IT IN 2023

2022 brought about changes that have impacted all sectors. Most of them were the result of the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine. Weeks after the impact of the COVID–19 pandemic on the economy had begun to subside, another threat loomed on the horizon. The conflict over Poland’s eastern border has made security more paramount than ever. The IT sector has invested heavily in cybersecurity, and it is expected that similar steps will be taken in 2023—but it is not the only area of area that will become increasingly important in the coming year. Three key IT trends are presented below, which, according to Dr Jarosław Protasiewicz, Head of the National Information Processing Institute (OPI), will dominate in 2023.

Security first

By virtue of the decision of the Prime Minister of Poland issued under the Act on Antiterrorist Activities, the second BRAVO and the third CHARLIE CRP alert levels will continue to apply throughout the country until 28 February, 2023. In view of the current developments in Ukraine, it is likely that this status will be extended in the following months. Many organisations have already implemented additional security rules in a bid to ensure safe data access and the seamless operation of key systems. OPI has reviewed its security features, analysed the potential risks, and implemented relevant emergency procedures. The institute monitors the situation constantly and improves its systems accordingly. Regular tests and security audits are paramount. The sooner it is discovered that OPI’s software or IT infrastructure is vulnerable to attacks, the greater the chance of fixing those problems and reducing the exposure time. Increasing the level of security in firms and other organisations is a never-ending process. OPI is a large software house and a research institute with a thirty-year history, which requires tailor-made IT security solutions. The institute plays a crucial role in the development of systems for the Polish science sector, including the POL-on Integrated System of Information on Science and Higher Education, the RAD-on portal, the OSF Funding Stream Support System, and the JSA Uniform Antiplagiarism System. OPI must ensure that all of its systems remain immune to nefarious activity. The risk of systems being hacked has increased considerably, but, fortunately, so has the awareness of public institutions, businesses, and private users. Entrepreneurs have invested significant sums in IT security solutions to ensure the steady operation of their firms and to prevent financial losses.  Individual IT system users are also paying more attention to the sources of their software and to emails they receive. These trends are likely to persist in 2023. The cybersecurity sector is poised for dynamic growth, with companies ready to continue their investment in cutting-edge security solutions. We can only hope that the war will soon be over, but we must not forget that its influence on security is irreversible. This aspect is key for the operation of all firms and other organisations.

IT in medicine

In 2023, we can expect to see further development of artificial intelligence in medicine and healthcare. Modern IT tools will be used more prominently in the diagnosis of health conditions. Artificial intelligence will not replace human doctors, but it will streamline their work. Given the shortages of medical specialists in Poland, artificial intelligence will be applied on a larger scale. OPI is aware of this trend and is developing modern IT tools for the healthcare sector. Experts at OPI have created eRADS, an innovative research platform that standardises descriptions in medical reports. The platform helps evaluate the clinical relevance of lesions, as well as enabling the collection of medical examination data, which will be used in the future to develop solutions that can automatically evaluate clinically significant characteristics. Researchers at OPI have also developed a system that detects depression symptoms on social media. The system won first prize in the Detecting Signs of Depression from Social Media Text competition in Dublin, Ireland. The system is based on RoBERTa neural language models. In addition to utilising a standard model for the English language, the system was trained with OPI’s own model, which relies on the institute’s dataset. It includes approximately 400,000 posts, which primarily concern depression, anxiety disorders, and suicidal thoughts. Combining the two models yielded the best results. In 2023, we will strive to improve our tool to combat depression.

OPI is also working on an IT solution that assists disabled people. Sagacity has been developed by experts at the institute in collaboration with its partners. The system will enable its users to control everyday devices without having to rely on traditional motor or vocal skills. It will make disabled people less dependent on their caregivers, increasing their comfort and improving their mental health.

The Internet of Things in Industry 4.0

The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly gaining in popularity and is poised to revolutionise industry in the coming years. IoT boasts a plethora of features that are particularly advantageous in production environments. Predictive maintenance systems use IoT to gather real-time information on fixed assets currently in operation. Based on such data, the systems evaluate the time needed for maintenance. Systems implemented in production plants are interconnected and affected by a variety of factors. Changes to the workloads, projects, and processes in one location may impact entire plants. That is where IoT-based predictive maintenance and cloud computing come into their own. Such systems rely on data collected from devices from all over the plant to evaluate maintenance requirements. Particular attention is devoted to predictive maintenance due to its financial benefits. According to a report by McKinsey, predictive maintenance may drive the costs down to 10–40 percent and reduce production downtime by 50 percent. Such enhancements boost plants’ performance and reduce their indirect costs. The digital production plants of tomorrow must engage in predictive maintenance to stay competitive on the market. IoT also enables smart logistics management. Plants can use IoT in many areas—from handling stocks and materials to internal transport and shipping. IoT can prove useful in Big Data and cloud processing. Implementation of IoT and data collection in real time are the key benefits for digital plants. Sensors installed in all sections of a plant gather a large amount of valuable data, which can provide relevant information on how well the plant performs. Currently, only a tiny share of this data is used to make decisions on changes to production processes, stocks, and forecasting. Cloud computing and Big Data are expected to be applied on a larger scale, as they assist businesses in developing more informative strategies. In 2023, demand for IoT solutions will certainly continue to increase.