The 5 emerging technologies worth investing in for 2020

Looking ahead to the new year, innovation leaders should take note of these hype-worthy tech trends.

The secrets to a successful digital transformation initiative Ben Shea spoke with TechRepublic at the 2019 SAP SAPPHIRE NOW conference about how communication and teams determine successful digital innovations.

Gartner's Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report, released on Thursday, detailed which future tech trends are more than hype. The report found that these technologies show great promise in producing significant competitive advantage for companies over the next five to 10 years. 

SEE: Digital transformation: An IT pro's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Deciding which emerging technology to use in your company isn't easy and vary by company, said Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner.

"Each of these emerging technologies are advancing at different rates, but within each are a number of generic use cases," Burke said. "Technology leaders in organizations need to look at the technology and identify if it is mature enough to deploy in their specific use case." 

It all comes down to what your business needs. If a business has a specific use case for the technology that aligns with a generic use case, then the business has found the technology worth investing in, Burke added. 

Here are the five emerging technologies, along with examples of each: 

1. Sensing and mobility

"Sensing and mobility sound like two very different things, but they are actually very closely related, in that it is sensing that is enabling mobility" Burke said. 

Organizations considering sensing and mobility technologies should check their personal use cases to see if there is a need for 3D-sensing cameras, AR cloud, light-cargo delivery drones, flying autonomous vehicles, and autonomous driving—all of which are emerging under this trend, the report found. 

2. Augmented human

Emerging technologies in the augmented human realm include biochips, personification, augmented intelligence, emotion AI, immersive workspaces, and biotech, the report found. 

"When we talk about augmented humans we are talking about providing people with immersive experiences," said Burke. Whether this is through immersive workspaces, which allows you to work virtually from anywhere, or physical experiences like prosthetic limbs, he added. 

3. Postclassical compute and communications

Classical core computing and communication technologies have been going on for the last 30 years, predicted under Moore's Law, Burke said. 

However, "Post Classical communications and compute cover how the underlying technologies are being deployed in  entirely different ways, which is really giving us a step-change in compute and communication power," Burke noted. 

An example of this is low earth orbit (LEO) satellites, Burke added. "Satellites have completely changed how we are going to connect and commute globally, especially in underserved areas," he said. 

Enterprises should consider postclassical compute and communications technologies if they have use cases for 5G, next-generation memory, LEO systems, and nanoscale 3D printing, according to the report. 

4. Digital ecosystems

"We've had ecosystems since businesses started, but digital ecosystems are about how digital technologies are reducing friction in business ecosystems," Burke noted. On top of becoming more digital and reducing friction, he said, these ecosystems are also becoming more decentralized, which will allow users to have control over their own data and reduce the power of internet giants. 

Examples of digital ecosystem technologies include DigitalOps, knowledge graphs, synthetic data, decentralized web, and decentralized autonomous organizations, the report found.

5. Advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics

"AI is a pervasive trend," said Burke; it not only pervades the enterprise, but also all of these trends. 

The most significant emerging uses of AI include adaptive machine learning, edge AI, edge analytics, explainable AI, AI platform as a service (PaaS), transfer learning, generative adversarial networks, and graph analytics, according to the report.

"We are seeing significant advances in AI algorithms, where AI is being used, and how AI is being democratized, so that it's not just strictly in the realm of giant tech companies, but are now available to end user organizations," Burke added.

Additional analysis on emerging technologies will be presented during Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2019

For more, check out the 5 building blocks for successful digital transformation on TechRepublic. 

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