Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018

| By TMA World

We are approaching the end of 2017 and now is the time for Top Ten lists. Gartner Inc., a leading technology research and advisory company, recently published its top strategic technology trends impacting organizations in 2018.

A strategic technology trend is one with substantial disruptive potential that is beginning to break out of an emerging state into broader impact and use.

Trends 1-3: Relate to how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are being integrated into almost everything.

Trends 4-7: Focus on blending the digital and physical worlds to create an immersive, digitally enhanced environment.

Trends 8-10: Look at exploiting the connections between an expanding set of people and businesses as well as devices, content and services to deliver digital business solutions.

The key lesson to be learned from these trends is that leadership and culture need to be transformed if the benefits are to be realized.

1. AI Becomes Foundational

Creating systems that learn, adapt, and potentially act autonomously, and enhance decision making, reinvent business models and ecosystems, and remake the customer experience.

Organizations will need to invest significantly in skills, processes and tools to exploit AI techniques and build AI enhanced systems.  Investment areas include data preparation, integration, algorithm and training methodology selection, and model creation.  Data scientists, developers and business process owners will need to work closely together.

2. Intelligent Apps and Analytics

Over the next few years, virtually every app, application and service will incorporate some level of AI that provides intelligence behind the scenes.  Intelligent apps create a new intelligent intermediary layer between people and systems and they have the potential to transform the nature of work and the structure of the workplace.  Intelligent apps are a way of augmenting human activity and not simply replacing people.

3. Intelligent Things

These are physical things that go beyond the execution of rigid programming models to exploit AI to deliver advanced behaviors and interact more naturally with their surroundings and people, e.g. autonomous vehicles, robots, and drones.  There will be enhanced capabilities to many existing things that connect consumer and industrial systems (Internet of Things).

4. Digital Twin

A digital twin refers to the digital representation of a real-world entity or system.  They have the potential to significantly improve enterprise decision making.  The twins are linked to their real-world counterparts, and are used to understand the state of a thing or system, respond to changes, improve operations, and add value.  City planners, digital marketers, healthcare professionals and industrial planners will all benefit from this digital twin world.

5. Cloud to the Edge

Edge computing enables information processing, and content collection and delivery to be placed closer to the sources of the information.  When used in a complementary way, the Cloud can create a service oriented model and a centralized control and coordination structure with edge being used as a delivery style allowing for disconnected or distributed process execution. 

6. Conversational Platforms

These will drive the next paradigm shift in how humans interact with the digital world.  The platform takes a question or command from the user and then responds by executing some function, presenting some content or asking for additional input.  

7. Immersive Experience

Virtual (VR), augmented (AR), and mixed reality (MR) are changing the way people perceive and interact with the digital world.  To derive the best business benefit from these technologies, organizations must examine real-life scenarios where they can be applied to make employees more productive and enhance the design, training and visualization processes.

MR is emerging as the immersive experience of choice.  It exists along a spectrum and includes head-mounted displays (HMDs) for augmented or virtual reality as well as smartphone and tablet-based AR and use of environmental sensors.

8. Blockchain

Blockchain is evolving from a digital currency infrastructure into a platform for digital transformation.  Blockchain technologies depart from current centralized transaction and record-keeping mechanisms.  Originally focused on financial services, blockchains have many applications including government, healthcare, manufacturing, media distribution, identity verification, title registry, and supply chain.   At present, the blockchain promise outstrips blockchain reality.

9. Event Driven

Central to digital business is the idea that the business is always sensing and ready to exploit new digital moments.  Event driven computing is a model in which programs perform work in response to triggering event.  Business events could be anything that is noted digitally, e.g. completion of a purchase order.

10. Continuous Adaptive Risk and Trust

Security is an integral part of the digital business equation.  Leaders must adopt a continuous adaptive risk and trust assessment approach (CARTA) to allow real-time, risk and trust-based decision making with adaptive responses.  Automated responses to risk-scored activity can reduce threats.  The security needs to be adaptive everywhere at the speed of digital business.  

Which trend are you most excited to see? Are any of these trends already a reality in your organization?

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