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Gartner's Burke outlines disruptive technology hype cycle

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Brian Burke, research VP for technology innovation, Gartner.
Brian Burke, research VP for technology innovation, Gartner.

Engineering trust, accelerating growth and sculpting change are the three overarching themes on the Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2021. These will drive businesses to explore a slew of emerging technologies to help secure competitive advantage.

So said Brian Burke, research VP for technology innovation at Gartner, speaking during the ITWeb Tech Trends for 2022 webinar this morning. 

In essence, the Gartner Hype Cycle is a representation of the maturity and adoption of emerging technologies that the analyst firm has used since 1995 to help customers understand how new developments in IT affect their business, he explained.

It is made up of five phases: Innovation Trigger, Peak of Inflated Expectations, Trough of Disillusionment, Slope of Enlightenment, and Plateau of Productivity. These phases give companies information on where a particular technology is on its development journey; what will shift the technology from early to mainstream adoption; when to invest in technology and not simply because everyone is doing it.

It also helps organisations decide how long they should wait before adopting disruptive technologies that have the potential to be a game-changer for the business, and when they should be quick and embrace new ideas that might substantially alter the company’s prospects early on, and when they should wait a while before adopting.

Engineering trust

The first theme, said Burke, is engineering trust. Without security and reliability, there is no trust. This can also extend to building innovations as a resilient core and a solid foundation for ICTs to deliver business value. This foundation needs to be made up of engineered, repeatable, trusted, proven and scalable working practices and innovations.

According to him, “trust is becoming more and more important. In organisations, as well as individually, it's hard to know how you can trust organisations and other entities on the Internet. And so engineering trust is really about moving to more of a decentralised trust model where we can trust the technology as opposed to trusting individuals because we don't always know the identity of those individuals.”

The technologies needed to engineer trust are sovereign cloud, NFT, machine-readable legislation, decentralised identity, decentralised finance, homomorphic encryption, active metadata management, data fabric, real-time incident centre, and employee communications applications.

Accelerating growth

The next theme is accelerating growth, Burke said. 

"Growth is important for all organisations and accelerating growth technologies are going to enable this. One of these is AI driven innovation which is about how we are leveraging AI in innovation processes and in generating ideas. Generative AI has tremendous power when it's applied to other things such as creating synthetic data to mitigate parts in AI models or being able to model new materials. There's a lot of excitement about using generative AI to discover new drug compounds in the pharmaceutical industry, for example.”

Another technology is multi-experience, which changes the way that we interact with the virtual world. It's shifting from a screen and a keyboard to a more immersive environment with augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality, and it's changing the way that we interact with technology, moving to voice as well as gestures and haptic feedback.

Burke said multi-experience is closely aligned with the increasingly popular term, 'metaverse'. 

“Multi-experience is a broader trend, which incorporates some of the principles of the metaverse as well as quantum machine learning, which is a theoretical assumption that we can use quantum computers to speed up training machine learning models.”

In short, in order to accelerate growth, there are several technologies that should be explored, namely multi-experience, industry cloud, AI-driven innovation, quantum machine learning (ML), generative AI and digital humans.

Sculpting change

The final theme is sculpting change, he added. “When we're looking at change, we need to understand how we can influence that change and how it's going to impact the organisation. For example, AI augmented design and AI augmented software engineering, where AI tools are used to automate or semi-automate the software development process in the case of software engineering, or the user experience design process.

“It’s about automating those more mundane tasks around software development and user interface design to leverage AI in those processes," said Burke.

Businesses looking to sculpt change need to consider technologies such as composable applications, composable networks, AI-augmented design, AI-augmented software engineering, physics-informed AI, influence engineering, digital platform conductor tools, named data networking and self-integrating applications.

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