According to Gartner – “a strategic technology trend is one with substantial disruptive potential on the cusp of breaking out of an emerging state into wide impact and use.” All one need to do to understand the power of this concept is to Google “technology trends for 2019”. There is a lot happening out there with respect to technological progress and potential breakthroughs, so let’s review some of 2018’s most trending technologies and how they will evolve in the year ahead.
- Blockchain Technology
Blockchain technology gained notoriety with its use for cryptocurrency applications such as Bitcoin. According to Wikipedia a blockchain is a growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. A block chain is resistant to the modification of the data – so it provides, robust, incorruptible – yet encrypted – record keeping technology. It is easily verified making for great protection of identities and privacy.
While initially created for cryptocurrency requirements, blockchain is now being seriously considered for a plethora of different industries including healthcare, government, mainstream finance, and retail. According to Forbes, the 10 largest companies in the world are currently exploring potential uses of blockchain technology. Check out Shopin – they are using blockchain to create a “universal shopper profile” which restricts information collecting and sharing only to entities the consumer grants access. (no more having Chrome or Facebook displaying your recent purchases!)
- Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI), specifically Machine Learning and Deep Learning continues to expand its footprint and its applications, and the quality of those applications, continued to grow throughout 2018. Machine Learning is leading advances in AI primarily in autonomous vehicles and robotics. 2019 will see a convergence of AL, Machine Learning and Deep Learning in business applications. New applications such as ELSA (English language Speech Assistant), which helps people improve their English language accent, pronunciation and speaking quality and Hound which is a voice search and mobile assistant applications that is better, faster and smarter than Siri and Google Now were introduced in 2018, highlighting how much this technology has advanced.
Smart Spaces – empowered by the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI will continue to flourish into 2019. Concepts like smart cities, digital workplaces, smart homes, connected factories will be created and improved as AI helps make the ‘things’ smarter and more autonomous
- Augmented Analytics
Augmented Analytic technology focuses on AI’s assistive potential and seeks to enhance human intelligence instead of replacing it. This technology is expected to mainstream rapidly as it offers to automatically and intelligently provide data preparation, data management, modern analytics, business process management, process mining, and data science platforms. Gartner predicts that this will lead to the creation of ‘citizen data scientists’ – an emerging set of capabilities and practices that enable users with job responsibilities outside the fields of statistics and analytics to extract predictive and prescriptive insights from data. They predict that by 2020 the number of citizen data scientists will grow five times faster than the number of expert data scientists.
Gartner also predicts that it wont be long before AI will be used within the development process – with AI driven code generation. They predict that by 2022 at least 40% of new application developments will have AI co-developers on their teams.
- Digital Twins
A digital twin is a digital representation of real-world items that are connected together via IoT. We can have digital twins of people, processes and things. Digital twin technology enables companies to see how their goods and services perform in real life. An example of a successful deployment of this concept of digital twins comes from Kaeser – a US manufacturer of compressed air products. They have used digital twins to transition their business model from merely selling a product to selling a service. Instead of installing the equipment for a customer and leaving the customer to operate it, Kaeser maintains the asset throughout it’s life and charges the customer based on air consumption rather than a fixed rate.
An interesting aspect of digital twin technology that is emerging is that enterprises are implementing digital twins of their organizations (DTOs). A DTO is a software model that relies on operational and other data to monitor and understand how the organization operationalizes its business model. DTOs offer organization the opportunity to monitor its current state and respond to changes to ensure that customers are receiving expected value from their products and services.
These are just a few of the things we have to look forward as we venture into 2019. There are quite a few other areas where we need to keep an eye on going forward such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality (R+), Dueling AI, Quantum Computing, Microservices, 3D Metal Printing, and more. These topics will be covered in a future post so check back often!
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