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Pramata 2018 Predictions: New Focus on AI, Reassessment for Cloud and Security Strategies

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Pedram Abrari, CTO, Pramata

2018 Brings New Focus on AI, Reassessment for Cloud and Security Strategies

The vast potential of AI, along with the realities of cloud and security, took center stage in 2017 and we look for them to be a continued focus in 2018. Specifically, we see the following developments:

1.  The Democratization of AI on the Cloud
Today, much of AI relies on engineers with hardcore programming skills who know how to work with Python libraries and are proficient in R. In 2018, AI will increasingly become available as a cloud managed service - and this will change everything. No longer will enterprises be required to code AI and machine learning algorithms, test and deploy them, make sure they scale, perform well and are resilient and backed up. Like other technologies that have become democratized, such as HTML programming, AI will be more widely used by non-programmers. As cloud providers offer AI as an out-of-the-box managed service, the deep programming skills required for AI will be decoupled from the evolving field of data science. Enterprises will be able to invest more in people whose primary skills are not programming, but solving business and research problems with AI. You may even see data scientists who don't have a computer science or engineering background, but instead are statisticians, mathematicians or physicists.

2.  AI Will Not Stand Alone
In 2017, AI was the hot new technology. In 2018, AI will become an embedded part of other hot technologies and products, instead of standing on its own. Think of it like the path that voice recognition traveled. Nobody buys voice recognition on its own. But we do buy products like Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple iPhones that seamlessly embed voice recognition to perform their functions and appeal to consumers.  Companies like Facebook that use AI successfully have already learned how to integrate AI into their internal businesses. In the year ahead, more enterprises will begin to leverage AI for different uses, such as empowering employees to leverage AI to improve job performance and business outcomes. On the consumer side, look for many products to include embedded AI in 2018 and 2019, particularly from the wide range of companies who acquired or built AI technology in 2017.

3.  The cloud sugar crash looms
In 2017, companies got a substantial sugar high from the savings and efficiencies they achieved by moving to cloud computing. For example, moving from a sluggish, in-house pricing tool to a dynamic Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) service provider can dramatically accelerate your sales cycles. That's exhilarating. But in 2018, the sugar crash from cloud computing will be the realization that the same old data challenges you had before the cloud still exist, regardless of where your information is processed. The cloud isn't going to give you better data. You still need governance, QA and discipline around curating your databases. Next year, companies will realize the hard work of cleaning up their data sets is still required to gain the full benefits of cloud managed services.

4.  Cybersecurity will be a board level issue in almost any size of company and email will be its first casualty
Security has always been important, but next year it will take on a new urgency. 2018 will separate companies who take security seriously from those that don't. In particular, companies will reevaluate their security posture in the cloud. Cloud architecture, best practices and processes to achieve optimal security will be top of mind when moving to the cloud. Third-party experts that handle security for you will become more mainstream, as will multi-factor authentication, and using biometrics and fingerprints instead of passwords. But the biggest focus will be on email. Email is the weakest link in the security chain, with more than 90% of breaches occurring due to spoofed emails (or phishing). More and more companies will turn to internal-only communication platforms like Slack to protect against these attacks. Enterprises will begin to abandon email as an obsolete and vulnerable technology.

5.  Cloud computing goes serverless
Another trend that will really take off in 2018 is serverless cloud computing. This effectively means that you write your software as a set of functions that you deploy to a managed service. Instead of bringing more servers or clusters online and offline as your load varies, the serverless approach operates at a much more granular and efficient level. Because you're not relying on servers, you're basically programming your cloud software as functions that deploy to a managed service, and then the service figures out how to deploy, how to scale, and how to perform. And it does so as efficiently as possible, much more efficiently than we can ever do ourselves. You will be able to achieve the ultimate in performance scalability at the minimal cost.


About the Author

Pedram Abrari 

Pedram Abrari, CTO at Pramata, is a technology services veteran, having spent decades in software development, from hands-on technical work to engineering team building and leadership. Most recently, he led the research and development and cloud operations teams at Tidemark as VP of Engineering. Previously, Abrari led similar efforts for Neil Young's company PonoMusic and Progress Software. Abrari also founded his own company, Corticon Technologies, Inc., which he oversaw for over a decade. He graduated from UCLA with a BS in Computer Engineering, and received a Master's in Computer Science from USC. 

Published Thursday, January 11, 2018 7:49 AM by David Marshall
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