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Gartner reveals the 3 main drivers behind digital business in the next decade

15 Aug 2017

​There are many technology trends already at play around the world, but Gartner has identified three ‘megatrends’ that will drive digital business into the next decade.

In its ‘Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2017’, Gartner asserts these distinct trends will enable businesses to survive and thrive in the digital economy, and consist of artificial intelligence (AI) everywhere, transparently immersive experiences, and digital platforms.

Together, these megatrends are set to create profoundly new experiences and offer platforms that allow organisations to connect with new business ecosystems.

"Enterprise architects who are focused on technology innovation must evaluate these high-level trends and the featured technologies, as well as the potential impact on their businesses," says Mike J. Walker, research director at Gartner.

"In addition to the potential impact on businesses, these trends provide a significant opportunity for enterprise architecture leaders to help senior business and IT leaders respond to the digital business opportunities and threats by creating signature-ready actionable and diagnostic deliverables that guide investment decisions."

Here’s a breakdown of each of the megatrends:

AI everywhere

According to Gartner, AI technologies will be the most disruptive class of technologies over the next decade, which has been put down to radical computational power, near infinite amounts of data, and huge advances in deep neural networks.

This will enable organisations that are harnessing AI technologies to utilise data in order to adapt to new situations and solve problems that no one has ever encountered previously.

Transparently immersive experiences

Technology will continue its rapid move towards a human-centric leaning to the point where it will introduce transparency between people, businesses and things.

This relationship will become more and more entwined over time as the evolution of technology becomes more adaptive, contextual and fluid within the workplace, home, and in interacting with businesses and other people.

Digital platforms

The emergence of all these new technologies will require a complete revolutionising of the enabling foundations that provide the volume of data needed, advanced compute power, and ubiquity-enabling ecosystems.

Gartner says we will see a shift from compartmentalised technical infrastructure to ecosystem-enabling platforms that will lay the foundations for entirely new business models that will form the bridge between humans and technology.

"When we view these themes together, we can see how the human-centric enabling technologies within transparently immersive experiences — such as smart workspace, connected home, augmented reality, virtual reality and the growing brain-computer interface — are becoming the edge technologies that are pulling the other trends along the Hype Cycle," says Walker.

"AI Everywhere" emerging technologies are moving rapidly through the Hype Cycle. Technologies such as deep learning, autonomous learning and cognitive computing are just crossing the peak, which shows that they are key enablers of technologies that create transparent and immersive experiences.”

Finally, Walker says digital platforms are rapidly moving up the Hype Cycle, illustrating the new IT realities that are possible by providing the underlining platforms that will fuel the future.

“Technologies such as Quantum Computing (climbing the Innovation Trigger) and Blockchain (having passed the peak) are poised to create the most transformative and dramatic impacts in the next five to 10 years,” Walker says.

"These megatrends illustrate that the more organisations are able to make technology an integral part of employees', partners' and customers' experiences, the more they will be able to connect their ecosystems to platforms in new and dynamic ways.”

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