Interview: Nick Southcombe, Frontier Software
Which technologies or innovations do you think will be game changers or reach maturity in 2019?
Over the past few years, there has been much hype about and significant adoption of AI applications on smartphones, websites, chatbots etc. This trend will continue with both governments and businesses utilising AI and machine learning to support chatbots, automate functions and tasks to hasten services and drive headcount reduction. As organisations learn how and where to deploy these technologies and skilled resources become available, adoption will increase.
Blockchain will start to emerge as a killer technology for identity management during 2019. However, it will take another three to five years to mature and be adopted by business software applications.
Which ICT innovations or disruptions are your customers telling you they are most worried or enthusiastic about in the year ahead?
Customers and prospects are focusing on matters relating to security, such as cyber threats and privacy. Fuelling the growing awareness is the introduction of new privacy legislation, notably the GDPR in Europe and the NDB in Australia. In addition, there have been some well-publicised data breaches, pushing security to the forefront of business thinking. We are fielding more requests to conduct security audits and system penetration exercises. There is also an increased demand from the market to adopt extra layers of security, for both data in transit and data at rest, utilising the newest technologies.
Security-related issues and technologies will get first bite of IT budgets during 2019. This is good news for ICT companies in the security product and services space, but less so for providers of business application software and services.
What will be the biggest growth opportunities for your company and your customers in 2019, and why?
After addressing security and privacy, mobility, mobility and more mobility. On any device. Organisations want to free their workforce from their workstations and to offer access to applications when and where they want, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The demand for user-friendly mobile applications is almost insatiable.
What’s on your tech wish list from industry, regulators and innovators in 2019?
Firstly, everyone wants faster internet speed within Australia and from Australia to the rest of the world. During 2018, Australia’s global ranking for the average speed of fixed internet connections dropped from 50 to 55. Besides limiting efficiencies within Australia, our poor connections to the rest of the world are hampering Australia’s ability to be a global service provider. Not only does the nbn need to deliver on its promise, regulators have to create an enabling framework that encourages and rewards innovators to chase down this gap.
Secondly, the nirvana of development tools is one that can enable us to easily produce software — apps or browser-based — for all types of desktops, tablets and smartphones, and their associated operating systems, from a single set of code.
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