No matter where you are in the world, the year drawing to its close signals a time to reflect on the last twelve months and presents an opportunity to use these learnings to look forward with fresh eyes into 2019. This year, I have the benefit of leaning on the recent findings of our inaugural Cycle of Progress digital transformation benchmark study to inform my predictions. This global survey examines global business leaders' hopes and fears about emerging technologies, and reveals which technologies they are actively implementing to drive the digital transformation of their business – versus which ones are yet to live up to the hype. Thinking about 2018, we've seen several game-changing events within the technology industry such as the roll-out of GDPR across Europe in Mayand the crash in Bitcoin value, potentially signaling a bubble-bursting moment for cryptocurrencies. We've also seen the lines between technology, politics and society become increasingly tangled, exemplified in Facebook's ongoing battles against fake news and the continuing fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
It's the beginning of September (and no, I don't know how that happened either), and as the summer lull winds to a close and we prepare for a renewed frenzy of activity, it's a good moment to take stock of the year so far. Last month, two different articles were published looking back over some of the key trends we've seen in 2018 with regard to emerging technology and digital transformation, and comparing them to what was predicted. One was a piece by Forbes contributor Daniel Newman of CMO Network, who revisited his predictions for digital transformation in 2018 in light of the past eight months, to see where we are with some of 2018's most potentially transformative technologies. It takes a broadly optimistic view of the technologies that are meant to be shaking up the digital world in 2018, with a few caveats. The other was by The Register's Andrew Orlowski, written in response to the publication of Gartner's annual'Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle', which revealed that a number of the most "hyped" technologies from last year have vanished from this year's chart.
Last year we have seen increased blockchain activity across various industries worldwide. This was mirrored in an even greater number of trials, proofs-of-concept and prototypes, as well as the growth of financial consortiums. Financial firms are thereby leading the way. Many banks and other financial institutions have entered the blockchain area for fear of missing out, investing heavily in research, proof of concepts, and pilots to gain blockchain know-how. Despite many successful trials, up till now they have not led to real-world use.
Over the last year, we've seen blockchain disrupt several industries, and organizations are quick to realize the positive impact of adopting this emerging technology. Communication service providers (CSPs) are no exception. In a world that increasingly revolves around data, customer experience, trust and digital ecosystems, CSPs are reinventing themselves to stay relevant in a highly competitive market with a business network that is becoming even more complex. Traditional providers, now challenged by declining revenues, growing customer expectations and a rise in over-the-top platforms, are moving towards virtualized, more optimized infrastructures to create differentiated, digital environments. Blockchain is changing how we make digital transactions, offering benefits to CSPs who must modernize operations to remain competitive in a disruptive landscape.
Drones are very much on CIOs' radars, but are unlikely to reach mainstream usage anytime soon. Analyst Gartner recently unveiled its 2017 hype cycle for emerging technologies, which is often seen as a good measure of the technologies we can expect to see affecting businesses -- and their IT spending activity -- a few years from now. So what did CIOs learn this year? This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature, analyzes our original research to pinpoint how organizations are spending their tech dollars in 2018 and what priorities they're focusing on. It also offers advice on ways to build a practical and effective budget that supports the business.