The Seven Emerging Technologies Critical to IT
One of the hardest things about evaluating emerging technologies is knowing which ones are truly revolutionary and which are merely hype. To capitalize on these changes, IT organizations must operate at top speed, automate early and often and develop new ways to spur innovation.
That’s the overarching message of Deloitte Consulting’s eighth annual “Tech Trends” report, a novella-length, 136-page study that examines emerging technologies and how enterprises can embrace them. Deloitte identifies seven tech trends that will have the biggest impact on IT. They are:
1. Dark Analytics
Tech and business leaders will begin experimenting with dark analytics over the next 18 to 24 months, meaning they’ll explore the largely untapped universe of unstructured data to glean insights that structured information won’t reveal. According to Deloitte, dark analytics focuses mostly on raw, unstructured text-based data that often includes documents, email, text messages, video, audio files and still images. Dark analytics also targets the deep web, including online content that isn’t indexed by search engines.
2. Machine Intelligence
This umbrella term encompasses multiple artificial-intelligence tools, including machine learning, deep learning, cognitive analytics and robotics process automation. Machine intelligence provides algorithmic capabilities to automate complex workloads, augment the activities of human workers and simulate human thinking and action via cognitive agents. One early example: A major U.S. research hospital is training its machine intelligence systems to analyze 10 billion phenotypic and genetic images stored in its database, Deloitte notes.
3. Mixed Reality
There’s plenty of buzz about augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and the Internet of Things (IoT). What happens when you meld the three together? Mixed reality (MR) — a controlled collision of AR, VR and IoT — is born, Deloitte notes. In a factory environment, MR technology may eventually lead to smart goggles with cameras and motion sensors that overlay assembly instructions and help train workers.
“If done correctly, mixed reality may open floodgates for transforming how tomorrow’s enterprises are built and operated,” the report states.
4. Inevitable Architecture
In Deloitte’s 2016 Global CIO Survey, nearly half of IT executives named simplifying IT infrastructure as a top priority. In addition, many IT leaders are unhappy with the performance, functionality and reliability of their legacy systems. Enter inevitable architecture, which includes numerous modernization advancements such as cloud services, automation, containers and virtualized platforms. These innovations can help businesses adjust to a competitive environment where time to market is critical and inefficient legacy technologies can negatively impact a company’s bottom line.
As more businesses reorient their products, offerings and processes as a collection of services, they need to revitalize their legacy IT assets — an often daunting task, but it’s one that can produce cost savings, increase efficiency and modernize the way a company operates. Everything-as-a-service (XaaS) will upend business and operational models within the next 18 to 24 months, predicts Deloitte, and create greater efficiencies to engage customers, employees and business partners in new ways.
This shared-ledger technology will grow out of its nascent connection to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and evolve into an expanded role as gatekeeper to the budding “trust economy.” In addition to establishing trust, blockchain makes it easier to exchange assets safely with other parties and, perhaps more importantly, deliver digital contracts efficiently. Its value is particularly significant in person-to-person transactions that rely on each party’s reputation and digital identity, which may be stored and managed in a blockchain, Deloitte notes.
7. Exponentials Watch List
As emerging technologies arrive, business and IT leaders are exploring ways to use them effectively. Exponentials are futuristic technologies — including nanoengineered materials, energy storage, synthetic biology and quantum optimization — that are closer to real-world implementation than one might expect. To stay competitive, businesses must be ready to adopt them.
“At a minimum, executives can begin contemplating how their organizations can embrace exponentials to drive innovation,” the report concludes.