2023 has been a tumultuous year for the tech sector, marked by job cuts, VC funding challenges, and concerns about AI’s impact on society. As we approach 2024, prominent tech leaders in the North share their insights and predictions on the upcoming trends and developments.
Development of trusted AI for real-world challenges
In 2024, the tech industry is expected to see a heightened focus on developing trusted technology solutions that address real customer challenges. Large Language Models (LLMs) and digital assistants are set to reshape how people interact with software in both personal and professional spheres. Businesses are increasingly adopting AI technology to streamline operations and reduce manual tasks. However, the success of this shift hinges on the ability of users to trust AI to perform its tasks competently and safely. Collaboration between AI developers and users is essential to ensure AI fulfills its potential. The North East, with its world-class engineering talent and investments in AI data center infrastructure, plays a pivotal role in fostering the development of trusted AI.
Cloud-streamed video gaming and AI in entertainment
The video game industry is poised for significant changes in 2024. Cloud-streamed delivery of games is expected to become the norm, eliminating the need for dedicated gaming PCs or consoles. This shift towards cloud gaming will likely lead to subscription-based models, akin to the streaming services for movies. Additionally, AI and extended reality (XR) technologies will enhance the gaming experience, making virtual characters and online players appear more human. Advancements in photorealistic computer-generated imagery (CGI) will bring us closer to realizing sci-fi visions, making everyday gaming more immersive and engaging.
AI integration in healthcare and business
AI’s integration into healthcare is set to advance in 2024. AI-driven diagnostic tools and personalized treatment plans will become mainstream, offering more accurate diagnoses and tailored therapies. This transformation not only enhances patient care but also streamlines healthcare management. In the business world, AI-driven analytics will become a staple, assisting companies in interpreting vast amounts of data to drive strategic decision-making.
AI revolution in retail, hospitality, and logistics
AI’s impact on various industries, including retail, hospitality, and logistics, is set to intensify in 2024. The Internet of Things (IoT) is generating large volumes of data across these sectors, paving the way for AI to play a pivotal role. Supermarkets are already using AI to address challenges such as theft reduction, stock management optimization, and power consumption efficiency. In the logistics sector, AI is enhancing safety through the identification of risky behaviors and optimizing access control. As AI continues to shape the future of logistics and supply chain management, businesses must ensure they have the necessary network infrastructure to support these transformative technologies.
Quantum computing’s rise and challenges
Quantum computing, often hailed as the next wave of computational innovation, is expected to make significant strides in 2024. Quantum computers operate using subatomic particles called qubits, offering the potential to solve complex problems faster and more efficiently than traditional computers. However, quantum computing faces challenges, including the need for extremely low temperatures for qubits to function and cybersecurity risks. Nevertheless, major players like IBM, Google, and Microsoft are heavily investing in quantum computing, and its applications are expected to expand beyond small-scale projects, eventually becoming an integral part of everyday life.
IoT and sustainability in buildings and utilities
2024 will witness the further development of smart buildings and water utilities. Sustainability is a growing priority for businesses, especially in light of the energy crisis. IoT sensors will play a crucial role in collecting data to monitor building performance, occupancy, and resource consumption. In the water utilities sector, smart metering will continue to gain traction, providing communities with insights into water consumption for accurate billing and environmental impact analysis.
Transition to electricity and net zero initiatives
The transition from fossil fuels to electricity is a significant opportunity for businesses in the North. Electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, renewable energy, and battery storage are key growth areas of the economy, contributing to decarbonization and cost savings. Over £4 billion is expected to be invested in net-zero infrastructure in the North, with substantial support from the UK government. This transition will play a pivotal role in achieving sustainability goals and addressing environmental concerns.
AI, generative AI, and machine learning
AI and machine learning technologies have already made significant inroads in various industries, particularly retail. In 2024, the focus will shift to Generative AI (GenAI), which creates various types of content, such as text, images, and audio. GenAI, while offering immense potential, also raises ethical and moral considerations. Additionally, big data will continue to be leveraged to create personalized shopping experiences, and automation will enable businesses to reduce human error and expedite product launches. Augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) will see increased use, enhancing consumer experiences. Chatbots will be employed to improve the shopping process, and headless and API-driven ecommerce will provide greater flexibility and scalability.
Sustainability integration in tech
The tech industry is under increasing scrutiny for its environmental impact. Leaders are recognizing the importance of integrating sustainability into every aspect of their operations, from tech infrastructure powered by renewable energy to carbon-neutral web hosting. Embracing eco-friendly solutions is not only crucial for addressing environmental concerns but also for building sustainable businesses that can withstand the test of time.
Alternative tech education pathways
As the competition for tech talent intensifies, individuals entering the tech industry are expected to explore alternative education pathways, such as tech bootcamps, to enhance their skills. These intensive programs focus on specific technology areas, enabling individuals to acquire practical skills quickly. Employers are also likely to embrace non-traditional pathways to attract and retain talent in the face of global competition.
2024 promises to be a year of significant advancements in technology across various sectors. AI will continue to be a driving force, with a focus on trust, ethics, and integration into everyday life. Quantum computing, IoT, sustainability, and alternative tech education pathways will also shape the tech landscape in the coming year. Tech leaders are poised to navigate these changes and harness the potential of emerging technologies for the benefit of society and business.