19 Oct 2016
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And the top 10 strategic tech trends for 2017 are?

By Ashton Young

​Gartner recently highlighted the top technology trends that will be strategic for most organisations in 2017.

But just what is a strategic technology trend? Gartner defines it as one with substantial disruptive potential that is just beginning to create broad impact or trends that are rapidly growing with a high degree of volatility.

Vice president and Gartner fellow, David Cearly spoke at the sold out Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando about how the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2017 set the stage for the “Intelligent Digital Mesh”.

Here are Gartners top 10 strategic technology trends for 2017:

AI and Advanced Machine Learning

Cearley spoke about how applied AI and advanced machine learning are leading on to a plethora of intelligent implementations, which includes physical devices, apps and services.

"These implementations will be delivered as a new class of obviously intelligent apps and things as well as provide embedded intelligence for a wide range of mesh devices and existing software and service solutions," Cearley said.

Intelligent Apps

Cearley asserted that intelligent apps are likely to transform the very nature of the workplace, with virtually every app, application and service incorporating some form of AI over the next 10 years.

Intelligent Things

This refers to things such as drones, autonomous vehicles and smart appliances. Gartner anticipates a shift from simply stand-alone ‘intelligent things’ to collaboration, where these devices communicate with each other.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Cearley asserted that virtual and augmented reality will merge with the digital mesh to form a more seamless model of devices capable of communicating a flow of information that is hyper-personalised with relevant apps and services.

Digital Twin

This refers to a software model of a physical thing or system that relies on sensor data to understand its state, respond to changes, improve operates and add value. Gartner asserted that within three to five years, hundreds of millions of things will be represented by digital twins. Organisations will use the tech to proactively repair and plan for equipment service, plan manufacturing processes, operate factories, predict equipment failure or increase operational efficiency and to enhance product development.

Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers

These concepts are already gaining traction because they hold the promise for transformation. The hype currently exists around the financial services industry, but there is great potential for many other applications including music distribution, identity verification, title registry and supply chain.

Conversational Systems

The device mesh is moving beyond the traditional desktop computer and mobile devices to involve the full range of ways in which humans might interact. Gartner anticipates that as devices continue to evolve, connection models will expand and greater collaboration between devices will emerge.

Mesh App and Service Architecture

This refers to the broad mesh of back-end services to create what users view as an ‘application’. Gartner assures this will continue to be prominent in years to come, as the “architecture encapsulates services and exposes APIs at multiple levels and across organizational boundaries balancing the demand for agility and scalability of services with composition and reuse of services.”

Digital Technology Platforms

Gartner has narrowed these basic building blocks into five major focal points – information, systems, customer experience, analytics and intelligence, the IoT, and business ecosystems. Gartner assures that these are critical enablers to becoming a digital business, and all organisations will have at the very least some mix of the five.

Adaptive Security Architecture

As the world becomes increasingly digital, the world of security becomes ever-more-complex. Cearley said monitoring user and entity behavior is a critical addition – particulary needed in IoT situations.

“However, the IoT edge is a new frontier for many IT security professionals creating new vulnerability areas and often requiring new remediation tools and processes that must be factored into IoT platform efforts," Cearley said.

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