View from the Edge
Gartner Predicts Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019
David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow, says Gartner predicts an overlapping of trends in 2019 to produce new opportunities and drive business and IT disruption. “For example, artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of automated things and augmented intelligence is being used together with IoT, edge computing and digital twins to deliver highly integrated smart spaces.”
Gartner predicts the trends will be:
- Autonomous Things
This includes robots, drones, and autonomous vehicles that will use AI to automate functions previously performed by humans. “As autonomous things proliferate, we expect a shift from standalone intelligent things to a swarm of collaborative intelligent things, with multiple devices working together, either independently of people or with human input,” says Mr. Cearley. “For example, if a drone examined a large field and found that it was ready for harvesting, it could dispatch an autonomous harvester.
- Augmented Analytics
“Augmented analytics focuses on a specific area of augmented intelligence, using machine learning (ML) to transform how analytics content is developed, consumed and shared,” Mr. Cearly said. “Augmented analytics capabilities will advance rapidly to mainstream adoption, as a key feature of data preparation, data management, modern analytics, business process management, process mining, and data science platforms.”
Automated insights from augmented analytics will also be embedded in enterprise applications—for example, those of the HR, finance, sales, marketing, customer service, procurement, and asset management departments—to optimize the decisions and actions of all employees within their context, not just those of analysts and data scientists. Augmented analytics automates the process of data preparation, insight generation and insight visualization, eliminating the need for professional data scientists in many situations.
- AI-Driven Development
Gartner believes that the market is rapidly shifting from an approach in which professional data scientists must partner with application developers to create most AI-enhanced solutions. Instead they are moving to a model in which the professional developer can operate alone using predefined models delivered as a service. This provides the developer with an ecosystem of AI algorithms and models, as well as development tools tailored to integrating AI capabilities and models into a solution. Another level of opportunity for professional application development arises as AI is applied to the development process itself to automate various data science, application development and testing functions. By 2022, at least 40 percent of new application-development projects will have AI co-developers on their team.
“Ultimately, highly advanced AI-powered development environments automating both functional and nonfunctional aspects of applications will give rise to a new age of the ‘citizen application developer’ where nonprofessionals will be able to use AI-driven tools to automatically generate new solutions. Tools that enable nonprofessionals to generate applications without coding are not new, but we expect that AI-powered systems will drive a new level of flexibility,” says Mr. Cearley.
- Digital Twins
Gartner says a digital twin refers to the digital representation of a real-world entity or system. By 2020, Gartner estimates there will be more than 20 billion connected sensors and endpoints and digital twins will exist for potentially billions of things. Organizations will implement digital twins simply at first. They will 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.
- Empowered Edge
The edge refers to endpoint devices used by people or embedded in the world around us. Edge computing describes a computing topology in which information processing and content collection and delivery are placed closer to these endpoints. It tries to keep the traffic and processing local, with the goal being to reduce traffic and latency. In the near term, edge is being driven by IoT and the need keep the processing close to the end rather than on a centralized cloud server. Over the next five years, specialized AI chips, along with greater processing power, storage and other advanced capabilities, will be added to a wider array of edge devices.
- Immersive Experience
According to Gartner, conversational platforms are changing the way in which people interact with the digital world. Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality, and mixed reality are changing the way in which people perceive the digital world. This combined shift in perception and interaction models leads to the future immersive user experience.
“Over time, we will shift from thinking about individual devices and fragmented user interface technologies to a multichannel and multimodal experience,” said Mr. Cearley. “The multimodal experience will connect people with the digital world across hundreds of edge devices that surround them, including traditional computing devices, wearables, automobiles, environmental sensors, and consumer appliances.”
Gartner predicts that blockchain, a type of distributed ledger, promises to reshape industries by enabling trust, providing transparency, and reducing friction across business ecosystems potentially lowering costs, reducing transaction-settlement times and improving cash flow. Today, trust is placed in banks, clearinghouses, governments, and many other institutions as central authorities with the “single version of the truth” maintained securely in their databases. The centralized trust model adds delays and friction costs (commissions, fees and the time value of money) to transactions. Blockchain provides an alternative trust mode and removes the need for central authorities in arbitrating transactions.
"Current blockchain technologies and concepts are immature, poorly understood, and unproven in mission-critical, at-scale business operations. This is particularly so with the complex elements that support more sophisticated scenarios,” said Mr. Cearley. “Despite the challenges, the significant potential for disruption means CIOs and IT leaders should begin evaluating blockchain, even if they don’t aggressively adopt the technologies in the next few years.”
- Smart Spaces
Gartner defines a smart space as a physical or digital environment in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact in increasingly open, connected, coordinated, and intelligent ecosystems. Multiple elements—including people, processes, services, and things—come together in a smart space to create a more immersive, interactive and automated experience for a target set of people and industry scenarios.
“This trend has been coalescing for some time around elements such as smart cities, digital workplaces, smart homes, and connected factories,” said Mr. Cearley. “We believe the market is entering a period of accelerated delivery of robust smart spaces with technology becoming an integral part of our daily lives, whether as employees, customers, consumers, community members, or citizens.”
- Digital Ethics and Privacy
Digital ethics and privacy is a growing concern for individuals, organizations, and governments, Gartner said. People are increasingly concerned about how their personal information is being used by organizations in both the public and private sector, and the backlash will only increase for organizations that are not proactively addressing these concerns.
- Quantum Computing
Gartner said the parallel execution and exponential scalability of quantum computers means they excel at solving problems too complex for a traditional approach or where a traditional algorithms would take too long to find a solution to a problem. Automotive, financial, insurance, pharmaceuticals, military, and research organizations have the most to gain from advancements in QC. “CIOs and IT leaders should start planning for QC by increasing understanding and how it can apply to real-world business problems. Learn while the technology is still in the emerging state. Identify real-world problems where QC has potential and consider the possible impact on security,” said Cearley. “But don’t believe the hype that it will revolutionize things in the next few years. Most organizations should learn about and monitor QC through 2022 and perhaps exploit it from 2023 or 2025.”
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