What is Gartner’s Strategic Technology Trends for 2019?

    As 2018 draws to a close, it’s natural to reflect on the technological advances of the past 12 months. However, the constantly-evolving nature of the industry means there’s no time to stand still: Industry analysts at Gartner have already identified the key technology trends that will impact the world of business in 2019.

    Some of its predictions involve the acceleration of current trends, such as the ongoing infiltration of the workplace by the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence. But others suggest exciting innovations such as Blockchain and Quantum Computing will unlock a raft of possibilities in the enterprise.

    Here’s what to look out for in 2019:

    AI democratises analytics and development

    The ability to automate processes with AI to boost productivity and help organisations make better-informed decisions has been widely discussed. Two trends in 2019 will democratise the power of AI, making it easier for anyone with or without technical skills to use analytical tools and even create their own applications.

    Augmented analytics is the use of machine learning to transform how analytical insights are developed, consumed and shared. It automates the process of data preparation, insight generation and visualisation for specific roles, such as HR, finance, sales or marketing, and eliminates the need for professional data scientists.

    Gartner believes this will see data science performed by people whose main job is outside the field of statistics and analytics to gain insights from data. Indeed, the number of ‘citizen’ data scientists will increase five times faster than professional data scientists, helping to address the skills gap.

    The second trend is AI-driven development, which will automate various data science, application development and testing functions. These will assist professional developers and also give rise to a new class of ‘citizen’ application developers. By 2022, at least 40% of all new applications will have been created by an AI co-developer and people without coding skills can use AI development tools to generate applications.

    5G and mobile advances enable the Empowered Edge

    In short, edge computing is a trend that moves the collection and analysis of data closer to the point of collection. This reduces latency and traffic on the core network, enabling real-time applications to function.

    The intelligent edge is already a reality thanks to the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). This trend will accelerate in 2019 thanks to the advent of specialist AI chips with greater processing power and storage capabilities that will empower more devices. Meanwhile, the enhanced capacity of 5G will offer robust connectivity and bring new applications to the table.

    Blockchain pursues its path to maturity

    In its simplest terms, Blockchain is a peer-to-peer technology that allows people to communicate and interact without the need for an intermediary. With Blockchain, records can’t be changed, therefore adding trust and validation to environments without the need for a central authority figure. This can reduce the costs and delays involved with maintaining a centralised authority and boost transparency.

    Blockchain has been touted as an answer to numerous business challenges, but Gartner believes current initiatives are immature, poorly understood and unproven because they don’t implement all the attributes of the technology and can lead to vendor lock-in. It urges CIOs and IT managers to keep an eye on developments in the space and explore the possibilities for their organisation.

    Digital Twins continue to evolve

    Thanks to ever-growing volumes of data, IoT connected devices and computational power, organisations are now able to digitally replicate physical environments to see how any planned changes might affect them.

    By 2020, Gartner predicts there will be more than 20 billion connected devices or things, each generating data that can be used to create Digital Twins that can drive efficiencies in business processes and dynamically react to changing conditions.

    Earlier this year, Microsoft Azure launched a dedicated Digital Twin service and next year will see evolution as Digital Twins improve their ability to collect the right analytics and rules to adapt to business objectives.

    Quantum computing starts to become relevant

    Quantum computing is a non-classical computing architecture that takes advantage of the ability of subatomic particles to exist in multiple states at the same time. Classical computing stores information in boolean ‘bits’ (1 or 0), whereas Quantum computing uses quantum bits called ‘Qubits’.

    What this means in practical terms is that Quantum computers have the potential to store significantly more information and compute issues far more quickly. This has benefits for several industries such as automotive, finance and military, while health organisations believe it can be a huge advantage in finding treatments for diseases such as cancer.

    Quantum computing is still some time away, but Gartner says 2019 is the year that organisations should start planning for its arrival by identifying problems it can solve and its possible impact on security (especially about encryption) with a view to deploying it in 2023.

    Read Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019