As another year begins to wind-down, tis the season to reflect on the past and predict the future for nearly all things, widely interesting or not. Prognosticating the trends of the coming year is becoming trendy itself, particularly when it comes to technology and all things gee-whiz. Last year Gartner’s, the established guru of technology trend predicting, forecasted that technology trends in 2015 would follow three themes; the merging of the real and virtual worlds, the advent of intelligence everywhere, and the technology impact of the digital business shift. So how is are we performing against the trend predictions?
As expected, mobile devices and their use in diverse and expanding contexts appears to proliferate. The chatter is becoming more about what the devices can do for the user and less about all the bells and whistles of the hardware. A new and expanded menu of applications for all our smart toys and tools is leading users to select new and creative uses from a larger array of internet of things. Autonomous vehicles, advanced robotics and virtual personal assistants and smart advisors are well on their way to becoming common place and are threatening to result in most disruptive era in history. Fitness wearables are flourishing in the marketplace and alongside a vast array of interconnected life-style appliances that monitor, record and analyze user’s activities, and deliver even those things we didn’t previously know we wanted to know or do. Advances in 3-D printing, ubiquitous embedded intelligence, cloud computing and risk-based security and self-protection are out of the box and progressing. As David W. Garner vice president and Gartner Fellow, said of the predictions for 2015, “This does not necessarily mean adoption and investment in all of the trends at the same rate. But companies should look to make deliberate decisions about them during the next two years.”
So where are we going from here? What are the predicted top 10 strategic trends in technology for 2016 according to Gartner and reported in Forbes?
– Device Mesh – Personal devices become smarter and collect more data about our activities and interest and begin to work more in concert with each other.
– Ambient User Experience – “Devices and sensors will become so smart that they will be able to organize our lives without our even noticing that they are doing so.”
– Information of Everything – Making sense and managing all that data will be challenging.
– Advanced Machine Learning – Analyzing and making initial decisions about the data will be performed by machines. Will humans successfully evolve to the higher level of technology engagement?
– Autonomous Agents and Things – Robots will continue to master and surpass humans in their ability to undertake human tasks like such as autonomous driving car. 2016 will see such vehicles “break-out” of their controlled, prototype environments.
– Adaptive Security Architecture – Gartner predicts that more tools will be available to go on the offensive against prolific and damaging security threats to our data systems.
– Advanced Customer Architecture – Developers will push the boundaries and design technology that better mimics the human brain.
– Mesh App and Service Architecture – More apps will be engineered to work together with other apps, creating added value.
– Internet of Things Architecture and Platforms – Progress towards integrating a growing collection of the “internet of things” will be made.
While the predictions can be fun to make, their advance to reality and common utilization may be tempered by our resistance to releasing control of those areas of our lives that were once promised to be beyond the ability of mere machines. While we often welcome the benefits of all the wonders of technology in our everyday lives, at what point in the process will even the most ardent of technology consumers push-back and determine that too much is a little too much, too soon?