The future is trendy

The top ten technology trends for 2016

JAXenter Editorial Team
Trends image via Shutterstock

Gartner’s annual report on top technology trends features all the buzzwords it can: augmented reality, microservices, IoT and machine learning all have their time in the limelight. We take a quick look at their predictions and what the future holds for tech.

At this year’s annual Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, we’ve been given a peek into the future with their prediction of the ten most strategic tech trends. These trends are expected to make a profound impact on businesses and organisations right up until 2020.

Three categories have been outlined for this year’s trends: The digital mesh, smart machines and the new IT reality. No crystal ball required!

1. Devices talking to one another

Although devices are increasingly networked today, they work mostly in isolation. In Gartner’s predicted device mesh, this is all set to change. Various devices, such as smart phones, wearables, home entertainment systems and cars will be communicating with each other directly.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the main driver of Gartner’s device mesh trend predictions, with vice president and Gartner Fellow David Cearley saying that the focus now moves to mobile users, who are surrounded by a network of devices going beyond traditional mobile devices.

2. Accumulated reality

The digital mesh will be the basis for ensuring that our digital interactions can become synchronised as a continuous experience, with augmented and virtual reality posing great potential here, according to Gartner. However, these realities represent only one aspect of the new user experience.

For users, the experience blends physical, virtual and electronic environments, while organisations should focus on providing a consistent user experience, even across multiple devices; be it IoT sensors, cars or even factories.

3. 3D printing with new materials

3D printing is already harnessing a wide range of materials such as nickel alloys, carbon fibers or conductive ink. This development will lead to 3D printing material pushing forward into new areas. We’ll be seeing advancements in materials used for aviation, medicine and the military.

Gartner predicts that the increase in materials used for 3D printing will result in the number of 3D printers sold to businesses rising by 64 percent up to 2019.

4. Bringing order to the data chaos

“Everything surrounding us in the digital mesh is producing, using and communicating with virtually unmeasurable amounts of information.” This information goes beyond pure text, audio and video – sensor and context information is included as well. The trend here will be the work that attempts to connect all of these different data sources. Advances in semantic tools such as graph databases to classify and analyse data will bring forth order to the data chaos.

5. Machine and deep learning

By understanding existing concepts and possessing the ability to learn, smart machines are set to harness machine learning with Deep Neural Nets (DNN) to change future behaviour. This sees them taking over classical computer equipment and information management. Autonomous systems will be created that learn unaided, perceiving the world from the outside.

6. App conversations

Machine learning makes a lot of things smarter, whether it be the robot or the self-driving car. However, software-based intelligent machines are already having a far greater impact. Virtual Personal Assistants (VPA) such as Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana or Apple’s Siri are getting smarter and are technology’s leading autonomous agents. Say goodbye to annoying forms and menus and say hello to app conversations and voice control.

7. Adaptive-build security systems

Security is more in demand than ever, thanks to progressive digitisation increasing the level of risk present for companies of any size. Classical methods of protection will no longer be sufficient.

Applications need to protect themselves while companies monitor the behaviour of both the users themselves as well as of their devices, creating a security system that can be adjusted adaptively.

8. Advanced system architecture

Gartner’s predicted digital mesh, along with smart machines, will need powerful so-called neuromorphic architectures. Systems that rely on GPUs and FPGAs will function more like the human brain, which allows for them to better cope with Deep Learning and other pattern recognition algorithms, explains Cearley.

9. Microservices and containers for flexible architecture

Monolithic structures are seen as the culprit for loosely coupled systems. Microservices and containers are part of the solution which sees the need for flexible and scalable architectures, especially but not limited to, the cloud.

The delivery of apps and services here is paramount so that they “extend across multiple endpoint devices and coordinate with one another to produce a continuous digital experience”. Once again, the digital mesh is asserting itself as a strong trend.

10. The IoT platform is the heart of things

IoT platforms complement the vast network of applications and services architecture an organisation can govern. Management, security and integration standards of IoT platforms are the core to building elements in the Internet of Things as a whole.

Standards in the IoT platform also help to set the capabilities for communicating and controlling endpoints in the IoT, along with its security and overall management.

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