2024 Predictions

1. AR
Vision becomes reality for AR in 2024
With new high-profile devices set to launch in 2024, such as Apple’s Vision Pro, next year could be the year AR finally moves beyond the gaming community to become mainstream.

The hype around devices will be the catalyst for this, bringing a fresh wave of interest from consumers and businesses alike - enhancing productivity and efficiency at work and at home, elevating everyday experiences.

AR's use in various sectors, from education to healthcare, will enable interactions to become more immersive than ever before. In education, for example, AR can revolutionise the learning experience, offering interactive and three-dimensional content that engages users in ways previously unimaginable. 

For consumers, we may see augmented shopping experiences becoming more commonplace and AR-boosted entertainment offering audiences a more immersive and interactive experience. 

Generative AI in household technology
In 2024, Generative AI could well impact what happens in the modern home, enhancing convenience, connectivity, and learning experiences.  Beyond an increase in consumer adoption of tools like Chat GPT, integration into existing tech is also expected.

We anticipate seeing a real integration into some smart devices. For example, smart speakers - now commonplace in many homes – could become intuitive virtual assistants that understand and cater to individual preferences, as opposed to responding to simple tasks.

On top of general support, we predict a rise in the adoption of services like homework support and unique learning experiences for children, by adapting to individual learning styles and providing tailored support.

Rise in GenAI but increased regulations concerns
Small businesses - or at least employees working in those businesses - are already using generative AI tools to boost their competitiveness and efficiency. In many cases they are improving productivity, enhancing the customer experience and producing significantly more content than previously, to the extent they are keeping pace with output from larger competitors. 

In 2024, this will increase with smaller firms likely to be able to see the benefits quicker as they are able to deploy them faster and more effectively than larger organisations. 

All businesses need to be very careful, however, as there will be an increase in regulation and compliance issues related to generative AI technology in 2024. Commercial confidentiality, copyright infringement, plagiarism and accuracy are just some of the challenges that will become more prominent next year and small businesses, without the legal and governance resources of larger firms, will need to be particularly cautious.

Digital education to become as important as transformation 
Digital transformation efforts for businesses in both public and private sectors are set to become more important next year. With the adoption of technologies like generative AI, IoT and cloud computing, organisations will be exploring how to best improve service delivery, increase accessibility, and optimise operational efficiency. 

But education on the use of these new and emerging technologies is often the biggest barrier to effective adoption by employees. As a result, we expect to see more organisations become proactive about employee education on the use of new technologies, driven by the increasing use of generative AI tools in the workplace. 

Employee education initiatives that focus on the proper, secure use of digital tools will become more commonplace across enterprises and public sector organisations in 2024. 

Continued sustainability focus for businesses
In 2024, we can expect a continued focus on sustainability issues with more emphasis placed on renewable energy,  recyclable materials and climate-positive technology across consumer goods.

From a broader sustainability standpoint, businesses should set reasonably ambitious net-zero emission targets, improve energy management accreditations, formulate enhanced talent development and management plans, and promote sustainable human rights risk assessments, to ensure they are on track to build a sustainable and ethical business model in line with consumer demands.

GenAI bandwidth increase concerns
More Generative AI will mean a need for more computational power, which businesses will need to offset with even more eco-friendly initiatives in order to keep pace with consumer demands for environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). 

This will include optimising hardware and software, so they are less intensive when it comes to data, bandwidth and energy usage. 

For small and medium sized businesses, tailoring networks, compressing data and investing in hardware which isn’t designed to be replaced are all key areas we can expect to see prioritised in 2024.

Global supply chain’s move away from China
With geopolitical tensions about China and questions around the security of Chinese technology, more companies today are signalling moves away from Chinese manufacturing. 

For businesses operating in industries that have stringent compliance measures and handle sensitive information, the need to know what’s in their network becomes even more important. 

As a result, in 2024 we expect to see more producers of IT communications promoting any goods manufactured outside of China. Additionally, organisations will pay greater attention to where the IT solutions they invest in are made and what’s in their network. 

5. WI-FI
Wi-Fi standard demand continues to stall
Supply chain shortages in tech manufacturing have finally caught up to demand in the aftermath of pandemic-related disruption. Subsequently, rollouts of upgraded technologies and products have recommenced with aplomb. 

Unfortunately, shiny new tech will never reach its potential until the supporting infrastructure catches up. Take, for example, the latest Wi-Fi standard, Wi-Fi 7. Wi-Fi 7 can make your smart home smarter, but it can’t until everything that connects to it uses the new standard. Which isn’t even available for many of the latest devices, let alone all the legacy technology in households. 

It will likely take another few years before most phones, laptops, and other smart devices are actually able to support Wi-Fi 7. By this point, the technology will be much more affordable and the true benefits of its much hailed speed will be seen.

The forward march of new tech may keep advancing, but with household incomes continuing to be stretched, consumers will hold fire on investing in technology like Wi-Fi 7 until the investment is worth the price tag.  

6. STEM 
STEM skills need work focus
Education systems across Europe are struggling to keep pace with the workplace demands of a digital-first world. With the technological landscape rapidly evolving and the skills required to navigate these changes evolving right along with it, today’s graduates aren’t prepared for roles that can be almost entirely technology based. 

Whether or not students are exploring careers in STEM - science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – they will all need technology skills to perform in the workplace, so higher education should help them develop critical, practical skills alongside theory. This will better equip graduates when it comes to leaving academia. 

With emerging technology at the forefront of business and governmental discussion, thanks to the GenAI boom, 2024 will see this need come into sharper focus.