Gartner Top 7 Strategic Technologies to Power Entrepreneurs in 2017

Every year, companies try to predict what technologies will dominate the market and do their best to adjust their business models accordingly. As with any other industry, the IT sector has its own analysts and research companies that everyone looks to when it’s time to release predictions about industry trends. At Yalantis, we monitor tech trends and news within the IT community, so today we’ve decided to take a closer look at the report recently published by Gartner Inc., one of the best technology research and advisory companies in the word.

Gartner talks about distinct technology trends, such as virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, and blockchain architecture, and also about phenomena that are a mixture of these technologies – Gartner refers to these as “Mesh.” For instance, the digital device mesh refers to how sensors, appliances, and IoT systems interact with each other.

In our article we are primarily focusing on seven separate trends Gartner singled out in their report: AI and advanced machine learning, intelligent apps, intelligent things, virtual and augmented reality, digital twins, blockchains, and adaptive security architecture.

Gartner tech trends for 2017

[Image source: SlideShare]

What are top technology trends for 2017?

AI & Advanced Machine Learning

The terms artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning usually refer to a set of technologies including deep learning and artificial neural networks. Machine learning helps process large amounts of data and identify patterns that can easily escape people’s attention. As a result, AI-powered technologies help minimize human error and improve the work of various professionals.

But what does AI and machine learning actually offer for businesses? How will we be using artificial intelligence and machine learning in the near future?

What does Gartner predict?

Machine learning will be used:

  • For providing better customer service and retention in retail

  • For modeling and making predictions in scientific research

  • For managing financial assets (for instance, creating investment portfolios and minimize risks)

In 2015–2016, four major industries that were actively implementing AI-related software: healthcare, advertising and marketing, security, and business intelligence.

It’s reasonably safe to assume that this trend will continue in 2017.

Intelligent Apps

“Intelligent apps” is an umbrella term that includes virtual personal assistants (VPA) and AI-powered autonomous solutions that can gather and process large amounts of data.

What does Gartner predict?  

Within two years, the majority of truly big companies will be using intelligent apps to improve their business processes.

Already today, intelligent apps serve internet communities in multiple ways – from curating content on websites to blocking suspicious online behaviour. AI technology is used by dating apps to filter out nudity and by security agencies to prevent people from selling firearms online.

Intelligent apps can block users with suspicious behaviour or prevent them from placing a listing on an online marketplace.

Virtual personal assistants can manage a number of tasks including scheduling meetings, managing emails, and booking hotels and tickets for business trips.

VPA and AI

Intelligent Things

Robots, drones, and autonomous vehicles are commonly called intelligent ‘things’; smart security cameras, smart lights, and smart heating systems are other examples of intelligent things that are part of the IoT.

What does Gartner predict?

At initial stages of IoT development, we mostly saw standalone gadgets, but now there’s a growing trend that combines individual gadgets into smart environments where they all interact with each other and are controlled with the help of one central device – like Amazon Echo and Google Home.

AI devices are predicted to be used for more often for business purposes in the near future, particularly in the medical field. DeepMind gives us a glimpse of how AI might be helpful in clinical settings: since Amazon purchased DeepMind in 2014, they’ve been working on making this AI help doctors diagnose cancer.

Smart sensors and various wearable medical devices have so far mostly performed supplementary functions, but it’s likely that within the next ten to fifteen years they’ll become more independent and expand their capabilities.

Already today it is clear that bigger advances in complex AI technologies – including drones,  autonomous vehicles, and ‘smart’ medical devices – will have to deal with numerous legal and regulatory problems before they can really become ubiquitous.

Virtual & Augmented Reality

As we’ve mentioned previously, multiple industries – travel, entertainment, education, transportation, and healthcare – put virtual and augmented reality to use in different ways.

What does Gartner predict?

According to Gartner, augmented reality technologies will increasingly allow us to combine imaginary and physical worlds. Projects like Microsoft Hololens are meant to create holographic computers that can engage users with digital content that can be used for education, work, or entertainment.

Some projects involving augmented reality rely on head-mounted displays (like Oculus Rift), whereas others (like Project Tango) want to move this technology to the point where all a user needs is a mobile phone. Gartner predicts that virtual and augmented reality technology will continue to be primarily be used in several niches, and won’t take over the market.

Digital Twins

The term ‘digital twin’ describes a dynamic software model that represents a physical object or a system of objects. Working with digital twins requires close cooperation among IT specialists – particularly data scientists – and technicians who are skilled in a particular field.

What does Gartner predict?

According to Gartner, digitals twins are the future of simulators and have enormous potential for changing how we simulate, analyze, and control highly complex processes and mechanisms. Digital twins will allow scientists to use data retrieved from real sensors together with computer models. Digital twins can help institutions like NASA with their research, and may shape a new different approach to scientific experiments.

Digital twins might trigger a new revolution in manufacturing as well - it’s much more efficient if your production line is only assembled when its digital twin has proven that it will operate faultlessly.

Digital twins are capable of providing a whole new level of productivity for various industries. Power plants are just one further example of an enterprise that can significantly benefit from digital twin technologies.

Blockchains

The term ‘blockchain’ came from bitcoin terminology, where it means a database (a ledger) of all Bitcoin transactions. The Bitcoin blockchain is constantly growing with the addition of new information about new transactions. Computers of clients who are validating and relaying transactions serve as separate nodes in the system. The blockchain is often seen as the main innovation of Bitcoin, because it serves as a proof of all the transactions within the network.

As such, it’s one of those interesting cases when a technology that powers a particular innovation has proven to be much more fruitful than the innovation itself.

Whereas Bitcoin has miles to go before becoming a mainstream currency (and in all likelihood, that will never happen), the concept of the blockchain – as a secure and efficient way for storing data – has found multiple other uses in identity verification, copyright preservation, and other fields.

How Blockchain works

[Image source: Thomson Reuters Blog]

What does Gartner predict?

Gartner suggests that introducing blockchain technology to add trust to potentially unsafe environments will help many businesses. More and more companies will likely offer blockchain solutions for enterprise, whereas others will focus on providing individuals with secure IDs that can’t be taken away from them.

There’s a lot of interest in blockchain technology these days, but the majority of existing solutions are still at early stages of development.

Adaptive security architecture

Adaptive security architecture refers to flexible security measures that go beyond traditional perimeter defence from potential threats on the internet. In particular, everyday applications of complex IoT technologies, such as autonomous vehicles and smart homes, have to be protected.

What does Gartner predict?

In Gartner’s 2016 report, they talk about adaptive security architecture as a four-element system that consists of prediction, blocking or prevention, detection, and response. To create a reliable security environment, all these elements must work together.

Adaptive security architecture is a new challenge for companies as it calls for an immediate response to any threat – and such a response can only be guaranteed by continuous monitoring of the network. Gartner predicts that multilayered security will become a requirement for almost every enterprise regardless of their size or nature of their business.

It’s likely that AI and machine learning, virtual and augmented reality, blockchains, intelligent apps and digital twins will become more important as technologies are increasingly embedded into business processes and everyday activities. Gartner notes that these technologies are, for the most part, just starting to emerge, and will likely become more disruptive for industries over time.

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