In this Silicon Roundtable we bring together industry visionaries, thought leaders, and experts to delve into the exciting landscape of technology and anticipate the trends that will shape the year ahead.
In this exclusive roundtable discussion, we gather insights from influential voices in the tech sphere, exploring the transformative technologies, ground-breaking developments, and paradigm shifts set to redefine our digital reality in 2024. From artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things to quantum computing and sustainable tech, our panelists provide a comprehensive overview of the pivotal trends that will impact businesses, societies, and individuals alike.
Mark Wilson is the Technology and Innovation Director at Node4.
“Technologies like AI, high-performance computing (HPC), and advancements in cloud technologies will be game changers in 2024, as economic concerns are prompting businesses to optimise technology use for cost-effectiveness and strategic decision-making. Adopting cloud technologies offers scalability, flexibility, and cost savings; using HPC solutions enables faster and more accurate analysis of large datasets, whilst using AI tools to automate tasks will enhance productivity and can provide data-driven insights into market trends and customer preferences.
“The growth of these technologies and the benefits to be reaped, are also driving the need for innovation in the industry. The ability to process large amounts of data at high speed is essential for complex applications such as scientific research, engineering design, or financial modelling. Many CIOs will be laser-focused on integrating AI in their strategy by investing in AI hardware and software as well as AI skills, such as data scientists or engineers, and governance through policies or ethics. That’s a big investment and so, for other CIOs, 2024 will be about “watching and waiting” to see what happens before they fully invest in their own tactical AI developments. In the meantime, they may choose to rent a graphics processing unit as a service or consume compute and storage from hyperscalers, like Microsoft, where their investment is more flexible.”
Rob Shaw, SVP and GM EMEA at Fluent Commerce.
“We’re going to see a huge drive in personalised customer experiences in 2024. Today’s retailers will utilise technology like AI to learn much more about consumer behaviour, likes and dislikes, informing predictive recommendations. Retailers are already spending on enhancing online experiences, making the most of channels such as social media to advertise products and services. The focus now will be how to utilise these platforms to get more ‘eyes on’, making more people want to shop with the brand.
“The number of channels retailers use will continue to expand over the next year, leading to deeper omnichannel integration. To take full advantage, supply chain optimisation will be key, especially when thinking about demand forecasting. Nobody wants to waste budget advertising items that are no longer in stock and consumers don’t want to chase unavailable deals. By taking a more inventory-aware approach to advertising, retailers can have a more comprehensive view of inventory across all channels, making it easier to set alerts to stop an online ad if a company runs out of stock. This will set them up for positive shopping experiences in the year ahead and improve long-term customer loyalty.”
Martin Riley, Director of Managed Security Services at Bridewell.
“Looking ahead to 2024, we can see how emerging technology tools, sophisticated attack methods and the eruption of AI are transforming how criminals organise and operate, but also how legitimate organisations can defend themselves. To strengthen their security posture at a time of great change, organisations must avoid dependence on technology as the sole answer. They must acquire greater visibility and threat intelligence and develop their processes and technologies to ensure they are leveraging sophisticated threat-informed managed detection and response (MDR) and extended detection and response (XDR) capabilities.
“As the UK’s critical infrastructure stands on high alert, cyber security firm Bridewell, spotlights the critical trends and emerging dangers cyber teams must watch out for in 2024. Our report, ‘Cyber Security: What to Expect in 2024”, is informed by insights collected through continuous monitoring from our 24/7 Security Operations Centre (SOC) and input from our dedicated consultants and cyber experts.”
Richard Starnes, Chief Information Security Officer, Six Degrees.
“As artificial intelligence continues to evolve, its use in cyber security and the wider IT estate will become more prevalent. AI will be employed increasingly for threat detection and response, enabling organisations to identify and mitigate cyber threats more efficiently. This will also help address the shortfall in available cybersecurity talent currently available.
“With the continued migration to cloud services, we will see a greater emphasis on cloud security. Organisations will invest more in securing cloud environments, addressing vulnerabilities related to data storage, and ensuring compliance with evolving regulations. This will also increase the premium on cloud security skills.
“Insider threats will become a more pressing concern in 2024 as the economy contracts. Organisations will adopt more rigorous strategies to monitor and mitigate risks posed by employees and other insiders, including enhanced access controls and behaviour analysis to detect potential malicious activities.”
Patrick Ragaru, CEO, Hackuity.
“Heading into 2024, the cyber skills crunch will intensify. The global 3.4-million-worker gap – not to mention the skills deficit among existing security professionals – will necessitate smart decision-making by security leaders. The ongoing struggle to find qualified professionals will need to be compensated with a stronger emphasis on ongoing training and development programs to upskill the current workforce. To a lesser extent, innovations and technology can help address this shortage. Choices will lean towards the use of tools and automation to streamline routine tasks that strain resources in a challenging economic environment. In this regard, AI will emerge as a powerful ally to offset this scarcity.”
Ori Bendet, VP Product Management at Checkmarx.
“The approach that organisations need to take to securing applications will need to keep pace with the realities of how applications are created to avoid opening themselves up to unnecessary risks. With 54% of organisations pushing vulnerable code to production to meet a critical deadline, as we move into 2024, we’ll likely see more organisations taking advantage of the opportunities of cloud-native applications which provide more flexibility, scalability and offer a faster time-to-market. However, as software becomes more integrated in the cloud, it also opens up new security risks. With the pace of development increasing together with GenAI-generated code, organisations will now look to code-to-cloud approaches to mitigate risk. While fixing everything is no longer an option, development teams will look into finding better ways to prioritise and focus on what matters most in order to reduce risk.”
Kev Breen, Director of Cyber Threat Research at Immersive Labs
“GenAI hit the technology scene in a huge way this past year, and is already heavily being embraced — or companies are racing to get involved so they don’t fall behind. But among all its popularity, we’re simultaneously seeing a significant amount of FUD – fear, uncertainty and doubt – and misunderstanding. People still don’t fully understand the risks and vision of AI, which lends itself to paranoia and fears of unfounded massive cybersecurity attacks by AI. In the year ahead we’ll hopefully see the hype around AI die down and become more of the norm so that we can focus on the many benefits of using these tools to do work more efficiently and effectively. A handful of organisations are dedicating ample time and resources to the actual use cases of this technology and we can expect more businesses to follow suit.”
Nick Elprin , Co-founder and CEO, Domino Data Lab
“An army of smaller, specialized Large Language Models will triumph over giant general ones. As we saw during the era of “big data,” bigger is rarely better. Models will “win” based not on how many parameters they have but on their effectiveness on domain-specific tasks and their efficiency. Rather than having one or two mega-models to rule them all, companies will have their own portfolio of focused models, each fine-tuned for a specific task and minimally sized to reduce compute costs and boost performance.”
Alisa DiCaprio, Chief Economist at R3.
“Although most of the world faced economic headwinds in 2023, the Gulf region continued to strengthen its position as a global hub for fintech. As more global enterprises tap into the region’s favourable regulations and large talent pool – combined with government-backed entrepreneurship – we can expect the Gulf’s digital economy to continue to mature over the next 12 months.
“Sector growth has been particularly evident across digital assets and currencies, driven by several important government initiatives. In March 2023, the Central Bank of UAE launched its CBDC Implementation Strategy, setting out a roadmap for applying CBDC across a range of domestic and cross-border use cases in the region. The Qatar Financial Centre has also identified the digitisation of financial markets as a key priority, and the launch of a Digital Asset Lab in October will enable commercial banks and fintechs to experiment with DLT.
“Regulation is another key area in which the Gulf is moving ahead, with Abu Dhabi recently announcing a comprehensive framework for DLT Foundations and Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs). This type of regulation will be vital in providing tech firms with the legal certainty they need to set up and invest in the region, helping to further put the Gulf at the forefront of financial services innovation.
“However, innovation doesn’t stop at the borders, and as the Gulf’s fintech sector grows, so must international collaboration with the region. The UK’s recent MoU with the UAE to promote collaboration across financial services and capital markets is a great example of this and will help build the foundation for global standards around emerging technologies like DLT.”
Bernd Greifeneder, Founder and CTO of Dynatrace.
“In 2024, organizations will increasingly appoint senior executives to their leadership teams to ensure readiness for AI’s security, compliance, and governance implications. As employees become more accustomed to using AI in their personal lives, through exposure to tools such as ChatGPT, they will increasingly look to use AI to boost their productivity at work. Organizations have already realized that if they don’t empower their employees to use AI tools officially, they will do so without consent.
“Organizations will, therefore, appoint a chief AI officer (CAIO) to oversee their use of these technologies in the same way many have a security executive, or CISO, on their leadership teams. The CAIO will center on developing policies and educating and empowering the workforce to use AI safely to protect the organization from accidental noncompliance, intellectual property leakage, or security threats. These practices will pave the way for widespread adoption of AI across organizations. As this trend progresses, AI will become a commodity, as the mobile phone has.”
Steve Cobb, Chief Information Security Officer, SecurityScorcard.
“The recent shockwave caused by the MOVEit vulnerability demonstrated an unsettling truth cyberattacks spare no one, not even organizations boasting formidable security measures. With 98% of companies having a relationship with at least one breached vendor, the conventional checklist approach won’t be enough to properly vet vendors in the new era of third-party risk.
“But here’s the kicker: most vendors, swamped by questionnaires, do little more than rush through the process, ticking boxes without the skills or resources to delve deeper into their security programs. In 2024, security teams and vendors will join forces, not as adversaries, but as allies on a mission to identify and manage risk across the digital ecosystem. The days of superficial questionnaires will be replaced by proactive efforts to build a robust security ecosystem, as organizations recognize that true cybersecurity resilience requires a united front against evolving threats.”
Daryl Plummer, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner.
“GenAI presents an opportunity to accomplish things never before possible in the scope of human existence. “CIOs and executive leaders will embrace the risks of using GenAI so they can reap the unprecedented benefits. This is the first full year with GenAI at the heart of every strategic decision, and every other technology-driven innovation has been pushed out of the spotlight. GenAI has broken the mould and has kept building more excitement.”
“By 2027, GenAI tools will be used to explain legacy business applications and create appropriate replacements, reducing modernisation costs by 70%. “The maturity of large language models (LLMs) offers an opportunity for CIOs to find credible and long-awaited mechanism for modernizing legacy business applications in a cost-effective manner,” said Plummer. “CIOs can create dedicated testing units to test the output generated by GenAI LLMs, while establishing change management and upskilling processes to enable the workforce to maximise productivity throughout the modernisation cycle.”
“And by 2028, enterprise spend on battling malinformation will surpass $30 billion, cannibalising 10% of marketing and cybersecurity budgets to combat a multifront threat. The most effective malinformation influences humans’ and machines’ decision-making mechanisms and can be extremely hard to detect and shut down. Malinformation presents threats across three disparate functional areas: cybersecurity, marketing and AI. “The rapid rise of GenAI has put fire under the feet of regulators about including malinformation as one of the risks associated with the increasing power and availability of GenAI to bad actors,” said Plummer. “Companies who maintain a close watch on bad actors, regulators and providers of tools and technology that help combat malinformation are likely to gain significant advantage over competitors.”
Sharyn Leaver, Chief Research Officer at Forrester.
“Generative AI’s influence is dominating all aspects of business and consumers’ lives. Despite some risks, GenAI will serve as the fulcrum that businesses rely on to enhance, empower, and engage employees and customers. In the year ahead, successful leaders will be the ones who embrace GenAI and experiment further with this technology to both improve customer experiences and accelerate business growth.”
“Also, 60% of generative AI skeptics will use and value the emerging technology in 2024, whether they realize it or not. Consumers who are GenAI skeptics will embrace the technology for tasks that enhance creativity and productivity, including seeking support from conversational assistants and translating and summarizing content. Additionally, business, technology, and marketing leaders’ investment in GenAI in the year ahead will augment employees’ creative problem-solving time by up to 50% — driving customer-centric innovation and creating greater business value.”
As we step into the future, it is evident that artificial intelligence will continue to redefine industries, quantum computing will move from theoretical to practical applications, and the Internet of Things will weave an even more intricate tapestry connecting the world around us. The promise of sustainable technology stands as a beacon, guiding us towards a more environmentally conscious and responsible digital era.