These are the 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018 from the Gartner Symposium in Barcelona

These are the 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018 from the Gartner Symposium in Barcelona

Presentation by: David W. Cearly

The Gartner Symposium/ITxpo has flown by! We tried to attend as many informative sessions as possible while we were there. Gartner took a shot at the 10 most important strategic technology trends for 2018 that IT professionals should be taking into account. The presentation was given by David Cearley, Vice President and Gartner Fellow. According to Cearly: “Technology will be embedded in everything in the digital business of the future.” Continue to read all about the 10 disruptive trends that you can’t afford to miss out on.

First, you need to understand Gartner’s “Intelligent Digital Mesh”

These ten trends are categorized in three big themes: Intelligent, Digital, Mesh. Gartner calls this the entwining of people, devices, content and services. That needs further explanation: the Intelligent Digital Mesh is enabled by digital models, business platforms and a rich, intelligent set of services to support digital businesses.


To elaborate on that a little further:

Intelligent: How AI is seeping into virtually every technology and with a defined, well-scoped focus can allow more dynamic, flexible and potentially autonomous systems.

Digital: This is all about blending the virtual and real worlds in order to create a digitally enhanced and connected environment.

Mesh: The connections between an expanding set of people, business, devices, content and services to deliver digital outcomes.

Okay, so now you know, it’s time to dive into these 10 disruptive trends.

Intelligent

1: AI Foundation
"AI techniques are evolving rapidly and organizations will need to invest significantly in skills, processes and tools to successfully exploit these techniques and build AI-enhanced systems," said Mr. Cearley. "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." 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. “Enterprises should focus on business results enabled by applications that exploit narrow AI technologies and leave general AI to the researchers and science fiction writers,” says Cearley.

2: Intelligent Apps and Analytics
Over the next few years, virtually every app, application and service will incorporate some level of 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. Intelligent apps create a new intelligent intermediary layer between people and systems and have the potential to transform the nature of work and the structure of the workplace. "Explore intelligent apps as a way of augmenting human activity and not simply as a way of replacing people," said Mr. Cearley. "Augmented analytics is a particularly 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."

3: 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). "Currently, the use of autonomous vehicles in controlled settings (for example, in farming and mining) is a rapidly growing area of intelligent things. We are likely to see examples of autonomous vehicles on limited, well-defined and controlled roadways by 2022, but general use of autonomous cars will likely require a person in the driver's seat in case the technology should unexpectedly fail," said Mr. Cearley. "For at least the next five years, we expect that semiautonomous scenarios requiring a driver will dominate. During this time, manufacturers will test the technology more rigorously, and the nontechnology issues such as regulations, legal issues and cultural acceptance will be addressed."

Digital

4: Digital Twins
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. These digital twins are linked to their real-world counterparts and are used to understand the state of the thing or system, respond to changes, improve operations and add value. 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. "Over time, digital representations of virtually every aspect of our world will be connected dynamically with their real-world counterpart and with one another and infused with AI-based capabilities to enable advanced simulation, operation and analysis," said Mr. Cearley. "City planners, digital marketers, healthcare professionals and industrial planners will all benefit from this long-term shift to the integrated digital twin world."

5: Cloud to the Edge
Edge computing describes a computing topology in which information processing and content collection and delivery are placed closer to the sources of this information. Connectivity and latency challenges, bandwidth constraints and greater functionality embedded at the edge favors distributed models. Enterprises should begin using edge design patterns in their infrastructure architectures — particularly for those with significant IoT elements. A good starting point could be using colocation and edge-specific networking capabilities. "When used as complementary concepts, cloud can be the style of computing used to create a service-oriented model and a centralized control and coordination structure with edge being used as a delivery style allowing for disconnected or distributed process execution of aspects of the cloud service," said Mr. Cearley.

6: Conversational Platforms
Conversational platforms will drive the next big paradigm shift in how humans interact with the digital world. The burden of translating intent shifts from user to computer. The platform takes a question or command from the user and then responds by executing some function, presenting some content or asking for additional input. Over the next few years, conversational interfaces will become a primary design goal for user interaction and be delivered in dedicated hardware, core OS features, platforms and applications. "Conversational platforms have reached a tipping point in terms of understanding language and basic user intent, but they still fall short," said Mr. Cearley. "The challenge that conversational platforms face is that users must communicate in a very structured way, and this is often a frustrating experience. A primary differentiator among conversational platforms will be the robustness of their conversational models and the application programming interface (API) and event models used to access, invoke and orchestrate third-party services to deliver complex outcomes."

7: Immersive Experience
While conversational interfaces are changing how people control the digital world, virtual, augmented and mixed reality are changing the way that people perceive and interact with the digital world. The virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) market is currently adolescent and fragmented. Interest is high, resulting in many novelty VR applications that deliver little real business value outside of advanced entertainment, such as video games and 360-degree spherical videos. To drive real tangible business benefit, 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.

Mesh

8: Blockchain
Blockchain is evolving from a digital currency infrastructure into a platform for digital transformation. Blockchain technologies offer a radical departure from the current centralized transaction and record-keeping mechanisms and can serve as a foundation of disruptive digital business for both established enterprises and startups. Although the hype surrounding blockchains originally focused on the financial services industry, blockchains have many potential applications, including government, healthcare, manufacturing, media distribution, identity verification, title registry and supply chain. Although 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.

10: 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. Security infrastructure must be adaptive everywhere, to embrace the opportunity — and manage the risks — that comes delivering security that moves at the speed of digital business.

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