27 January 2020
The American IT analysis company Gartner identifies ten strategic technology trends for this year. They offer companies great potential for transformation and optimization in almost all business areas.
Artificial intelligence as a catalyst
According to Gartner, artificial intelligence plays the role of a catalyst. It additionally accelerates the advancing process automation and serves as an interface for the extension of human-machine interactions. Physical environments such as factories, offices and cities are evolving into “intelligent spaces”. People communicate with their environment through a variety of touch points. They use different sensory channels to experience their environment. At the same time, issues such as data protection, ethics and security are moving into focus. Trust in rapidly developing technologies such as AI and IoT must be strengthened and legal problems can be avoided.
In their analysis, Gartner speaks of significant technological changes that further accelerate the trends. By 2025, many technologies that are currently still in their infancy will reach a new level of maturity. This will enable expanded access and minimize risks. Innovation leaders should use the impact of these technological trends on their business as an opportunity. In this way, existing products and business models can be improved and new ones established.
Top 10 strategic technological trends 2020
Gartner’s top ten strategic technology trends highlight developments that companies should consider for their strategic planning processes. These trends would have a broad impact on people and their environments – with great disruptive potential across industries and regions. In the following, we present a summary of the ten trends from Gartner. However, the trends should not be considered in isolation, but rather in their mutual interaction in order to derive future innovations.
The new man-machine interfaces
This refers to technologies that go beyond ordinary automation and are intended to simplify working life. Hyperautomation combines technologies like: artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation or intelligent business software. It derives its advantages primarily from the independent monitoring and measurement of its own processes. These findings can be used directly to further optimize processes.
The continuing trend towards the so-called ambient experience is creating many more human-machine interfaces that can offer users new virtual, augmented and mixed reality experiences.
They provide intuitive access to apps, services and other applications. In combination with modern sensors, devices are able to actively offer situation-dependent functions. In this way, people can be individually supported in their everyday life and also in their work. This is further enhanced by the communication between the devices.
Gartner sees a trend towards democratization in the ongoing digitalization of all areas of life. Technical laymen get access to the latest software development and design or complex data analysis. AI as well as the increased use of low-code and no-code environments should help here.
All in all, the application hurdles are significantly reduced. Intelligent interfaces make it possible to operate even complex applications without much previous knowledge.
This refers to the use of technologies for the cognitive and physical optimization of humans. The term Human Enhancement is also often used. According to Gartner, four areas in particular will continue to develop in the future:
- Sensory augmentation: the functional enhancement of our sensory organs (e.g. vision)
- Extensions to biological functions: e.g. exoskeletons, which provide support during strenuous physical work
- Augmentation in the brain area: brain implants that allow human-machine communication via thought control
- Genetic Augmentation: a field of inexhaustible possibilities, especially since the discovery of CRISPR. Targeted changes to the genetic material, for example for medical therapies
According to Gartner, confidence in the protection of users’ own data and rights is in a “crisis”. More and more decisions will be made by AI in the future. Therefore, the trend towards a “new transparency” should in future rebuild lost trust among end users. This is the only way to regain trust not only in new technologies, but also in those corporations that do not work traceably with our data.
Cloud, Blockchain & Co.
Due to ever-increasing amounts of data, Gartner identifies so-called edge computing as a strategic trend. This refers to decentralized, resource-efficient data processing at the edge of a network, which offers application possibilities in the field of smart devices and IoT devices. Data that is currently still sent to large data centers can be processed decentrally at the user’s premises.
Distributed Cloud stands for a decentralized cloud solution. The transition from a centralized to a distributed cloud solution influences the latency of data transmission. The cloud provider thus improves the performance of its service.
The hierarchy of the cloud structure is as follows:
- a centralized cloud
- multiple regional clouds
- a variety of Edge clouds
In the case of drones, robots or other intelligent machines, technologies for automated action are increasingly being used. According to Gartner, this trend will continue outside of controlled environments in the future and will interact autonomously with each other.
Experiences that are currently being gathered with robots and drones in factories and warehouses are increasingly finding fields of application in everyday life. Thus, services for private users will soon be increasingly conceivable.
Blockchain technology offers the possibility of storing, processing, sharing and managing any information in a publicly accessible database. At the same time, these data records are concatenated and encrypted using cryptography. In the future, Gartner sees the potential to integrate additional technologies such as AI and IoT alongside the block chain to enable a wide range of new transactions.
New technologies always bring new security risks with them. According to Gartner, the trend is to include AI in the security process in the future. The topic is divided into two areas:
- The protection provided by AI-controlled systems. They help to detect risks and optimize security systems.
- The risk of attacks by AI systems. In addition to the potential for improved security systems, artificial intelligence also poses a major threat.
The complete report can be downloaded here.