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What does 2019 hold for the future of technology?

In the past, digital transformation has often been disrupted by obstacles such as budget limitations and the prevalence of existing legacy systems. However, thanks to the widespread acceptance of technologies such as cloud computing – for which EMEA organisations lead the way with an 84% adoption rate – we are now at a point where such barriers are being overcome.

This has laid the foundations for 2019 to be a year of significant and rapid technological evolution, with the emergence of a raft of complementary solutions set to shape the way organisations and their employees work.

5G

5G is on the horizon and closer than ever before, with 340 million connections expected as soon as 2021, according to CCS Insight. Due to its faster speeds and increased capacity over 4G, 5G has the ability to provide enterprises with greater mobile and remote working capabilities, enabling staff members to work faster, more efficiently and more productively across various locations.

But beyond traditional mobile working, 5G will also enable organisations to fully take advantage of IoT solutions, 70% of which will run on cellular technology by 2022, according to Ericsson. The ability of 5G to act as a catalyst in driving forward the next generation of IoT devices and services therefore cannot be understated. Coupled with the rise of trends such as mobile edge computing – which will also benefit from its capabilities – we’ll undoubtedly begin to see IoT 5G-enabled solutions enter the enterprise in the coming year and beyond.

Security

While the acceleration of mobile working is providing organisations with enhanced productivity and connectivity, security naturally remains a top priority for IT leaders. Managing an ever-growing number of internet-connected touchpoints within the age of IoT and mass data proliferation, it’s no surprise that 62% of European IT leaders consider data security a top priority, according to Toshiba’s Maximising Mobility research. This is mirrored by the evolving methods of cybercriminals, who are not only increasing the number of attacks directed at organisations but also diversifying their techniques, as per SonicWall’s 2018 Cyber Threat Report.

With IoT cited as a new battleground, businesses will need to consider new and innovative approaches to security. Biometric authentication is increasingly being used for data protection purposes in addition to or in place of traditionally more insecure passwords or pins. Biometric fingerprint scanners or IR-cameras, for example, offer a higher degree of certainty of a user’s identity – and don’t leave behind the digital signature patterns that cybercriminals use to hack into employee’s accounts and steal sensitive data. Beyond this though, many organisations are turning to mobile edge computing solutions for more robust mobile security – enabling data communication to be locally translated to a communication protocol before being sent to the organisation’s network core via the cloud.

Mobile edge computing

In the coming year, companies will look to better come to terms with the data efficiency and security issues generated by widespread mobile working and the arrival of IoT within the enterprise. As a result, mobile edge computing is showing signs of exerting real influence across a number of sectors. Such solutions not only reduce strain on the cloud by processing data on the edge, but also play an integral role in perimeter security by ensuring data communication is locally translated to a communication protocol before being sent to the organisation’s network core. With organisations looking to integrate this edge-focused element to their mobile infrastructure, BI Intelligence estimates that 5.6 billion business-owned devices will use edge computing for data collection and processing by 2020.

This combination of 5G, IoT and mobile edge computing will undoubtedly drive further innovation in this space, and we can expect to see even more IoT devices arrive within the enterprise in the coming year.

Nick Offin is Head of Sales, Marketing and Operations at Toshiba Northern Europe.

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