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AI, IoT, Quantum Security Among Top 10 Emerging Tech: Forrester

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Ten technologies that need to be on every company’s radar were identified Tuesday in a trends report released by global technology research company Forrester.

The 30-page report identified four technologies expected to deliver benefits in the short term to companies, four predicted to deliver benefits in the medium term, and two that will deliver benefits in the long term.

The report explained each trend’s benefits, potential business value, important use cases, examples of where it’s being used, and its risks.

Short-term technologies include:

  • Generative AI for visual content;
  • Gen AI for language;
  • IoT security; and
  • TuringBots, a use of AI for software development.

Mid-term tech includes:

  • AI agents;
  • Autonomous mobility;
  • Edge Intelligence; and
  • Quantum security.

Long-term tech includes:

  • Extended Reality (XR); and
  • Zero Trust Edge (ZTE), a security and networking solution that can be delivered by a single vendor.

Creativity Accelerant

According to Forrester, gen AI for visual content will offer the most potential for marketers and other creatives. The technology will accelerate creativity, with global enterprises that manage a portfolio of brands seeing the most significant benefits.

Those benefits won’t be without risks, it added, such as distorted features in visual output, unintended likenesses of public figures, inaccurate images, and legal liability from copyright infringement of training data or visual output.

Aaron J. Rafferty, founder of Tech Buzz, a media and news platform in San Jose, Calif., and StandardDAO, a community of digital asset holders in Mountain View, Calif., explained the kind of benefits gen AI for visual content can bring to the table.

“What was once a 10 step process will be done in one,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“Simply create a long-form piece of video content, and it is automatically clipped into the top and most viral short-form videos, redone by AI personas that are most applicable to consumer types/ethnicities/genders, republished in multiple languages, and even reproduced for viral text via newsletters, threads, or short-form social media posts across all channels,” he said.

“The best creators will shrink their teams and solely focus on improving their content,” he continued. “Their distribution channels will multiply overnight.”

Customer Service Boon

Forrester was also optimistic about gen AI for language, which it predicts will transform knowledge work. One of the areas where it will have an immediate impact is customer service — where its ability to extract and retrieve knowledge from unstructured data allows high volumes of inquiries to be handled without the cost of adding staff.

“When it comes to service industries,” Rafferty said, “we are already seeing customer service being disrupted. Klarna has massively reduced [its] headcount and tens of millions in expenses. It’s as easy as building a chatbot or call agent that knows everything about your company and gets better over time as it handles customer issues and requests in real time.”

While gen AI is providing immediate benefits in limited use cases, Forrester noted, it acknowledged that trust in the technology is low. “There is a black box nature to some of these large language models. Visibility can be elusive,” noted Zeid Khater, a customer data and analytics analyst at Forrester and one of the 20 contributors to the report.

“Trust is growing, and it will continue to grow as we familiarize ourselves with what the technology does,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Like most technologies, there are great things that it can enable, but there are also limitations. Being aware of the limitations and what they are will help determine where the trust factor should lie.”

“But for sensitive decision-making, I don’t think there’ll be a point where AI is the be-all and end-all until we develop explainability frameworks that are, to themselves, reliable to a high degree,” he added.

IoT Security Growing in Importance

The report noted that IoT security is an important trend because it’s evolving to protect critical data and devices. It explained that IoT security technologies reduce the chances of compromising critical data and can accelerate the value of edge intelligence technology. Traditional endpoint security and attack surface management solutions are not equipped to protect these devices.

“IoT security is crucial as these devices are now deeply embedded in critical infrastructure and everyday operations,” said Krishna Vishnubhotla, VP of product strategy at Zimperium, a mobile security company based in Dallas.

“With the increase in connectivity, each IoT device, including mobile devices, can be a potential entry point for cyberthreats,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Ensuring robust security measures for both IoT and mobile devices is essential to protect sensitive data and maintain the integrity of networks.”

John Gallagher, vice president of Viakoo Labs, an enterprise IoT security company in Mountain View, Calif., explained that IoT represents a rapidly growing attack surface.

“Securing vulnerable IoT devices is critically important for enterprises,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Breached IoT devices are having devastating impacts, such as ransomware, data loss, changing the chemical balance in a municipal water supply, replacing real camera footage with deepfakes or disrupting transportation systems.”

“Like everything in security, a particular segment does not take off until the threats arise,” added Richard Stiennon, founder and chief research analyst of IT-Harvest, a cybersecurity industry analyst firm in Birmingham, Mich.

“In the case of IoT, the recent revelations that China has persistently been infiltrating critical control systems for years has boosted IoT security,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“The number of connected devices grows every day,” he continued. “It should not come as a surprise that attacks against those devices are on the rise.

Uprooting the Cryptographic Landscape

Forrester predicted in its report that quantum security — which uses quantum mechanics principles and quantum-resistant algorithms to perform cryptographic tasks or secure communications — will uproot the current encryption and identity-and-access-management landscape.

“Uproot is too strong a word,” argued Stiennon. “Quantum computing is still years away. We are about at the stage of the first transistor — 1947 — relative to the first computer using semiconductors.”

“That said,” he continued, “it makes perfect sense for organizations to get their encryption keys in order. While they are doing that, they can catalog all the places they will need to switch to quantum-safe encryption and create a long-term plan to re-key and transition.”

Forrester’s prediction, though, seemed accurate to Duncan Jones, head of cybersecurity at Quantinuum, an international quantum computing hardware and software company. “Quantum computing will completely upend cybersecurity,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Every inch of cyberspace will be impacted.”

“But it’s not all bad news,” he added. “Although future quantum computers will break many encryption systems, we can also harness quantum technology today to strengthen systems. Examples of this include hardening keys with quantum randomness. In the long term, we will view quantum as a gift for cybersecurity rather than a threat.”

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