Digital ecosystems could lead to elimination of classical value chains in business

Digital ecosystems, artificial intelligence, sensors, new computing architectures, and augmented humans will significantly transform business in the next ten years, according to Gartner.

In its latest Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, the analyst firm said that there were five distinct emerging technology trends that "create and enable new experiences, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and other constructs to enable organisations to take advantage of emerging digital ecosystems".

Leading the trends are digital ecosystems. These were defined by Gartner an interdependent group of actors (organisations, people and things) sharing digital platforms to achieve a mutually beneficial purpose.

"Digitalisation has facilitated the deconstruction of classical value chains, leading to stronger, more flexible and resilient webs of value delivery that are constantly morphing to create new improved products and services," said analysts.

It said that critical technologies to be considered include: DigitalOps, knowledge graphs, synthetic data, decentralised web and decentralised autonomous organisations.

Among the other trends were mobility and sensing. By combining sensor technologies with AI, machines are gaining a better understanding of the world around them, enabling mobility and manipulation of objects, according to the analysts. It said that over the next decade, an augmented reality cloud will create a 3D map of the world, "enabling new interaction models and in turn new business models that will monetise physical space".

It said that organisations that want to use sensing and mobility capabilities should consider the following technologies: 3D-sensing cameras, AR cloud, light-cargo delivery drones, flying autonomous vehicles and autonomous driving Levels 4 and 5.

People augmented with technology could also play a pivotal role in the future. Gartner said that an example of this is the ability to provide superhuman capabilities such as the creation of limb prosthetics with characteristics that can exceed the highest natural human performance.

Emerging technologies focused on extending humans include biochips, personification, augmented intelligence, emotion AI, immersive workspaces and biotech (cultured or artificial tissue).

Analysts said that the next generation of computing architectures would be entirely new. The firm said that low earth orbit (LEO) satellites can provide low-latency internet connectivity globally. These constellations of small satellites will enable connectivity for the 48% of homes that are currently not connected, providing new opportunities for economic growth for unserved countries and regions.

"With only a few satellites launched, the technology is still in its infancy, but over the next few years it has the potential for a dramatic social and commercial impact," said Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner.

Gartner predicted that advanced analytics that comprises autonomous or semiautonomous examination of data or content using sophisticated techniques and tools would be a major trend in years to come.

"The adoption of edge AI is increasing for applications that are latency-sensitive (e.g., autonomous navigation), subject to network interruptions (e.g., remote monitoring, natural language processing [NLP], facial recognition) and/or are data-intensive (e.g., video analytics)," said Burke.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.