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Innovation Updated: 22 Aug 2017

10 technology trends for 2016

The consultancy firm Gartner presents at its ITxpo event the ideas it predicts will have strategic value for most organizations in the world of business.

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In an age where technologies are constantly reinventing themselves it is important to assess many factors before embracing one. Gartner has identified 10 technology trends with sufficient strategic value to have a significant impact within a company.

The capacity for disruption, both in the sector and in customer experience, as well as in the IT systems used, is highly rated. But there are also other factors that have played a key role in identifying the technology trends that in 2016 “will shape the digital industry through 2020”, in the words of David Cearley, Gartner VP.

1. The Device Mesh

More and more devices are being used as a bridge to access information, data, solutions, apps or even to interact with people, businesses and institutions. The boom of wearables and sensors in Internet of Things ecosystems opens a myriad of possibilities for businesses.

2. Ambient User Experience

Although the spearhead of this trend in the media would be virtual reality and augmented reality, these immersive experiences are not everything. Ambient user experience must transcend the barriers of the device mesh, space and time.

3. 3D Printing Materials

Nickel alloys, carbon fiber, glass, pharmaceuticals and biological materials are a few examples that have managed to extend 3D printing to sectors as disparate as aerospace and medical. The growth forecast for the 3D printing materials industry is expected to increase on average by 65% a year through 2019.

4. Information of Everything

Everything in the digital mesh produces, transmits and uses information. Leveraging it through business intelligence strategies can mean that huge amounts of information that until now had been considered obsolete, unintelligible, incomplete or simply unavailable can bring unexpected benefits.

5. Advanced Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence has already reached the point where it can produce machines capable of learning from their environment in a completely autonomous way. Deep neural nets (DNNs) is what makes smart machines appear "intelligent". The value of this advance lies in data classification and analysis, something increasingly unfeasible at human scale.

6. Autonomous Agents and Things

Robots, autonomous vehicles, virtual personal assistants and smart advisors are already part of our everyday lives. They are all precursors to a near future in robotics, which always attracts more attention in the media, but also in artificial intelligence engineering, represented by Siri, Now and Cortana.

7. Adaptive Security Architecture

Relying on perimeter defense and rule-based security is inadequate as an increasing number of businesses work on API integration and exploit more cloud-based services. The emerging “hacker industry” and the algorithmic economy combine to increase the number of potential digital threats. Prevention and soundness will be key factors, not to forget that innovation no longer comes from dark boxes.

8. Advanced System Architecture

Neuromorphic computing architectures based on field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) announce a closer future of high energy efficiency and speeds greater than a teraflop.

9. Mesh App and Service Architecture

The mesh app and service architecture has to be scalable, flexible and agile. Supported by cloud-based services, a new generation of apps and services will take user experience to a new level. One where transdevice experience will be a reality.

10. Internet of Things Platforms

Supporting the IoT ecosystem mesh requires computational and architectural work to handle it, integrate it and protect it. Any company considering Internet of Things initiatives should also consider a platform for hosting the ecosystem.