The ten key technologies of 2017, according to Gartner, the American research and advisory firm providing IT-related insight, revolve around what is called intelligent digital mesh. This mesh is a mix of people, things and services enabled by digital technology, a network of pervasive and widespread intelligence in which technologies can evolve and include sophisticated machine learning and AI solutions, create programmable physical and software-based systems that can learn and adapt – a scenario in which physical and digital worlds converge and are increasingly interconnected.
Artificial intelligence. Thanks to the developments in machine learning, artificial intelligence devices will be equipped with extensive parallel processing power, will be able to make use of advanced algorithms and have access to massive data sets to feed the algorithms. AI and machine learning are in fact based on a set of highly sophisticated technologies that enable computers to autonomously learn new information. Systems can learn and change future behavior, leading to the creation of more intelligent devices and programs.
Intelligent apps. Virtual personal assistants like Siri and Google Assistant represent the best known example of intelligent apps. Besides software like these, that serve users and directly respond to their needs, in the future the main areas of application of intelligent apps will be the analysis of advanced data, business processes and immersive interfaces.
Intelligent things. New intelligent things generally fall into three categories: robots, drones and autonomous vehicles. Each of these areas will evolve to impact a larger segment of the market and support a new phase of digital business but these represent only one facet of intelligent things. Existing things including IoT devices will become intelligent things delivering the power of AI enabled systems everywhere including the home, office, factory floor, and medical facility.
Virtual and augmented reality. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) transform the way individuals interact with each other and with software systems creating an immersive environment. Over time AR and VR expand beyond visual immersion to include all human senses. Enterprises should look for targeted applications of VR and AR through 2020.
Digital twins. Within three to five years, billions of things will be represented by digital twins, a dynamic software model of a physical thing or system. Using physics data on how the components of a thing operate and respond to the environment as well as data provided by sensors in the physical world, a digital twin can be used to analyze and simulate real world conditions, responds to changes, improve operations and add value.
Blockchain. Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger in which value exchange transactions (in bitcoin or other token) are sequentially grouped into blocks. Blockchain and distributed-ledger concepts are gaining traction because they hold the promise of transforming industry operating models in industries such as music distribution, identify verification and title registry. They promise a model to add trust to untrusted environments and reduce business friction by providing transparent access to the information in the chain.
Mesh App and Service Architcture. The intelligent digital mesh will require changes to the architecture, technology and tools used to develop solutions. The mesh app and service architecture (MASA) is a multichannel solution architecture that leverages cloud and serverless computing, containers and microservices as well as APIs and events to deliver modular, flexible and dynamic solutions. Solutions ultimately support multiple users in multiple roles using multiple devices and communicating over multiple networks.
Conversational systems. Today, man-computer communication interfaces still focus on textual or voice commands in which the user must adapt to the language of the device (PC, smartphone, tablet). Conversational systems, on the contrary, shift from a model where people adapt to computers to one where the computer “hears” and adapts to a person’s desired outcome. Conversational systems do not use text/voice as the exclusive interface but enable people and machines to use multiple modalities (e.g., sight, sound, tactile, etc.) to communicate across the digital device mesh (e.g., sensors, appliances, IoT systems).
Digital platforms. Digital technology platforms are the building blocks for a digital business and are necessary to break into digital. Gartner identifies five of them: information systems, customer experience, analytics and intelligence, IoT and business ecosystems.
Adaptive security architecture. The evolution of the intelligent digital mesh and digital technology platforms and application architectures means that security has to become fluid and adaptive. Security in the IoT environment is particularly challenging. Security teams need to work with application, solution and enterprise architects to consider security early in the design of applications or IoT solutions.
Source: Technopolis, Gartner
Cover Photo by Gartner