Although the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic challenges have disrupted businesses in recent years, companies continue to look for new opportunities in emerging technologies and for innovations that can reshape the world.
In its Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2023 report, technological research and consulting firm Gartner examines the top tech innovations that its analysts believe will have the greatest impact on how successful businesses are in maintaining a positive financial position and operational excellence as this era of digital transformation continues to accelerate. The report includes a list of the top emerging technologies to watch this year, and Gartner indicates that they could be key to sustainable enterprise growth.
A major theme in the report is the rise of technologies that will help businesses address four key priorities: optimizing resilience, operations or trust; scaling productivity and customer value by advancing solutions, product delivery and connectivity; pioneering customer engagement, accelerated responses or opportunity; and pursuing sustainable technology solutions.
″Delivering technology alone will not be enough in 2023. Sustainable technology is a framework of solutions that increases the energy and efficiency of IT services; enables enterprise sustainability through technologies like traceability, analytics, emissions management software and AI; and helps customers achieve their own sustainability objectives,” states David Groombridge, a Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner. “Investments in sustainable technology also have the potential to create greater operational resiliency and financial performance, while providing new avenues for growth.”
The 10 emerging technologies highlighted below are expected to drive significant disruption and opportunity over the next decade.
1. Digital immune system
One of the most strategic trends in software systems design, a Digital Immune System (DIS) employs a combination of software design, development, technologies and data analytics to autonomously mitigate and respond to business risks in real time, including both operational and security risks.
Cybersecurity threats and data breaches are on the rise and getting more sophisticated. According to a 2022 research report from IBM (NYSE:IBM), a single data breach event could cost an organization US$4.35 million — up 13 percent over the past two years and the highest cost in the 18 years since the first report was issued.
By 2025, Gartner forecasts that investing in building digital immunity will help organizations reduce system downtime by up to 80 percent, which the firm points out has the potential to increase revenues.
2. Applied observability
Applied observability incorporates data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help enterprises gain the insights and understanding necessary to make future decisions effectively and efficiently, and optimize their operations in real-time. This technology uses the organization’s own observable data, also known as data artifacts (i.e. logs, document transfers, downloads, audio files, API calls, dwell time, etc.), which is generated by all stakeholders.
One real-world example of applied observability presented by Gartner is the auto insurance Tesla (NYSE:TSLA) offers its customers, which is based on data Tesla vehicles collect concerning actual driver behavior. Using sensors, driving data is collected and analyzed in order to produce a monthly safety score. Those with the safest scores are able to reduce their insurance premiums by 40 to 60 percent.
“Applied observability enables organizations to exploit their data artifacts for competitive advantage,” said Frances Karamouzis, distinguished VP analyst at Gartner. “It is powerful because it elevates the strategic importance of the right data at the right time for rapid action based on confirmed stakeholder actions, rather than intentions. When planned strategically and executed successfully, applied observability is the most powerful source of data-driven decision-making.”
3. AI trust, risk and security management
Gartner predicts that by 2028, AI-driven machines will account for 20 percent of the global workforce and 40 percent of all economic productivity.
While extremely exciting for tech nerds and businesses alike, advancements in AI technologies such as robotics and OpenAI’s ChatGPT are not without their potential pitfalls. There are serious ethical and security concerns to consider.
For one, results of a BlackBerry (NYSE:BB,TSX:BB) report published in early 2023 shows that 51 percent of IT professionals believe there will be a successful cyberattack using ChatGPT within the year, while 71 percent said that it’s quite possible that foreign states are already using ChatGPT technology for malicious purposes against rival nations.
That’s why a rigorous framework that supports AI model governance such as AI Trust, Risk and Security Management (AI TRiSM) is essential for risk mitigation, data protection, privacy controls and security breach prevention.
A Gartner survey found that 41 percent of responding organizations in the US, UK and Germany had experienced an AI privacy breach or security incident. However, organizations that actively managed AI risk, privacy and security were much more likely to move their AI projects through proof-of-concept into production.
That’s why a rigorous framework that supports AI model governance such as AI TRiSM is essential for risk mitigation, data protection, privacy controls and security breach prevention.
4. Industry cloud platforms
Between 2015 and 2022, the percentage of corporate data that is being stored in the cloud has risen from 30 percent to 60 percent, according to Statista, “and has continued to grow as companies increasingly shift their resources into cloud environments in the hope of improving security and reliability next to advancing business agility.”
The industry cloud platforms category combines a number of cloud solutions and applications including software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) technology designed for a specific industry, such as financial services, healthcare, government, life sciences and retail.
The recent Gartner survey mentioned above found that close to 40 percent of responding organizations had started implementing industry cloud platforms while another 15 percent have pilot projects underway. Another 15 percent said they are considering deploying industry cloud platforms by 2026.
Platform engineering is an emerging technology that provides developers and end users with the necessary tools and workflows to enable user-friendly, self-service capabilities for software engineering organizations. The goal is to increase end-user productivity and reduce the workload of software development teams.
“Platform engineering emerged in response to the increasing complexity of modern software architectures. Today, non-expert end users are often asked to operate an assembly of complicated arcane services,” Paul Delory, VP analyst at Gartner, said. “To help end users, and reduce friction for the valuable work they do, forward-thinking companies have begun to build operating platforms that sit between the end user and the backing services on which they rely.”
By 2026, Gartner predicts that 80 percent of software engineering organizations will have established platform teams that will be “internal providers of reusable services, components and tools for application delivery.”
6.Wireless Value Realization
Dubbing the phenomenon “wireless value realization,” Gartner sees next-generation wireless technologies allowing businesses to deliver new and improved services and reduce capital costs.
Wireless technology is evolving beyond connectivity and communication capabilities to a more diverse range of tasks that are accelerating the digital transformation. These new wireless capabilities include location tracking, radar sensing, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, multicasting and energy harvesting for battery-free operation using Bluetooth or NFC technology.
By 2025, Gartner predicts that 50 percent of enterprise wireless endpoints will use networking services that deliver additional capabilities beyond communication (up from less than 15 percent in 2022). Furthermore, by that same year, it predicts that 60 percent of enterprises will be using five or more wireless technologies simultaneously; these may include 5G, mobile devices, edge devices, low-power services, internet of things (IoT) and digital tagging, among others.
“For example, as wireless will not only be a multitechnology medium, it can also be used to sense the environment, provide power where it did not exist and find assets as well as locate people in distress,” Tim Zimmerman, Gartner VP analyst, stated. “Wireless can monitor workers to provide a safer environment or optimize the movement of critical assets.”
Superapps have all the features of an app, a platform and an ecosystem all in one. Gartner likens a superapp to a Swiss army knife as it consists of “a range of component tools (miniapps) that the user can use and remove as needed.” In this way, superapps can replace the need for multiple apps through consolidation.
Gartner forecasts that by 2027, more than 50 percent of the world’s more than 8.3 billion people will be daily active users of multiple superapps.
Today, superapp platforms provide many well-used apps such as messaging and payment. The firm expects that the concept of superapps will soon encompass enterprise mobile and desktop applications including workflow, collaboration and messaging platforms; and will eventually support chatbots, IoT technologies as well as the metaverse.
“Although most examples of superapps are mobile apps, the concept can also be applied to desktop client applications, such as Microsoft (NYSE:MSFT) Teams and Slack, with the key being that a superapp can consolidate and replace multiple apps for customer or employee use,” stated Frances Karamouzis, distinguished VP analyst at Gartner.
Advancements in AI technology have captured headlines in 2023, mostly concerning OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a form of generative AI. The generative AI model generates output based on training data and input from users. One of the drawbacks of ChatGPT is that all of its knowledge comes from before September 2021, which is not so beneficial for enterprises who need to react to challenges on the fly.
Enter adaptive AI. Using real-time data, this AI model can quickly react to real-world changes by making revisions to its own code.
“Flexibility and adaptability are now vital, as many businesses have learned during recent health and climate crises,” Gartner Distinguished VP Analyst Erick Brethenoux said. “Adaptive AI systems aim to continuously retrain models or apply other mechanisms to adapt and learn within runtime and development environments — making them more adaptive and resilient to change.”
Grand View Research has predicted that the metaverse may become the next major tech platform, reaching more than US$936 billion market value by 2030. A metaverse is a collective space shared by immersive 3D worlds designed for users to interact, meet and game within a single platform made possible via a number of emerging technologies such as mixed reality (MR), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), blockchain, AI and Web3.
For businesses, the metaverse has the potential to offer economic and customer engagement opportunities. “The metaverse will provide economic opportunities using new kinds of digital business assets (DBAs) and value exchange models,” Gartner analysts explain. “To augment digital transformation strategy, you’ll need to explore product development, brand placement, customer engagement and financial flows in the virtual world.”
Gartner predicts that a feature of a completed metaverse will be its own virtual economy, enabled by digital currencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). By 2027, the firm expects that over 40 percent of large organizations worldwide will be engaged in metaverse-based projects aimed at increasing revenue.
10. Sustainable technology
Lastly, Gartner lists sustainable technology — a framework of digital solutions that can enable environmental, social and governance (ESG) outcomes for the enterprise and its customers — as one of the top 10 technology trends to watch in 2023.
The firm believes that over the coming years, more and more enterprises will make investments in sustainable technologies that seek to reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, reduce e-waste and manage ethical sourcing through supply chain transparency.
In another recent survey, Gartner found that nearly three-quarters of CEO respondents agree that a company’s incorporation of ESG principals is attractive to investors. When it came to what drivers were leading companies to invest in new or improved products in 2022 and 2023, environmental sustainability was ranked the third biggest factor behind functional performance and general quality.
“Sustainable technology is increasingly important operationally — for optimizing costs, energy performance and asset utilization, for instance — but it also drives ESG outcomes like improving wellness and providing the traceability needed to ensure responsible business practices,” Gartner Principal Analyst Autumn Stanish stated. “Sustainable technology also facilitates new business models and tech-enabled products to better serve customers.”
This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2020.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
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