Research and Advisory firm, Gartner Group has announced its Top 10 Strategic Technology Predictions for the year ahead. This annual announcement is always eagerly anticipated by businesses and the technology industry alike. So, we at Exception are delighted to share what 2019 has in store.
Gartner define “strategic” as the technologies that will have significant disruptive potential over the next five years. As with last year’s predictions, the ten trends have been broken down into three main categories, Intelligent, Digital and Mesh* Technologies.
- Intelligent: How Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in virtually every existing technology, and creating entirely new categories.
- Digital: Blending the digital and physical worlds to create an immersive world.
- Mesh: Exploiting connections between expanding sets of people, businesses, devices, content and services.
Category 1 – Intelligent Technologies
Autonomous things are defined by Gartner as things that “use AI to perform tasks traditionally done by humans.” The level of complexity can differ considerably depending on the application. Gartner foresee AI being used to drive new capabilities in hardware & software systems. Five categories of autonomous things have been identified; Robotics, Vehicles, Drones, Appliances & Agents. They all operate with varying degrees of capability, coordination and intelligence across four environments: Sea, land, air & digital. Their automation goes beyond that provided by rigid programming models and they exploit artificial intelligence to deliver advanced behaviours that interact more naturally with their surroundings and with people.
Augmented analytics uses machine learning to revolutionise how data analytics content is developed consumed and shared. 2019 will see an increase in automated insights from augmented analytics being adopted across the main business functions — for example HR, finance, sales and marketing departments — to optimize the decisions and actions of all employees within their context, not just those of analysts and data scientists.
In contrast to Gartner’s 2018 predictions, there is an increased focus on intelligent analytics making data and insights more palatable for the less experienced user. There is reduced focus on growing the capabilities of the professional data scientist. Through 2020, the number of citizen data scientists is predicted to grow five times faster than professional data scientists.
- Intelligence: There is a growing need for data science to play an integral part in the professional development community. However, with the limited number of data scientists on the market (as stated earlier), there has been a considerable increase in the number of AI tools available for developers to use when building an application, without involvement of a professional data scientist.
- Speed: With the rising availability of tools to build AI-powered solutions and the ability to automate tasks, the lead-time to build intelligent solutions could be cut drastically.
- Business Focussed: There is a visible proliferation of the adoption of AI-enabled tools within the greater business domain, not simply in application development. Gartner predict that automating activities for non-professional data scientists will lead to improved business solution designs.
“By 2022, at least 40 percent of new application development projects will have AI co-developers on their team.” says David Cearley, Gartner vice president.
Category 2 – Digital Technologies
The first of the returning trends from last year’s predictions – Digital Twins. The term refers to the digital representation of physical objects, and for more than 30 years, product and process engineering teams have used 3D renderings of computer-aided design (CAD) models, asset models and process simulations to ensure and validate manufacturability. NASA, for example, has run complex simulations of spacecraft for decades. Using data provided by sensors, a digital twin understands its state, responds to changes, improves operations and adds value. With the ability to monitor real-world assets in real-time via digital representations can make huge maintenance and repairs savings.
This year Gartner explains the 4 ways in which 2019’s predictions differ to the previous year’s:
- The robustness of the models, with a focus on how they support specific business outcomes
- The link to the real world, potentially in real time for monitoring and control
- The application of advanced big data analytics and AI to drive new business opportunities
- The ability to interact with them and evaluate “what if” scenarios
This trend has evolved since last year’s entry of “Edge Computing” and moved a step further. Edge computing is the method of optimising cloud computing systems by performing data processing at the edge of the network, near the source of the data. Gartner predicts that through 2028, there will be a steady increase in the embedding of sensors, storage and advanced AI capabilities in edge devices. In general, intelligence will move toward the edge in a variety of endpoint devices, from industrial devices to smartphones to automobile power generators.
Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) sectors are all projected to skyrocket over the next five years. 2019 will witness an increase in successful AR prototype projects maturing into full production based on proving commercial validity and ROI. Gartner predict that by 2022, 70% of enterprises will be experimenting
with immersive technologies for consumer and enterprise use, and 25% will have deployed to production. 2019 is poised to witness a mainstream tipping point for augmented reality technology. Michael Romilly, CEO of Mozenix, one of the UK’s hottest AR agencies says:
“AR technology leverages untapped value by using the smartphone’s camera to create new immersive experiences and solve complex process efficiency challenges.
“It’s a great time for innovative companies to be investing in these types of projects, as the rewards for early adopters in certain sectors can be significant.”
Category 3 – Mesh*
There couldn’t be a list of emerging technologies without including Blockchain. The technology behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin & Ethereum is a shared, distributed and decentralized ledger which alleviates many of the complications attributed to sharing data simply and securely. Exception, continues to identify this as an extremely exciting technology and has invested in one of the UK’s leading blockchain companies, Wallet.Services. Gartner express that the technology “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.”
A smart space is defined by Gartner as a physical or digital environment in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact in increasingly open, connected, coordinated and intelligent ecosystems. Advanced digital workplaces, smart homes and connected factories are predicted to provide the environments with an unprecedented level of integration and connectivity amongst devices and systems. Our IoT partners (Waracle) have identified Disney’s use of the ‘MagicBand’ which acts as a smart, wearable bracelet for customers, as an example of how these advances work for both customers & the implementing organisation. The Magic Band helps guests to store tickets, credit and debit card information, hotel room keys and can be used anywhere across the resort via a series of intelligent, connected sensors. However, the data generated by the bands has allowed Disney to gain valuable insight on how to monitor & direct traffic through the resort and acquiring customer spending habits & behaviours.
Category 4 – Applicable to Intelligent, Digital & Mesh.
Digital Ethics and Privacy
As Uncle Ben from Marvel’s Spiderman comic once stated: “With great power comes great responsibility.” The sentiment is also pertinent to the great minds shaping the most advanced Artificial Intelligence systems to date. Ethical decision making is crucial in the world of emerging technology and poses the question “Just because we can, should we?” In addition, consumers are growingly concerned with the use of their personal data. 2018 saw multiple high-profile data breaches and also saw one of the most public fallouts with the US Army. Data from exercise tracking app Strava allowed routes shared online by soldiers to be used to pinpoint overseas facilities as it was publicly available. As advances continue so must the appetite to protect security, privacy & ethical decision making.
Quantum computing (QC) is a type of nonclassical computing based on the quantum theory most familiar in the field of physics. The theory explains the nature & behaviour of energy & matter on an atomic and subatomic level. This relates to quantum computing due to the ability to perform multiple tasks and the enormous processing power. Rather than analysing 1,000,000 documents in a traditional linear fashion, all 1,000,000 documents ca be analysed at the same time. The parallel execution and exponential scalability of quantum computers means they excel with problems too complex for a traditional approach or where a traditional algorithms would take too long to find a solution. Gartner identifies the fields of Chemistry & Material Science to reap the benefits of this trend.
Gartner urges the market to be patient with QC: “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.”
If your objective is managing innovation, transforming your business with digital technologies, minimising complexity or developing new mobile or web apps, our consultants can help design and deliver the appropriate solutions. Contact Exception today to see how we can help.
By Gregor Cunningham – Marketing Communications Officer
*Mesh refers to the dynamic connection of people, processes, things and services supporting intelligent digital ecosystems.Back to articles