Applications and Use Cases

Blockchain: Poised to Merge with Other Emergent Technologies


February 20, 2020

Marie Douglas, vice president of global technology service providers at IBM, led a discussion on how companies can embrace the innovative new trends to increase their bottom line. Douglas focused on how emerging technologies such as cloud computing and AI can be combined with blockchain to innovate and build new businesses.

The talk, “Expect More in 2020: Embrace Innovation to Make Money,” was a keynote presentation at the Blockchain Event at the IT Expo in Fort Lauderdale, FL, on Feb. 12.

“The way we look at different parts of the channel is merging,” Douglas says.  She says we should expect more from our partnerships, our clients and our companies. Douglas cited three technology trends she’s following closely:

  1. The move to cloud computing;
  2. The implementation of AI;
  3. The development of blockchain ledgers.

Cloud Computing

The single control dashboard has become more important to hybrid cloud users. “In 2020 tools will emerge,” she says. “Having one command center will become critical.”

The development of open standards is key, she says. Open standards allow collaborative code development to happen across platforms. Douglas also noted that:

  • 5G enables hybrid cloud strategies;
  • Automation enhances to the hybrid cloud;
  • Industry-specific cloud applications proliferate;
  • Security applications increase.

According to one survey, 60% of IT professionals cite security as the most important factor when selecting a cloud provider. “In 2020, tools will emerge” to improve cloud security, Douglas says.

The single control dashboard for multi-hybrid cloud applications is one of those tools. In the hybrid-cloud world, “having one (security) command center will become central,” she says.

AI Implementation

Douglas believes there will be increased use of “neuro symbolic technology” in AI in the near future. She also says to be on the lookout for increased conversions to automated customer-care systems.

Douglas also thinks AI in the near future will:

  • Understand more, do more;
  • Change how you work;
  • Become engineered for trust;
  • Spur move to green tech due to energy demands;
  • Enable automated lab assistants discover new materials.

She says that AI will become more reliable, fair and accountable. “Ultimately, AI will screen AI,” she says.

Blockchain Technology

“Decentralization creates governance problems,” she says. In order to move forward, companies will have to re-figure who gets access to secure information, such as the blockchain ledger. Competing interests make it a touchy subject within firms, she says.

“Companies will embrace and innovate with AI and blockchain,” she says. In the near future, Douglas says:

  • AI will be built upon blockchain technology;
  • Standard governance models will emerge;
  • Interoperability will become a priority;
  • Validation tools will increase data integrity.

The entire space is set for continued disruption, Douglas believes. Opportunity beckons. “When disruption occurs, that’s when people start making a lot of money,” she says.




Edited by Maurice Nagle

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