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Amazon Web Services exec reveals the tech trends that will shape this decade

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With the curtain to shortly fall on another decade, it is worth looking forward to the trends in technology that will shape both our personal and professional lives in the future.

Here’s what we need to know about technology in 2020 and beyond.

What will be the most dominant trend in 2020? 

Cloud technology has enabled businesses and the government to respond to business challenges and answer citizen needs in a more dynamic and personalised way in the current decade, and they will continue to look to these technologies to further connect with their customers and citizens, respectively, and achieve strategic business objectives.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will become much more prevalent to Australians as it will continue to be used to solve all kinds of challenges across sectors such as traffic and travel, banking and personal finance, and retail.

Through ML, pressure on our transport system can be alleviated during peak periods by sharing real-time occupancy data on trains, and AI can support retailers to operate with maximum efficiency by syncing inventory located in warehouses and shops with online stores, enabling easier management by staff and a better customer experience.

These are just some examples of how cloud technology will play a big role in the way organisations will use data to make better decisions and improve their customer experience.

What role will technology play in improving societal and community issues? 

Throughout the next decade, we will see a bigger move toward cloud, AI and ML technologies solving some of the biggest social and community issues in Australia. A recent Deloitte Access Economics report highlights that these emerging technologies are already being used to address wide-ranging social purposes, such as mitigating construction site accidents, and assisting farmers to efficiently monitor crop levels.  

Cloud technology helped Australians stay informed during the recent bushfires with the Fires Near Me app, sending out 12 million notifications to users of the app in one single day, and was downloaded by over 1.3 million devices.

Similarly, with the assistance of the Little Ripper Group’s Croc Spotter AI technology is being used to monitor our waters to improve the safety within our waters. The technology has 93 per cent accuracy of alerting safety patrol of crocodiles compared to a 12-17 per cent accuracy of the human eye.

We will continue to see innovative solutions through technology that will help to tackle issues that affect the environment, communities, health, education, mobility, and transport.

What will jobs in technology look like in the next decade? 

A recent report from LinkedIn listed 10 of the 15 top emerging jobs in the next few years as coming directly from the STEM industries. The influx of available jobs in these areas indicates a clear need to boost those taking up careers in the STEM fields, and encourage a more diverse and representative talent pool who choose to work in this industry.

Part of this will come from breaking down the barriers to entry in these fields and demystifying what it means to work in STEM. Global initiatives that seek to shed a light on building a career in STEM, such as Hour of Code, and Girls’ Tech Day, which bring young students together to learn about how technology can be used in the future workforce will continue to play an important role in getting the next generation of workers excited about careers in tech.

It will take a collaborative effort from businesses large and small, the government, educational institutions, and individuals, to support Australia to successfully open career paths within STEM industries, a task Australia is well equipped to take on.

How will Australia’s small businesses evolve with technology? 

Cloud technology is reshaping the possibilities for small businesses, with previously unattainable scale now within their grasp. With the cost-of-entry on a continual downward trajectory, services like AI, ML and, data analytics will be easier to adopt for Australia’s small businesses in all industries. 

Research predicts that in the next five years, 40 per cent of small-to-medium businesses expect to incorporate some form of cloud technology into their business operations.

According to the CSIRO’s Data61, industries that embrace digital innovation and technology have the opportunity to add $315 billion in gross economic value to the Australian economy over the next ten years, emphasising the importance for Australia’s small businesses to embrace these technologies.

Initiatives such as AWS Activate, which provides computing credits to startups has already contributed to many Australian success stories, such as Atlassian and Canva, both of which have achieved the coveted unicorn status. 

What is the most important step businesses can take to benefit from cloud technology? 

The growing ease of access to cloud technology for all businesses needs to be met with the skills to take it up. Cloud skills training will be imperative at the beginning of the next decade, with Deloitte research showing employee cloud education is the largest barrier to cloud adoption.

In the next decade, more businesses will start to follow the lead of some of Australia’s biggest companies and work towards closing the technology skills gap with cloud skills education. 

Certifying staff in the skills needed to work with cloud technologies is a move already taken by Kmart Group, who is aiming to train 100 per cent of its IT staff, and 80 per cent of its non-IT staff in using cloud tools and service.

NAB has also instituted the NAB Cloud Guild in partnership with AWS to train more than 5000 NAB employees in cloud technology skills to support it throughout its technology transformation. We typically see that organisations which invest in training like this are able to innovate and transform quicker.  

What role will the customer play in technological innovation in the new decade? 

Improving customer experiences is often a top priority for our customers in migrating to the cloud. The next decade will see the leading organisations use a data-driven approach to deliver memorable and hyper-personalised experiences for their customers.

Companies will need to prioritise delivering smarter and more intuitive solutions to customers if they want to deliver frictionless customer service experiences.

We’ve already seen great early adoption of these services from organisations such as Queensland Health who to piloted chatbots to a help reduce the time the state’s 100,000 health employees spend on the phone seeking IT support.

Previously, Queensland Health had call volumes that extended call-on-hold time to over two hours, which led to call abandonment rates of almost 40 per cent.

Paul Migliorini is the managing director ANZ at Amazon Web Services.

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