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Mark Barrenechea: ‘the fourth industrial revolution is here’
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Mark Barrenechea: ‘the fourth industrial revolution is here’ 

Today, we stand on the cusp of the fourth such revolution – the digital revolution. A revolution, according to Mark Barrenechea, CEO and CTO of OpenText, that “incorporates machine learning” where the machines of our day are learning without being unequivocally programmed. In the past, technology developed at the pace of programmers but now that model is different where progress is realized “at the speed of data, intelligence and self-assembly” as computers are being self-taught.

This new model is churning out technologies at a swift rate leading to the growth of the digital revolution. An example of this is the evolution of 3-D printing, which was a hot topic just last year but now there is talk of 4-D printing, which will print objects that will assemble themselves. Even the Internet of Things platform has evolved into the “Intelligence of Things”.

Barrenechea writing in his blog post on the top tech trends of 2017 highlighted his top picks of what in tech will dominate this year. Let’s look at a few.

AI and Advanced Machine Learning: The Automatic Enterprise

We’ve heard a lot about AI during 2016 and have seen the big players on the tech scene investing heavily in this technology. Consumers are already interacting with personal assistants like Siri and Google Assistant, while the robotic butler is a thing that is now a part of room service in some hotels around the world. 

“Many jobs will disappear through automation and others will change significantly as the enterprise becomes more automated and intelligent. Over the next few years, some of us could be answering to robo-bosses. From a productivity perspective, we spend a third of our time in the workplace collecting and processing data—AI could all but eliminate this work. Every job in every industry will be impacted by machine learning. The upside? The opportunity to think exponentially means that the potential applications for these technologies are limitless. For businesses, understanding cognitive systems, big data analytics, machine learning technology, and AI—and how to leverage them—will be critical for survival. In the short term, these technologies will give organizations faster access to sophisticated insights, empowering them to make better decisions and act with agility to outpace their competitors,” wrote Barrenechea.

The Year of Intelligent Things: A Smarter You in 2017

As AI and machine learning continue to be embedded into the things that we used on a daily basis like appliances, cars, and thermostats, the intelligence gathered from the usage will be coded into apps.

“These apps,” according to the CEO of OpenText, “will be driven by data and context, they will synthesize vast amounts of information, learn our behaviors, and react and adapt in real time to deliver relevant and personalized outcomes. Whether they make us more productive at work, optimize our health, or manage energy and utilities consumption in our homes, intelligent things and apps have the power to direct our actions and influence our interactions to help us make better decisions and, ultimately, improve our quality of life.”

The Best Defense is a Good Offense with Adaptive Security

Technology enhances businesses but at the same time poses a great risk. Cybercrime in 2016 was the second most reported crime and as the attacks continue to rise, the traditional use of antivirus and firewalls are not enough to protect from these incidents.

What can we expect to happen? “In 2017, the enterprise will go on the offensive, assuming that its network is constantly under attack. To pre-empt cyber-attacks and information leaks, organizations will implement an adaptive security architecture with continuous, real-time monitoring, big data, and analytics. As the next generation of security, an adaptive architecture delivers the preventative intelligence needed to uncover anomalies and potential threats and prioritize risks,” Barrenechea wrote in his blog.

A Hyper-connected Global Ecosystem Creates New Opportunities

Business networks have been driving business opportunities during the past few years with an anticipated expansion to new hyper-connected ecosystems. “Much of the technology required for this ecosystem like AI, robotics, sensors, and the IoT already exists,” according to Barrenechea, it is now a matter to connect the dots.

The CTO of the largest software company in Canada went on to explain, “Organizations are connecting across industries to form digital ecosystems with the customers at the hub. Auto manufacturers like Tesla and Fiat are partnering with technology companies to integrate GPS, navigation, social media, and entertainment services in ways that are transforming the driving experience. Adding intelligence for predictive maintenance and servicing integrates suppliers into the network to deliver efficiency and convenience. Taking advantage of the emerging concept of the connected car, it’s only a matter of time before standardization enables cars to tap into a broader range of networks, like smart transportation systems that automatically locate vacant parking spots, for example. When all of these services are connected in the self-driving car or aircraft, we will truly be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.”

We are living in a time that is so different from the late 1700s when the first industrial revolution began, but as we witness and experience the technological development of the 21st century we can be sure of one thing, “Whether you’re ready or not, the fourth industrial revolution is here,” Barrenechea wrote.

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