Emerging technologies to help sustain growth in Northern Ireland in 2024

Generative AI will take centre stage in 2024
Generative AI will take centre stage in 2024 (Khanchit Khirisutchalual/Getty Images)

THE year just ended brought about the most significant advancements in technology in a generation. Generative AI has truly come to life with the emergence of ChatGPT and other AI-enabled chatbots.

With its business value becoming crystal clear, data is now being harnessed by organisations in every sector in Northern Ireland’s economy. Cyber risk continues to weigh heavily on business leaders with the vast majority having taken steps to enhance data protection in 2023.

As we look towards a new year, one thing is clear. Emerging technologies will prove vital in helping the business community to navigate slow economic growth and fuel innovation in the months ahead.

Generative AI will take centre stage in 2024. While generative AI has fostered many creative ideas in recent times of how it will transform our future, there are very few real-world examples of this powerful technology in action. That will change in the coming year.

AI will become business-ready with visible productivity gains becoming evident. According to our latest GenAI Pulse survey, nearly half of organisations expect to see meaningful results from generative AI projects within six months to a year. One of the first steps that leaders in Northern Ireland can take to ensure successful AI adoption is to organise and structure data within their business.

The economic and societal gains from these emerging technologies should not be underestimated. A new AI platform that the Dell Technologies team developed is helping researchers at the University of Limerick’s Digital Cancer Research Centre to find new ways to diagnose and treat cancer patients.

Employees across the region will also witness how AI can support their daily work. As new digital assistants come to the fore, the PC experience will change before our eyes. We’ll increasingly see a shift from searching to prompting, from reading to understanding, and from editing to directing.

This will result in the emergence in a two-way human-machine partnership in many workplaces across Northern Ireland.

With the global explosion of data, there will be an increasing need for Irish businesses to have the computing power to manage it effectively. Quantum computing will begin to address this obstacle and bring about a massive leap in the computing power that is required to fuel our data-driven future.

Dell Technologies
Catherine Doyle is managing director for Dell Technologies Ireland and Northern Ireland: Picture Clare Keogh

If we were surprised by the advancements in AI over the last year, leaders should expect to see a bigger jump forward when quantum computing becomes intertwined.

2024 will be a make-or-break year for sustainable IT. With investors placing an ever-greater focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance, business and IT leaders in Ireland will increasingly rely on technology to track their climate data and reduce emissions.

Our latest Digital Pulse Survey revealed that almost half of companies on the island of Ireland are looking at upgrading technology in the coming year to cut rising energy costs and drive sustainable innovation.

That trend is only set to continue in the wake of the recent COP28 agreement which placed a spotlight on AI and emerging technologies to tackle climate change.

Although there has been much discussion about Zero Trust, 2024 will see it evolve from a concept to a real technology. By requiring all processes, whether in or outside the organisation’s network, to be authenticated, authorized, and continuously validated, businesses will be able to put in place an added layer of cyber security.

Although 2024 will bring significant change, I’m optimistic about Northern Ireland’s future and the role emerging technologies will play in sustaining growth.

By putting emerging technologies at the heart of their digital transformation, cyber-security plans and sustainability strategies, organisations in Northern Ireland will be able to pivot, innovate and advance sustainability in the year ahead.

:: Catherine Doyle is managing director of Dell Technologies Ireland and Northern Ireland