Each year Gartner, one of the world's leading technology analysts and advisory firms, publishes its guide to the technology that in its view will have the greatest impact in the coming year. It provides valuable insight as to what is on the horizon and will impact our lives and business strategy in the near future.
This year's top 10 are:
Automating anything that can be automated. The building of a 'Digital Twin' organisation, where automation is introduced across all areas to replicate and automate the current business model. Process automation will increasingly use AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning, often using a range of different tools to create a 'suite of capability'. For example, RPA (robot process automation), where a computer starts to process a number of different tasks, is not in itself intelligent, but this will become supported by AI and machine learning so that processes are constantly improved.
We are moving to a world where we will communicate in different ways - voice, eye-tracking, gesture, emotion, position. By 2021 one third of organisations will have introduced some form of an example of this. It is designed to improve the customer/staff experience and be more immersive, often based on either conversational (e.g. call centre bots) or video (e.g. video-based assistants or virtual reality headsets) platforms, often augmented by AI.
By 2022, 30% of organisations will give their staff access to real-time expertise that allows them to operate beyond their normal ability. This is Accessibility technology designed for those that haven't considered themselves needing it (e.g. virtual 'specialist' assistance). An example is an operative that has an earpiece that provides information and guidance as they work. Another example is real-time language translation.
Wearable technology that guides and supports humans to achieve more. This has been done in the past to help those with disabilities (e.g. a lost leg), but it will be developed for the able-bodied to achieve more -super-human ability (e.g. better sight, better memory, more accurate movement). This will also allow the disabled to work more easily and productively within the workforce.
Transparency and Traceability
We have a trust crisis driven by how data and artificial intelligence can be abused. We need to ask ourselves if we are being transparent about how we are using data and if this could be audited. Transparency is about creating trust and this is based on the 'six pillars of trust': Integrity, Ethics, Openness, Accountability, Competence and Consistency.
By 2023 more than 50% of data will be processed outside central data centres and clouds. We are going to see more of a 'mesh' with specialised CPU's and IT architecture that can process data locally (on the edge). For example, language recognition and virtual assistants that process information at the point of contact, rather than at a central location. Such devices will communicate intelligently and even collaborate with other edge devices that are local to them (e.g. one machine has finished mowing the lawn, so tells another machine to weed and fertilise it).
Note on 5G - the level of hype is too great. 5G's real impact will be in 3-5 years.
A type of empowered edge - Having your own 'private', local cloud that's managed by a cloud provider (e.g. Amazon Outpost). We will see this ramp up over the next 5 years.
By 2025 Gartner thinks that 12% of vehicles will have Level 3 autonomy (i.e. will drive themselves within well-controlled routes/environments such as the motorway). Think of it as autonomous driving with the need for human assistance. Indeed, there will be many autonomous things that will work together, collaborating in controlled environments, working together to deliver an objective. Consider AI/autonomous technology outside a vehicle that will support the environment within which the autonomous vehicle operates, providing the vehicle with external information and guidance and watching out for issues.
By 2023 the supply chain will actively use Blockchain - a distributed shared, trusted ledger that can accurately track materials and be easily audited, so speeding up transit across the world.
AI - Future of security
By 2022, AI will be at the heart of cyber attacks, whilst also used to protect us from them. More sophisticated attacks will be safeguarded against by solutions that will quickly learn how to counter the attack and heal problems. The bad guys will use machine learning to improve their attacks, which increasingly will include 'Data Poisoning'. Microsoft introduced an online AI assistance recently, which hackers quickly 'poisoned' to make it homophobic and sexist. It had to be taken down, but Microsoft is now looking to use AI to spot such intrusion, identify anomalies and address them before they create an issue.
Deep fakes are on the increase, which are fake but increasingly realistic videos/communications from individuals you trust (e.g. relations, bosses, trusted suppliers) in order to get you to click on something that you shouldn't. Expect to see more and more as 2020 progresses.
Gartner's closing message: Start considering what is coming and what preparation or precautions you may need to take in order to take advantage of these technologies or safeguard yourself against them.
Should you want to discuss any of the above technologies and how they may impact your organisation, please contact us on 0333 900 3003 or email firstname.lastname@example.org