With breakthroughs for promising technology on the horizon, pleasant surprises such as the emergence of blockchain are piquing the interest of those interested in the shift to a digital currency. As we cross the threshold into the new year, let’s take a look at what the technological terrain will look like in 2018.
The blockchain is the decentralized heart of cryptocurrency, and is a distributed ledger of records which allow for the verification of records without the need for a middleman. While its primary use in 2017 and before was to verify cryptocurrency transactions, developers are realizing it has uses outside of finance. Transaction records, or “blocks” are cryptographically protected and then distributed to all participants.
2018 is only going to be the beginning of a years-long transformation of many industries as a result. With cybersecurity such a big story in 2017, the blockchain seems like it’s prime for a breakout year in 2018. Don’t be surprised if for whatever reason years down the road cryptocurrency collapses yet blockchain survives. It’s that game-changing.
The return of the ARM-powered laptop
We wrote a bit about this in a previous post here on our site, but it bears repeating. We’ve gotten used to long battery life in our smartphones and tablets as manufacturers and software developers improve hardware and software. But one place it has not made it to is laptops, which still in most cases would require a recharge at some point in the day unless you are doing much more than surfing the web.
Code will run natively on these processors, allowing widespread production of ARM-powered laptops.
Of course, the first versions of any new product are always rough around the edges. It’s likely that’s going to be the case here.
Cloud computing taken to the edge
We’ve gotten so used to “the cloud” that this next tech trend sounds counterintuitive. Edge computing stands to shake up how we think about the cloud, and how it will be used in 2018 and beyond.
This is a return to “distributed computing,” where processing power is spread out over multiple computers. You might think cloud computing is a form of distributed computing too, considering that the cloud can route your request to an available server. It’s actually not: that server itself is still handling all the computing work on a single machine.
Why edge computing? As devices become more powerful, they’ll require ever larger streams of data to operate, making cloud computing simply too slow. Even with superfast 5G connections on the horizon, there will always be some degree of latency in the connection itself. That’s not including the processing time on the remote server.
Think about it this way. A self-driving car makes split-second decisions on when to turn and when to stop or swerve to avoid hazards. Do you really want to take the chance of some type of hiccup as data travels from your car to a central server to make that decision? Of course not. Instead, your car becomes a data center of its own, making computing intensive decisions locally, but sending data home after the fact to improve the operation of other vehicles.
If all of this seems like a bit too much information to take in, not to worry, because adoption of all are each of these is something most small businesses will do over time. But these are all terms that we should leave in the backs of our minds until we need them. Or better still, take each of these and do some research and see where they would help our businesses.
Your Tech Guys