While many of us might still not believe it, but sadly(or should we say gladly) the year 2016 is coming to a close and the year 2017 is just a month and half away from us. This has got the technology world thinking about what the immediate future i.e. the year 2017 holds for the tech world. In order to provide us a little direction, Gartner’s Vice President and a Gartner fellow himself David Cearley has come up with top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for the year 2017. Mesh, intelligent and digital-are the three main themes that forms the basis of Cearley’s list, which he announced at the recently held Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2016 in Orlando, Florida.
In the layman terms, it can be said that mesh basically refers to a dynamic connection of processes, things, people and services that support intelligent digital ecosystems. This means, as mesh as a technology grows, the experience of the user also changes at the fundamental level, and hence, its supporting technology and security platforms and architectures should undergo a change as well.
Trend 1: Conversational Systems
These systems can go from the simple bidirectional, informal text to voice conversations such as a reply to “What day of is today?” to more difficult interactions such as collecting an oral testimony from someone involved in a criminal case. These systems have led to a model shift from people adapting to their computers in the past to the one where the computer hears and adapts to a person. Instead of just using voice/text as interface, these conversational systems allow machine and people to use a number of other modalities such as sound, sight etc. to interact across the digital device mesh such as IoT systems, sensors and appliances etc.
Trend 2: Digital Technology Platforms
It is not a secret anymore that digital technology platforms are so vital for the success of a digital business that they are often described as their building blocks. In fact, nowadays they’re considered almost necessary in order to break into the digital world. Ideally, every digital business will have a mix of five digital technology platforms: business ecosystems, Information systems, the Internet of Things, customer experience, and analytics and intelligence. Till the year 2020, new services and platforms for conversational systems, IoT and AI will remain at the centerstage. There is a need for the companies to identify and evaluate how the industry platforms are evolving with time so as to effectively plan for ways to evolve their own digital platforms in order to meet the growing challenges of the digital business world.
Trend 3: Mesh App and Service Architecture (MASA)
The year 2017 would witness important changes being made to the tools, technology and architecture currently being used in the intelligent digital mesh to develop effective solutions. The MASA can be best described as a multichannel solution architecture that make use of cloud and serverless computing, microservices and containers as well as APIs and events so as to deliver dynamic, modular and flexible solutions. These solutions eventually end up supporting multiple users in multiple roles by making use of multiple devices and communicating with over multiple networks. It is important to note that MASA is still a long term architectural shift that needs substantial changes to be made to development tooling and best practices.
Trend 4: Adaptive Security Architecture
With the rapid growth of digital technology platforms, application architectures and intelligent digital mesh, there is an urgent need for security to become more fluid and easily adaptive. As we have discussed several times on IndianWeb2, security in the IoT environment posses a very difficult challenge. There is a need for security teams to work effectively with enterprise, application and solutions architects so as to tackle the important topic of security in the initial phase of the designing of the applications and IoT solutions. The year might see multilayered security and use of user and entity behaviour analytics becoming a necessity for almost every company.
It is safe to say that the year 2016 saw artificial intelligence and machine learning reaching a critical tipping point. From now on, they will increasingly augment and extend virtually every technology enabled application, service, or thing. Further, till the year 2020, creating intelligent systems that will have the potential to learn, adapt and even act autonomously rather than only being able to successfully execute predefined instructions will remain a primary battleground for all technology vendors all around the world.
Trend 5: Intelligent Things
Autonomous vehicles, drones and robots are three main categories into which the new intelligent things can be easily categorised into. The year ahead would witness all these three areas growing to have an impact on a larger segment of the market and extending support to a new phase of the digital business.
While in the above paragraph we talked about new intelligent things, let’s also have a look at the existing things like the IoT devices. The year would see them becoming intelligent things as they will be soon be able to deliver the great power of artificial intelligence enabled systems everywhere. This includes medical facility, home, office and factory floor.
As intelligent things grow on the evolution and popularity charts, they will in all likelihood witness a shift from a stand-alone model to a collaborative model one in which intelligent things would be capable of communicating with one another and act in coherence to get tasks done. However, in certain scenarios, issues such as privacy and liability, along with the difficulty of creating highly specialised assistants might slow down embedded intelligence.
Trend 6: AI & Advanced Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, which currently already includes technologies such as natural-language processing, deep learning, and neural networks, could soon encompass more advanced systems that will be able to learn, understand, predict, adapt and potentially even function autonomously. Systems could learn and change future behaviour, and end up creating more intelligent devices and programs. This new era has been unleashed by a combination of advanced algorithms, extensive parallel processing power, and massive data sets to feed the algorithms.
The banking sector could see AI and machine-learning techniques being used to model current real-time transactions, as well as predictive models of transactions based in the likelihood of them being fraudulent. Organisations which are looking to drive digital innovation with this particular trend will have to evaluate different business scenarios in which AI and machine learning will be successfully able to drive in clear and specific business value.
Trend 7: Intelligent Apps
Intelligent apps, which also include technologies such as virtual personal assistants, maybe soon be able to completely transform the workplace by making its users more effective and everyday tasks much easier than before. However, these new intelligent apps are no longer limited to just new digital assistants. The future could see almost every existing software category right from enterprise apps to security tooling getting infused with artificial intelligence enabled capabilities.
According to Gartner, technology providers will be making use of Artificial Intelligence to focus on three main areas — AI-powered and increasingly autonomous business processes, advanced analytics, and AI-powered conversational, continuous and immersive interfaces.
Gartner hopes that by the year 2018,
most of the world’s largest 200 companies will be able to effectively make use of intelligent apps and fully utilise the toolkit of big data and analytics tools so as to improve their customer experience and refine their offers.
The lines between the physical and digital world is getting thinner by the day and giving birth to a number of new opportunities for digital businesses.
Trend 8: Digital Twin
According to Gartner, in a time of another 3-5 years, the world would see about a billions of things being represented by digital twins, which is a dynamic software model of a physical system or thing. By making use of physics data on how the components of a thing are operating and responding to the environment as well as the sensors provided data in the physical world, a digital twin can be be put to evaluate and simulate real world conditions, add value, improve operations and add responds to changes. These digital twins work as proxies for the combination of traditional monitoring devices and controls and skilled individuals. In order for them to proliferate, there is a dire need for a cultural change, as those who truly understand the need of real-world things only join hands with IT professionals and data scientists.
Trend 9: Blockchain
A blockchain is basically an anonymous online ledger that makes use of a data structure to make the process of transaction an easier and simpler process. It provides users the ability to manipulate the ledger in a safe way without seeking the support of a third party.
While a bank’s ledger has connections to a centralised network, a blockchain is anonymous as it helps in protecting the identities of the users. This is what makes the technology of blockchain a safer way to carry out transactions than any other existing processes.
While a number of blockchain initiatives have been launched this year, a majority of them are in their alpha or beta stages, which means the technology has significant challenges to face in the future.
Trend 10: Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
In an interview earlier in the year, Tim Cook had said, “There’s virtual reality and there’s augmented reality – both of these are incredibly interesting. But my own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far.”
VR and AR have greatly transformed the way in which individuals interact with each other and with software systems by creating an environment which is almost completely immersive. VR can be employed during remote experiences and training scenarios. AR, on the other hand, has great potential in the business world as it can be used to overlay graphics onto realworld objects. In the future, we could see VR and AR growing beyond this visual immersion so as to include all the other human senses as well.
[Top Image – Shutterstock]