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Look Who's Talking Now: Gartner Predicts the Top Technology Trends for 2017

Three words for you - intelligent digital mesh.

Maybe not something at the top of your holiday gift shopping list but definitely something that will impact your life.

Gartner just published its annual report, “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017” and intelligent digital mesh is front and center. While another new year predictably brings another new term, it is exciting to envision the massive amount of innovation occurring in the tech industry and how all the different disruptions will potentially intertwine.

So, what exactly is this intelligent digital mesh? “An intelligent digital mesh is emerging to support the future of digital business and its underlying technology platforms and IT practices. The mesh focuses on people and the Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints, as well as the information and services that these endpoints access.”

The following set of predictions are organized around the intelligent digital mesh and explain how the emerging trends will all work together to create the mesh.

1) Intelligent

Artificial intelligence (AI), intelligent apps and intelligent things all fall within this category. Gartner believes that “AI will be the next battleground through 2020” and this shouldn’t be surprising looking at the last year.

Major enterprises have invested substantially in AI. Salesforce's $700 million spree on AI acquisitions, IBM's $1 Billion bet on Watson, Oracle just unveiled "Oracle AI" and Microsoft launched a new business unit dedicated to AI. In the report, Gartner also predicts how technologies like machine learning and natural language generation will help augment business productivity and accuracy.

"Through machine learning, a smart machine can change its future behavior. For example, by analyzing vast databases of medical case histories, "learning" machines can reveal insights in treatment effectiveness...In scenarios involving high precision, a smart machine using intelligent ensemble techniques can achieve a reduction in error rates of 5% to 30%, or even more, which may result in substantial cost savings or extra profits. Additionally, natural language generation dynamically increases the volume and value of insights and context in data analytics. It automatically generates a specialized narrative for each user in context, to explain meaning or highlight key findings in data."

2) Digital

The divide between the digital and physical world will continue to shrink until there are dual presences of all items in the physical and digital world (Gartner calls this ‘digital twins’). Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will increasingly create immersive environments and influence business interactions. Imagine attending a three-day training for your new job at the local office versus having to fly to the headquarters.

As a wise coworker once said to me, “Blockchain is so hot right now.” While still early in its development, blockchain and other similar distributed ledger concepts will become especially important as business goes digital and transparent access to transactional information is required.

3) Mesh

Gartner summarizes mesh as the “dynamic connection of people, processes, things and services supporting intelligent digital ecosystems.” All of these different factors within the intelligent and digital categories mean that the relationship between people, things and places are slated to evolve as well.

Gartner places technology architecture, user interfaces, technology platforms and adaptive security solutions in the ‘mesh’ category. Think of it as all the software advancements that will enable us to seamlessly and safely interact via multiple modalities (e.g., sight, sound, tactile, etc.) with the intelligent digital environment.

While the list of predictions is exciting to imagine with all these advancements taking roots - it's still just that, a list of predictions. The exact timeline for some of these predictions coming to fruition (some already are occurring) may be unknown but it’s always a good time to brush up on your AI knowledge or you may mesh your business opportunity.

Puns aside, the AI ecosystem is comprised of many categories and all the technologies present a different opportunity for application depending upon their requirements. Below is a snapshot of how our Chief Scientist Kris Hammond classifies the AI ecosystem.


Our research brief, published in partnership with the International Institute of Analytics, offers a helpful overview of various AI technologies and where they may be applied within your business. 

Download the "Choosing an Artificial Intelligence Solution: Start with the Business Challenge" Research Brief here >>

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