As organizations—large and small, new and old, technical and traditional—look toward the future, the best of the best are able to separate the passing fads from the must haves in the future. To help organizations better learn what they need to recognize and at least consider, Gartner releases annually its 10 Strategic Technology Trends.
Gartner defines a strategic technology trend as “one with the potential for significant impact on the organization.” Factors that denote significant impact include:
- A high potential for disruption to the business, end users, or IT
- The need for a major investment
- The risk of being late to adopt
Simply defined, backed by thousands of hours of analyst research, Gartner announced their findings during the sold-out Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, taking place in Orlando, FL from October 4-8.
But before we share with you those for 2016, let’s take a look back at previous predictions and how they impacted the industry at large.
|1.||Media Tablets and Beyond||Mobile Device Battles||Mobile Device Diversity and Management||Computing Everywhere|
|2.||Mobile-Centric Applications and Interfaces||Mobile Applications and HTML5||Mobile Apps and Applications||The Internet of Things|
|3.||Contextual and Social User Experience||Personal Cloud||The Internet of Everything||3D Printing|
|4.||Internet of Things||Enterprise App Stores||Hybrid Cloud and IT as Service Broker||Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible Analytics|
|5.||App Stores and Marketplaces||The Internet of Things||Cloud/Client Architecture||Context-Rich Systems|
|6.||Next-Generation Analytics||Hybrid IT and Cloud Computing||The Era of Personal Cloud||Smart Machines|
|7.||Big Data||Strategic Big Data||Software Defined Anything||Cloud/Client Computing|
|8.||In-Memory Computing||Actionable Analytics||Web-Scale IT||Software-Defined Applications and Infrastructure|
|9.||Extreme Low-Energy Servers||In Memory Computing||Smart Machines||Web-Scale IT|
|10.||Cloud Computing||Integrated Ecosystems||3-D Printing||Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection|
As you can see, many of these trends (Internet of Things, 3D Printing, Cloud Computing, Analytics and Big Data, etc.) make multiple appearances on the list, continue to make a vast impact on businesses, and look to do so in the future as well.
As we look toward 2016 (and the strategic impact these decisions will have in 2020 and beyond), the latest predictions take many of the earlier predictions and build around them (3D Printing Materials, Internet of Things Platforms), as well as introducing instrumental new concepts.
“Gartner’s top 10 strategic technology trends will shape digital business opportunities through 2020,” said David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow. “The first three trends address merging the physical and virtual worlds and the emergence of the digital mesh. While organizations focus on digital business today, algorithmic business is emerging. Algorithms — relationships and interconnections — define the future of business. In algorithmic business, much happens in the background in which people are not directly involved. This is enabled by smart machines, which our next three trends address. Our final four trends address the new IT reality, the new architecture and platform trends needed to support digital and algorithmic business.”
Top Ten Strategic Technology Trends for 2016
- The Device Mesh: An expanding set of endpoints people use to access applications and information or interact with people, social communities, governments and businesses. The device mesh includes mobile devices, wearable, consumer and home electronic devices, automotive devices and environmental devices — such as sensors in the Internet of Things(IoT).
- Ambient User Experience: Immersive environments delivering augmented and virtual reality hold significant potential but are only one aspect of the experience. The ambient user experience preserves continuity across boundaries of device mesh, time and space. The experience seamlessly flows across a shifting set of devices and interaction channels blending physical, virtual and electronic environment as the user moves from one place to another.
- 3D Printing Materials: Advances in 3D printing have already enabled 3D printing to use a wide range of materials, including advanced nickel alloys, carbon fiber, glass, conductive ink, electronics, pharmaceuticals and biological materials. These innovations are driving user demand, as the practical applications for 3D printers expand to more sectors, including aerospace, medical, automotive, energy and the military. The growing range of 3D-printable materials will drive a compound annual growth rate of 64.1 percent for enterprise 3D-printer shipments through 2019. These advances will necessitate a rethinking of assembly line and supply chain processes to exploit 3D printing.
- Information of Everything: Information has always existed everywhere but has often been isolated, incomplete, unavailable or unintelligible. Advances in semantic tools such as graph databases as well as other emerging data classification and information analysis techniques will bring meaning to the often chaotic deluge of information.
- Advanced Machine Learning: In advanced machine learning, deep neural nets (DNNs) move beyond classic computing and information management to create systems that can autonomously learn to perceive the world, on their own. The explosion of data sources and complexity of information makes manual classification and analysis infeasible and uneconomic. DNNs automate these tasks and make it possible to address key challenges related to the information of everything trend.
- Autonomous Agents and Things: Machine learning gives rise to a spectrum of smart machine implementations — including robots, autonomous vehicles, virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and smart advisors — that act in an autonomous (or at least semiautonomous) manner. The emerging notion of assistance feeds into the ambient user experience in which an autonomous agent becomes the main user interface. Instead of interacting with menus, forms and buttons on a smartphone, the user speaks to an app, which is really an intelligent agent.
- Adaptive Security Architecture: Relying on perimeter defense and rule-based security is inadequate, especially as organizations exploit more cloud-based services and open APIs for customers and partners to integrate with their systems. IT leaders must focus on detecting and responding to threats, as well as more traditional blocking and other measures to prevent attacks.
- Advanced System Architecture: The digital mesh and smart machines require intense computing architecture demands to make them viable for organizations. Providing this required boost are high-powered and ultraefficient neuromorphic architectures.
- Mesh App and Service Architecture: Monolithic, linear application designs (e.g., the three-tier architecture) are giving way to a more loosely coupled integrative approach: the apps and services architecture. Enabled by software-defined application services, this new approach enables Web-scale performance, flexibility and agility.
- Internet of Things Platforms: IoT platforms complement the mesh app and service architecture. The management, security, integration and other technologies and standards of the IoT platform are the base set of capabilities for building, managing and securing elements in the IoT. IoT platforms constitute the work IT does behind the scenes from an architectural and a technology standpoint to make the IoT a reality. The IoT is an integral part of the digital mesh and ambient user experience and the emerging and dynamic world of IoT platforms is what makes them possible.
For the full release, including quotes from Gartner analysts, click here: 2016 Strategic Technology Trends.
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