As 2023 gets off to a start, it is a good idea for corporations, start-ups, and investors to be aware of and understand the top tech and business trends that will shape 2023. In fact, at the rate that the market is evolving, executives, founders, and the average person alike should know which trends are on their way out and which ones are shaking things up.
This knowledge can certainly help when making decisions on everything from business and investing to whether now is the time to start that small business. Without further delay, here are the top 8 tech and business trends to watch in 2023
1. Sustainability and Green Energy
The vast majority of the world has finally accepted that global warming is a serious problem, and we need to take our emissions and carbon footprint more seriously. Their 2021 Global Sustainability Study, Simon Kucher & Partners found that 85% of consumers have shifted toward being more sustainable over the last five years.
And for the first time in the history of their annual CEO Survey, Gartner reports that CEOs have placed environmental sustainability at eighth in their top 10 strategic business priorities. At the same time, almost three quarters of CEOs agreed that increasing their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts help attract investors.
Of the CEOs planning on investing in new products over the next two years, 80% cited sustainability as the third-largest driver for the decision. This means that companies need to place their ESG processes at the heart of their business strategy in 2023. Part of this includes adopting new energy solutions that don't depend on hydrocarbons and using AI to proactively manage their power consumption.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning
Speaking of artificial intelligence, business owners and consumers alike can expect to start seeing it everywhere. With the advent of no-code AI, whose easy drag-and-drop interfaces make it easy for anyone to leverage its power, any business or individual will be able to create more intelligent products and services with just a few clicks of a button.
From AI-enabled algorithms that recommend outfits to customers based on their tastes and sizes to autonomous and contactless shopping, AI is already being used in the most unexpected ways. As we push the boundaries of what is possible with AI, we can expect AI to augment just about every job process in businesses of all shapes and sizes across every industry.
AI has proven that it is more than up to just about any task with the right training, whether a creative or a mundane one. And with Precedence Research predicting that the global AI market is expected to reach the insane market value of US$1,597.1 billion by 2030, AI usage will continue to spread into various fields, including programming, development, testing, and more.
3. The Metaverse and Extended Reality (XR)
Whether someone likes the term "metaverse" or not, the reality is that it has become a recurring theme in any discussion about what the future of the technology sector may look like. And while Facebook's parent company changing their name to Meta may have confused some, it's actually a catchall phrase that refers to a more immersive internet.
This more immersive online experience will be built with a combination of Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), and Virtual Reality (VR) technology -- collectively referred to as Extended Reality (XR) -- and provide a persistent platform where people can socialize, play, and even work. On the business side, it will encompass tools for remote work, computer-aided design, digital twins, IoT, 3D printing, virtual training, and more.
With experts predicting that the metaverse could generate as much as US $5 trillion in impact by 2030, it's no wonder that organizations in everything from the finance to fashion industries have jumped on the trend, offering their clients highly personalized and immersive experiences that few had really considered before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consulting giant Accenture has a metaverse environment called the Nth floor where they've replicated their real-world offices, Facebook created 10,000 new highly skilled positions for the metaverse, and Microsoft and Nvidia are actively developing metaverse platforms for digital collaboration.
4. Hyperconnectivity and The Internet of Things (IoT)
By no means a new tech trend, many other trends people should be keeping an eye on are directly related to the Internet of Things (IoT). We're entering a time where networks of connected devices and IoT sensors are fundamental to various new technologies, including building the metaverse, improving how smart machinery operates, designing the cities of the future, and even performing normal business operations.
While the compatibility of the many different IoT devices we already use is still a challenge we need to overcome, GlobalData's "Thematic Research: Internet of Things" report estimates that the global IoT market will be worth US$1.1 trillion by 2024, with wearable devices fuelling much of this growth. Connected cars and automated homes are the next two fastest-growing segments.
As the year progresses, the focus for IoT will most likely be on developing global standards and communication protocols for smart technology. For businesses specifically, the focus should be on enabling more advantageous and advanced machine-to-machine interactions and the efficient collecting and leveraging of the massive amounts of data that can be gathered with IoT devices.
5. Automation and Digital Transformation
Maximizing the benefits from the advanced machine-to-machine interactions made possible by IoT devices depends on automating those interactions as much as possible. Though many warehouses and factories are already partially or fully autonomous, business leaders continue to progress in automating the vast majority of their services -- particularly within the scope of logistics and delivery.
Closely linked to AI and machine learning, Forrester Research has estimated that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will threaten as many as 230 million or more current jobs. But on a more comforting note, McKinsey Digital has found that fewer than 5% of occupations can be fully automated with the technology available today.
This means that businesses in every industry and vertical can expect accelerated digital transformation, and those that haven't yet begun to shift to a data-driven enterprise will be scrambling to catch up with their competitors. Individuals, on the other hand, will need to learn new skills that will complement their current skills and will be useful in an RPA-driven world or develop entirely new skills.
6. Datafication and Quantum Computing
Industries across the board increasingly rely on datafication, or the transformation of the massive amounts of data that every organization today generates into valuable information that can be used for everything from delivering personalized customer experiences to automating mundane business processes. As technology advances, the types and amount of data that can be gathered will only increase.
As businesses become more digital, they are constantly finding new ways to process and leverage this data. And quantum computing hardware and software development will become more critical as data mining capabilities improve. A quantum computer is to a regular computer what a rocket ship is to a classic Volkswagen Beetle, meaning it has the potential to be trillions of times faster than the computers we use today.
With GlobalData predicting that the quantum computing market will be worth US$5 billion by 2025, there is a global race to make quantum computing available at scale. As things stand now, GlobalData believes that commercial quantum computing will be available by 2027, and that it's likely companies will rely on Quantum-as-a-Service (QaaS) rather than investing in their own quantum computers.
7. Blockchain and Web 3.0 Technology
The crash of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange in November 2022 devastated the crypto market, and a "substantial portion" of the assets that FTX held may be "missing or stolen." This incredible failure of a centralized financial institution has turned the spotlight onto decentralized technology, and also led to more countries implementing regulatory frameworks to protect investors in the future.
Whether you are a cryptocurrency believer or not, the technology that made cryptocurrency possible in the first place is here to stay. And it is all set to be the next evolution of the internet -- or what experts are referring to as Web 3.0. The near-impenetrable level of security offered by blockchain technology makes it an attractive option for encrypting essential business and personal data.
The decentralized nature of blockchain technology provides unique ways to access and analyze the data stored in this manner; smart contracts are already revolutionizing both the real estate and financial markets, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will start becoming more practical and usable -- thereby opening a whole host of other opportunities.
8. Cybersecurity and Digital Immune Systems
As interconnected as each of these business and technology trends may be so far, the one thing that they all have in common is their need for uncompromising cybersecurity measures. As each of these trends drives innovation, with both individuals and businesses discovering how these trends can be leveraged for good, so will cybercriminals be exploring how they can be used to further their own nefarious purposes.
It will be up to the cybersecurity professionals in every industry to keep the apps, platforms, systems, and networks in this new digital world as safe as possible at all times. And so, Forbes revealing that cybersecurity jobs are among the fastest growing career areas makes perfect sense. As it stands, cloud security skills are among the most lucrative of all.
The global average cost of a data breach is a whopping US$4.35 million as per the IBM Cost of a Data Breach report -- and 83% of targets have suffered more than one breach. So, if a business wants to choose just one area to focus on in the coming year, it should be strengthening its digital immune systems.
Disruptions and Rapid Response
The 2020s have been chaotic so far, and as disruptions continue to drive change on virtually every front, business leaders must ensure they have the tools they need to keep their heads above water. The baseline for the future must be rapid response. Businesses and the average person must learn to expect uncertainty and complications to crop up at every opportunity.
The only way to be prepared is to learn to read the present to predict the future. Shifting pandemic restrictions may affect hybrid work policies, geopolitical conflicts may die down and flare up on a whim, extreme weather events might wreak havoc at every turn, and a global recession may be just around the corner.
To succeed in a future where everything can change in the blink of an eye, it is important to determine how and where threats may appear. Being able to judge the ripple effects of these changes and how they may affect someone on a personal and business level will have far-reaching implications over the coming year.
Picking battles wisely is key to forging ahead in the face of a world as volatile as the one we live in today, and keeping an eye on these business and technology trends may just help you do exactly that.
Tagged as: Tech Trends, Tech Predictions, Emerging Technologies
About the Author:
Craig Lamb is a co-founder and serves as Chief Information Officer at Envative, a software development company offering custom end-to-end solutions in web, mobile and IoT. With over 25 years of experience in Information Technology leadership, he is a researcher and promoter of new technologies that are leveraged in Envative's custom development efforts. Craig's expertise and keen insights have made him a respected leader and an engaging speaker within the tech industry. His greatest source of professional achievement, however, is on the consultative and technologically advanced business culture that he (along with his business partner, Dave Mastrella) has built and cultivated for more than two decades.