Technology rules many things. The news cycle, our social patterns, the way businesses are run, and even the way children are taught. In our daily lives, we can’t take a step without coming into contact with some form of it. January 6, National Technology Day, is the one day of the year dedicated to celebrating the tech keeping our world abuzz.

With this in mind, Verdict spoke to eight industry experts this National Technology Day to discuss the tech trends set to make the biggest impact, and those that already have. Here’s what they had to say.

National Technology Day: How tech advancements are dictating the way we talk

Estee Woods, Director of Public Sector & Public Safety Marketing at Cradlepoint, discusses how the communication tech at the core of our society has impacted us and will continue to do so:

“2019 brought major reform for first responder technology due to growing public safety networks, the need for interoperability and the state of both man-made and natural disasters–plus the proliferation of 5G connectivity in the market. All of these factors combined have created a qualifying moment as we enter 2020.

“This draws a parallel to 2007 and 2008 when the smartphone was launched. The years following saw an explosion of new technology that was rapidly consumed and changed the way we live and work. It also changed the way we, as humans, interact with each other and see our world view.”

Martin Taylor, Deputy CEO and Co-Founder at Content Guru, adds colour to this vision, with the rise of voice-led devices changing the way we use devices to communicate:

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“We’ve heard a great deal in recent years about the predicted downfall of voice communication channels, but what we’re seeing now is, in fact, the complete opposite. The resurgence of voice-led interactions driven by home assistants, and the fact that customers still overwhelmingly prefer to speak to another human for important queries, is ushering in a new Golden Age of Voice. I believe that 2020 will be the year Natural Language Processing (NLP) steps out of the Proof of Concept (PoC) stage and goes mainstream in the UC industry.

“Advancements in sentiment tracking will be the next big step for NLP in the UC space and will continue to pave the way for monumental gains in the UC industry in 2020. This is where a sophisticated mix of keywords, tone of voice, and volume to create a much deeper picture of the caller and their needs, helping to ensure the most vulnerable customers are prioritised and all enquiries are dealt with far more efficiently.”

Behind the scenes of the latest tech buzzwords

Krishna Subramanian, COO at Komprise, talks about the growing understanding of the difference between AI the marketing term, and real AI application:

“For the last couple of years, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have been a big theme and this trend is continuing to grow. While these have initially been more of marketing buzzwords, the potential of AI in data management is clear – how can you manage something you don’t understand? By using analytics to drive AI/ML, analytics-driven data management solutions can continue to leverage the understanding of data to drive better management. Watch for more exciting developments in this space that leverage deep analytics and data lakes across different storage repositories to help you better manage your data.”

Steve Blow, Tech Evangelist at Zerto, discusses another popular buzzword, digital transformation, and what it has really meant for businesses:

“If you think of how much digital transformation has changed everyday life so far – such as being able to pay for your car tax online, rather than the post office – there’s no denying that it will continue to make a positive and valuable impact throughout 2020.

“Yes, there is some fatigue around companies ‘beginning their digital transformation journey’, but 2020 will be more than just moving to the cloud. Digital transformation is about how you deliver and provide services, and this is what will continue to drive organisations next year.”

“For a long time, the conversation around edge computing has been focused on hitting the right buzz words without actually addressing the customer’s needs,“ adds Jeff Ready, CEO at Scale Computing. “Everyone has forgotten that the customer’s objectives don’t revolve around the latest technology; what they care about is that their applications are online and working correctly. When catering to these businesses in 2020, technology partners have to remember to think about their needs and wants versus what’s currently trending among IT professionals.

“In 2020, businesses offering edge solutions should worry less about marketing and focus on what edge computing actually is – delivering the solutions your customers actually want.”

Rob Mellor, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at WhereScape suggests: “One of the trends we’ve seen in the past few years is how businesses are prioritising time to value. This has spilled over into how organisations are approaching the way they leverage data.

“As the speed of business continues to increase, organisations must shorten the time it takes to unlock the value of data. Automation does just that, and additionally enables companies to redeploy valuable developer resources away from routine data infrastructure management processes and onto value-add tasks, such as delivering new solutions and services that will better guide the business.”

Revealing the cybersecurity advancements and vulnerabilities

Richard Cassidy, Senior Director Security Strategy at Exabeam, says that “2020 should herald a true golden age of ‘deep learning’, which will see a resurgence of artificial intelligence (AI) embedded into the fabric of our security frameworks.

“Expect to see some exciting machine learning (ML) developments in the seemingly ‘ad infinitum’ war on cyber threats and bad actor group attack circuits.

“Security focus will move away from the tired alerting methodology we’ve all painfully relied on for far too long, to a far more ‘risk context’ approach, combining data-classification, trust modelling and security analytics functions.

“We’re already seeing almost all security vendors scramble to jump on the AI band-wagon, with those who managed to book early now trying to differentiate with new waves of ML algorithms, offering more enhanced ways to detect the ‘unknown unknowns’. That said, however, security practices should pay heed to the fact that AI is not all about the new and ultimately unfathomable. It’s about enabling organisations to do far more with what they have, super-charging existing security and GRC functions – not least hyper-enabling already over-stretched teams – to focus on doing more of what they enjoy and innovating for the betterment of business outcomes.”

Andy Swift, Head of Offensive Security at Six Degrees continues:

“AI-based antivirus applications are becoming increasingly popular, as software vendors seek to utilise machine learning to not only address but also anticipate zero-day attacks. The flipside of the coin, though, is the rising spectre of AI-based malware. We’ve yet to see evidence of AI-based malware in the wild, but – given the fair assumption that someone, somewhere is working on developing intelligent malware strains that utilise AI and machine learning – we need to take the threat of AI-based malware seriously.

“With non-AI-based malware like WannaCry and NotPetya causing damage far beyond their intended target organisations back in 2017, the impact of an AI-based malware strain on the likes of critical national infrastructure, transport networks and nuclear power stations as it learns and mutates could be catastrophic. IBM has developed an interesting proof of concept strain that researchers are learning from, but the truth is we don’t yet know what AI-based malware is truly capable of. If AI-based malware changes from theory to reality in 2020, we could all feel its impact on both our professional and personal lives.”

Read more: Cybersecurity predictions for 2020: 45 industry experts have their say