Rafael Umann is the CEO of Azion.

Today, it is not enough for a business simply to react to market changes and demands as they happen. To rise above the competition and have a chance at growth (and profit), companies need to always be thinking ahead. This is how they will be able to identify potential risks before they materialize or recognize opportunities that, if seized, may offer a competitive advantage.

This year, the tech industry will offer unprecedented opportunities to accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and edge computing, reshaping not only how businesses operate and applications run but the way tech professionals work—faster and more cost-effectively.

Here are three trends for the tech industry in 2024.

A Shift From Cloud To On-Premise And Edge Computing

Cloud complexity and costs are growing in line with legacy applications, while user experience requirements are no longer suited for the cloud’s centralized computing model. Moreover, climate-related data center outages and the rise of global tensions continue to put the centralized computing paradigm at risk, especially for mission-critical applications.

In response to these challenges, companies are increasingly returning to on-premises computing, encouraged by modern cloud-like software stacks that improve the on-premises experience from the past.

For example, 37Signals announced in 2023 that it took its Basecamp project management platform back to an on-premises infrastructure after more than a decade of running in the cloud. The cost was the main factor, with an estimated savings of $7 million over five years. The company also found an unexpected bonus in performance gains, with median query time being reduced by half.

To accelerate innovation and enhance efficiency, companies are adhering to a modern approach—edge computing—that not only provides much lower costs than cloud computing but also delivers key security capabilities not available with on-premise solutions.

Edge platforms are now capable of simplifying the adoption of edge computing, enabling customers to accelerate its usage with minimum effort. Developers are becoming increasingly interested in developing for the edge. Many are still unsure about the technology or are uncertain if their skills are sufficient for this purpose, but influencers and key analysts have started to educate the market about the current state and power of the edge—proving it’s a faster, cheaper, easier-to-use and more reliable solution.

While edge platforms can abstract away the infrastructure and operating system, enabling companies to focus solely on developing software, they also support many types of use cases—from traditional microservices, APIs and AI models to programmable and autonomous security perimeters and new use cases. These include “smart cities” and “self-driving cars” but also deliver value to fraud prevention, user personalization, service reliability, real-time data processing and analytics.

For example, one of our customers—Exame, a leading magazine in Brazil—saw a 70% cloud cost optimization while seeing a 40x increase in the number of simultaneous accesses during the country’s presidential elections. Our infrastructure directly handled up to 96% of its traffic.

AI Changes To Application Development

The key shift in AI in 2024 will be the way applications are built from scratch and existing ones are modernized, as well as the acceleration of teams reaching new levels of expertise to deliver fully functional prototypes. These changes will be due to the combination of an improved developer experience provided by key service providers along with new serverless and edge computing infrastructure capabilities.

Such service providers will increasingly work simply as a “target” for application development tools, enabling developers to easily deploy their applications to these providers using traditional CI/CD pipelines. There will be less time spent managing infrastructure and dealing with basic system issues such as debugging webserver or database errors.

As AI matures in 2024, developers will adopt strategies such as relying on AI to generate code or using design-to-code conversion. In the new operating model, AI will no longer be considered a timesaver but, rather, critical to the baseline level of efficiency required to be productive.

A June 2023 survey conducted by GitHub and Wakefield Research showed that 92% of developers were already using AI tools, like code generation assistants, and that 70% believed AI would offer an advantage in terms of code quality, task completion time and incident resolution. Collaboration is also an expected benefit, with 4 out of 5 developers hoping that AI will make their teams more collaborative.

Cybersecurity And AI Paranoia

As the online presence and the importance of data continue to increase, enhancing the security of data and the infrastructure that underpins online services has become an objective for every company. Concurrently, AI has ushered in methodologies both for attacking corporate resources and fortifying them against such incursions.

AI-driven threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated, encompassing highly advanced deepfakes for phishing and other forms of social engineering attacks alongside novel malware techniques designed to enhance evasion capabilities and facilitate autonomous propagation.

In January 2024, AI tools enabled scammers to take $25 million from a multinational firm based in Hong Kong. They used a phishing email to lure a financial worker to a meeting with the company’s CFO and members of his staff, several of whom the worker recognized, reassuring him of the legitimacy of an unusual transfer request. Unbeknownst to him, everyone in the meeting was generated through deepfake technology.

The response from vendors has been swift, with enhanced security solutions entering the market. These offerings focus on bolstering security through real-time data processing and AI models, which enable a quicker response to threats. There is also a push toward simplifying the compliance process by integrating automation tools with AI, streamlining data collection and expediting the compliance workflow. Solutions that fail to offer autonomous security and necessary flexibility will fall behind.

The landscape of AI and the state of edge platforms are on the brink of significant advancements, pushed by technological innovations that will have substantial implications not only for businesses and industries but also for tech professionals. It’s up to business leaders to prepare for the changes to be successful in 2024 and beyond.

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