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A Closer Look At Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2016

When Gartner revealed its new list of the top 10 technology trends which will be strategic for organisations in 2016 some well-known names like IoT platforms and 3D printing materials made the list a long with a few newcomers like the ambient user experience and Mesh App and Service Architecture.

Only technology trends which have the potential for significant impact on the organisation, like high potential for disruption to the business, end users or IT, the need for a major investment, or the risk of being late to adopt make the list.

Here are the trends you should take a closer look at according to Gartner.

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. In order to form an IoT in which you are truly connected these endpoints are no longer isolated but expected to work in closer cooperation. This will enable the user to access and interact with devices easier and more convenient.

Ambient User Experience

Enabled by the device mesh, ambient user experience preserves continuity across boundaries of device mesh, time and space. The experience 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. This will create things like immersive environments delivering augmented and virtual reality.

3D Printing Materials

Advances in 3D printing have already enabled 3D printing to use a wide range of materials, including advanced nickel alloys, carbon fiber, glass, conductive ink, electronics, pharmaceuticals and biological materials. The enabled new practical applications for such equipment begin to expand into more sectors including aerospace, medical, automotive, energy and the military. This will drive the user demand and Gartner predicts it will further drive a compound annual growth rate of 64.1 percent for enterprise 3D-printer shipments through 2019. These advances will necessitate a rethinking of assembly line and supply chain processes to exploit 3D printing.

Information of Everything

Everything in the digital mesh produces, uses and transmits information and data is no longer isolated. The flood of information consisting not only of textual, audio and video information but including also sensory and contextual information needs strategies in order to link data from all these different data sources. Advances in semantic tools such as graph databases as well as other emerging data classification and information analysis techniques will bring meaning to the often chaotic deluge of information.

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, on their own. Due to the explosion of of data sources and complexity of information manual classification and analysis are no longer economic or feasible. DNNs solve key challenges related to the information of everything by automating data linking and processing tasks.

As the self-learning capabilities of “intelligent” machines are evolving fast, organisations must assess how they can apply these technologies to gain competitive advantage.

Autonomous Agents and Things

Machine learning gives rise to a spectrum of smart machine implementations — including robots, autonomous vehicles, virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and smart advisors — that act in an autonomous (or at least semiautonomous) manner. Especially software based ones like VPAs (e.g. Siri and Google Now) will have a broad impact in the near term future. At the same time physical smart machines such as robots need great attention e.g. in regards of self-driving cars.

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 organisation. Relying on perimeter defence and rule-based security is inadequate, especially as organisations 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 behaviour analytics, will help to fulfil the adaptive security architecture.

Advanced System Architecture

The digital mesh and smart machines require intense computing architecture demands to make them viable for organisations. 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 (e.g., the three-tier architecture) are giving way to a more loosely coupled integrative approach: the apps and services architecture. In order to take full advantage of the digital mesh and provide the user with agile, flexible and dynamic user experiences application developers need to create new modern architectures to deliver agile, flexible and dynamic cloud-based applications.

Internet of Things Platforms

IoT platforms are the base set of capabilities for building, managing and securing elements in the IoT. The IoT is an integral part of the digital mesh and ambient user experience and the emerging and dynamic world of IoT platforms is what makes them possible.

Read the full story and get in-depth information on Gartner’s technology trends here.