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Social Distancing Technologies Jump to Peak of Gartner Hype Cycle

Research and advisory company Gartner recently released its latest "Hype Cycle" analyzing emerging technologies that "show promise in delivering a high degree of competitive advantage over the next five to 10 years." Notably, social distancing technologies have fast-tracked to the top of the cycle — the "peak of inflated expectations."

"Technologies rarely enter the Hype Cycle at the point where social distancing technologies has entered it, but this technology has received extraordinary attention in the media, mainly because of privacy concerns," said Gartner in a news announcement. And thanks to their importance in the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing technologies are also anticipated to reach the "plateau of productivity" in less than two years. Other key technologies to watch, Gartner said, include health passports, the composable enterprise, AI-assisted design, differential privacy and biodegradable sensors.

To further distill the 30 technologies in the Hype Cycle, Gartner also identified five main trends expected to drive technology innovation for the next 10 years. Those are:

Digital me. "Technology is becoming increasingly integrated with people to create new opportunities for digital representations of ourselves," Gartner noted. Technologies to watch in this category include social distancing technologies, health passports, digital twins, multi-experience and 2-way BMI (brain machine interface).

Composite architectures. "The composable enterprise is designed to respond to rapidly changing business needs with packaged business capabilities built upon a flexible data fabric," Gartner said. Technologies to watch: composable enterprise, packaged business capabilities, data fabric, private 5G, embedded artificial intelligence (AI) and low-cost single-board computers at the edge.

Formative AI. Gartner defines this as "a set of emerging AI and related technologies that can dynamically change to respond to situational variances." Technologies to watch: AI-assisted design, AI augmented development, ontologies and graphs, small data, composite AI, adaptive ML, self-supervised learning, generative AI and generative adversarial networks.

Algorithmic trust. "Trust models based on responsible authorities are being replaced by algorithmic trust models to ensure privacy and security of data, source of assets and identity of individuals and things," Gartner said. Technologies to watch: secure access service edge (SASE), differential privacy, authenticated provenance, bring your own identity, responsible AI and explainable AI.

Beyond silicon. "As technology approaches the physical limits of silicon, new advanced materials are creating breakthrough opportunities to make technologies faster and smaller," Gartner noted. Technologies to watch: DNA computing, biodegradable sensors and carbon-based transistors.

To provide more detailed analysis on these five trends as well as the 30 technologies in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, Gartner will hold a live webinar, "The 5 Major Trends of Gartner's 2020 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle," on Sept. 30.

The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2020 is also available to Gartner clients here.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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