Many of us are reflecting on the past year, while simultaneously looking ahead to 2017. With high-profile cyber security breaches, presidential election and countless new innovations, 2016 was a wild 12 months for the technology industry; filled with change, and plenty of ups and downs.
As we approach a fresh new year, we’re given the opportunity to refocus and gain renewed understanding into the latest trends affecting the IT industry. And for an industry that changes by the second, this is especially important. It’s advantageous for job seekers and businesses/hiring managers alike to be knowledgeable on the latest tech issues and how they will influence IT skill sets in order to stay one step ahead of rest of the IT crowd.
So, how do you know what’s the next big thing that could impact IT? The short answer: you don’t exactly. Without a crystal ball, no one really does. The long answer, and truth of the matter, is that through research and trusted sources, you’re able to get a general grasp on where different and new technologies are headed. From there, you do your best to learn, understand and apply.
A top resource for tech professionals in the area of identifying new trends is leading IT technology research and advisory company, Gartner, Inc. Recently, Gartner released its top 10 strategic technology trends for 2017, many of which may have far-reaching implications for tech businesses and professionals. According to Gartner, three themes—intelligent, digital and mesh—form the basis for the top strategic technology trends for 2017. Here’s what you need to know about new technologies in the new year:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Advanced Machine Learning – requires many technologies and techniques, and results in “smarter” machines, including physical devices such as robots, autonomous vehicles, and consumer electronics, as well as apps and services like virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and smart advisors.
- Intelligent Apps – includes technology such as VPAs and virtual customer assistants (VCAs), which make everyday tasks like prioritizing email easier. Intelligent apps have the potential to transform the nature of work and structure of the workplace.
- Intelligent Things – physical items such as drones, autonomous vehicles and smart appliances represent only one facet of intelligent things. Internet of Things(IoT) devices will become intelligent, delivering the power of AI-enabled systems everywhere including the home and office. As intelligent things evolve and become more popular, they will shift from stand-alone to collaborative, communicating and acting in concert to accomplish tasks.
- Virtual and Augmented Reality – a whole new meaning of “connectivity,” VR and AR are poised to transform the way individuals interact with one another and with software systems.
- Digital Twin – a dynamic software model of a physical thing or system that relies on sensor data to understand its state, respond to changes, improve operations and add value. This technology is forecasted to be used to proactively repair and plan for equipment service, plan manufacturing processes, operate factories, increase operational efficiency and much more.
- Blockchain and Distributed Levers – have the potential to transform industry-operating models. While the current hype is around the financial services industry, there are many possible applications including music distribution, identity verification, title registry and supply chain.
- Conversational System – The current focus for conversational interfaces is focused on chatbots and microphone-enabled devices, such as speakers, smartphones, tablets, PCs and automobiles. The “digital mesh” also encompasses an expanding set of endpoints people use to access applications and information, or interact with people, social communities, governments, and businesses.
- Mesh App and Service Architecture – otherwise known as “MASA,” this architecture enables users to have an optimized solution for targeted endpoints in the “digital mesh” (e.g., desktop, smartphone, automobile) as well as a continuous experience as they shift across these different channels.
- Digital Technology Platforms – Digital technology platforms provide the basic building blocks for a digital business and are a critical enabler to become a digital business. Gartner has identified the five major focal points to enable the new capabilities and business models of digital business — information systems, customer experience, analytics and intelligence, the IoT, and business ecosystems. Every organization will have some mix of these five digital technology platforms.
- Adaptive Security Architecture – The evolution of intelligent digital technology platforms and application architectures means that security in the IoT environment must become fluid and adaptive. With the IoT sitting at the edge of a new frontier for many IT security professionals, it’s creating new challenges and vulnerabilities often requiring new remediation tools and processes that must be factored into IoT platform efforts. Therefore, for those working on IoT security, it will need to be considered early in the design of applications or IoT solutions.
As an IT professional, you need to keep an eye on these trends in the coming year and identify how to use them to help advance your skills sets and your career or to identify the implications they have for your organization and its hiring needs.
For more detail on each of these forecasted trends, check out Gartner’s succinct summary here, or view the image below.