RST Software
Editorial Team
Ross Krawczyk
Reviewed by a tech expert

Top 13 strategic tech trends that will factor into business and technology decisions over the next three years (2024-2027)

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You are a startup founder in an era that is more akin to a technological renaissance than mere evolution. To be a strategic player instead of a bystander, you need to look into the horizon of emerging tech trends. Are you prepared for what is next? From AI risk management to sustainable technologies, this is your comprehensive guide to making informed, strategic decisions for your startup.

Tech trends shaping the digital future

Quantum technologies and AI-augmented development are becoming key drivers in the upcoming wave of digital transformation. However, fully harnessing the potential of these groundbreaking trends faces a significant obstacle: a shortage of qualified talent. As we dive into the 13 pivotal tech trends from 2024 to 2027, several crucial questions arise.

Can the democratization of user-friendly generative AI, the rapid acquisition of skills through immersive-reality technologies, and the implementation of cloud/edge computing effectively bridge this talent gap and extend internet access to remote areas?

AI Trust, Risk and Security Management (AI TRiSM)

Artificial Intelligence is no longer an emerging technology, but a mature force that drives transformation across industries. With the maturation of this trend comes an urgent need for AI Trust, Risk, and Security Management (AI TRiSM). And it's not just a buzzword this time.

By 2026, enterprises that implement AI with TRiSM controls will improve their decision-making accuracy by eliminating 80% of erroneous data. McKinsey further supports this by noting a 50% growth in digital trust architectures last year. This signifies a crucial shift from simply deploying AI to governing it responsibly. Real-world examples, such as the European Commission's pilot programs for digital identity wallets, highlight the increasing emphasis on trust and security in AI.

Source: European Commission

For startup founders, this means making AI safety a topic of boardroom discussions. Detailed logs on data provenance, model versions, and performance benchmarks are not optional but necessary. Additionally, real-time monitoring for bias and drift should be integrated into the machine learning lifecycle from day one.

Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM)

If you believe that cybersecurity is only about firewalls and antivirus software, think again. Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) is emerging as a modern, practical, risk-based approach to cybersecurity. CTEM acts as an early warning system for your business, identifying vulnerabilities and providing context in terms of business impact. This makes it one of the most valuable tech trends in 2024, as organizations that adopt CTEM can expect to see a two-thirds reduction in security breaches by 2026.

CTEM, however, involves rebuilding existing management frameworks and starting fresh. To implement these new capabilities, a structured roadmap is necessary. Even simple incremental enhancements to current vulnerability management can have long-term benefits.

Sustainable technology

Sustainability has also become a prominent tech trend in 2024. Organizations are increasingly tying executive incentives to sustainability key performance indicators (KPIs). Sustainable technology is not just about doing good; it is also about ensuring long-term business viability.

Source: McKinsey

For example, Ørsted transformed from an oil and gas company into the world's largest offshore wind farm developer. Since 2018, Apple has been using only renewable energy for its global corporate operations and has committed to making every device sold have zero impact on climate by 2030. Amazon is also aiming to power its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025.

Platform engineering

Platform engineering is gaining traction as a technology approach designed to accelerate the delivery of applications and enhanced business value. It focuses on improving the developer experience by offering self-service capabilities and automating infrastructure operations. The approach aligns with the broader trend of democratizing technical knowledge across various roles and business functions, aided by Generative AI.

By 2026, it is projected that 80% of large software engineering organizations will establish internal platform engineering teams. These teams will serve as providers of reusable services, components, and tools, aiming to bridge the gap between software developers and operators. The ultimate goal is to solve the central problem of cooperation within the software development lifecycle (SDLC).

The capabilities of an engineering platform will be tailored to meet the specific needs of its end-users, often starting with internal developer portals. These portals will offer a curated set of tools and processes to streamline the developer experience. The overarching goal is to enhance productivity, providing relief from managing delivery pipelines and low-level infrastructure.

A thoughtful product and platform design underpins the transformation.

So if you aim at decreasing time to market by up to three times, and reducing product defects by 50% to 70%, think of platform engineering.

AI-augmented development

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is quickly being integrated into the field of software development, driving efficiency and innovation. Developers report time savings of 35-45% in code generation and 20-30% in code refactoring when using AI-enabled tools, according to McKinsey. As one of the strongest technology trends in 2024, these numbers are expected to grow. By 2028, Gartner predicts that 75% of software developers will employ AI co-pilots.

Generative AI tools have potential to improve the developer experience.

The integration of AI in software development goes beyond code completion and encompasses areas such as code review, testing, and debugging. This integration allows for both quantitative gains and improvements in the qualitative dimensions of work, including job satisfaction. Whether by developing these tools or utilizing existing ones, there is the option to create innovative software.

Despite AI-augmented development drawing a bold line among tech trends, founders should initially apply AI in low-stakes, assistive use cases where humans remain in the loop.

Industry cloud platforms

Rather than rip-and-replace, the next practice is to “wrap and expand” current cloud systems with industry-specific clouds as an overlay, facilitating rapid innovation without necessitating a complete overhaul of your current tech stack.

An inspiring example is Vodafone's partnership with Google Cloud to build Nucleus – a telco-focused platform that helps accelerate time-to-market for new connectivity services from months to weeks. It is a cloud-native platform that uses AI and machine learning to automate many of the tasks involved in developing and deploying new services.

Another example is IQVIA and their Orchestrated Customer Engagement, an industry cloud platform that helps life sciences companies collect, manage, and analyze data from various sources. The platform also uses AI and ML to provide insights into customer behavior and helps companies develop intelligently targeted marketing campaigns.

Intelligent applications

Intelligent applications go beyond just smarter apps. They are capable of thinking and understanding natural language, engaging in conversation, making predictions, giving recommendations, and tailoring experiences. With the advancements in foundation models like GPT-4, this is becoming a reality. Rather than being mere task-oriented software, apps are transforming into personal assistants. And it's not just about the generated content; according to Gartner, in the next three years, 30% of new applications will utilize AI to create personalized, adaptive user interfaces.

In the realm of smartphones, intelligent applications are everywhere. Google Assistant is a prime example, capable of performing various tasks such as setting alarms, scheduling appointments, and sending emails.

Given the wide-ranging and versatile capabilities of these intelligent applications, developers face the challenge of identifying the most impactful use cases.

Democratized generative AI

When talking about the most prominent AI tech trends 2024, models like GPT-4 and DALL-E 3 can’t be ignored. Generative AI, although still in development, has the potential to revolutionize how work is done, from content generation to predictive analytics, and empower non-technical users with powerful capabilities.

According to McKinsey, venture capital investments in generative AI have increased by 425% since 2020, showing a strong market interest. Startup founders are looking to replicate the successes of companies like OpenAI, Anthropic, and Cohere, making the field of democratized generative AI highly competitive.

Augmented connected workforce

The future of work is not only about generative AI and intelligent applications facilitating remote connectivity, but also about an augmented, smarter way of working. DHL, a global logistics company, serves as a prime example of this trend. They have been using augmented reality (AR) to enhance the productivity of their warehouse workers. DHL's vision picking system, which employs AR to highlight items that need to be picked, has resulted in a 25% efficiency improvement.

Another area that holds promise is immersive learning, which can expedite skill development and reduce the time required to become proficient in key roles by 50%. This presents a great opportunity for startups aiming to design employee experiences enriched with intelligent technology.

Machine customers

In addition to the augmented workforce and immersive learning, another significant shift to anticipate is the emergence of non-human customers. “Smart machines”, such as automated storefronts, connected appliances, and robots, are increasingly engaging in purchases or contract negotiations based on pre-programmed rules.

By 2028, 20% of digital commerce is likely to be conducted through machine-based transactions. To illustrate, GM's OnStar connected vehicle service, which currently boasts over 20 million active subscribers, not only predicts a vehicle's failures but also automatically schedules appointments with GM dealerships.

Immersive-reality technologies

The adoption of immersive reality technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) is expanding across various sectors, unlocking new modes of collaboration, training, and commerce. Specific areas such as design walkthroughs, simulations, and remote assistance are witnessing significant results. According to McKinsey, the number of AR app installations increased from 1.03 billion in 2016 to over 6 billion by 2022. Furthermore, although this tech trend may not be highly publicized in news and research, the number of patents is steadily growing each year.

Business applications are also becoming increasingly intriguing. For instance, Lowe's has developed an AR digital twin of its stores to assist employees in inventory and layout management. The AR twin allows employees to visualize data regarding product placement, inventory levels, and customer traffic patterns. This information can be utilized to optimize store layouts, reduce out-of-stocks, and improve customer service.

Cloud and edge computing

Most enterprises now utilize a combination of central cloud and distributed edge computing tailored to meet workload requirements. While cloud data centers provide scalability, edge nodes ensure that compute and storage are physically closer to end users and devices. The rise of edge computing enables localized processing and offers real-time insights that centralized cloud solutions cannot provide.

Real-world examples of innovative use of these technologies include SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet service, which connects global edge nodes via satellites. Starlink enables internet connectivity even in the most isolated regions, serving as a transformative solution for individuals in rural areas or developing nations where conventional internet service is unavailable. With the ability to bring billions of first-time users online, Starlink is a significant catalyst for global internet access.

Quantum technologies

The most futuristic tech trend 2024 is becoming a reality, as the era of quantum computing is on the horizon, promising to revolutionize industries from finance to healthcare. While the technology is still in its early stages, early adopters like Mercedes-Benz are already exploring its potential to optimize battery design, identify new battery materials as well as enhance battery performance and range.

Take the next step with RST Software

With years of experience in software and digital product development, RST Software is your trusted partner for navigating the ever-evolving technical landscape, including platform engineering. We don't simply follow trends; we help you prepare for the future. Our team of experts is here to make you stay ahead of the curve, ensuring you not only keep up, but also lead the way.

Our commitment to delivering high-quality and efficient solutions is unparalleled. We understand the complexities of modern software architectures and offer tailored solutions that meet your specific needs.

Don't settle for anything less when you can have the best. Contact RST Software today to discuss how we can elevate your software development processes and keep you ahead in the game of technical trends.

Note: Partnering with RST Software ensures that you're making a data-driven and strategic decision that will have both immediate and long-term positive impacts on your software development efforts.

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