Gartner identifies 10 tech trends to watch next year

Autonomous “things”, digital twins and an “empowered edge” are some of the top — but perhaps not fully recognized — tech trends to watch in 2019, according to Gartner.

“The future will be characterized by smart devices delivering increasingly insightful digital services everywhere,” said David Cearley, Gartner vice president and fellow, at a recent Gartner symposium in Orlando, Florida. “We call this the intelligent digital mesh.”

Gartner called out each of those last three words as meaningful: “intelligent” referring to how artificial intelligence is “in virtually every existing technology and creating entirely new categories”; “digital” referring to blending the digital and physical worlds; and “mesh” meaning “exploiting connections between expanding sets of people, businesses, devices, content and services.”

“Trends under each of these three themes are a key ingredient in driving a continuous innovation process as part of the continuous next strategy,” Cearley said.

Gartner identified 10 technologies that reflect the intersection of those three themes and that it considers “changing or not yet widely recognized trends that will impact and transform industries” in the next five years.

Those include:

Autonomous things across five categories: vehicles, drones, appliances, agents, and robotics.

“Virtually every application, service and IoT object will incorporate some form of AI to automate or augment processes or human actions,” the analyst firm said — but when on to add,  “keep in mind these devices are best used for narrowly defined purposes. They do not have the same capability as a human brain for decision making, intelligence or general-purpose learning.”

Augmented analytics, which Gartner called a “third wave for data and analytics capabilities,” with automated algorithms sifting through the massive amounts of available data. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 40% of data analytics tasks will be automated — and it also predicts the rise of citizen data scientists, which it says will increase in number five times faster than professional data scientists during the same period. Automated algorithms will facilitate the emergence of citizen data scientists, the analyst firm said.

AI-driven development, in which tools used to build AI solutions and offerings themselves have integrated AI capabilities, to assist developers and automated tasks.

“The market will shift from a focus on data scientists partnered with developers to developers operating independently using predefined models delivered as a service,” Gartner said.

Digital twins, in which a real-life object, system or process is mirrored by a digital one. The concept isn’t new, Gartner noted, and there is current interest in digital twins in the context of IoT — but the new digital twins will have more robust models and capabilities — such as a digital twin of a business to create new models for organizational structure.

-An empowered edge, where information storage, delivery and processing all shift toward the edge of the network, underpinned by AI.

“Through 2028, Gartner expects a steady increase in the embedding of sensor, storage, compute and advanced AI capabilities in edge devices. In general, intelligence will move toward the edge in a variety of endpoint devices, from industrial devices to screens to smartphones to automobile power generators,” Gartner said.

Immersive technologies such as augmented, mixed and virtual reality, such as more complex capabilities for voice-commanded assistants and chatbots as well as the potential to engage other human senses. Gartner predicts that by 2022, 70% of enterprises will be experimenting with immersive technologies for both consumer and enterprise use — and 25% will have them deployed in production.

Blockchain use for more frictionless, secure financial transactions. Use of blockchain, the analyst firm said, “could potentially lower costs, reduce transaction settlement times and improve cash flow.”

Smart spaces, which Gartner described as “physical or digital environment in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact in increasingly open, connected, coordinated and intelligent ecosystems.” The company pointed to smart cities as an emerging example of smart spaces, where areas are being designed to address a combination of government, enterprise and community needs as well as social interaction.

Digital ethics and privacy, since consumers have increasing awareness of the value of their personal information and concern about how it is being used. Trust is key in this area, Gartner noted, and said that the conversations around this area should move from ‘Are we compliant?’ toward ‘Are we doing the right thing?'”

Quantum computing, an “exponentially scalable and highly parallel computing model” that is still emerging — which means it’s a good time for businesses to figure out what it means for them, Gartner said, although it expects quantum computing to remain in an exploration phase through 2022 for most enterprises.




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