2024 is an uncertain economic climate, so leveraging AI can trim costs in digital operations, but human oversight remains crucial. Prioritising data security is paramount amidst the epidemic of breaches. Genuine personalisation with AI may finally be within reach, but beware of shallow substitutes. While AR/VR advancements primarily benefit professional areas, the SaaS landscape is continuing to grow. Vigilance against budget creep is essential; opt for cost-effective solutions that span tasks. The future might see app bundling for affordability and enhanced interoperability. Let’s navigate these tech trends with caution and foresight.

Use AI to cut costs

In these slightly turbulent times when economic prosperity and confidence seems a way away, AI will be used to cut costs in a lot of digital operations. It’s important to remember that in the rush to AI, humans are still needed to write the prompts as well as check and confirm the output. However, much of the bulk, or drudge work can be done with AI. The cost challenge is the investment in learning how / where / when AI can make a significant and valuable contribution. All that glistens is not gold.

Privacy & Trust – protect your data

The 2020s so far have been the decade of the data breach. I’ve lost count of the number of providers whose systems have been breached in some way over the last few years. In a number of high-profile instances the data taken has been at the catastrophic level.
This year should be the year that all systems get checked for data security, data protection and data privacy. Your customers, partners and stakeholders expect it. This means you need to ensure good security hygiene, good surveillance and a sensible DR plan / BCP needs to be put in place. Don’t expect wishy-washy PR platitudes to save your bacon, consumers are tired of it.

Personalisation – content, customers, everywhere, but…

This might be the year of personalisation, finally, maybe? It’s been talked about for so long, that it’s possible with AI that we may actually get to a state where proper personalisation is possible. Other than that, it’ll be the same as usual, with one banner ad swapped out due to browsing history and it being hailed as a personalisation revolution. Yawn.

AR / VR / Spatial Computing / Metaverse Fad

Similar to personalisation, Spatial Computing is not there yet for consumers, don’t believe the hype nor the images put about by Apple and Meta and the like. The metaverse is hanging on by a thread, despite what the NFT and crypto bros might tell you. There will be advances, but mainly in the tool-for-work field, which is great – think of it as more like Google Glass on steroids and Wii with Headsets.

Everything as a Service – Too much?

We’re fast getting to the point where there is no more software to buy any more, just seats to rent. This is good for cashflow and versioning, but runs the risk of running out of control like wildfire, especially as many SaaS providers seem to think their product is worth a significant chunk of change each month – in most cases it’s not. I’m always drawn to the cost comparison between MS Office (O365) and other apps. Watch for budget creep and seek out apps that will do more across a wider array of tasks, while still being budget friendly. Don’t be fooled by shiny things.
It’s not there yet, but I think we’ll see a coming together and bundling of apps, to make them cheaper overall, increase the install base and make interoperability something useful.

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