IoT, digital mesh and smart machines among Gartner’s top tech trends


A look at the 10 technology trends that Gartner believes will be strategic for organizations in 2016.


During its annual Symposium/ITxpo, Gartner reveals the top 10 technology trends that will be strategic for organizations to implement in the coming months. This year, you’ll once again notice some rather familiar names on the recently-revealed list, along with a few newcomers that are expected to have an impact on the enterprise in 2016. According to the research firm, these notable trends include the Internet of Things (of course!), the Information of Everything, 3D printing and digital mesh.

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Let’s take a closer look…

The Device Mesh

The device mesh refers to an expanding set of endpoints people use to access applications and information or interact with people, social communities, governments and businesses. Think of it as the glue between the countless mobile, wearable, consumer, home, automotive and environmental devices that make up the IoT.

Ambient User Experience

The device mesh creates the foundation for a new continuous and ambient user experience. Immersive environments delivering augmented and virtual reality hold significant potential but are only one aspect of this experience, which seamlessly flows across a shifting set of devices and interaction channels blending physical, virtual and electronic environment as the user moves from one place to another.

3D Printing Materials

Advances in the next-gen technology have already paved the way for 3D printers to spit out a range of materials, including everything from carbon fiber and glass to conductive ink and electronics. These innovations are driving user demand, as the practical applications for such equipment begins to expand into more sectors. According to Gartner, the extensive lineup of 3D-printable materials will drive a CAGR of 64.1% for enterprise 3D printer shipments through 2019.

Information of Everything

More devices, more information. Everything in the digital mesh produces, uses and transmits information. And this goes well beyond just textual, audio and video, but encompasses sensory and contextual as well. The so-called “Information of Everything” will address this influx with strategies and technologies that link data from all these different sources. As the research firm puts it, information has always existed everywhere but has often been isolated, incomplete, unavailable or unintelligible; now, the advent of semantic tools and other emerging techniques will finally give proper meaning to it all.

Advanced Machine Learning

In advanced machine learning, deep neural nets (DNNs) move beyond classic computing and information management to create systems that can autonomously learn to perceive the world — all on their own. The explosion of data sources and complexity of information makes manual classification and analysis infeasible and uneconomic. DNNs automate these tasks and make it possible to address key challenges related to the information of everything trend. This area is rapidly evolving, and organizations must assess how they can apply these technologies to gain the competitive edge.

Autonomous Agents and Things

Machine learning gives rise to a spectrum of smart machine implementations, which includes robots, autonomous vehicles and virtual personal assistants, that act in an autonomous (or at least semi-autonomous) manner. While advances in physical smart machines such as robots receive some mainstream attention, the software-based smart machines have a more near-term and broader impact. In fact, VPAs like Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri are becoming smarter and are precursors to autonomous agents. The emerging notion of assistance feeds into the ambient user experience in which an autonomous agent becomes the main user interface. Instead of interacting with menus, forms and buttons on a smartphone, the user speaks to an app, which is really an intelligent agent.

Adaptive Security Architecture

The complexities of digital business and the algorithmic economy combined with an emerging “hacker industry” significantly increase the threat surface for an organization. Relying on perimeter defense and rule-based security is inadequate, especially as organizations exploit more cloud-based services and open APIs for customers and partners to integrate with their systems. Gartner points out that IT leaders must focus on detecting and responding to threats, along with more traditional blocking and other measures to prevent attacks. Application self-protection, as well as user and entity behavior analytics, will help fulfill the adaptive security architecture.

Advanced System Architecture

The digital mesh and smart machines require intense computing architecture demands to make them viable for organizations. Providing this required boost are high-powered and ultraefficient neuromorphic architectures. Fueled by field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) as an underlining technology for neuromorphic architectures, there are significant gains to this architecture, such as being able to run at speeds of greater than a teraflop with high-energy efficiency.

Mesh App and Service Architecture

Monolithic, linear application designs are giving way to a more loosely coupled integrative approach: the apps and services architecture. Bringing mobile and IoT elements into the app and service architecture creates a comprehensive model to address back-end cloud scalability and front-end device mesh experiences. Looking ahead, application teams must devise new modern architectures to deliver agile and flexible cloud-based applications with dynamic user experiences that span the digital mesh.

IoT Platforms

The Internet of Things will play an integral role in the digital mesh and ambient user experience, and the emerging and dynamic world of  IoT platforms is what makes them possible.

You can check out each of Gartner’s 10 predictions in-depth here.

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