Gartner: Top 10 Technology Trends 2017

With the end of the year drawing nearer, the pace of innovation in tech sees no rest as things in the IT world are moving faster than ever before. Recently Vice President and Gartner Fellow in Gartner Research, David Cearley has identified a top ten strategic technology trends for the year ahead.

Here are the Gartner Top 10 strategic technology trends:

1. AI and Advanced Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced machine learning (ML) are composed of processes and technologies such as deep learning, natural-language processing, and neural networks. Initially started as a means to automate tasks, it’s now transcended past traditional rule-based algorithms and developed into creating systems that have the ability to learn autonomously and use data to predict the future.

Cearly said ““Applied AI and advanced machine learning give rise to a spectrum of intelligent implementations, including physical devices (robots, autonomous vehicles, consumer electronics) as well as apps and services (virtual personal assistants, smart advisers). These implementations will be delivered as a new class of obviously intelligent apps and things as well as provide embedded intelligence for a wide range of mesh devices and existing software and service solutions.”

Further reading: The Inevitable” by Kevin Kelly, Artificial Intelligence for Humans” by Jeff Heaton

2. Intelligent Apps

Intelligent apps perform some of the functions of a human assistant. Virtual personal assistants and VPNS will make mundane tasks such as managing e-mails and scheduling meetings much easier and allow for users to become more effective. Other such intelligent apps such as virtual customer assistants promise to enhance more specialised tasks in areas such as customer service and sales. This will transform the workplace and workforce.

“Over the next 10 years, virtually every app, application and service will incorporate some level of AI,” said Cearley. “This will form a long-term trend that will continually evolve and expand the application of AI and machine learning for apps and services.”

3. Intelligent Things

There has been a great deal written and discussed about the Internet of Things lately. Intelligent things refer to objects which go further than traditional programming models to leverage AI and ML to interact more naturally with humans and surroundings by delivering advance behaviours. Gartner foresees that intelligent things such as self-driving cars, drones, and smart kitchens will stop being individual intelligent things and shift towards a collaborative model.

Further Reading: The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies” by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, Trillions” by Peter Lucas and Joe Ballay

4. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

VR and AR will have increased B2B implications, even though up to now they have been a favourite of gamers. They transform the way individuals interact with one another and with software systems.

Cearley says, “The landscape of immersive consumer and business content and applications will evolve dramatically through 2021. VR and AR capabilities will merge with the digital mesh to form a more seamless system of devices capable of orchestrating a flow of information that comes to the user as hyper-personalized and relevant apps and services. Integration across multiple mobile, wearable, Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor-rich environments will extend immersive applications beyond isolated and single-person experiences. Rooms and spaces will become active with things, and their connection through the mesh will appear and work in conjunction with immersive virtual worlds.”

Further Reading: Virtual Reality Insider: Guidebook for the VR Industry” by Sky Nite

5. Digital Twin

A digital twin is a software model of a physical object that operates based on sensor data to understand its state, respond to changes, add value and improve operations. Digital twins are made up of a mixture of metadata (classification, composition and structure), condition or state (location, temperature), event data (time series) and analytics (algorithms).

Cearley anticipates that in the next 5 years, hundreds of millions of things will have digital twins. Companies will use these digital twins to predict failure of equipment, plan repairs and services, improve operational efficiency operate manufacturing processes, etc. Therefore, digital twins will become substitutes for the mixture of skilled individuals and traditional monitoring devices.(i.e pressure valves).

Further Reading: Tangible Interactive Systems: Grasping the Real World with Computers” by Guy Andre Boy

6. Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers

A blockchain is a type of distributed ledger in which value exchange transactions (bitcoin or other tokens) are grouped into blocks. Every block is linked to a previous one and noted in an encrypted peer-to-peer network. This is done by a cryptographic assurance mechanism. An early adopter of this of this has been the financial services industry, however a growing number of others such as music distribution, title registry, identity verification and supply chain are jumping on the bandwagon.

“Distributed ledgers are potentially transformative but most initiatives are still in the early alpha or beta testing stage,” said Mr. Cearley.

Further reading: Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy” by Melanie Swan, Blockchain Revolution” by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott

7. Conversational Systems

Chatbots are the main focus for conversational interfaces at the moment. However, it will move to a broader digital mesh which will include an expanding set of endpoints which will all interact on a daily basis. These will be used by people to access information, interact with people, governments and businesses and will work together to a growing extent. The device mesh will transcend the desktop computer to include the full range of endpoints which people will interact with. This will enhance ambient digital experience.

Further reading: Grounded Situation Models for Situated Conversational Assistants” by Nikolaos Mavridis

8. Mesh App and Service Architecture

MASA is made up of web apps, mobile apps, desktops apps and IoT apps. They link together to create a broad mesh of back-end services which transform into what end users see as an “application”. This architecture includes services and exposes APIs at multiple levels and across organisational boundaries. This balances the demand for agility and scalability of services and an orientation toward reuse of technology. MASA enables users to possess an optimised solution and facilitates a continuous experience across channels optimised for different endpoints in the mesh.

9. Digital Technology Platforms

Digital technology platforms facilitate the basic foundation for a digital business. The five major points are:Information systemsCustomer experienceAnalytics and intelligenceIoTBusiness ecosystems

Digital businesses will have a growing mixture of these five.

10. Adaptive Security Architecture

Together with the digital technology platforms, the digital mesh and application architectures create an increasingly complex world in security. Security issues keep growing. Cearley states “Established security technologies should be used as a baseline to secure Internet of Things platforms. Monitoring user and entity behavior is a critical addition that is particularly needed in IoT scenarios. However, the IoT edge is a new frontier for many IT security professionals creating new vulnerability areas and often requiring new remediation tools and processes that must be factored into IoT platform efforts.”

Further reading: Adaptive Security Management Architecture” by James S. Tiller

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