In 2022, we saw the introduction of ChatGPT, an AI-based chatbot that can quickly write essays, articles, and even your kid’s homework. The creators of ChatGPT also gave us DALL-E, an AI-based artist that can create artwork on demand based on a short description.
This technology is not yet fully mature, as shown in this hilarious (and somewhat horrifying) example when AI-based image creator Midjourney was asked to generate party pictures. But while these are both novel tools, the leap to commercial applicability is not a large one. Expect to see the influence of both ChatGPT and DALL-E, as well as other AI-based tools, in the business community in 2023.
Meanwhile, quantum computing made significant progress in 2022. Whereas traditional (“classical”) computers are based on the binary system — 1’s and 0’s — a quantum computer is based on a qubit. In a traditional computer, two bits can store one of four different possible combinations; in a quantum computer, two qubits can store up to four different values at one time. For this reason, quantum computers are orders of magnitude faster and more powerful than traditional computers.
Unfortunately, they are also a lot more difficult to build and operate. Whereas a run-of-the-mill home computer with 8GB of RAM will have 64 billion bits, the largest quantum computer today (IBM’s Osprey) has just 433 qubits. Introduced in November of 2022, this quantum computer is expected to grow to 1121 qubits by the end of 2023.
Why does this matter? By current estimates, a quantum computer with approximately 6,600 Qubits would be able to break AES-256 encryption, the current standard for secure communications on the internet. Scientists and engineers have recognized the magnitude of the issue and are hard at work on post-quantum cryptography. In 2022, the NIST announced the first four candidates for quantum-resistant algorithms.
As this truly revolutionary technology inches closer to practical implementation, we believe it’s time for savvy business owners to bear it in mind when crafting a longer-term security strategy.
The Future of the Economy
While somewhat out of scope for a technology article, the economy is a topic that impacts us all. In 2022, we experienced rising interest rates, record levels of inflation, continued supply chain challenges, and workforce shortages. While most believe 2023 will improve over 2022 in each of these areas, we are not expected to get back to pre-pandemic levels any time soon.
Like it or not, the state of the economy is the canvas we’re all working on, and every one of the technological possibilities explored in this article is dependent in part on where the economy takes us.
Are You Ready for the New Normal?
As new technologies were widely and rapidly adopted throughout the pandemic, we heard frequent declarations by pundits of “the new normal”. As the pandemic wound on, those technologies were expanded and refined at an unprecedented pace. At some point, this “new normal” has simply become “normal”. The question then becomes, has your organization availed itself of the opportunities presented?
This brings to mind the unofficial slogan of the United States Marine Corps: “Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.” Technology can be a great differentiator, and those that plan carefully, spend wisely, and implement successfully will ultimately have the greatest chances of success in 2023 and beyond.