The world of software development has been one of the first industries to adopt the newest trends in technology, without a doubt. From machine learning to augmented reality, much awaits the businesses that build custom software – and even the ones that don’t, numerous SaaS vendors cater to such needs, in return for a nominal monthly or annual fee.
As an IT outsourcing company, the EFutures team has always been keen to stay on top of everything that’s trending in the world of technology, and of course, software development. Here, we list some of the biggest software and technology trends that are bound to dominate in 2024.
Although not a new trend per se, the security-first approach led through DevSecOps is one that many companies are keen to adopt owing to numerous advantages – with cybersecurity being the biggest. As cyber breaches grow more sophisticated, the web has become an unnerving platform to traverse through, owing to spoofed domains and counterfeit websites that resemble legit ones so closely that it has become hard to tell the difference.
As a result, many leading software companies in UK offer cybersecurity services alongside core software development services, in order to deliver inbuilt cybersecurity for clients’ proprietary software on a round-the-clock basis.
AI and machine learning have become mainstream technologies, especially after exploding in popularity with the release of ChatGPT. Now, software outsourcing companies, SaaS vendors and even leading cloud providers such as AWS services offer inbuilt, intelligent automation that is powered by AI – thereby making it a technology that requires little to no code in order to implement.
Business intelligence and allied trends such as data science and big data analytics have been around for a significant period of time. However, these are all now being elevated with AI, machine learning and other subset technologies in order to deliver predictive insights that are more accurate and intuitive than ever before.
Low code/no code development platforms are steadily proliferating the PaaS marketplace, as they allow non tech-savvy individuals and citizen developers alike to build, test and run applications by themselves. By configuring different components and making customizations through a user-friendly interface, users can see their applications take action with minimal downtime and use of other resources.
Progressive Web Apps or PWAs are a hybrid between websites and mobile apps, offering an interface that is characteristic of a mobile app, but over the web. PWAs have especially taken off in the wake of self-service that is encouraged mainly by businesses serving the retail industry, as well as banks and telecom providers.
By offering a portal or service over the web, users need not depend on native apps to connect to businesses, as websites will be compatible even across devices that have outdated OS versions.
Internet of Behaviour (IoB) focuses on analysing user behaviour from Internet of Things (IoT) devices, in order to serve recommendations and other services that are well tuned to the interests of users – no matter how niche or granular.
In turn, IoB can enable businesses and brands to only reach customers that fit their ICP (Ideal Customer Profile), and therefore present a higher likelihood to purchase. This will subsequently also reduce advertising and other marketing costs, as ads shall now only be targeted to audiences that are more likely to convert.
Augmented Reality or AR has taken a step over its Virtual Reality (VR) cousin, as the former is able to integrate with numerous real-life use cases that offer optimum convenience to users.
Scanning a location to reveal nearby tourist attractions or placing an object (such as a piece of furniture) in an existing image to understand its suitability prior to purchase are two such examples of AR.
Such use cases can therefore offer utmost value to users, both in terms of product value, as well as UX.
Blockchain’s decentralised system enables a high level of security when making transactions, thereby making it a highly suitable option for industries such as finance. The proliferation of dApps (Decentralised Applications) further makes it easier to implement blockchain-based decentralised technologies, so that control is maintained via a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network, as opposed to a single, centralised authority.
Edge computing has enabled devices (smart or otherwise) to process data locally, instead of sending data over to a centralised system to process and deliver results. Edge computing, therefore, has the potential to be applied across numerous use cases, with healthcare, finance and telecom being some (but not all) industries of high scope.
While edge computing can significantly alleviate the downtime that arises from sending data over to a central server for processing, it can also reduce costs associated with the same. Additionally, edge computing can be highly resourceful for devices that are located in remote or hard-to-reach areas, as they can now deliver maximum functionality by analysing data locally.
As the gaming and esports industry continues to skyrocket in size as well as demand, software development teams are hard at work for delivering interactive games by integrating technologies such as virtual reality and AI.
While larger gaming companies are at the forefront of constantly building and delivering superior quality products, smaller, niche genres that focus on the general user base across smart devices are also gradually gaining traction, owing to the indispensability of smartphones and a demand for maximising engagement with games that are truly enjoyable.
When trying to adopt any new trend (let alone software development trends) it is important to always keep your business’s unique needs in mind, and always ask one key question:
Is this trend really necessary for my business?
The answers to this question are bound to offer much clarity on whether something is ultimately necessary – and therefore worth the time, effort and money.
In essence, new trends and technologies are best adopted only if they are sure to improve outcomes for your business, and never the other way around; implementing something only because it’s new and others are doing so may cause disconnects between what your employees and customers seek, and the functionality that said technology offers.
Always start by analysing the problems, bottlenecks and gaps that lie in your business, and what can be done to address these. This can take multiple discussions with team members from different departments, but connecting the dots between what’s missing and how it can best be fixed is the first step towards understanding your company’s shortcomings clearly.
From this point onwards, discuss which technologies can help address the issues that were unearthed during the assessment stage. Can an existing technology that was long since implemented suffice, as long as it is scaled up to meet demand? Or does something new need to be implemented, in order to close any gaps?
For example, lack of real-time and predictive analytics can be met with an AI-powered data analytics solution. Even if your business has never used AI before, this can warrant its adoption from scratch, as it can enable your teams to take action with minimal downtime, thanks to the real-time forecasting it can offer.
Once a new technology or application is implemented and released for use, it is imperative to monitor it for performance or security issues – and fix them as they come. With any custom software development project being an ongoing one, supervising your software development teams (be they in-house or outsourced) to scale and troubleshoot when required shall keep your applications running smoothly, while keeping employees and customers also satisfied.
Software development trends and technologies are always changing; while new ones mushroom by the year, existing technologies are upgraded to offer better performance and affordability. From AI to blockchain, numerous options are available at any given point of time for businesses and software development teams alike to explore, especially in the interest of building software and applications that are more efficient than ever before.
As tempting as it may be to jump on the bandwagon of the latest technologies, it is vital to first analyse the problems that plague your business – and objectively decide which technology (an existing one or something brand new and cutting-edge) shall prove to be a better solution. On the other hand, novel technologies such as AI have become mainstream, whereupon many SaaS vendors use subset technologies such as machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to deliver functionalities of a more predictive nature, to their base of users.
As a result, learning to intricately balance which trends to adopt is a matter of constantly staying abreast of what’s new, while also always striving to connect these trends to existing company objectives – something that differentiates companies that are truly innovative, from the rest.