Gartner releases top 10 strategic technology trends for 2018

Gartner tech predictions for 2018Gartner has released the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2018 at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in the U.S.

These strategic technology trends tie into the Intelligent Digital Mesh, a foundation for future digital business and ecosystems.

David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow, said: “IT leaders must factor these technology trends into their innovation strategies or risk losing ground to those that do.”

The first three technology trends explore how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning represent a major battleground for technology providers.

The next four trends focus on blending the digital and physical worlds to create an immersive, digitally enhanced environment.

The last three refer to exploiting connections between an expanding set of people and businesses, as well as devices, content and services to deliver digital business outcomes.

Top 10 strategic technology trends

AI Foundation

The ability to use AI to enhance decision making, reinvent business models and ecosystems, and remake the customer experience will drive the payoff for digital initiatives through 2025.

AI related investment areas can include data preparation, integration, algorithm and training methodology selection, and model creation. Multiple constituencies including data scientists, developers and business process owners will need to work together.

Intelligent Apps and Analytics

Every app, application and service will incorporate AI. Some of these apps will be obvious intelligent apps that could not exist without AI and machine learning. Others will be unobtrusive users of AI that provide intelligence behind the scenes.

Augmented analytics is a strategic growing area which uses machine learning to automate data preparation, insight discovery and insight sharing for a broad range of business users, operational workers and citizen data scientists.

AI has become the next battleground in a range of software and service markets, including aspects of enterprise resource planning (ERP). Packaged software and service providers should outline how they’ll be using AI to add business value in new versions in the form of advanced analytics, intelligent processes and advanced user experiences.

Intelligent Things

Intelligent things are physical things that go beyond the execution of rigid programming models to exploit AI to deliver advanced behaviors and interact more naturally with their surroundings and with people. AI is driving advances for new intelligent things (such as autonomous vehicles, robots and drones) and delivering enhanced capability to many existing things (such as Internet of Things [IoT] connected consumer and industrial systems).

Digital Twin

A digital twin refers to the digital representation of a real-world entity or system. Digital twins in the context of IoT projects is particularly promising over the next three to five years and is leading the interest in digital twins today. Well-designed digital twins of assets have the potential to significantly improve enterprise decision making.

Organizations will implement digital twins simply at first, then evolve them over time, improving their ability to collect and visualize the right data, apply the right analytics and rules, and respond effectively to business objectives.

Cloud to the Edge

Enterprises should begin using edge design patterns in their infrastructure architectures — particularly for those with significant IoT elements.

While many view cloud and edge as competing approaches, cloud is a style of computing where elastically scalable technology capabilities are delivered as a service and does not inherently mandate a centralized model.

Conversational Platforms

Conversational platforms will drive the next big paradigm shift in how humans interact with the digital world. Conversational interfaces will become a primary design goal for user interaction and be delivered in dedicated hardware, core OS features, platforms and applications.

Immersive Experience

The virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) market is adolescent and fragmented. Enterprises must examine specific real-life scenarios where VR and AR can be applied to make employees more productive and enhance the design, training and visualization processes.

Blockchain

Though the hype surrounding blockchains focused on the financial services industry, blockchains have many potential applications, including government, healthcare, manufacturing, media distribution, identity verification, title registry and supply chain.

Though it holds long-term promise and will undoubtedly create disruption, blockchain promise outstrips blockchain reality, and many of the associated technologies are immature for the next two to three years.

Event Driven

Business events could be anything that is noted digitally, reflecting the discovery of notable states or state changes, for example, completion of a purchase order, or an aircraft landing. With the use of event brokers, IoT, cloud computing, blockchain, in-memory data management and AI, business events can be detected faster and analyzed in greater detail. But technology alone without cultural and leadership change does not deliver the full value of the event-driven model. Digital business drives the need for IT leaders, planners and architects to embrace event thinking.

Continuous Adaptive Risk and Trust

To securely enable digital business initiatives in a world of advanced, targeted attacks, security and risk management leaders must adopt a continuous adaptive risk and trust assessment (CARTA) approach to allow real-time, risk and trust-based decision making with adaptive responses.

As part of a CARTA approach, organizations must overcome the barriers between security teams and application teams, much as DevOps tools and processes overcome the divide between development and operations.

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