Every year beginning in October, Top 10 Technology Trends lists begin to appear in tech blogs. They’re usually fun and somewhat gadgety and from a business perspective, grease the skids for holiday shoppers to buy cool stuff for their kids. This year is a little bit different. The list we will peruse—The Intelligent Digital Mesh—is a skosh more conceptual and based on the findings of one of the top global think tanks–Gartner Research.
Gartner Research, a Stamford, CT, based firm, provides insights, advice, and tools for global business leaders and their client base consists of 12,000 organizations in over 100 countries.
To start, it’s important to be clear on the definition of strategic technology trends.
A strategic technology trend is a breakout idea that has the potential to drive or disrupt a current technology movement. That’s why it is strategic.
Three ingredients are driving this current wave of top strategic technology trends:
- Intelligent – everything is getting smarter with machine learning and artificial intelligence.
- Digital – the real world and digital world merge to form an enhanced experience.
- Mesh – the connections to people, content, services, and devices, and how we exploit these connections in new ways.
As for the actual top technology trends, some of these concepts might be familiar, others not. PLANET will endeavor to simplify.
Gartner’s top 10 strategic technology trends for 2019
Autonomous things and artificial intelligence have not reached the levels of a Steven Spielberg film but they are definitely on the rise. When you say autonomous things, most people tend to think of talking robots, drones and autonomous vehicles. These things are still a novelty, though, and not something found in the daily life of average people.
The potential for autonomous things, however, goes beyond the rigidly programmed examples you might find at CES in Vegas this January. Developers are looking to exploit AI to interact more naturally with their surroundings and with people. Further, there is a shift from using one stand-alone intelligent thing to groups, working together, either independently or with human input, not unlike the machines on a manufacturing room floor.
David Cearley, VP and Gartner Fellow who has been watching trends emerge over the past 10 years, suggests a situation where, a drone might examine a large field and find that it was ready for harvesting, and could dispatch an “autonomous harvester.
Augmented analytics specifically focuses on augmented intelligence, using machine learning (ML) to transform how analytics content is developed, consumed and shared. These augmented analytics capabilities will rapidly prepare data so businesses can generate and visualize insight without the need for professional data scientists.
Automated analytics will enable people who are not statisticians or analysts to become citizen data science and to extract insights from data and fill the data science and machine learning talent gap caused by the shortage and high cost of data scientists.
Along the same lines as citizen data science, the partnership between application developers and data scientists will transform. AI-enhanced solutions will enable developers to operate alone using predefined models delivered as a service—AIaaS. Developers will work with an ecosystem of AI algorithms and development tools to integrate AI capabilities and models into a solution.
Prediction: Tools will enable non-professionals to generate applications without coding. These are not new, but we expect that AI-powered systems will drive a new level of flexibility.
Gartner defines a digital twin is a digital model of a real-world entity or system that forms from data pulled from the 20 billion connected sensor. By 2020, organizations begin to use digital twins to find the right data, apply the right analytics and rules, to achieve business objectives. The digital twin will help organizations (DTOs) become more efficient in their business processes, and to form better processes to adapt to changing conditions automatically.
The edge refers to endpoint devices and edge computing describing a computing topology where information processing happens closer to these endpoints. The goal is to keep the traffic and processing local, which reduces traffic and latency.
With billions of devices online, the need for local processing rather than at a centralized server is critical. Further, cloud computing and edge computing complement each other. Cloud services will manage centralized services, and edge services will operate on distributed servers on-premises and even on edge devices themselves.
The specialization of AI chips and greater processing power, storage and other advanced capabilities, will lower latency as 5G matures and expand the edge computing environment.
Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) have set the stage for how people perceive the digital world. This combined shift is leading to something Gartner calls immersive user experience. The spaces that surround us will define “the computer” rather than individual devices. In effect, the environment is the computer.
Blockchain is an online distributed ledger that spans across millions of computers at once making it hard to tamper with. It enables trust providing transparency and lowering costs, reducing transaction settlement times and improving cash flow.
Blockchain provides complete privacy between those transacting and removes the necessity of centralized bodies to authorize and record keep. IBM and Ripple are two of the bright stars in the development of this technology. It will be especially relevant to financial and logistical industries.
Gartner insight: Organizations choosing this option should understand the limitations and be prepared to move to complete blockchain solutions over time.
PLANET customers and blog readers are already well-informed on the benefits of the smart space that appear in forms such as smart cities, digital workplaces, smart homes and connected factories. In fact, many of you are already installing this type of infrastructure for your clients.
The smart space symphonizes the interactions between people, processes, services and things. The smart space provides a more immersive, interactive and automated experience, and frankly, it’s luxurious.
Digital Ethics and Privacy
Digital ethics and privacy, though not directly part of technology, has become a growing concern for individuals, organizations and governments. People want more control over how their personal information is being used. Recent meetings where technologists like Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook and others have appeared before Congressional Committees has underscored this pain point. That is, companies taking personal data without the explicit permission of those people.
Gartner insight: this discussion goes beyond privacy and centers around trust. Shifting from privacy to behavioral ethics moves the conversation beyond ‘are we compliant’ toward ‘are we doing the right thing.
Quantum computing (QC) is a computing device that operates on the quantum state of subatomic particles (for example, electrons and ions). If you’ve ever seen one of these on Youtube or television, you might think it was a chandelier. They operate at cold temperatures and the process is definitely strange to those of us who use a PC or a Mac.
A major feature these babies bring to the table is the ability to execute data in parallel and to scale, quickly solving problems that would take traditional algorithms too long. The big data “chops” these devices have will someday benefit problem solvers in industries that handle huge numbers like the automotive, financial, insurance, pharmaceuticals, military and research organizations.
David Cleary believes CIOs and IT leaders should start planning for QC. They should learn its benefits and begin to explore how it can apply to real-world business problems. Learn while the technology is still in the emerging state. Identify real-world problems and especially consider the possible impact on security.
Get ready for change. Things are definitely going to change quite a bit over the next ten years. IT networking will remain a fundamental building block of our technology infrastructure. No doubt, Ethernet, the ramp up of 5G, G.Fast and other exciting technologies will support this digital transformation. It will be fun to watch.
PLANET wishes you a safe and Happy Holiday, and a very prosperous New Year! We thank you for your business and look forward to assisting you in your goals for 2019.