CTO Forum, a community for Chief Technology Officers and technology leaders to learn from their peers and share ideas, surveyed a group of senior technologists from America’s leading companies to get insights on technologies that they view as foremost for notice in the coming year. The three key areas were noted as being Blockchain, Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence.

With regards to the IoT, it was stated that analysts expect there to be 25 billion connected devices installed by 2020 and companies will invest nearly 6 trillion on IoT solutions over the next five years.

Steve Gray, SVP of Engineering for Qualcomm, commented: “It’s going to hit almost every industry. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in financial services, networking or consumer products, Internet of Things is going to impact you in some way,”

The benefits of the interconnectivity, such as a surplus of data which will allow businesses to achieve new levels of operational excellence, innovate business models, improve product development, launch new revenue streams and roll out new services has to be balanced against the risks to security.

CTO for The Kroger Company, Kirk Ball remarked: “The Internet of Things gives us the ability to gather data from areas that previously have not been able to be gathered. We are able to animate, give voice to inanimate objects and then process the vast amount of data from these sensors to make better decisions and drive analytics,”

Gray added: “We have seen today more and more security threats. We work in the automotive industry and that is a key consideration for us. The car has really become a networking device on wheels so we’re very focused on being able to shut down security threats. It is crucial to be very aware of your security strategy and look at the technologies that are required to be able to secure the services or products that you develop. There are a lot of new technologies which are developed in the security realm, and if you are working in a business and you are connected to the internet, you invariably are dealing with security threats,”

Blockchain was picked out as one of the most important areas for development.
Ralph Loura, CTO at Rodan + Fields, said: “I think we are beyond the hype and auditing phase for blockchain. More and more people are now thinking very specifically about how to use blockchain as an enabler of peer-to-peer trust and it is changing the game for a lot of things,”

Marc Andreessen, renowned Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists, called blockchain the distributed trust network that the Internet always needed and never had. It undeniably has the potential to revolutionize the digital economy and is finding applications in wide range of areas, not only the financial sector. Potential use cases have been found in a multitude of areas from cybersecurity, supply chain management, IoT to health care records and loyalty payments in the music industry.

These technologies have been developed for a few years now and have now reached a certain level of maturity and are beginning to have a huge impact on how businesses operate and engage with their customers. CTO Forum urged companies to become involved sooner rather than later. It said that every strategic CIO needs to proactively look at opportunities posed by emerging technologies that can help reshape their business and strengthen the bottom line.



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