Gartner Identifies Three Emerging Technologies Driving the Digital Economy

By: Jeff Bertolucci| - Leave a comment

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A trio of emerging technologies will allow digital businesses to flourish in the next five to 10 years; these “megatrends” will live up to their hype by helping senior business and IT leaders respond to new opportunities, according to recent research from Gartner.

In the latest Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report, Gartner identifies the three megatrends:

  • Artificial intelligence everywhere
  • Transparently immersive experiences
  • Digital platforms

It’s essential for innovation-focused business leaders to evaluate these emerging trends and technologies and to be aware of their potential market impact, Gartner notes.

AI Everywhere

AI will be the most disruptive group of technologies over the next decade, thanks in part to dramatic increases in computational power, significant advances in deep neural networks and growing stockpiles of data that will soon be too large for conventional engineering solutions to process.

For instance, machine learning, one of the hottest concepts in AI, shows great potential to do jobs more efficiently — and at a lower cost — than human workers. By providing the ability to extract patterns and insights from a series of observations, machine learning can greatly benefit myriad industries ranging from drug research to supply chain, the Gartner report finds.

Transparently Immersive Experiences

The consumer potential of augmented reality typically gets more attention than industrial-focused AR, but the latter may represent a larger market in the long term. According to IDC analyst Ramon Llamas, enterprise use of AR and virtual reality shows great promise across multiple verticals, including retail store improvements and sales growth, product prototyping and new feature development.

“For example, instead of a relying on printed paper or separate screens, AR could overlay a maintenance schematic on a broken lamp post,” writes Gartner contributor Kasey Panetta.

But AR is just one of many ways enterprises can introduce transparency between businesses, people and things. These immersive experiences could take a variety of forms, including AR and VR, digital workspaces, computer-brain interface, connected homes, nanotube electronics and even 4-D printing, where printed objects can actually reshape themselves or self-assemble over time.

Digital Platforms

The third megatrend, digital platforms, refers to the underlying structure that makes transformative technologies possible. CIOs and IT leaders will play a major role in developing innovative platforms — such as the Internet of Things, quantum computing and blockchain — that offer the potential to change human society as we know it.

“Your new digital platform will allow you to participate in the evolving world of business, government and consumer ecosystems because ecosystems are the next evolution for digital. It’s how you compete at scale,” said Gartner analyst Peter Sondergaard in an October 2016 presentation at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo.

Emerging Technologies and Societal Concerns

Technology megatrends could foster worrisome developments, however. Human augmentation, for instance, one of Gartner’s transparently immersive experiences, raises serious ethical and legal issues, such as the potential abuses of requiring employees to have chip implants before going to work, the research firm notes.

Despite these concerns, however, forward-looking enterprises must embrace technological megatrends to stay ahead of the competition.

“In addition to the potential impact on businesses, these trends provide a significant opportunity for enterprise architecture leaders to help senior business and IT leaders respond to digital business opportunities and threats by creating signature-ready actionable and diagnostic deliverables that guide investment decisions,” Gartner research director Mike J. Walker said in a statement.

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About The Author

Jeff Bertolucci

News Writer

Jeff Bertolucci is a Los Angeles-based journalist specializing in technology, digital media, and education. His work has appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance, InformationWeek, PCWorld, Macworld, The Saturday Evening Post, The Los Angeles Times and many other publications.