Business and technology are inextricably linked and keeping pace with the emerging technology landscape can be difficult but if at least one part of your company isn’t assigned to keeping abreast of what’s coming down the track you risk being blindsided.
In its major annual tech trends analysis, Deloitte comes to the rescue. It has pinpointed seven different topics to act on, but the following three are most worth paying attention to from an M&E perspective:
- Cyber AI is necessary to battle cybercrime.
- Blockchain-type technologies are changing the nature of doing business.
- The cloud is shifting from common off-the-shelf technologies to industry specific packages.
Let’s take a look at each.
Blockchain: Ready for Business
Trendy cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) capture media headlines and the public’s imagination, but these and other blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) are fundamentally changing the nature of doing business.
“Much like the TCP/IP protocols that provide underlying support to enterprise network communications, shared ledgers could eventually become an integral, if invisible, foundation of business operations,” Deloitte says. “Blockchain and DLTs are helping companies reimagine how they make and manage identity, data, brand, provenance, professional certifications, copyrights, and other tangible and digital assets.”
READ MORE: Blockchain: Ready for business (Deloitte)
In fact, the vast majority of participants in Deloitte’s 2021 Global Blockchain Survey (80%) say their industries will see new revenue streams from blockchain, digital assets, and/or cryptocurrency solutions. And global spending is soaring, potentially from $5.3 billion in 2021 to $34 billion in 2026.
Banking leads in blockchain adoption, followed by telecoms and M&E, with retail projected to see the fastest growth in blockchain spending between now and 2024.
Three examples listed by Deloitte include supply chain transparency, where the technologies can improve product-tracking, and traceability of assets from purchase orders and logistics to invoicing and payments.
Selling NFTs as collectibles enables people and organizations to build digital communities, engage fans and customers, and build their brands. And when used for event ticketing, blockchain and NFTs have the potential to eliminate ticket fraud and scalping, Deloitte says.
Another use case is for creators to prove ownership of and monetize intellectual property (IP) through licensing, patents, and copyrights. With blockchain and other DLT platforms, content creators can embed their IP with a smart contract that’s executed every time the IP is downloaded.
The current state of blockchain and other DLT platforms is likened to that of the internet circa 1997 “clunky, with an inadequate user interface, but with lots of possibility for enterprise applications. Like the internet, they’re helping businesses and organizations streamline business processes and operations and drive value through the creation of new digital business models.”
The US Treasury Department is investigating how blockchain may enable a new generation of more automated record keeping. In the not-so-distant future, BMW expects car purchases to be as easy as scanning a QR code.
“As confidence in the shared ledger grows, could the collective on-chain record one day be viewed as a more credible assertion of truth than an off-chain record?” poses Deloitte.
The report quotes Andre Luckow, PhD, head of emerging technologies at BMW Group IT, musing on his two decades of experience.
“Blockchain is transformative,” he says, “and one day we will be using blockchain-based technologies without even realizing it because of the potential they have to build better business processes and customer experiences.”
He adds that the transformation may take longer than anyone anticipated. “Businesses need to adopt broader thinking as to which new markets or ecosystems can be supported and simplified through blockchain; they need to ask the right data-driven questions to find their appropriate use cases. If we push the technology forward from all sides, we’re bound to see even more great ideas surface.”
Developing Industry Clouds to Meet Vertical Needs
Industry-specific cloud solutions can enable organizations to automate manual tasks and shift their focus to competitive differentiation.
By all accounts the M&E industry is some way behind this curve, but what has happened in medical, manufacturing or the enterprise is going to happen in broadcasting, so let’s take a look.
Specifically, over the next 18 to 24 months, Deloitte predicts a growing number of organizations across market sectors will begin exploring ways that industry clouds can help them meet unique vertical needs. The analyst projects that the value of the industry cloud market could reach $640 billion within the next five years.
“Today, the twin approaches of sharing software that meets common needs and letting someone else run your infrastructure continue to inform the ‘Cloud goes vertical’ trend. What’s new is that we’ve moved from procuring generic functions and libraries to the digitization and availability of actual industry-specific business processes.”
Moreover, organizations increasingly expect cloud vendors to create “common core” solutions that address shared needs across industries and ecosystems. Hence, cloud and software vendors now offer an expansive menu of industry-specific, modular business processes available through APIs that can be accessed at the push of a button.
Deloitte notes that the main cloud services providers — AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure — offer cloud-based industry enclaves that automate business processes that are unique to sectors like health care, automotive, retail, and media.
“They began by creating infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) capabilities, which eventually elevated to platforms-as-a-service (PaaS). But they haven’t stopped there. [They are] methodically automating ever-higher order processes to create industry-optimized platforms that are, in some cases, more functionally robust and efficient than the on-premises solutions businesses are currently running.”
Marijan Nedic, VP and head of IT at SAP, may be talking about business solutions but the lessons he’s learned can be applied to media.
He believes what separates a company from its competitors is the five-to-10% of operations that are unique. The emergence of industry clouds (packaged solutions of common applications and configurations used across a given vertical) is helping businesses spend less time setting up the table-stakes functionality necessary for running their businesses and more time on the impactful areas that set them apart, he says.
READ MORE: Cloud goes vertical (Deloitte)
As such, any industry cloud worth its salt will have a few common features. It provides most of the functionality needed for the industry out of the box, especially the commodity functions. It must be an open platform that enables customers and partners to develop innovative solutions and to connect them up. Third, it should allow customers to ramp up or scale down capacity and processes according to demand. Finally, it should enable easy access to other business and technology services. Add in ML and AI and you have a combination fit for the agility today’s business demands.
“When the main operational platform comes configured for the needs of a typical business in their industry, [the company] can focus their energies on the portion of their operations that sets them apart,” says Nedic. “They can get straight to a digital representation of their business, their network of partners, their network of suppliers, their machines. Ultimately, it’s about having the agility to develop the innovations that can truly make your organization unique.”
Cybercrime On the Rise: Time to Call for AI Backup
The cost of cybercrime continues to climb; it’s expected to double from $3 trillion in 2015 to $6 trillion by the end of 2021 and grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025. According to insurer AIG, ransomware claims alone have grown 150% since 2018.
Part of the reason: Organizations’ attack surfaces are exponentially expanding. Deloitte identifies the adoption of 5G networks and an increase in network connections, together with a more distributed workforce and a broadening partner ecosystem, may present new risks. They’re exposing the enterprise outside of its firewalls and pushing it into customer devices, employee homes, and partner networks.
“As the enterprise extends into its employees’ homes, user behavior and data activity become more diverse and deviate from previous norms. With employees logging in from atypical locations and devices at unusual times, it can be more challenging to identify anomalous behaviors.”
Are NFTs just more hype, or are they actually the building blocks of the creator economy? Understanding blockchain technology can seem like a lot, but NAB Amplify has the expert knowledge and insights you need to remain at the top of the intersection of art and technology:
- NAB Amplify’s NFT Primer
- What’s the Real Future of the NFT Crypto Art Market?
- Weird Science: The Connection Between NFTs and… Human Nature?
- What Is the Value of an NFT?
- NFTs: Content Strategy or Digital Craze?
What’s more an increasingly global supply chain is adding to the risk. APIs are a growing security concern as more and more organizations integrate data with third-party applications. Gartner predicts that by 2022, API abuses will become the enterprise’s most frequent attack vector.
It’s time to call for AI backup. Cyber AI can be a “force multiplier” enabling security teams not only to respond faster than cyber attackers can move but also to anticipate these moves and act in advance.
Cyber AI may be in the early stages of adoption; the global market is expected to grow by $19 billion between 2021 and 2025; but the technology’s ability to adaptively learn and detect novel patterns can accelerate detection, containment, and response. Plus, it can help organizations prepare for the eventual development of AI-driven cybercrime.
READ MORE: Cyber AI: Real defense (Deloitte)
Organizations have two options to respond: hire more people, which is difficult because of the burgeoning skills gap in the talent market, or rely on AI, automation, and analytics to detect and respond to threats in real time.
“The intersection of AI and cybersecurity has been talked about for nearly a decade,” reports Mike Chapple, information security leader and IT, analytics, and operations teaching professor at University of Notre Dame. “Until now, those conversations revolved around buzzwords and rule-based products. Thanks to advances in compute power and storage capacity, we now see cybersecurity vendors starting to truly incorporate ML and AI into their products. Today, large enterprises can rely on such vendors to advance threat intelligence.”
The history of any type of security is an age-old game of cat and mouse. Just as we develop AI tools to protect ourselves, antagonists are developing AI to further complicate their attacks. Deloitte says nation-states are already entering this territory, and we may see more from private cybercrime actors in the next 18 to 24 months.
If organizations don’t want to be a victim, it says, they’ll want to act now to future-proof their users, systems, and data by seeking out opportunities for AI support. When the nature of cyberattacks inevitably transforms again, they can be ready.