The firm's top 10 prognostications on where technology will take us include shopping in AR, corporate fitness programs, and much more.
Every year at its annual Symposium conference, Gartner gives a list of its top 10 strategic predictions for the year ahead, and this year's list was dominated by the shift to conversational AI, augmented reality, and strategic modernization.
Note these are specific predictions, rather than a list of important technologies going forward (which is a separate list that I'll cover in a later post). I always find these interesting, even if they don't all come to pass. Gartner Fellow Daryl Plummer, who delivered this year's list, said Gartner's predictions have been correct 78 percent of the time since 2010. (Here's last year's list.
Plummer said one thing tying all of this year's predictions together is the theme of "surviving the digital disruption." He said the scale of digital disruption is increasing and compared it with the destruction wrought by tornadoes and hurricanes: "They used to come out of nowhere; now they cover large areas over time."
He said that "digital experience and engagement" will draw people into nonstop virtual interactions, and that business innovation will bring about an extraordinary departure from mundane concepts. In many cases "secondary effects" will be more disruptive than the initial digital change. In other words, when a disruption happens, it causes waves that in turn generate effects we didn't expect.
To measure this, each disruption could be measured on a "digital disrupter scale" ranging from level 1, with things such as games, which are fun but don't have huge long-term impacts; to level 5, with things such as autonomous AI, which could have an enormous impact. "Instead of asking about jobs leaving the country, ask how many jobs will leave the planet," Plummer said. He noted that IBM will tell you that AI is not about replacing jobs, but about helping people, though he indicated he wasn't so sure about that.
Here's this year's list:
1. By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality.
Plummer said that AR games such as Pok√?¬©mon Go are the beginning of the trend, and said that he believes organizations should start planning for AR shopping now.
2. By 2020, 30 percent of Web browsing sessions will be done without a screen.
Because of the rise of "bots," to do many things, you don't need a screen, just to talk to the bot by voice for interaction. Plummer said the migration of applications will move from conversational user interfaces to bot interactions, then machine learning; for now, he urged attendees to think about "voice-first" solutions, beyond just customer service. By 2020, he said, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse.
3. 20 percent of brands will abandon their mobile apps by 2019.
As more people start using bots and agents, Plummer said, fewer people will be using apps. Since people downloading apps and not using them sends a bad signal about a brand, hehe expects more companies will stop building them. He sees the migrations as being from the mobile Web to mobile apps to expired but suggested that progressive Web apps might be a solution. Although right now the number of apps continues to rise, he expects by the end of next year, the number of branded apps will decline.
4. Algorithms will positively alter the behavior of billions of global workers.
Plummer believes algorithms will impact 1 billion out of 3 billion workers, and that this will not mean replacing people, but instead influencing people to improve or become more efficient. Examples he gave included technology that helps pilots save fuel or helps bank employees to offer the right products.
5. By 2022, a blockchain-based business will be worth $10 billion.
Blockchain offers the potential to eliminate costs in a system because it works with a shared ledger of transactions and does not require a particular trusted intermediary. This can work for financial transactions but isn't limited to such things. Plummer said he expects to see the deployment of multimode blockchains across industries by the end of 2017. Still, he noted that large blockchain communities in the business world are not yet built.
6. By 2021, 20 percent of all activities in which an individual engages will involve at least one of the top seven digital giants.
Gartner defines these giants as being Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, and believes that typical businesses will have the choice of joining with them or competing against them. Plummer expects that by 2018, everyone in the country will have at least two digital giant brands per kitchen. (I noted that Gartner doesn't consider Microsoft to be a "digital giant" even though Office 365 and Azure are popular services among its customers.)
7. Through 2018, every $1 that enterprises invest in innovation will require an additional $7 in core execution.
This was one of the most intriguing predictions. For a long time, Gartner has talked about bimodal IT, with mode 1 representing the core, stable services and mode 2 representing the agile, fast-moving new ones. Plummer said that to make the new systems work, you much first modernize the core systems you have to unlock the data contained within them. He said the process is to modernize, then innovate, then transform-not the other way around.
8. Through 2020, IoT will increase data center storage demand by less than 3 percent.
This is another somewhat contrary position. Gartner still believes there will be more endpoints in Internet of things (IoT) deployments. But Plummer said most IoT-generated data will not be stored or retained. This is operational data that will not go back to a central data center; instead, companies will analyze data in flight and sort out the small amount they need to retain. Most data, he said, will be generated in order to determine what to do next, and then discarded.
9. By 2022 the IoT will save consumers and business $1 trillion a year in maintenance, services, and consumables.
Most of these savings will come through predictive maintenance, which he said saves 10 to 20 percent over preventative maintenance in most cases. He talked about the concept of a "digital twin"-for instance, a simulation of a specific plane and how that can be used to save money.
10. By 2020, 40 percent of employees can cut their healthcare costs by wearing a fitness tracker.
Last year, Gartner predicted that by 2018, 2 million employees will be required to wear fitness trackers. It continues to believe that companies will offer corporate health monitoring, with employees who participate getting a discount on their health care costs. I'm skeptical.
Plummer concluded by saying "the future is ours," and repeated what he called your mantra for the 21st Century: "Make It Digital, Make it Programmable, Make It Smart."
Source: PC Mag