Gartner’s Top Ten Technology Trends for 2021
Technology is constantly shifting and opening up more doorways than ever thought possible. Just think about the technology scene ten years ago. Apple released the first-ever iPad in 2010. Microsoft’s now dead Kinect system was sweeping the nation as everyone was using hands-free video games. Well, it’s now a new decade, and technology has grown and adapted dramatically.
The opportunities technology has provided individuals and businesses alike is astounding. From AI to cloud computing, the possibilities seem endless. So, what’s next? Where is technology going to grow in the years ahead? Gartner recently released its list of the top ten technology trends, which it marks as the “strategic technology trends that will drive significant disruption and opportunity over the next five to ten years.” So, let’s take a look and see what technologies businesses might want to invest in now to be on the cutting edge later.
Gartner’s Top Technology Trends
The first on the list is hyperautomation. But just reading that word, what does it actually mean? Well, as we’ve seen, businesses have been increasingly automating their systems and operations for years. This trend is only going to continue. Gartner notes that this hyperautomation will occur in the automation of tools as well as the automation of processes. Using advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), organizations can reassess their operations and make them even more efficient and effective. The goal is to increase AI-driven decision making.
The next trend from Gartner is an increasingly customer-focused trend. Multiexperience means using multiple points of interaction to access and connect with people. With so many individuals having multiple touchpoints, including things like wearables and smart home technology, why not try to reach your customers on every interface? Gartner points to the idea of creating “immersive experiences that use augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality, multichannel human-machine interfaces, and sensing technologies.”
Democratization refers to the idea of providing people access to technical or business expertise without extensive training. Gartner points out four key areas: application development, data and analytics, design, and knowledge. These areas allow developers and other individuals to use AI and other technologies to create models and programs without needing the extensive knowledge a typical data scientist might need.
4- Human Augmentation
If one of Gartner’s trends was most seemingly pulled from a sci-fi movie from the future, it’s this one. But, we’ve already been using technology to enhance cognitive and physical experiences for some time now. It’s going to be exciting to watch what the future holds in this area. The four main categories noted are sensory augmentation (hearing, vision, perception), appendage and biological function augmentation (exoskeletons, prosthetics), brain augmentation (implants to treat seizures), and genetic augmentation (somatic gene and cell therapy).
5- Transparency and Traceability
The next trend focuses on an area that has stirred controversy and regulation in recent years: data privacy. As nearly every organization collects our data, it’s created a trust crisis between individuals and businesses. So, the trend moving forward will move towards transparency, focusing on six key elements: ethics, integrity, openness, accountability, competence, and consistency. The driver of this trend is data regulations around the world, from the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
6- The Empowered Edge
First it was cloud computing; now it’s edge computing. With the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), a lot of data is now being collected on the outer “edge” of computing networks, sent to a central network server, processed, and then sent back. With the invention of edge computing, edge-enabled devices can gather and process this data in real-time, reducing latency. As smart devices only continue to grow, more and more organizations are latching onto edge computing.
7- The Distributed Cloud
The big trend we’re going to see in cloud computing in the next few years is the distributed cloud. The way many organizations use cloud computing now, cloud providers host physical data centers around the world. With distributed cloud, public cloud services are available at locations outside of the cloud provider’s data centers. The purpose of this trend is to solve issues like latency, as well as regulatory challenges like data sovereignty. It’s almost a combination of a public and private, local cloud— offering the best of both worlds.
8- Autonomous Things
Drones and robots (and the technology that operates them) are only just beginning. These AI-powered machines will become more commonplace in the next few years, appearing in open public spaces. Currently, autonomous things mainly exist in controlled environments like warehouses. However, as AI technology expands, creating more semiautonomous and fully autonomous inventions, so will the uses of these objects and machines.
9- Practical Blockchain
Blockchain is another technology that will only continue to grow in the coming years. According to Gartner, “blockchain has the potential to transform industries, and eventually the economy, as complementary technologies such as AI and the IoT begin to integrate alongside blockchain.” Eventually, blockchain will allow machines to exchange various assets along with humans. Gartner says to expect blockchain to be fully scalable by 2023.
10- AI Security
Last but not least, Gartner predicts the rise of AI security. This is in response to newly-created security vulnerabilities caused by evolving technologies. AI security will focus on three key perspectives: protecting AI-powered systems, leveraging AI to enhance security defense, and anticipating nefarious use of AI by attackers.
Technology is growing more advanced and sophisticated every day. As new technologies emerge, it’s important to stay updated on what might be the future in your industry. These trends identified by Gartner are going to be key areas of growth in the coming years, so make sure you keep an eye out.