Analysts from the global research organisation, Gartner have outlined the top tech trends they expect to see in 2019. These top strategic tech trends centre on the entwining of people, devices, content and services, which they describe as the ‘intelligent digital mesh’.
Welcome to the new age, where the virtual, digital and real-world come together to create a new digital reality.
Trend #1 – Immersive Experiences
Immersive experiences are poised to change the way people perceive the digital world. VR, AR, and MR will be thought of as a multichannel and multimodal experience, encompassing wearables, automobiles, and consumer appliances, as opposed to just individual devices such as headsets.
Immersive experiences will also start stimulating a greater range of both human senses, such as heat, humidity, and radar, as well as computer senses.
This multi-experience environment will create an ambient experience in which the spaces that surround us define ‘the computer’ rather than the individual devices. In effect, the environment is the computer.
Trend #2 – Autonomous Things
Gartner have predicted that in 2019, we’ll begin to see a shift from stand-alone intelligent things to a swarm of collaborative intelligent things, with multiple devices working together. This could include robots, drones and autonomous vehicles – all of which will use AI to more effectively and naturally interact with people and their surrounding environments.
This could be very big news for the delivery market, with autonomous vehicles and robots already being part of trials to transport food, parcels, and even medical services.
Trend #3 – Smart Spaces
Over the past 12 months, we’ve been talking about smart buildings a lot. We define a smart building, or smart space as a physical or digital environment in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact in increasingly open, connected, coordinated and intelligent ecosystems.
As technology becomes a more integrated part of daily life, smart spaces will enter a period of accelerated delivery. Other trends such as AI-driven technology, edge computing, blockchain and digital twins are driving toward this trend as individual solutions become smart spaces.
According to Gartner, smart spaces are evolving alongside five key dimensions: openness, connectedness, coordination, intelligence and scope. Essentially this means smart spaces are developing as individual technologies emerge from silos to work together to create a collaborative and interaction environment. The most extensive example of smart spaces is smart cities, where areas that combine business, residential and industrial communities are being designed using intelligent urban ecosystem frameworks, with all sectors linking to social and community collaboration.
Trend #4 – Digital Twins
This is one we’ve been hearing of a lot recently. A digital twin is exactly as the name suggests: a digital copy of a real-life system or entity. Gartner believes that by 2020, there will be more than 20 billion connected sensors and endpoints and digital twins will potentially exist for around a billion things.
But beyond just the IoT, Gartner believes that organisations will begin implementing digital twins, evolving them over time until they can respond to business objectives.
Digital twins of organisations (DTOs) will help drive efficiencies in business processes, and create more “flexible, dynamic, and responsive processes” that can potentially react to changing conditions automatically. In other words, a digital twin of your office could alert you of a leaking bathroom tap or a printer paper jam.
Trend #5 – Empowered edge
Edge computing is a topology where information processing and content collection and delivery are placed closer to the sources of the information, with the idea that keeping traffic local will reduce latency. Currently, much of the focus of this technology is a result of the need for IoT systems to deliver disconnected or distributed capabilities into the embedded IoT world. This type of topology will address challenges ranging from high WAN costs and unacceptable levels of latency. Further, it will enable the specifics of digital business and IT solutions.
Trend #6 – Blockchain
Gartner has previously had some fairly strong words for the current state of blockchain concepts and technologies, calling them “immature”, “unproven”, and “poorly understood”. It goes even further to say that many of the current blockchain initiatives do not implement all of the attributes of blockchain, calling them simply “blockchain-inspired” solutions.
Organisations who use these should understand their limitations and that some business outcomes may be achieved with better use of existing non-blockchain tech. Basically, we’re all jumping on the blockchain bandwagon too soon.
However, CIOs and IT leaders should at least begin considering implementation of it, even if they don’t aggressively adopt the technology in the next few years, to help enable trust and transparency, reduce friction across ecosystems, and improve cash flow.
These are just a handful of tech trends Gartner insists you can’t afford to ignore. To view the full list of their technology predictions for 2019, view the video below.