As we enter 2024, we are eagerly looking to some of the most awaited tech trends announced for this year. Let’s have a deeper look into what we consider to be the top 5 most expected ones.
AR, Spatial Computing, and Digital Twins
Spatial Computing Emerges
Apple takes the lead in 2024 with Spatial Computing. This concept has the potential to simplify and naturalize our engagement with virtual spaces. Although there are some skeptics, especially when it comes to AR (Augmented Reality) and mixed-reality glasses, we believe that they are the future as they can streamline processes and workflows.
The frontier of immersive tech is rapidly evolving, with Spatial Computing at the helm, merging the digital and physical worlds. This leap forward is powered by key technologies:
- Augmented Reality (AR) enhances our real-world view with digital overlays, making information visually intuitive.
- Virtual Reality (VR) offers total immersion into digital environments, disconnecting from the physical to explore virtual spaces.
- Mixed Reality (MR) blends real and virtual, allowing interactions with both, merging digital convenience with tangible experiences.
The introduction of devices like Apple’s Vision Pro marks a turning point, demonstrating the matured potential of Spatial Computing to reshape our interaction with technology and the environment around us.
Smart Glasses Might Be The Next Big Platform
In fact, for some time now, many tech enthusiasts like us have thought that Smart Glasses – devices that seamlessly integrate virtual elements into our real-world surroundings – are poised to become the next major platform in technology. This mixed-reality computing platform smoothly blends and unifies the digital and physical worlds. For a deeper dive into why we consider Smart Glasses the future of personal computing, take a look at this insightful article: Smart Glasses: The Future of Personal Computing?
Revolutionizing Industries with Spatial Computing
As we venture further into 2024, the transformative impact of Spatial Computing across various sectors is undeniable, ushering in unprecedented efficiencies and innovative practices in work, education, and leisure. Below are some standout applications:
- Enhanced Training: AR headsets are revolutionizing training, offering interactive, step-by-step guidance on machinery. This is invaluable for complex and high-risk tasks, notably within industries like oil and gas, significantly shortening the learning curve.
- Expert Remote Assistance: AR enables specialists to offer real-time support from afar, overlaying solutions directly onto the equipment, bridging distances like never before.
Example: Siemens has announced a significant €1 billion investment in Germany to establish a new Technology Campus in Erlangen. This initiative is set to transform the location into a global hub for research, development, and manufacturing, focusing on the industrial metaverse. By blending the physical and digital worlds, Siemens aims to revolutionize production processes, enhancing efficiency, flexibility, and sustainability
- Advanced Medical Training: Through VR, medical professionals can practice intricate surgeries within risk-free, realistic simulations, while AR provides enhanced real-time anatomical insights during procedures.
- Revolutionary Patient Care: VR therapies are emerging as powerful tools for managing chronic conditions and aiding rehabilitation, with AR supporting medication adherence and real-time health monitoring.
Example: Cedars-Sinai’s use of Meta’s VR for spine surgery training exemplifies the technology’s potential to improve surgical outcomes and reduce recovery times.
Education and Training
- Immersive Learning: VR transports students to historical, anatomical, or astronomical explorations, far surpassing traditional learning tools, while AR brings interactive enhancements to real-world learning environments.
- Global Collaboration: Spatial Computing enables seamless remote collaboration, connecting students and experts worldwide, fostering global educational opportunities.
Example 1: The California Air National Guard’s VR-based pilot training enhances readiness and strategic acumen through realistic combat simulations.
Example 2: The Human Anatomy Atlas is a cross-platform AR app that enables students to analyze and study gross anatomy on full female and male 3D interactive models
Example 3:For training, Ghost Medical allows surgeons to use AR to learn how to do different types of procedures in a simulated, risk-free environment.
Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Sector Evolution
- Design and Collaboration: AR and VR are pivotal in the AEC industry, enabling professionals to explore and refine designs at full scale before construction, ensuring accuracy and team cohesion.
- Safer, Efficient Construction Sites: AR overlays critical information, enhancing safety and operational efficiency on-site, with digital twins facilitating progress tracking and workflow optimization.
Example: Mortenson Construction’s use of VR in sports arena construction allowed for virtual task rehearsal, ensuring flawless real-world execution.
- Virtual Try-Ons: AR transforms the shopping experience, enabling customers to visualize products in their space or on themselves, enhancing confidence in purchase decisions.
- Engaging Product Narratives: AR enriches product interaction with detailed information and stories, elevating the customer experience.
Example: Nike is using the Metaverse to create a new customer experience transforming their customers into digital brand ambassadors.
These examples underscore the profound influence of Spatial Computing, heralding a new era of efficiency, safety, and immersive experiences across industries.
Driving the Next Phase of Industrial Development: Industry 5.0
Heading into 2024, Industry 5.0 is all the buzz, merging cool tech like spatial computing with a focus on people at work. It’s all about making tech work for us, making our jobs better and smarter.
A recent Deloitte survey shows that nearly all manufacturing execs are playing around with or getting serious about metaverse stuff. They’re trying out at least six different tech applications and are super hopeful, expecting big boosts in sales and efficiency.
Making Work Better for People:
- Learning with AR: Augmented Reality (AR) is a game-changer for training. It makes complex tasks easy to learn and gives instant feedback, which means people can get better at their jobs faster and more efficiently.
- Safer Workplaces: With virtual reality training and AR warnings right where you work, it’s easier to stay safe and avoid accidents.
- Happier Teams: Virtual spaces and fun, immersive training can make teams work better together and feel more connected, making work a better place to be.
Boosting Green and Efficient Practices:
- Digital Twins: Imagine having a digital copy of your workspace that you can check and tweak in real time. It’s great for saving energy, spotting problems before they happen, and keeping everything running smoothly.
- Help from Afar: Now, experts can “beam in” virtually to help out, meaning less travel and a smaller carbon footprint.
- Eco-friendly Production: AR can guide people through recycling or fixing stuff, reducing waste and keeping things green.
Sparking Collaboration and New Ideas:
- Working Together in VR: Virtual and Mixed Reality (VR and MR) let people from different fields work together in the same digital space, making it easier to share ideas and get things done faster.
- Quick Prototyping: Testing out new ideas in virtual spaces means you can try lots of things without wasting materials, getting new products out there faster and more sustainably.
- Access to Expertise: AR can put expert advice right where you need it, making sure everyone has the info they need to do great work.
In short, Industry 5.0 is setting the stage for a smarter, more people-friendly way of working in 2024. It’s about using awesome tech to make our work lives better, our industries more sustainable, and our businesses more innovative.
Personalization of AI Assistants
As we analyze 2023, we can say that it was characterized, from a tech perspective, by the concept of “AI for everything”. Between all the innovations, ChatGPT distinguished itself, reaching a million users in less than five days. But the numbers didn’t stop here. ChatGPT reached an estimated 100 million monthly active users in just two months, making it the “fastest-growing consumer web platform ever” according to a Reuters report.
The success and utility that ChatGPT gained during the last year underscores the impact and function of large Language Models (LLMs) in our digital lives. The performance and quality of our interactions with these AI-driven platforms have transformed them from being just tools to an everyday helpful “co-worker”. They support us by easing access to information, potential solutions to different issues, and various communication styles.
AI Personalization and Edge AI
As we look to the future, the LLM evolution journey might turn towards personalization and edge computing. Having a personalized element that operates on our mobile devices while performing its core functions will be a significant milestone. This shift promises a personalized ChatGPT – or similar services – version for each user as an outcome. It will be like having your own personal assistant, helping you navigate the complexity of daily life duties by giving you tailored advice, insights, and assistance.
Apple seems to be keen on bringing LLMs to their users’ devices. Since 2017, they have been acquiring AI startups – 21 so far, as research from PitchBook shows.
Edge AI also empowers smart homes, wearables, and other IoT devices to become more intelligent and responsive. This opens a world of possibilities for personalized interactions with all the connected devices around us. This is a future in which an AI assistant adjusts your fridge temperature based on your real-time grocery stock, dims the lights based on your current mood as detected by your health tracker, or even personalizes your workout routine based on your biofeedback data.
AI Concierge: LLM Voice-Powered Assistants
The next LLMs frontier extends beyond text-based interactions. In 2024, we could start engaging with LLM-powered AI assistants in an conversational way, broadening the scope of the tasks they can perform.
Picture that you would like to book a table at a new restaurant for which you heard good reviews. You don’t have time to find the number, and you don’t remember the exact name of it. Here, your future AI assistant can come in handy. You can ask it to identify the restaurant by offering as many details as you remember and then booking a table for you. This means that the AI assistant would initiate a call to the restaurant, engaging with the human operator to secure a reservation. It could even negotiate alternative dates and times based on your preferences and calendar.
AI Ethics – A New Frontier
The above case is just an example of how AI assistants can ease our lives. But, as we welcome these new technologies into our daily routine, there is a new challenge rising: AI Ethics. With AI systems becoming more prevalent in decision-making, the focus will shift toward ensuring these are fair, transparent, and accountable.
Therefore, going back at the above example with the restaurant, some questions can be asked: is the AI assistant going to call using your phone number? What voice will it use to interact with the human operator? What tone of voice and words will be used during the discussion? How will it learn your usual tone of voice and words? and so on.
All these interactions imply the development of guidelines and frameworks for ethical AI, alongside with tools for monitoring and auditing AI systems to prevent bias and discrimination when making decisions and taking action.
As a result, we look forward to seeing AI’s potential to enhance our lives in unimaginable ways, as it is both exhilarating and thoughtful consideration.
Benefits of a User-Centric AI Strategy
- Enhanced customer engagement – these AI systems can provide tailored recommendations, support, and services by understanding individual preferences and behaviors.
- Increased productivity and efficiency – streamlining routine tasks and processes, freeing employees to focus on more complex tasks. For instance, AI assistants can manage scheduling, communications, and data analysis.
- Data-driven insights – by gathering and analyzing data based on user interactions. It can provide the company with valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends.
- Scalability and Flexibility – by handling increasing volumes of interactions. This is ideal for businesses experiencing rapid growth or seasonal fluctuations in demand.
- Enhanced Decision Making – by relying on real-time data. This means being able to offer instant responses to customer inquiries, make quicker adjustments to operational challenges, and adapt to market changes more swiftly.
The Race For More Processing Power
As we live in a world dominated by generative AI, spatial computing, metaverse, blockchain, and many other tech advancements, the quest for greater processing power is once again on center stage.
In this context, Moore’s Law, a principle mentioned by Gordon Moore in 1965, gains more relevance. He predicted that the number of components on an integrated circuit would double every year until it reached an astonishing number of 65,000 by 1975. At a later stage, it was adjusted to a doubling of transistors on a chip every two years. This served as a beacon light for the tech world, guiding the semiconductor industry through years of rapid growth by forecasting production needs.
However, now, we hit a breakpoint. There are some analysts who question Moore’s Law applicability. The challenge is physical. This means the chipmakers have reached a material capabilities limit, confronting themselves with increasingly limited transistor raw material resources.
Facing this nature’s limitation, the industry needs to find alternative avenues for amplifying the processing power. As modern businesses increase their production capacity, their needs push the industry to explore new horizons and new solutions.
One solution is switching our focus to the optimization of codebases, particularly through refactoring applications into more contemporary programming languages like Java. This move can enable enterprises to take advantage of the modern features of cloud computing and help eliminate slow response and inflexibility of the system.
It enables businesses to update their applications with more efficient, readable, and maintainable code without changing its external behavior. The transition to a language such as Java is beneficial due to its widespread support, robust libraries, and compatibility with cloud platforms.
Example: the State of Utah’s Office of Recovery Services. They managed a complete cloud migration of its primary case management and accounting system. The agency used an automated refactoring tool to transform its code from COBOL to Java and has since seen performance improvements.
“It’s been much faster for our application,” says Bart Mason, technology lead at the Office of Recovery Services. “We were able to take the functionality that was on the mainframe, convert the code to Java, and today it’s much faster than the mainframe.” Ultimately, the refactored Java application outperformed its predecessor on the mainframe in speed and reliability, showcasing the tangible benefits of modernizing legacy systems.
Another innovative approach is the concept of chiplets. This is the market response to the semiconductor industry crisis. Departing from the traditional monolithic model, where a single chip is tasked with multiple functions, chiplets represent a modular approach. These smaller, function-specific modules can be assembled to create a cohesive system, offering a more flexible and cost-effective solution to the growing complexity and performance demands of modern electronics.
This modular design philosophy brings some advantages to using it:
- Reduces the manufacturing cost due to fewer defects. A smaller surface area means less possibility of a defect emerging during fabrication.
- Allows manufacturers to mix and match chiplets with various functionalities offering tailored configurations to meet specific computing needs (such as data storage, signal processing, or graphic rendering).
- Offers an innovative pathway to continue increasing computational power and efficiency.
- Contributes to more efficient use of materials and resources, enhancing the commitment to reducing the environmental footprint for a more sustainable future.
Quantum computing represents yet another frontier by processing complex problems at speeds previously unattainable. It uses quantum bits, or qubits, instead of bits as the smallest unit of information, as classical computing does. Qubits can represent and store information in a way that allows for more complex computation at a vastly faster pace.
This allows the user to run complex simulations like material science, pharmaceuticals, and cryptography. Also, quantum computing could simulate the behavior of molecules at an atomic level, helping in identifying more accurately and quickly the properties of new components in the drug discovery process. Moreover, its potential extends to optimization problems as well, transforming industries such as logistics, finance, and energy.
As quantum computing is still in its early development stages, there is still some work to do, particularly in terms of qubit stability and error rates. As a temporary option for this, we can find hybrid approaches that combine classical and quantum computing, leveraging the strengths of both technologies.
Another innovative approach that is still in its early stages of development is Neoromorphic Computing. It uses the human brain’s structure and function as a model to create networks of transistors that mirror the brain’s neuronal network and synapses.
This architecture allows for a massive number of connections between these artificial neurons that significantly boost computing power without a corresponding increase in energy consumption. This helps reduce energy costs and supports any company’s sustainability goals.
Millions of artificial neurons work simultaneously, analyzing vast amounts of data at once. This speeds up tasks like pattern recognition and anomaly detection, making them ideal for:
- Predictive maintenance: Analyzing sensor data to predict equipment failures before they happen.
- Robotics and autonomous vehicles: Interpreting complex sensory information (think vision, touch, and sound) to navigate and interact with the environment safely.
- Environmental monitoring: Processing data from multiple sensors to track air quality, water pollution, and more.
- Healthcare: Analyzing medical images and patient data to assist in diagnosis and treatment.
Moreover, neuromorphic computers are not static, as they are designed to learn and adapt. By emulating the brain’s network of neurons, it adjusts the connections between artificial neurons based on input and experiences, ensuring that the system evolves and improves over time.
We just started looking into it more. There is still much to understand, learn, test, and apply to overcome challenges related to the scalability, manufacturing, and programming of these complex networks.
Slow Down on the Low-Code & No-Code Market
The adoption of low-code and no-code platforms enabled the “citizen developer” era, allowing less experienced developers to put together simple applications, mostly for internal use. This new trend is part of a broader movement related to the idea of more accessible technology, open repositories, and software sourced from cloud service platforms.
Potential Risk of Low-Code & No-Code
Even though it might seem a cheaper and easier way, the abundance of low-code and no-code solutions raises potential risks around governance, security, and tech debt accumulation. Unintentionally introduced vulnerabilities and inefficiencies by less experienced developers, might lead to significant issues in the medium to long term.
As we look at these potential high-risk vulnerabilities, the focus goes to the cybersecurity landscape. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for security analysts is forecasted to grow by 32% from 2022 to 2032, which is higher than the average of all occupations (by 8%).
Furthermore, a report by Armis highlights a 104% increase in cybersecurity attack attempts in 2023 alone. “Armis found that not only are attack attempts increasing, but cybersecurity blind spots and critical vulnerabilities are worsening, painting prime targets for malicious actors,” said Nadir Izrael, CTO and Co-Founder of Armis.
These findings reflect the need for robust cybersecurity measures in this ever-evolving digital world.
Other Factors Contributing to the Slowdown:
- Maturity Check: Companies are realizing that LCNC isn’t a magic wand. Building complex applications still requires skilled developers and careful planning. The “citizen developer” dream needs realistic expectations and upskilling initiatives.
- Vendor Consolidation: The initial flood of LCNC platforms is consolidating, with established players like OutSystems and Mendix solidifying their positions. This means fewer shiny new toys and more focus on robust features and proven track records.
- Integration Hurdles: Connecting LCNC solutions with existing back-end systems and data can be a stumbling block. Platform interoperability and standardized integration tools are crucial for seamless adoption.
Growing Emphasis on Rigor and Standards
In this context, apps developed through low-code and no-code platforms are more likely to become targets for malicious cyber-attacks due to less rigorous development practices. These vulnerability hotkeys indicate the need for a more structured and rigorous approach, including better governance, security practices, and education and training for citizen developers.
As the industry continues to mature, the need for guarantees for ensuring the reliability and security of software applications grows. Setting security standards is now a must, and having certifications like ISO 9001:2015 and ISO/CEI 27001:2018 ensures the clients that their data are protected and the apps are well-secured.
For more insights on choosing between an ISO Certified software development company and low-code or no-code platforms, check this article: Why Choose an ISO Certified Software Development Company?
Increased Focus on Software Engineering and Developer Experience
Analyzing the current software development market, the demand for software developers is increasing, with projections indicating a 25% job growth in the next decade. This is a bigger growth compared with an average of 8% for other professions. However, despite this, developers’ productivity still remains challenging. Studies reveal that developers spend only about 30% to 40% of their time on actual feature development.
A developer environment is characterized by numerous inefficiencies and distractions, such as excessive meetings (scheduled and ad-hoc) that consume up to 20 hours a week while juggling over 10 “main tools” and various services for cross-departmental interactions. As valuable members of the team, they are often invited to join all product-related meetings. During these meetings, sometimes, product decisions are inappropriately delegated to them.
On top of this, the lack of integration in different departments, such as design, front-end, back-end, QA, and DevOps, further strains this environment. All of these create gaps in knowledge sharing, directly impacting the developer’s productivuty.
All these highlights the need of incresing the focus on software engineering an developer experience (DevEx).
The rise of Developer Experience (DevEx)
Looking ahead to 2024, on the horizon a significant shift is anticipated towards enhancing the Developer Experience (DevEx). What does this mean? DevEx means fostering an environment that maximizes efficiency and effectiveness for software developers, leading to accelerated development cycles and faster market adaptation.
Here’s a peek into a typical developer’s work week: From an average of 41 hours per week of work, a software developer spends at least 4 hours correcting bad codes and 17 hours on maintenance issues, researchers from Deloitte Insights revealed. Whatever time left is split between meetings, actual programming, and developing software.
Why DevEx Matters?
So, investing in DevEx is an effective and strategic business decision.
- Atract and retain Top Talent: Developers are more likely to join and stay with a company that values their work experience and provides them with the right tools and processes.
- Boost Productivity and Innovation: When developers spend less time tangled in cumbersome processes, they can dedicate more energy to creative problem-solving and innovation.
- Cost Savings and Efficiency: Smoothing out the development process, you will notice reduced time and resources spent on fixing bugs or dealing with technical debt. This efficiency is a direct cost-saving for your business. This means your products and services can adapt and hit the market quicker, keeping you one step ahead of the competition.
To overcome these challenges, the industry is expected to focus more on cultivating integrator roles within companies. These roles are a crucial part in ensuring seamless collaboration between teams (frontend, mobile apps, backend, design, QA) and product managers/ owners. Furthermore, using a specific toolset to smoothen their communication process would be very beneficial.
How to Build a Robust DevEx
When considering DevEx as a holistic experience, it’s important to understand its various components and how they work together.
- Streamlined Tooling: Equip developers with intuitive, reliable, and well-integrated tools. IDEs, version control systems, and debugging tools should work seamlessly together, minimizing friction and maximizing efficiency.
- Comprehensive Documentation: Clear, accessible documentation is essential. Tutorials, learning resources, and community forums empower developers to solve problems independently and learn new technologies.
- Stable Development Environments: Provide a consistent and replicable environment that mirrors production. Containerization, virtual machines, and cloud-based solutions can help eliminate the “it works on my machine” syndrome.
- Automation is Key: Automate repetitive tasks like testing, integration, deployment, and monitoring. This frees developers for higher-level work, and tools like Github Copilot can even handle repetitive code snippets.
- Smoother Onboarding and Support: Streamlined onboarding processes and access to mentors, forums, or dedicated support staff help developers get up to speed and thrive in their roles.
- Focus on Architectural Clarity: A well-structured codebase and clear system architecture make collaboration and contribution easier. Think coherent code structure, clear API design, and thorough documentation.
- Prioritization is Crucial: Help developers organize their workload with clear priorities for tasks and projects. Regular status updates and transparency foster better communication and collaboration. More insights can be check in the article The Need for Optimizing the AGILE Ceremonies.
The Tech Trends of 2024
The technological trends we highlighted here offer a glimpse into an even more fascinating future, where AI enables what once was just an idea, where virtual worlds spark real-world collaboration, and where processing power fuels unimaginable creations.
We are now in an era of forging a partnership with technology, and HyperSense Software is ready to be your guide. Contact us to discover how our experts can support you in navigating these challenges!