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Computing Innovations That Organizations Should Monitor

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The trouble with the future of technology is we are able to describe it, to talk about it, and to imagine the benefits-- long before it is here. 

You name it... space travel, desktop publishing, driverless autos, airplanes, invisibiliy cloaks or even hoverboards...and it always starts with our imagination. And our imagination carries the possibilities, the dreams to new heights before we actually get down to the details, to the work that makes it happen.

That often leads to misunderstanding and frustration, frustration so typical in technology that research company Gartner has made a fortune from depicting and tracking that frustration with their patented charts known as "Hype Cycles."

The journey to digital business continues as the key theme of of Gartner's "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2015." 

Gartner's "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2015New to the Hype Cycle this year is what Gartner calls "digital humanism" — the idea that people are the central focus in digital businesses and digital workplaces. 

The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report is the longest-running annual Hype Cycle, providing a cross-industry perspective on the technologies and trends that business should consider in developing emerging-technology portfolios. 

Betsy Burton, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, says "This year, we encourage CIOs and other IT leaders to dedicate time and energy focused on innovation, rather than just incremental business advancement, while also gaining inspiration by scanning beyond the bounds of their industry."

Major changes in 2015 (see chart) include the placement of autonomous vehicles, which have shifted from pre-peak to peak of the Hype Cycle. While autonomous vehicles are still embryonic, this movement still represents a significant advancement, with all major automotive companies putting autonomous vehicles on their near-term roadmaps.

Similarly, the growing momentum (from post-trigger to pre-peak) in connected-home solutions has introduced entirely new solutions and platforms enabled by new technology providers and existing manufacturers.

GARTNER: Six Business Era Models in the Digital Business Development Path

    * Stage 1: Analog
    * Stage 2: Web
    * Stage 3: E-Business
    * Stage 4: Digital Marketing
    * Stage 5: Digital Business
    * Stage 6: Autonomous

"As enterprises continue the journey to becoming digital businesses, identifying and employing the right technologies at the right time will be critical," said Ms. Burton. "As we have set out on the Gartner roadmap to digital business, there are six progressive business era models that enterprises can identify with today and to which they can aspire in the future. However, since the Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies is purposely focused on more emerging technologies, it mostly supports the last three of these stages: Digital Marketing, Digital Business and Autonomous."

Digital Marketing (Stage 4): The digital marketing stage sees the emergence of the Nexus of Forces (mobile, social, cloud and information). Enterprises in this stage focus on new and more sophisticated ways to reach consumers, who are more willing to participate in marketing efforts to gain greater social connection, or product and service value. Enterprises that are seeking to reach this stage should consider the following technologies on the Hype Cycle: Gesture Control, Hybrid Cloud Computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, People-Literate Technology, Speech-to-Speech Translation.

Digital Business (Stage 5): Digital business is the first post-nexus stage on the roadmap and focuses on the convergence of people, business and things. The IoT and the concept of blurring the physical and virtual worlds are strong concepts in this stage. Physical assets become digitalized and become equal actors in the business value chain alongside already-digital entities, such as systems and apps. Enterprises seeking to go past the Nexus of Forces technologies to become a digital business should look to these additional technologies: 3D Bioprinting for Life Science R&D, 3D Bioprinting Systems for Organ Transplant, Human Augmentation, Affective Computing, Augmented Reality, Bioacoustics Sensing, Biochips, Brain-Computer Interface, Citizen Data Science, Connected Home, Cryptocurrencies, Cryptocurrency Exchange, Digital Dexterity, Digital Security, Enterprise 3D Printing, Smart Robots, Smart Advisors, Gesture Control, IoT, IoT Platform, Machine Learning, Micro Data Centers, Natural-Language Question Answering, Neurobusiness, People-Literate Technology, Quantum Computing, Software-Defined Security, Speech-to-Speech Translation, Virtual Reality, Volumetric and Holographic Displays, and Wearables.

Autonomous (Stage 6): Autonomous represents the final post-nexus stage. This stage is defined by an enterprise's ability to leverage technologies that provide humanlike or human-replacing capabilities. Using autonomous vehicles to move people or products and using cognitive systems to recommend a potential structure for an answer to an email, write texts or answer customer questions are all examples that mark the autonomous stage. Enterprises seeking to reach this stage to gain competitiveness should consider these technologies on the Hype Cycle: Autonomous Vehicles, Bioacoustic Sensing, Biochips, Brain-Computer Interface, Digital Dexterity, Human Augmentation, Machine Learning, Neurobusiness, People-Literate Technology, Quantum Computing, Smart Advisors, Smart Dust, Smart Robots, Virtual Personal Assistants, Virtual Reality, and Volumetric and Holographic Displays.

"Although we have categorized each of the technologies on the Hype Cycle into one of the digital business stages, enterprises should not limit themselves to these technology groupings," said Ms. Burton. "Many early adopters have embraced quite advanced technologies, for example, autonomous vehicles or smart advisors, while they continue to improve nexus-related areas, such as mobile apps."

While Gartner is speaking directly to end users, their advice to end users is also the solution provider's best roadmap to technology services.  By following the Gartner logic and advice, solution providers can anticipate the technology curves and play their role in working hand-in-hand with customers who are making tech transitions.

Additional information is available in Gartner's "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2015." This report is part of Gartner's Hype Cycle Special Report for 2015. This Special Report provides strategists and planners with an assessment of the market hype, maturity, business benefit and future direction of more than 2,000 technologies, grouped into 112 areas.

Go Gartner's Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2015