A new report from market research firm Omdia reveals the top technology trends to watch in 2024 that will impact consumers, businesses, and society as a whole. The report highlights major developments in artificial intelligence, semiconductors, sustainability, media, automotive, and telecommunications that will reshape industries.
Among the key trends identified in Omdia's Tech Trends to Watch 2024 report are the following:
- AI user experiences will accelerate. AI integration into interfaces, devices, and platforms will enable more natural user interactions.
- Semiconductor rebound driven by AI. The semiconductor market will return to growth as AI chip demand rises.
- Maximizing IT investments. Companies will focus on optimizing IT assets and balancing costs.
- Finding the right security balance. Organizations will continue to aim to balance security needs with costs.
- 6G development will take off. While 5G deployment continues, work on 6G technology standards will ramp up in 2024.
The biggest surprise in the forecast that Omdia analysts didn't expect a year ago comes from the rapid emergence of AI.
"I don't think that in January 2023 anyone was expecting the upheaval that generative AI [GenAI] would cause," Bill Morelli, research vice president, Enterprise IT, at Omdia, told ITPro Today.
Morelli noted that the step change in capabilities led to a massive amount of coverage, which then drove rapid adoption within many enterprises, as well as adoption by a number of tech vendors and solution providers who were racing to integrate GenAI features into their existing tools.
"The ripple effect is significant, with impacts on everything from data center energy use and cooling technologies to the launch of new consumer and enterprise devices like AI PCs," Morelli said.
The Emergence of Everything as a Service and FinOps Culture
One key trend outlined in the report is that rising capital costs will fuel a new wave of everything as a service (XaaS) and drive a financial operations (FinOps) culture.
"The shift to XaaS is more than just financial, although it takes a degree of financial management and planning to understand where there is waste and opportunity," Roy Illsley, chief analyst, Enterprise IT, at Omdia, told ITPro Today.
The big shift for organizations, according to Illsley, is to change the culture and behaviors of the people. When you shift to an as-a-service delivery method, you recognize that the way the organization uses technology is different, he said.
To benefit from the shift to XaaS, Illsley suggests that organizations factor in the immediate costs, the potential growth (and its impact on costs), and the margin being made from the activity/product, and ensure that people in the whole supply chain realize that you switch the lights off when you leave the room.
"In other words, you must get everybody bought into the ethos — personal responsibility — for the way you use the service," he said.
When Is 'Good Enough' Security Actually Good Enough?
Finding the right balance between cost and security is another key trend for enterprises in 2024. The Omdia report suggests that a "good enough" security approach can potentially meet needs without bursting budgets.
Maxine Holt, senior research director of cybersecurity at Omdia, noted that Omdia's Cybersecurity Decision Maker Survey 2023 found that the top three challenges facing information security functions are the staffing and skills shortage, ransomware, and supporting cloud and digital transformation projects. She said these are all drivers toward the notion of “good enough” security: focusing on a security posture that deals with the perpetual shortage of people in cybersecurity, the ongoing threat of ransomware, and the need to remain persistently relevant to customers by offering new products and services.
"One approach to determining what is actually 'good enough' is where CISOs present scenarios to the CEO, CFO, and board to determine the level of spend and risk appropriate to the organization," Holt said. "Three, four, even five scenarios are put forward, based on cost and risk, and the final decision-makers can then weigh the risks and costs and choose what is 'good enough' for their organization."
"Good enough" varies depending on the industry that the organization is in, its financial situation, and more. Those organizations in highly regulated industries (e.g., healthcare and financial services) will have the bar set higher for "good enough" versus those in less regulated industries. Smaller organizations might not have the funds required to go with the level of risk that they would prefer.
"Omdia expects that 'good enough' will see best-of-breed security products and services face more scrutiny over perhaps suite capabilities from well-known vendors," Holt said. "Despite the perception, security functions rarely have unlimited funds to buy security products and services; spend will continue to be measured in line with the risks that the organization is prepared to accept."
About the authorSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.