Gartner: Top 10 Strategic Tech Trends For 2018
Gartner has identified the top ten strategic technology trends for the year ahead. Gartner defines “strategic” as those technologies that will have significant disruptive potential over the next five years.” Here are the top 10 predictions for the next few years.
1. Voice- and visual-search based queries improve
By 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual- and voice-search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30 percent, predicts Gartner.
Voice- and visual-search based queries improve marketers’ understanding of consumers’ interests and intent. Coupled with the additional contextual cues available from smartphones, early adopter brands and commerce sites will capitalize on consumers’ shift to these search modalities. They will gain competitive advantage as measured in conversion rates, revenue growth, new customer acquisition, market share and customer satisfaction. Consumer demand for voice devices — embodied by products such as Amazon Echo and Google Home — is expected to generate $3.5 billion by 2021. Brands that are able to develop ways to leverage systems that can take a handoff, so to speak, from the devices will see rapid growth in digital commerce revenue
2. Big 7 to grow bigger and disrupt
By 2020, five of the top seven digital giants will willfully “self-disrupt” to create their next leadership opportunity, says Gartner. In doing new things, digital giants — such as Alibaba, Amazon, Apple, Baidu, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Tencent — are likely to run into situations where their influence has grown so large that it is difficult to create new value scenarios. This ultimately leads to self-disruption. In a self-disrupting strategy, disruption arises as intentional intent to get there first, even if it is necessary to disrupt yourself. While this can be risky, risk of inaction can be even higher.
“Research in Motion (RIM), for example, could have disrupted itself by delivering BlackBerry Messenger and the BlackBerry network to iPhones and Android phones. While they would have given up exclusive use of these capabilities — thus disrupting themselves — they would have created market space within competitive ecosystems to grow their influence rather than watching it decline,” said Mr. Plummer. “The digital giants have a vested interest in innovation continuing to accelerate. Therefore, leaders in the digital space must continuously seek to create new opportunities, including self-disruption.”
3. Blockchain-based cryptocurrencies to mature
By the end of 2020, the banking industry will derive $1 billion in business value from the use of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, predicts Gartner. The current combined value of cryptocurrencies in circulation worldwide is $155 billon, and this value has been increasing as tokens continue to proliferate and market interest grows. Cryptocurrencies are more mature than the technical and business infrastructure that supports them. This is, in part, due to the lack of credibility tokenized developments have received from mainstream businesses. However, once banks start to see cryptocurrencies and digital assets in the same context as more traditional financial instruments, more distributed business value will begin to accrue. This requires every industry to rethink aspects of current fiat-based business models such as pricing of goods and services, accounting and tax methods, payment systems, and risk management capabilities to accommodate these new forms of value in their business strategies.
4. Fake news to surge
By 2022, most people in mature economies will consume more false information than true information, predicts Gartner. “Fake news” has become a major worldwide political and media theme for 2017. While fake news is currently in the public consciousness, it is important to realize the extent of digitally created content that is not a factual or authentic representation of information goes well beyond the news aspect. For enterprises, this acceleration of content in a social media-dominated discourse presents a real problem. Enterprises need to not only monitor closely what is being said about their brands directly, but also in what contexts, to ensure they are not associated with content that is detrimental to their brand value.
5. AI-driven creation of “counterfeit reality
By 2020, AI-driven creation of “counterfeit reality,” or fake content, will outpace AI’s ability to detect it, fomenting digital distrust, says Gartner. “Counterfeit reality” is the digital creation of images, video, documents, or sounds that are convincingly realistic representations of things that never occurred or existed exactly as represented. In the past 30 years, the ability to create and to disseminate content that has been subtly or overtly altered has greatly increased as huge numbers of people gained access to the internet with few controls on content distribution. The next wave of that distribution will be machine-generated content.
“The detection of counterfeit reality will best be accomplished by artificial intelligence (AI) which is able to identify and track markers in counterfeit content faster than human reviewers,” said Plummer. “Unfortunately, as the creation of counterfeit reality using AI techniques has accelerated in recent years, using AI to detect counterfeit reality currently lags behind the use of AI to create it.
6. More bots and chatbots
By 2021, more than 50 percent of enterprises will be spending more per annum on bots and chatbot creations than traditional mobile app developments, predicts Gartner. User attention is shifting away from individual apps on mobile devices and splintering across emerging post-app technologies such as bots and chatbots.
Today, chatbots are the face of AI and will impact all areas where there is communication between humans. Bots have the ability to transform the way apps themselves are built and the potential to change the way that users interact with technology. The appropriate use of bots is also likely to increase employee or customer engagement, as they can quickly automate tasks to free up the workforce for more nonstandard work, including question-and-answer interactions, when deployed as chatbots or virtual assistants.
7. CIOs to wear multiple hats
By 2021, 40 percent of IT staff will be versatilists, holding multiple roles, most of which will be business, rather than technology-related, predicts Gartner.
IT specialists represent about 42 percent of the entire IT workforce in 2017, but by 2019, Gartner predicts that IT technical specialist hires will fall by more than 5 percent as digital business initiatives require increasing numbers of IT versatilists. This shift will begin in infrastructure and operations (I&O), as the need for I&O that can support on-demand infrastructure will emerge. With a solid I&O foundation in place, an increase in nontechnical IT managers and leaders with the versatilist profile will follow. After the leadership wave, marketing-oriented digital business efforts such as business intelligence (BI) will be next, followed by software development, digital product management, project/program/portfolio management, and customer experience management and architecture.
8. AI: A job motivator
In 2020, AI will become a positive net job motivator, creating 2.3 million jobs while eliminating only 1.8 million jobs, predicts Gartner. AI will eliminate more jobs than it creates through 2019, however, Gartner believes that the number of jobs created due to AI in 2020 is sufficient to overcome the deficit. Net job creation or elimination will vary greatly by industry; some industries will experience overall job loss, some industries will experience net job loss for only a few years; and some industries, such as healthcare and education, will never experience net job loss. AI will improve the productivity of many jobs, and, used creatively, it has the potential to enrich people’s careers, reimagine old tasks and create new industries.
9. IoT Everywhere
By 2020, IoT technology will be in 95 percent of electronics for new product designs, says Gartner. The combination of smartphone management, cloud control and inexpensive enabling modules delivers sophisticated monitoring, management and control with minimal additional cost in the target device. Once this technology emerges, buyers will rapidly gravitate to Internet of Things (IoT)-capable products, and interest in and demand for IoT-enabled products will rapidly snowball. Every supplier must, at the very least, make plans to implement IoT technology into its products, for both consumer and business buyers.
10. Concerns on IoT Security
Through 2022, half of all security budgets for IoT will go to fault remediation, recalls and safety failures rather than protection, predicts Gartner. Risks related to the introduction of IoT as part of projects or initiatives are substantially impacted by the unintended consequences presented when the “pervasive digital presence” is introduced across all industries and market sectors as IoT growth expands. The requirement to update devices periodically, as is done with mobile phones and other remote systems, is multiplied by numerous factors, and the inability to perform those updates can result in massive product recalls.
For industrial environments, scale and diversity may not be as significant, but the need to preserve safety for individuals, the environment and the rich regulatory regime that controls safety systems will ensure that the rapid expansion of use of IoT in those systems will result in regulatory impacts for securing those systems.
“Technology-based innovation is arriving faster than most organizations can keep up with. Before one innovation is implemented, two others arrive,” said Daryl Plummer, vice president and Gartner Fellow, Distinguished.
“CIOs in end-user organizations will need to develop a pace that can be sustained no matter what the future holds. Our predictions provide insight into that future, but enterprises will still be required to develop a discipline around how pace can be achieved. Those who seek value from technology-based options must move faster as their digital business efforts move into high gear. Speed of change will require variability of skills and capabilities to address rising challenges.”
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