This decade has arrived with some turbulence, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to take part in the time-honored tradition of wild speculation about what the future holds. The consulting firm Gartner is a specialist in this field, and it has pinpointed the top ten technological trends for the 2020s – which will lead to disruption and create the biggest opportunities in the market for the next five to ten years.
Among the criteria used by Gartner to define what is a strategic technology trend: the high-impact transformation potential and the forecast for accelerated growth, with a high degree of volatility, for the next five years. Now peer into the crystal ball as we spoil all the surprises.
Understanding how automation methods are related and how they might be combined to simplify work at every step is the focus of hyper automation. According to Gartner, most companies are already looking at all the operations they can transition to automated robotic processes, often known as RPA. It’s a safe bet predictions for the future will always involve robots, and this is no exception.
Digital multi-experiences are already happening all the time, and according to Gartner, the way users interact with the digital world will significantly change by 2028. This change is due to technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality, which promote multi-sensory experiences. Anything that gets us closer to the holodeck is fine with me.
The democratization of technological knowledge is nothing more than providing access to technical knowledge in a simplified way, without people needing to undergo extensive or expensive training.
Gartner expects that, by 2023, the democratization of expertise will evolve mainly in four areas: data and analytics; development; design and knowledge. Some critics say, however, that this democratization has been going on for some time, since home microcomputers were introduced, and that it has advanced even further in recent years with the invention of intuitive gadgets like smartphones and wearables. Total democratization, however, would be something more complex and would encompass, for example, tools such as Artificial Intelligence.
This trend reflects investigation into how technology can be integrated into the human experience providing cognitive and physical improvements to its users. Cognitive improvement takes place, for example, through access to knowledge and the use of technologies such as applications and smart spaces that provide a multi-experience interface.
Physical improvement, on the other hand, is facilitated through the use of technologies such as implants or wearable devices, which monitor and even help improve the performance of users in certain activities.
The discussion about protecting technology users' privacy is already a reality, and according to Gartner, it should have an even greater impact on the way technology companies work, among future trends. Consumers are increasingly aware of how valuable their personal information is, and therefore demand greater control over it.
Organizations have a huge challenge ahead of them, and they recognize their responsibility for managing all this information. Therefore, transparency and traceability are fundamental elements to support this new demand from users.
In practice, this translates into actions and technologies that help to ethically preserve consumer data, re-establish people's trust in organizations, and help these companies comply with new regulations. What if we still harvested user data, but ethically this time? Sounds like a reasonable compromise.
Among the decade tech trends is Edge Computing, a technology that allows devices to carry out decentralized processing and advanced analytics, and which has enabled, for example, the development of mobile computing and Internet of Things technologies.
Currently, according to the consultancy firm, this technology helps provide resources mainly for sectors such as manufacturing or retail. The trend, however, is that this technology will expand to other sectors through more advanced operating systems and devices such as robots, drones, and autonomous vehicles.
In the distributed cloud system, the origin provider distributes data to different locations, being responsible for their security, operation, and governance, in addition to service updates. The model represents a significant change from what we have today, which is centralized.
Among the trends are also the so-called “autonomous things”, which are devices that use artificial intelligence to perform functions that previously needed to be performed by human beings. The best known currently are robots, drones and cars, but the trend is for this variety of devices to increase.
Gartner also hopes that, as its programming models evolve, these devices will interact more naturally with the environment and people and become more accepted by society. Furthermore, they are expected to be able to work together, relying even less on human collaboration.
According to futurists, the blockchain will be fully scalable by 2023, and has the potential to reshape many sectors of the economy as it favors transparency, reduces costs, and improves cash flow by reducing transaction settlement time.
Gartner highlights that this technology is still scarcely implemented in corporations because it is not scalable, but believes that organizations will progressively adopt it, due to the potential revenue generation it offers.
This trend, in practice, is already a reality, but it should develop even more in the coming years. According to the specialized IT consultancy, AI will continue to be used to improve machines, but it brings with it a great challenge: security.
The expansion of intelligent systems also means an increase in attackable points. Therefore, practitioners should focus on improving security and discussing what new regulations should provide in cases of unavoidable breaches.