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Gartner Trends: Tech To Realign Human and Digital Life

Gartner has looked at the digital future and found it in flux. During its yearly symposium and ITxpo in Orlando, the IT consulting firm presented 10 technology trends expected to have "strategic impact" in most organizations, which may mean disruption to the business, users or IT; which may call for "major investment"; or which may pose unforeseen risks if ignored.

"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," advised David Cearley, vice president and Gartner fellow.

User Experience over User Devices
As the number of mobile devices in use grows through a proliferation of phones and smart wearables, the IT organization will face management challenges that focus not on the devices but on the experiences of the user. "Increasingly, it's the overall environment that will need to adapt to the requirements of the mobile user."

#Gartner: "By 2017, 50% of consumer product investments will be redirected to customer experience innovations"

The Digitizing of Everything
While the "Internet of Things" (IoT) has become a continual topic of consideration by IT, the reality is that the data streams and services generated through digitizing "everything" actually creates "four basic usage models": manage, monetize, operate and extend. For instance, Gartner stated, "the pay-per-use model could be applied to assets (such as industrial equipment), services (such as pay-as-you-drive insurance), people (such as movers), places (such as parking spots) and systems (such as cloud services)."

#Gartner: By 2015, more than 40 vendors will have "managed services offerings leveraging smart machines and industrialized services."

3D Printing Reaches a Tipping Point
Gartner projects that worldwide shipments of 3D printers will nearly double in 2015 and double again in the following year. New applications for industry, medicine and consumer use will prove the efficacy of the technology in reducing costs "through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing."

#Gartner: "By 2017, nearly 20% of durable goods e-tailers will use 3D printing to create personalized product offerings."

Analytics Permeate Software
Finding meaning in the data generated by embedded and other systems will become a function within every app and application we use. "Organizations need to manage how best to filter the huge amounts of data coming from the IoT, social media and wearable devices, and then deliver exactly the right information to the right person, at the right time. Analytics will become deeply but invisibly embedded everywhere," said Cearley. However, the focus needs to move off of the existence of "big data" and move onto "big questions and big answers," he reminded attendees.

#Gartner: "By 2020...businesses using targeted messaging with internal positioning systems will see a 5% increase in sales"

Systems Will Show "Smarts"...
The existence of pervasive analytics will enable systems to become "alert" to their environments and respond appropriately. That will have application in "context-aware" security, in which a user request will be analyzed and the response adjusted based on what the systems know about the specific context in which the request is being asked. With time other uses will surface.

#Gartner: Through 2015, the most highly valued organizations will "combine digital markets with physical logistics"

...And Machines Will too
Eventually, the use of analytics will provide the "preconditions for a world of smart machines," the company stated. As a result those systems will "understand their environment, learn for themselves and act autonomously." Driverless cars, human-like robots and virtual personal assistants are present-day examples of this in action. Gartner predicts that ultimately the smart machine era will be the "most disruptive in the history of IT."

#Gartner: By 2016 mobile digital assistants will handle filling out names, addresses and credit card information.

Portability Is Floating in on a Cloud
Cloud and mobile computing are being used together to enable users to sync and access their content and application customizations across devices. But over time Gartner anticipated seeing applications evolve to orchestrate the use of multiple devices at the same time. This "second-screen phenomenon" exists today to coordinate TV watching with mobile activities on the side. One day, however, the company said, applications will use those multiple screens and wearables to deliver other kinds of enhanced experiences.

Computing Gets Dynamic
The push for the flexibility provided by "agile" has expanded from programming into all other aspects of computing. Now software-defined networking and APIs enable rapid configuration of the network, storage and security to address moment-by-moment changes in digital demand. Gartner has declared that as a result, computing practices must move from static to dynamic models. "Rules, models and code that can dynamically assemble and configure all of the elements needed from the network through the application are needed," the company said.

#Gartner: By 2017, 70%  of digital business models will use "deliberately unstable processes" that shift as customer needs shift

Data Centers that Mix Dev with Ops
Development and operations will work more closely together in the future as data center operations begin to resemble the "Web-scale IT" that characterizes companies such as Amazon and Google. This newly reframed environment is driven by the need to deliver "rapid, continuous, incremental development of applications and services," Gartner said.

#Gartner: "By 2017 50% of digital transformation initiatives will be unmanageable due to a lack of portfolio management skills"

100 Percent Secure Isn't Possible
Organizations will become more mature and nuanced with cyber security, adopting sophisticated approaches to risk assessment and mitigation. Firewalls and other perimeter defense will finally be acknowledged as inadequate to the job of security, and IT will begin demanding that applications pick up the slack. This movement will lead to creation of new models of building security directly into the code, in order to make the software more "self-aware" and "self-protecting."

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