Gartner: Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018 - Part 2
October 12, 2017
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Gartner highlighted the top strategic technology trends that will impact most organizations in 2018.

Gartner defines a strategic technology trend as one with substantial disruptive potential that is beginning to break out of an emerging state into broader impact and use, or which are rapidly growing trends with a high degree of volatility reaching tipping points over the next five years.

The first two trends listed in Part 2 focus on blending the digital and physical worlds to create an immersive, digitally enhanced environment.

The last three refer to exploiting connections between an expanding set of people and businesses, as well as devices, content and services to deliver digital business outcomes.

Start with Gartner: Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018 - Part 1

6. Conversational Platforms

Conversational platforms will drive the next big paradigm shift in how humans interact with the digital world. The burden of translating intent shifts from user to computer. The platform takes a question or command from the user and then responds by executing some function, presenting some content or asking for additional input. Over the next few years, conversational interfaces will become a primary design goal for user interaction and be delivered in dedicated hardware, core OS features, platforms and applications.

Conversational platforms will drive the next big paradigm shift in how humans interact with the digital world.

"Conversational platforms have reached a tipping point in terms of understanding language and basic user intent, but they still fall short," said Cearley. "The challenge that conversational platforms face is that users must communicate in a very structured way, and this is often a frustrating experience. A primary differentiator among conversational platforms will be the robustness of their conversational models and the application programming interface (API) and event models used to access, invoke and orchestrate third-party services to deliver complex outcomes." 

7. Immersive Experience

While conversational interfaces are changing how people control the digital world, virtual, augmented and mixed reality are changing the way that people perceive and interact with the digital world. The virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) market is currently adolescent and fragmented. Interest is high, resulting in many novelty VR applications that deliver little real business value outside of advanced entertainment, such as video games and 360-degree spherical videos. To drive real tangible business benefit, enterprises must examine specific real-life scenarios where VR and AR can be applied to make employees more productive and enhance the design, training and visualization processes.

Mixed reality, a type of immersion that merges and extends the technical functionality of both AR and VR, is emerging as the immersive experience of choice providing a compelling technology that optimizes its interface to better match how people view and interact with their world. Mixed reality exists along a spectrum and includes head-mounted displays (HMDs) for augmented or virtual reality as well as smartphone and tablet-based AR and use of environmental sensors. Mixed reality represents the span of how people perceive and interact with the digital world.

8. Blockchain

Blockchain is evolving from a digital currency infrastructure into a platform for digital transformation. Blockchain technologies offer a radical departure from the current centralized transaction and record-keeping mechanisms and can serve as a foundation of disruptive digital business for both established enterprises and startups. Although the hype surrounding blockchains originally focused on the financial services industry, blockchains have many potential applications, including government, healthcare, manufacturing, media distribution, identity verification, title registry and supply chain. Although it holds long-term promise and will undoubtedly create disruption, blockchain promise outstrips blockchain reality, and many of the associated technologies are immature for the next two to three years.

9. Event Driven

Central to digital business is the idea that the business is always sensing and ready to exploit new digital business moments. Business events could be anything that is noted digitally, reflecting the discovery of notable states or state changes, for example, completion of a purchase order, or an aircraft landing. With the use of event brokers, IoT, cloud computing, blockchain, in-memory data management and AI, business events can be detected faster and analyzed in greater detail. But technology alone without cultural and leadership change does not deliver the full value of the event-driven model. Digital business drives the need for IT leaders, planners and architects to embrace event thinking.

10. Continuous Adaptive Risk and Trust

To securely enable digital business initiatives in a world of advanced, targeted attacks, security and risk management leaders must adopt a continuous adaptive risk and trust assessment (CARTA) approach to allow real-time, risk and trust-based decision making with adaptive responses. Security infrastructure must be adaptive everywhere, to embrace the opportunity — and manage the risks — that comes delivering security that moves at the speed of digital business.

As part of a CARTA approach, organizations must overcome the barriers between security teams and application teams, much as DevOps tools and processes overcome the divide between development and operations. Information security architects must integrate security testing at multiple points into DevOps workflows in a collaborative way that is largely transparent to developers, and preserves the teamwork, agility and speed of DevOps and agile development environments, delivering "DevSecOps." CARTA can also be applied at runtime with approaches such as deception technologies. Advances in technologies such as virtualization and software-defined networking has made it easier to deploy, manage and monitor "adaptive honeypots" — the basic component of network-based deception.

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