Reflecting on the past and predicting the future

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A new year brings the opportunity to reflect on what has passed and inject new energy and purpose into what is coming next. Undoubtedly, 2023 was another year of challenge for the IT industry. Economic headwinds fanned by a post Covid readjustment and major armed conflicts continued to put the global industry under pressure. Here, this was compounded by political uncertainty which seemed to put many businesses into a holding pattern taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to making big decisions. The overarching feeling is that it was a year of consolidation and riding out the storm.

As we have moved into 2024, despite the continued financial and political challenges, opportunities are presenting themselves in most business areas and success or failure could hinge on how well the underpinning and emerging technologies are embraced.

Technology trends for 2024

The key themes of AI, cybersecurity and sustainability are hot topics in the IT industry right now. While they are familiar themes, the speed of change continues to accelerate so it is essential for all businesses to keep abreast of them.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you will be aware of the explosion in the mainstream use of AI. People are increasingly using

AI tools, such as ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot, daily. At the recent Canalys APAC conference I attended, one keynote speaker went so far as to say that if you are an executive in a business and you are not using one of these AI tools, you might as well resign. A bit of a dramatic statement, but their point was that your competitors will increasingly be using AI, and with the speed and efficiencies that AI brings, if you are not using it you will be left behind … very quickly.

Whether we like it or not AI is here to stay with many analysts predicting its use will have a more profound effect on human life than the introduction of the internet.


Cybersecurity remains one of the most important elements of the technology landscape. Cyberattacks and the cybercrime industry continue to grow rapidly with the predicted cost of global cybercrime this year over $9.5 Trillion USD according to Cybersecurity Ventures. For perspective, that’s forty times larger than NZ’s entire 2023 GDP!

Businesses and individuals are constantly being targeted by a myriad of scams and sophisticated cyberattacks. Tools will continue to develop to tackle the ever-growing threat, and the interweaving of AI in both cyberattack and defence will accelerate progress in this area.

Sustainability is a key concern for the tech industry as it attempts to balance the present and future needs of people, business, and the planet. AI is seen as a tool to enhance sustainability and make life more efficient. However, AI also poses environmental risks, such as generating large amounts of e-waste, consuming more energy and natural resources, and emitting more greenhouse gases. The environmental impact of an AI query is quite staggering but varies depending on factors, such as the AI model’s size and complexity, the data centre’s efficiency and location, and the electricity’s source and mix.

Finally, here in Aotearoa New Zealand the imminent opening of the Microsoft and AWS datacentres is also creating a huge buzz. The ability to retain data in-country will enable businesses and organisations to meet data residency, security, and compliance requirements. There will also be an improvement in performance with users accessing public cloud data faster.

With all of the above topics there is a huge amount to explore and unpick. We will elaborate further in future Tech Talk columns over the coming months.

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Mike Bell
Mike Bell
Mike Bell is the CEO at Stratus Blue. He can be contacted at mike@stratusblue.co.nz

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