Digital transformation requires organizations to be agile and adaptable, to embrace and leverage constant change, and to be intensely future focused.
So it’s no surprise the technologies and terms that once represented the frontier of digital transformation — such as internet of things (IoT), edge computing and DevOps — have become familiar to many or even most enterprise workers.
What are the digital terms you must know now to enable the next phase of digital transformation in 2019 and beyond — or simply to stay in the conversation? Here are some to recognize and understand:
— Decentralized applications (DApps). Most everyone by now has heard of blockchain, the distributed transaction ledger technology developed to support the cryptocurrency bitcoin and now being deployed in a number of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, retail and pharmaceuticals. But blockchain also is finding a home in the world of applications development.
Decentralized apps, or DApps, are a departure from the cloud-based model in which development is controlled by a small number of people. A DApp is open source (so the source code is available to anyone), decentralized (employing blockchain technology) and uses algorithm-generated tokens to fund development.
Decentralizing development leverages the power of many, which can help scale a project while improving quality control.
— Digital touchpoint services. The need to get data and services to far-flung corners of a company’s network has led to the creation of edge computing, in which computing nodes are distributed throughout the network to be closer to the users (or devices) requesting data or services.
But enterprises are already pushing to go beyond the edge. “Digital business initiatives are forcing infrastructure service providers to expand their offerings beyond edge computing technologies in order to deliver digital touchpoint services,” according to research firm Gartner.
Supporting these touchpoints will require placing IT services close to where end users and enterprises digitally interact. Digital touchpoint services could include infrastructure management, infrastructure security, and data management and governance.
— Purple teams. Purple people is an IT term for enterprise workers who intuitively grasp the strategic needs of the business (red) while also fully understanding digital technology (blue). Thus, if you’re a purple person, you can explain digital technology to the CEO and business strategies to the CIO. Purple people, however, are like unicorns — quite hard to find in the wild. To compensate for the shortage of purple people, companies are building “purple teams” that combine business insights with tech knowledge. You may find yourself joining a purple team in the near future.
— Artificial general intelligence. As machines learn more, they become smarter; that’s the premise behind artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Eventually, experts say, machines will achieve human-level intelligence and more, which they refer to as artificial general intelligence, or AGI. Some futurists say this could come within the next 5 to 10 years.
— Light fidelity (Li-Fi). This is a wireless digital technology that uses light to transfer data between points at high speed. Li-Fi’s most practical immediate application would be to allow people on airplanes to remain connected because light waves don’t interfere with the craft’s electrical equipment. Li-Fi might also be used in hospitals, in industrial automation, and to communicate with underwater vehicles.
— Blended reality. There’s virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Soon there may be “blended reality” (BR), the most mind-blowing of all. VR is all about placing a user in an immersive — but not “real” — environment, typically through a headset that blocks out actual reality. AR superimposes or projects virtual images on top of a physical object or structure. BR basically takes AR to the next level by creating a world “in which the virtual and the physical are seamlessly integrated,” according to the Institute for the Future.
Imagine being able to place an object on a BR-enabled computer touchscreen and have that object replicated on a connected 3D printer. Or being able to look at a BR-enabled mirror and see not only how you look in virtual clothes, but how you look in various virtual settings. BR is expected to have applications in architectural design, entertainment, healthcare, manufacturing and more.
With these digital terms in mind, you’ll be well equipped to look beyond today’s technology to the next phase of digital transformation.