Gartner’s latest Hype Cycle reveals intelligent robots and smart home products are now closer to mainstream.
Another year, another Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. New to the report in 2015 is the emergence of technologies that support what the firm defines as “digital humanism” — the notion that people are the central focus in the manifestation of digital businesses and digital workplaces.
“The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies is the broadest aggregate Gartner Hype Cycle, featuring technologies that are the focus of attention because of particularly high levels of interest, and those that Gartner believes have the potential for significant impact,” said Betsy Burton, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “This year, we encourage CIOs and other IT leaders to dedicate time and energy focused on innovation, rather than just incremental business advancement, while also gaining inspiration by scanning beyond the bounds of their industry.”
Major changes in the 2015 Hype Cycle include the placement of autonomous vehicles, which have shifted from pre-peak to peak. While autonomous vehicles are still embryonic, this movement represents a significant advancement, with all major automotive companies putting autonomous vehicles on their near-term roadmaps. Similarly, the growing momentum (from post-trigger to pre-peak) of the smart home has introduced entirely new solutions and platforms enabled by new technology providers and existing manufacturers.
One of the newcomers to this year’s list is smart dust. Categorized in the “innovation trigger” section, smart dust refers to a collection of tiny dust-like sensors or devices which can be used to detect factors like light or sound.
Gartner has defined a set of six “business era models” that enterprises can aspire to in the future. However, since the Hype Cycle is purposely focused on more emerging technologies, it mostly supports the last three of these stages. These include: digital marketing (stage 4), digital business (stage 5) and autonomous (stage 6).
The digital marketing stage sees the emergence of the Nexus of Forces (mobile, social, cloud and information). Enterprises in this stage focus on new and more sophisticated ways to reach consumers, who are more willing to participate in marketing efforts to gain greater social connection, or product and service value. According to the analysts, enterprises that are seeking to achieve this should consider gesture control, hybrid cloud computing, Internet of Things, machine learning, people-literate technology, and speech-to-speech translation.
Moreover, digital business is the first “post-nexus stage” on the roadmap and focuses on the convergence of people, business and things, with the IoT and the concept of blurring the physical and virtual worlds playing prominent roles. Physical assets become digitalized and become equal actors in the business value chain alongside already-digital entities, such as systems and apps.
Gartner notes that enterprises seeking to go past the Nexus of Forces technologies to become a digital business should look to 3D bioprinting, human augmentation, affective computing, augmented reality, bioacoustics sensing, biochips, brain-computer interface, citizen data science, connected home, cryptocurrencies, digital dexterity, digital security, enterprise 3D printing, intelligent robots, smart advisors, gesture control, micro data centers, quantum computing, software-defined security, virtual reality, and wearables.
Lastly, autonomous represents the final “post-nexus stage.” This stage is defined by an enterprise’s ability to leverage technologies that provide human-like or human-replacing capabilities, such as using autonomous vehicles to move people or products and employing cognitive systems to recommend a potential structure for an answer to an email, write texts or answer customer questions. Enterprises seeking to reach this stage to gain competitiveness should consider self-driving cars, smart dust, virtual personal assistants, and volumetric and holographic displays.
“Although we have categorized each of the technologies on the Hype Cycle into one of the digital business stages, enterprises should not limit themselves to these technology groupings,” added Burton. “Many early adopters have embraced quite advanced technologies, for example, autonomous vehicles or smart advisors, while they continue to improve nexus-related areas, such as mobile apps.”
Interested in learning more? You can check out Gartner’s entire report here.