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Your Guide to Gartner's Top Ten Predictions for 2018 and Beyond

Gartner is well known for their plentiful – and sometimes far out – predictions for the ways in which new technology will be adopted, adapted, and applied. Therefore, it is helpful to have an overview that will take you through some of the most interesting predictions for the upcoming year so that you can determine what could have impact on your business. It is worth remembering the “success” rate of the average Gartner prediction -- according to VP & Gartner Fellow Daryl C. Plummer, Gartner as a whole comes in at around 60% accuracy. To him, that means that they aren’t thinking far enough outside of the box, but for the rest of us, we can presume that six of the following ten strategic planning assumptions will actually play out as Gartner predicts.

  • By 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30%.

    As search becomes a more integral part of daily life, early adopter organizations will reap the benefits of improving search functionality to include visual and voice search. E-commerce is already seeing a tremendous upswing in business done via mobile, and this will only increase as ease of use from visual/voice search improves.

  • By 2020, five of the top seven digital giants will willfully "self-disrupt" to create their next leadership opportunity.

    Digital giants such as Amazon, Alibaba, Apple, Facebook, and Google have been working to self-disrupt across certain revenue streams for years. Think about the iPhone – Apple self-disrupted the MP3 market (in which iPod had the biggest market share) with the introduction of the iPhone. While it's risky to cannibalize existing revenues, Gartner predicts that non-action will cause greater negative impact to existing revenues, which will increase the necessity for digital giants to continue to self-disrupt.

  • By year-end 2020, the banking industry will derive $1 billion in business value from the use of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies.

    The current value of worldwide cryptocurrencies is $155 billion, which is distributed across 900 cryptocurrencies in the market. Around 45% of that market share belongs to bitcoin. Broader market adoption of cryptocurrencies is currently being held up in part by the lack of credibility they are given by traditional institutions. However, as cryptocurrencies gain the status of traditional financial instruments, the business value will increase.

  • By 2022, most people in mature economies will consume more false information than true information.

    #Fake News will become an increasing problem in mature economies as the creation of false or misleading information outpaces the cost and effort of detecting it. While AI can be used to detect false information, it can also be used to generate it. Gartner predicts that at least through the year 2020 no large internet company will fully succeed in their efforts to mitigate the problem. This will presumably coincide with major countries passing legislation to try to fix the problem from a legal angle. However, in the short term, we should expect the quantity of false information to outstrip true information.

  • Through 2020, AI-driven creation of "counterfeit reality," or fake, content will outpace AI's ability to detect it, fomenting digital distrust.

    As noted above, in the short term, AI will be applied to the creation of fake content. This spreads further than creating fake news sources. Currently, AI is used in cinema to “bring people back from the dead”, but these capabilities will only increase in sophistication leading to a problem when people can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is fake. This could have major impacts for corporations or politicians trying to project a certain image, only to be confronted by convincing “fake” images of themselves.

  • By 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will be spending more per annum on bots and chatbot creation than traditional mobile app development.

    While most bot/chatbot programs are still in the nascent pilot phases, over half of Gartner respondents said that they are doing something about bots and chatbots. The transformative value of bots is still to be discovered, but Gartner predicts that bots, in particular, will transform the modern workplace, increasing customer and employee engagement by automating repetitive tasks and freeing people up for “nonstandard” work.

  • By 2021, 40% of IT staff will be versatilists holding multiple roles, most of which will be business-related rather than technology-related.

    As new technologies improve and more “digital natives” join the workforce, the need for highly technical IT staff will decline. New technologies will change the way people do work and the large portion of technical work will be done by machines. This requires organizations to respond by hiring IT staff that can also handle people-centric roles, as that will prove to be a major differentiator.

  • In 2020, AI becomes a positive net job motivator, creating 2.3 million jobs while only eliminating 1.8 million jobs.

    Gartner predicts that in the next three years AI will become a positive net job creator – going against the fear that robots will take away human jobs. Initially, AI will eliminate more jobs than it creates (primarily in manufacturing), but Gartner predicts that this will swing back in the right direction as soon as 2020. However, it is worth noting that job distribution will change and certain industries will see a large portion of jobs eliminated (manufacturing) while healthcare and public sector work will see growing demand.

  • By 2020, IoT technology will be in 95% of electronics for new product designs.

    Organizations that have applied IoT see a quick return on investment (in as little as four months) primarily on issues related to maintenance and extending the lifecycle of certain objects. Electronics such as coffee makers, washing machines, and air conditioners are already being influenced by IoT. The confluence of mobile management, cloud, and inexpensive devices for monitoring makes IoT an integral component of future electronic product design.

  • Through 2022, half of all security budgets for IoT will go to fault remediation, recalls and safety failures rather than protection.

    There are still unintended consequences to the expansion of IoT across all industries and market sectors. The rapid expansion of IoT within consumer devices introduces vast wireless networks of devices that can be used for attacks on other networks. IoT spend will explode after 2020 following the introduction of better methods for applying security patterns cross-industry in IoT security architecture.

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