Knowledge Leader

We may not have a crystal ball, but we do have analysts predicting the future of technology


Koda Skurzewski
by Koda Skurzewski
Director, Retail Innovation

Having a crystal ball would be excellent for a number of reasons. Predicting lottery numbers, foreseeing world disasters and financial crashes, or even knowing there’s no point watching England’s participation at the next five major football/soccer tournaments…. There are so many advantages.

We may not have a crystal ball but we do at least have analysts; whether that’s a weatherman correctly/incorrectly forecasting the weather, or an analyst predicting stock levels, company finances or market trends.

In IT there is an assortment of analysts and consultants regularly queuing up to tell you how the market is changing, what new technologies are emerging, and how certain products are faring against one another.

Gartner is perhaps one of the better known here, and last month it came out with its annual Hype Cycle. The study is always fascinating to tech enthusiasts, as it is generally a reasonable barometer for what is to come, and the stage of each technology (although I am not sure if anyone ever goes back and validates this research…).

Last year, the analyst house was talking a lot about driverless cars moving to true hype factor, how connected home was growing, and emergence of IoT platforms.

  •  “Technology will continue to become more human-centric to the point where it will introduce transparency between people, businesses and things.”

This is a thought-provoking comment. I agree that tech becomes more contextual and fluid wherever you are — thanks to IoT, VR, AR – but it could be argued that tech is arguably on course to become less personal. In some cases, especially in enterprise, there will be less human interaction and more automation and visibility.

Yet Gartner’s finding here does at least chime with research from Adobe and Goldsmiths University and it could be argued that the best is to come with virtual private assistants and what Gartner defines as ‘brain-computer interfaces’ – brain patterns which can be interpreted by a computer to control an application or device. You can expect traction with wearables.

  • “Smart machine technologies will be the most disruptive class of technologies over the next 10 years due to radical computational power, near-endless amounts of data, and unprecedented advances in deep neural networks that will allow organizations with smart machine technologies to harness data in order to adapt to new situations and solve problems that no one has encountered previously.”

For this read machine-learning and AI, although watch out for newer technologies. I personally have never heard of smart dust or smart workspace, for example.

  • IoT platforms close in on peak of inflated expectations

Surely there will be some market consolidation here in the coming year. There are too many players. Gartner cites ‘peak of inflated expectations’ and reveals that this is a stage where there’s lots of publicity and “a number of success stories” but crucially also “often accompanied by scores of failures”. We’re already seeing a couple of those failures in the IoT vendor ecosystem.

  • Platform-based businesses emerge

Gartner notes that the rise of PaaS will see companies have to “create platform-based business models”, which Blockchain, IoT platforms and software-defined anything (Sdx) to drive much of this change.

The platform economy is in full swing. An interesting snippet here from Accenture on this:

“Tech companies and enterprises that are born digital, such as Amazon, Google, and Alibaba, have long understood the power of digital technologies. But look a little closer. Many of these companies’ most groundbreaking innovations are not products or services; they are the platforms on which these products and services are built, and the business models that these platforms enable.”

The latest report pinpoints three big trends for the year ahead – ‘transparently immersive experiences’, the ‘smart machine age’ and the ‘platform revolution’.

I have to agree.

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Koda Skurzewski

Koda Skurzewski

Director, Retail Innovation

kskurzewski@isoftstone.com

Koda is a Director of Retail Innovation with a highly distinguished track record in technology and retail. With a career spanning 15+ years, she has experience in product development, marketing, and sale of solutions in both B2B and B2C environments. She has advised a variety of Fortune 500 clients on technology and business solutions and has spent the past 6 years on the cutting edge of developing IOT and AI product.