Digital Technology Trends

Let’s briefly look at some major trends in digital technology. Remember, these aren’t just new technologies, they’re better ways of doing things. They’re trends because people are figuring out how to use technology to make more money. The list of trends below contains links to Wikipedia pages that provide detailed information on each trend.

  • Agile development, lean IT, and DevOps are ways to more effectively & efficiently deliver real technology solutions. Agile development, in particular, is an approach to software development that involves building small, functional chunks of code, getting user feedback, and then building more; also called iterative development.
  • Automation, autonomous vehicles, and robotics all refer to machines that basically run by themselves. This involves a lot of code and data, as well as special hardware.
  • Basics of digital technology: applications, code, data, networks, processing, and storage; all digital technologies involve these things and analog technologies don’t (at least not in digital form, using computers).
  • Big data, data analytics, modeling, and simulations are almost self-explanatory. It’s all about using computers to make sense of huge quantities of information, understanding how they are structured, and predicting the impact of changes in complex systems.
  • Blockchain, bitcoin, and distributed hashed applications represent a new way of storing data in order to make it effectively impossible to cheat or steal. A blockchain is a data base in which each record (block) is timestamped and hashed with a code created from prior blocks and all records are distributed to all users’ computers. Blockchain is the core technology to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that do not require banks.
  • Cloud computing, utility computing, and virtualization all refer to making computational capacity available online, functionally independent of physical hardware, so that any types of hardware at any number of locations can be used in a way that minimizes downtime and risk of data loss.
  • Crowdsourcing, decentralization, and distributed processing involve tapping into lots of people and digital devices spread out all over the place. A lot of little things do more, more flexibly, than a single, big thing.
  • Digital marketing and social media are basically ways of sharing information online with a lot of people you don’t really know, but with whom you may (or may not) have things in common, and tracking what they like.
  • Digital manufacturing, product modeling, logistics, and process & supply chain integration are when production of things is electronically connected and coordinated from end-to-end.
  • Gigabit networks, data centers/warehouses, and high-performance computing are facilities, hardware, and services for moving, processing, and storing mass quantities of data.
  • Internet of things refers to all kinds of small devices—often built into and controlling larger devices—talking to each other and working together. These include embedded systems and microelectromechanical sensors or systems (MEMS).
  • Machine vision and machine learning are basically what they sound like: machines looking at things, figuring out what they are, and figuring out how to deal with them.
  • Open access, code, data, networks, and standards are really a philosophy… and the practice… of letting anyone and everyone contribute, get, and use information without costs or restrictions.
  • Security, privacy, and encryption go hand-in-hand; it’s all about restricting access to information, locking it up so only certain people can see it.
  • Wearable computers and the quantified self put people and technology together, literally, so you can carry it and it can track your activities anywhere without it getting in the way.
  • Web 3.0, semantic web, and ever-present web refer to using artificial intelligence to deliver exactly the information you need, when and where you need it. All of this is builds on web 2.0, which allows users to contribute content, including information about themselves, and delivers customized, regularly updated information based on user-generated content.