The research firm defines strategic technology trends as those with substantial disruptive potential that are beginning to break out of an emerging state into broader impact and use.
One such trend involves the increasing migration of computing functionality to the edge, Gartner says. Edge computing is being driven by the IoT and the demand for fast, low latency processing by keeping processing close to the end rather than in a centralized cloud server.
Vision 2019 Supplement Dec 2018
Forrester: Key IoT trends to watch in 2019
But rather than competing, Gartner says edge computing and cloud computing are expected to evolve as complementary models. As 5G matures, the expanding edge computing environment will have more robust communication back to centralized services.
Meanwhile the explosive growth of the IoT will drive adoption of digital twin technology, with digital twins collecting and visualizing the data collected from their physical sensor and endpoint counterparts.
In time the digital twin evolution will move beyond the IoT to see enterprises implementing digital twins of their entire organizations, using a dynamic software model that relies on operational data to better understand how organizations enact their business models and deploy resources.
Rise of autonomous things
Another key technology trend for 2019 will be the rise of autonomous things such as robots, drones and vehicles.
This will involve implementing AI to achieve automation that goes beyond the current limited automation provided by rigid programming models, to one that allows for more advanced behaviors and autonomous decision making.
Also in the AI space, Gartner says that while the development of effective AI-enhanced solutions have until now required application developers to partner with data scientists, the market is rapidly shifting towards an approach where developers can use predefined models delivered as a service in AI-related development.
Next, while Gartner notes that current blockchain technologies are immature, poorly understood and unproven in mission-critical, at-scale business operations, the significant potential for disruption means that industry interest in the technology will remain high.
Another trend involves the convergence of elements such as smart cities, digital workplaces, smart homes and connected factories into the “smart spaces” concept. Smart spaces will be physical or digital environments in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact in increasingly open, connected, coordinated and intelligent ecosystems.
In terms of the user experience, conversational platforms are already changing the way people interact with the digital world, while virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies are changing the way people perceive the digital world.
Gartner expects these trends to converge into the future immersive user experience. This will be a multichannel and multimodal experience connecting people with the digital world across hundreds of edge devices that surround them, including traditional computing devices, wearables, automobiles, environmental sensors and consumer appliances.
Digital ethics and privacy will meanwhile be a growing concern for individuals, organizations and governments, and enterprises will need to ensure that digital trust is maintained among customers, constituents and employees, Gartner said.
“The Intelligent Digital Mesh has been a consistent theme for the past two years and continues as a major driver through 2019,” Gartner VP and fellow David Cearley says.
“For example, AI in the form of automated things and augmented intelligence is being used together with IoT, edge computing and digital twins to deliver highly integrated smart spaces. This combinatorial effect of multiple trends coalescing to produce new opportunities and drive new disruption is a hallmark of the Gartner top 10 strategic technology trends for 2019.”
This article first appeared in Telecom Asia Vision 2019 Supplement