The cloud in 2019 - our predictions

“If I was to put money on what would be the biggest cloud trend for 2019, edge computing would be a sure bet. Companies have already started vying for early control of this lucrative market, said to be worth up to $21 billion by 2025 according to some reports. In fact, billions of dollars have already been thrown at developing the technology, which promises to be the next generation of data analysis, especially if you’re in the businesses of IoT.

“The idea of pushing some of the heavy lifting closer to the point of data capture is dismantling the traditional topography of a data centre operation. Instead of having all the compute power of a data centre at the core of a network, you can now have a setup that operates multiple mini-data centres at the edge. Resource demand is distributed and data analysis is done faster than currently possible, at least that’s the sales pitch.

“Those looking to take control early on have already unveiled their first products, and 2019 will likely see that arms race accelerate as companies seek to refine their technology and expand on capabilities.

“HPE, Google, AWS, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft… everyone is getting involved, and they believe every business can benefit in some way from edge computing. For 2019, the reality is likely to be far more conservative, with a select few industries becoming the initial flag bearers for the technology. Those already adopting IoT at scale are prime contenders, such as large manufacturers or shipping and supply chain companies. But make no mistake, in five years time, it’s likely edge will be the network setup everyone is turning to.”

Dale Walker, acting deputy and features editor

“GDPR has proved to be less apocalyptic than was predicted by some sources; neither the EU nor the ICO came straight out of the gate with major fines for tech companies like Amazon, Facebook or Google - or anyone else, for that matter. There have been scarcely a handful of fines issued under GDPR - but they are most certainly coming.

“If next year is anything like this one, the ICO will undoubtedly have its hands full investigating the slew of forthcoming data breaches without digging into companies’ everyday data handling practices, but that doesn’t mean that cloud companies can start slacking on compliance. The fines are coming, and I predict they’ll start to land in 2019.”

Adam Shepherd, reviews and community editor

“The public sector has engaged in pockets of constructive cloud migration in the last few months, but this has only happened in silos. Take the Met Police, which in September partnered with a firm to move its data to the cloud, or the work done by various local councils, such as the London-based Lambeth.

“None of this, however, is joined-up. It’s a far cry from the high ambitions set when the government outlined a cloud-first public sector strategy in 2013, but a host of bodies and public services are edging towards effective cloud adoption.

“Some six years later, we may finally see genuine fruits of these efforts, with some promising digital transformation work being done behind the scenes, albeit not in any way first envisaged in 2013.

It won’t be a swimming success story, and will by no means take the form of a massive centralised push with a coherent strategy; for starters, the legacy systems and existing infrastructure between different bodies and departments vary wildly.

“But the groundwork laid by massive institutions such as NHS Digital in the last 12 months could see the public sector making huge strides in adopting cloud technology, as well as using its data in a meaningful way for the first time.”

Keumars Afif-Sabet, staff writer

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