Walking the tightrope: What to expect from AI, the sustainability imperative and monetization in 2024

Predictions for the immediate future at the end of the year are kind of a tradition and also a reassuring ticket to the “I told you so” saying when anything happens. In 2023, the launch of ChatGPT and other Generative AI tools has set in motion a significant shift in the tech world that is yet to be apprehended in the current complicated global scenario. Yet, according to an Ipsos survey, optimism is on the rise for the coming year.

Connecting as many physical and digital objects has long been the idea behind the Internet of Things (IoT). Now it seems that we’re getting to the point where it’s possible to embed intelligence in almost everything. At least this is the promise of ambient IoT -or tiny ambient IoT-, which is based on the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and is meant to reshape how items are tracked, monitored, and managed, with highly flexible, pretty cheap, low-energy sensors combined with pervasive connectivity and AI.

This will be especially helpful for food, drugs, and clothing but also containers or appliances as the tiny tags used for tracking seem to be more cost-effective than RFID and have the advantage of being always on. It’s not clear whether 2024 will be the definitive startup year for this technology but chances are that we hear more about it.

Along with tiny ambient IOT, other technologies will probably evolve, such as satellite communications, secure computation, and all sorts of robots. But AI will probably keep on being the star of the show, as some experts say it will “make people more powerful personally and professionally”, even if others, like Cory Doctorow, blogger, and journalist, dare to underline that “AI is a bubble”.

Carles Gómara, an expert in technology and digital transformation at the Business Strategy Department of ACCIÓ, the Catalan agency for business competitiveness, mentions the “exponential growth” that AI will enable both on the personal and professional spheres as well as personal empowerment through training. But he remains cautious: “All these tools are not toys. We need to learn how to use them,” he says.

And, in this regard, he warns that we need to factor the impact of the new European Law on AI, named Artificial Intelligence Act, which establishes comprehensive rules for trustworthy AI, and will also influence the advancement in home automation and personal assistants.

In any case, it seems that AI will continue to be the star of the tech show next year even if many begin to consider monetization, misinformation, and sustainability as crucial factors to be taken into account before jumping in the deep end.

AI caveats

In this sense, Deloitte forecasts that “Gen AI is coming to enterprise software” but warns that there will be a “competition between vendors who want to charge per user and IT departments that believe generative AI features should be free.” Be as it may, the monetization of generative AI will need to be discussed. Some say it can be achieved by embedding it into existing products or offering it as high-value paid add-ons, but other models are brought up.

On the other hand, all the data linked to the development of AI is a great deal of opportunity but also the perfect storm for misinformation. According to Deloitte, by 2028, enterprise spend dedicated to battling it will surpass $30 billion. An important challenge that will probably be magnified by all the moves in social networks and the battle for the audience.

Additionally, we need to add the sustainability factor as a main concern for many companies, particularly bearing in mind that 2023 has shattered climate records and that greenhouse gas levels continue to increase. We have the roadmap to improve the situation but signaling “the beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era, as put during the COP28, might not be sufficient. The time to act is now.

Deloitte also warns that in 2024 multiple regions will run short of gallium and possibly germanium, impacting chipmakers. This needs to be factored, along with the consequences of the global geopolitical situation. Despite that, the consultancy firm says that telcos will be able to reduce their carbon footprint by 2%, or 12 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2024, which seems a good thing or at least helps the bottom line.

Overall, “seventy percent think next year will be a better year than this one,” according to Ipsos. So, at least optimism is on the rise for 2024.

At IOTSWC24, to be held in May in Barcelona, we will follow all these trends to keep you posted on emerging techs that can improve your business outcomes.

In the meantime, have a lovely festive break.

By Anna Solana

Pedro Mier

Pedro Mier holds a degree in Telecommunications Engineer ing from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, MBA from ESADE and PADE from IESE. He is currently President of AMETIC (Association of Electronics, Information Technology and Telecommunications Companies of Spain), Shareholder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of TRYO Aerospace & Electronics, Board Member of the Premo Group and Committee of CTTC. member of Space Angels Network and Member of the Sc ientific Advisory