I have known Gartner for decades during my IBM and Oracle days. Even though I have observed how they invent new terms to stuff we already know (a bit annoying, but I guess that’s their business), they do a decent job in capturing key strategic trends.
In a recent article, I saw ten strategic technology trends and this is how they are grouped: the first 3 address merging the physical and the virtual worlds and the emergence of the digital mesh (their new phrase); The next 3 trends cover the algorithmic business, where much happens in the background in which people are not directly involved; the final 4 trends address the new architecture and platform trends needed to support the digital and algorithmic business.
The first 3 trends:
- The Device Mesh – In the postmobile world the focus shifts to the mobile user who is surrounded by a mesh of devices, each with an IP address always communicating.
- Ambient User Experience – Seamless flow of experience across a shifting set of devices. Think of shifting from IoT, to automobiles, smartphones, etc.
- 3D Printing Materials – This will necessitate the assembly line and supply chain processes to exploit 3D printing.
The next 3 trends:
- Information of Everything – This information goes beyond textual, audio and video and includes sensory and contextual stuff.How do you bring meaning to a chaotic deluge of information? Much work is needed here.
- Advanced Machine Learning – Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) go beyond classic computing and information management to create systems that can autonomously learn to perceive the world on their own. DNNs (an advanced form of machine learning applicable to large complex datasets) will make smart machines “intelligent”.
- Autonomous Agents & Things – Like robots, autonomous vehicles, virtual personal assistants and smart advisors.
The final 4 trends:
- Adaptive Security Architecture – how to combat the hacker industry beyond the perimeter defense and rule-based security?
- Advanced Systems Architecture – this is what Gartner said, “Fueled by field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) as an underlying technology for neuromorphic architectures, there are significant gains such as being able to run at speeds of greater than a teraflop with high-energy efficiency”.
- Mesh App and Service Architecture – Monolithic, linear application designs like the 3-tier architecture are giving way to loosely coupled integrative approach. Containers(e.g. Docker) are emerging as a critical technology for enabling agile development and microservice architectures. What is needed is a back-end cloud scalability and front-end device mesh experience.
- Internet of Things Platforms – The management, security, integration plus standards are needed for the IoT platform to succeed.
These are all known areas, but I liked the way Gartner grouped them in a logical sequence.