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Annual tech trends for 2024

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As we embark on a new year, I am delighted to share my annual tech insights, a tradition I’ve cherished on my Facebook wall. These aren’t just predictions; they are reflections of my journey with Hacktiv Colab, deeply rooted in a triad of insightful sources.

Firstly, the Hype Cycle for emerging technologies guides us through the m aze of tech trends, helping us identify those with true transformative potential. Secondly, I delve into Hacktiv’s own treasure trove of data – our project inquiries – which serves as a pulse check on what’s resonating with our clients and the market. Lastly, our partnership with giants like Microsoft provides a lens into cutting-edge product developments and industry shifts.

This methodical approach is personal to me and central to Hacktiv Colab’s ethos as an Enterprise Dev-House specializing in Microsoft Business Apps, Azure, and other deep technologies. It’s a compass that directs our strategic planning, from pinpointing the right talent to nurturing the necessary skills within our team.

Developer experience (DevX) is poised to become a significant trend in the tech industry, as companies increasingly recognize its impact on productivity and innovation. By prioritizing DevX, organizations can streamline development processes, reduce time-to-market, and enhance the quality of software products. This focus on creating a more intuitive and efficient environment for developers is not just about improving workflow, but also about attracting and retaining top talent in a highly competitive field.

Developer Experience (DevX) and tools like GitHub’s Copilot are revolutionizing the way software is developed. Copilot, an AI-powered coding assistant, exemplifies the advancement in DevX by providing developers with intelligent code suggestions, automating routine tasks, and significantly reducing the time and effort required for coding.

Integrating Copilot into a developer’s workflow enhances DevX by streamlining the coding process. It offers real-time code completion, bug detection, and even suggests entire blocks of code based on the context, learning from vast repositories of public code. This not only speeds up the development process but also helps in maintaining a high code quality, allowing developers to focus on more complex, creative aspects of software development.

The use of Copilot in DevX represents a shift towards more intuitive, efficient, and supportive development environments. It empowers developers to produce more with less effort, reduces the learning curve for new languages and frameworks, and ultimately leads to a more productive and satisfying coding experience.

At Hacktiv, our development processes are streamlined through the integration of GitHub and microservices, which form the backbone of our development infrastructure. Additionally, we’ve begun to incorporate tools like GitHub’s Copilot and ChatGPT to further enhance our developers’ capabilities. These AI-driven resources not only augment our coding efficiency but also bring a new level of innovation and support to our development team.

The integration of Large Language Models (LLMs) for business predictions and reporting into ERP & CRM systems represents a significant shift in the landscape of enterprise solutions. Microsoft’s recent roadmap upgrade showcases an innovative approach where tools like Copilot are being adapted to interact with legacy ERP & CRM systems. This integration signifies a transformative step in how businesses will handle data analysis, generate reports, and make predictive decisions. By leveraging AI capabilities, these systems are evolving to provide more intuitive, efficient, and accurate insights for businesses, enhancing decision-making processes and operational efficiency.

The integration of Large Language Models (LLMs) into ERP and CRM systems marks a significant advancement in business technology, offering profound impacts on data analy sis and reporting. With this integration, companies can generate comprehensive analyses and reports directly from their existing data in ERP and CRM systems, bypassing the need for extensive investments in big data warehouses. This not only simplifies the process but also reduces costs and time-to-insight, enabling businesses to make faster, data-driven decisions based on real-time information. The ease and efficiency brought about by this integration signify a major step forward in how businesses utilize and benefit from their data.

The rise of Small Language Models like Phi-2 is set to revolutionize various sectors, offering unique advantages over their larger counterparts. These models bring AI capabilities directly into diverse devices, enabling broader access and fostering innovation in self-help, education, and collaborative knowledge sharing. In education, they promise personalized learning experiences, adapting to individual styles and needs. In healthcare, they can provide preliminary advice and wellness support. They also enable collaborative research, with shared specialized models accelerating innovation. However, challenges like ensuring information accuracy, addressing ethical concerns, and maintaining accessibility must be addressed to fully harness their potential.

For businesses, Small Language Models (SLMs) like Phi-2 offer transformative applications. They enable real-time customer service with AI-powered chatbots, providing personalized and efficient customer interactions. In marketing, SLMs can generate targeted content, understanding customer preferences for more effective campaigns. For internal operations, they aid in data analysis, quickly interpreting large datasets for business insights. In human resources, SLMs streamline recruitment by analyzing resumes and matching candidate profiles to job requirements, optimizing the hiring process. These use cases demonstrate SLMs’ potential to enhance business efficiency, customer engagement, and data-driven decision-making.

The key difference between Small Language Models (SLMs) like Phi-2 and Large Language Models (LLMs) like GPT-4 lies in their size, flexibility, and application scope. SLMs are more compact, enabling integration directly into a wider range of devices, including those with limited processing capabilities. This makes them ideal for personalized, on-device applications like mobile apps or IoT devices. LLMs, on the other hand, are more powerful in processing complex language tasks but require more computational resources, making them suitable for server-based applications requiring deep, comprehensive language understanding.

For further information, I wrote a blog regarding this:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/small-language-models-next-big-leap-collaborative-sharing-soliman-leuac/?trackingId=IaeTfQlXTyK4ukPKebjYsQ%3D%3D

In the cybersecurity landscape, the trend is moving towards affordable, practical solutions, with a focus on Zero Trust frameworks, especially for small organizations. As cyber threats like Ransomware-as-a-Service grow, businesses of all sizes are targets. The emphasis is on providing cost-effective cybersecurity services, blending hardware and software solutions, to bridge security gaps. Adopting a Zero Trust approach means not automatically trusting anything inside or outside the network, requiring verification at every stage. This pragmatic strategy offers robust protection, tailored to the needs and budgets of smaller enterprises, ensuring they can defend themselves effectively against evolving cyber threats.

Businesses can implement cost-effective cybersecurity and Zero Trust frameworks by starting with a comprehensive risk assessment to identify vulnerabilities. Then, they can adopt layered security measures, such as multi-factor authentication, encryption, and regular software updates. Training employees in security best practices is crucial. Businesses should also consider using affordable, scalable cybersecurity solutions tailored to their size and needs. Regularly updating these measures and staying informed about emerging threats are key to maintaining robust security in a dynamic digital landscape.

The “Layer 2 wars” in the blockchain space signal a pivotal shift, especially with platforms like Polygon leading the charge. This trend underlines the importance of blockchain as a critical component in enterprise architecture, offering a new layer of security and control. Polygon, as a standout in Layer 2 solutions, exemplifies this shift by providing scalability and efficiency improvements to existing blockchain systems. This integration is crucial for enterprises seeking to bolster their systems against fraud and enhance transactional trust. As blockchain becomes a standard for zero trust and immutability, the role of solutions like Polygon in enhancing enterprise ecosystems is increasingly critical, offering a harmonious blend of security, control, and innovation.

The notion that “Layer 2 is the new internet” reflects the growing significance of Layer 2 solutions in the blockchain ecosystem. Layer 2 technologies, like Polygon, are designed to address scalability and efficiency challenges faced by traditional blockchain networks. By processing transactions off the main chain and only settling final results on it, Layer 2 solutions offer faster, more cost-effective transactions. This innovation is pivotal in making blockchain technology more practical and accessible for widespread use, similar to the foundational role the internet plays in digital communication and data exchange.

A specific use case for blockchain integration in business is in supply chain management. For instance, a company can use blockchain to track the production, shipment, and delivery of products in real-time. Each step in the supply chain is recorded on the blockchain, creating a permanent history of the product from manufacture to sale. This transparency helps in verifying the authenticity of products, reduces the chances of counterfeit goods, and improves overall supply chain efficiency. Blockchain’s immutability ensures that the data cannot be altered, providing a reliable and secure record of transactions.

Adding an ERP integration layer to the blockchain use case in supply chain management further enhances its efficiency and transparency. For example, integrating blockchain with an ERP system allows for real-time data synchronization across the supply chain and ERP components. This integration ensures that data such as inventory levels, supplier information, and shipment status are automatically updated and securely stored on the blockchain. This creates a seamless flow of information, improving decision-making, reducing errors, and enhancing the overall responsiveness of the supply chain operations.

To adopt these technologies in your business, consider the following steps:

1. Embrace DevX and AI Tools:

 Invest in tools like Copilot for development efficiency. Prioritize training for your team to leverage these tools effectively.

2. Integrate LLMs into Business Systems:

Explore Large Language Models for ERP and CRM to enhance data analysis and reporting. Adapt these systems to align with your business processes.

3. Leverage Small Language Models: 

Utilize SLMs for personalized customer interactions and internal knowledge management. Ensure compatibility with your existing tech infrastructure.

4. Implement Affordable Cybersecurity with Zero Trust:

 Adopt a Zero Trust framework and cost-effective cybersecurity solutions to protect your data and systems.

5. Explore Layer 2 Blockchain Solutions: 

Evaluate and integrate Layer 2 technologies like Polygon for improved transaction efficiency and security in your blockchain initiatives.

As we look forward to 2024, key technological trends will shape the landscape. DevX and Copilot are enhancing developer efficiency. Large Language Models are revolutionizing ERP and CRM systems, improving business predictions and reporting. Small Language Models promise to transform device integration and knowledge sharing. Affordable cybersecurity, especially with Zero Trust, is becoming crucial for all business sizes. Finally, Layer 2 Wars in blockchain signify a shift to blockchain as a standard architecture layer in enterprise systems, indicating a future where technology is more integrated, secure, and intelligently adaptive.

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