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Gartner’s seven unexpected digital disruptions

18 Oct 2018

Gartner has named seven digital disruptions that organisations may not be prepared for.

These include several categories of disruption, each of which represents a significant potential for new disruptive companies and business models to emerge.

“The single largest challenge facing enterprises and technology providers today is digital disruption,” said Daryl Plummer, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

“The virtual nature of digital disruptions makes them much more difficult to deal with than past technology-triggered disruptions. CIOs must work with their business peers to pre-empt digital disruption by becoming experts at recognising, prioritising and responding to early indicators.”

Quantum computing

“Quantum computers have the potential to run massive amounts of calculations in parallel in seconds,” says Plummer.

“This potential for compute acceleration, as well as the ability to address difficult and complex problems, is what is driving so much interest from CEOs and CIOs in a variety of industries. But we must always be conscious of the hype surrounding the quantum computing model. QC is good for a specific set of problem solutions, not all general-purpose computing.”

Real-time language translation

Real-time language translation could, in effect, fundamentally change communication across the globe.

Devices such as translation earbuds and voice and text translation services can translate in real-time, breaking down language barriers with friends, family, clients and colleagues. This technology could not only disrupt intercultural language barriers but also language translators as this role may no longer be needed.

Nanotechnology

Nanotech is used to create new effects in materials science, such as self-healing materials. Applications in medicine, electronics, security and manufacturing herald a world of small solutions that fill in the gaps in the macroverse in which we live.

“Nanotechnology is rapidly becoming as common a concept as many others, and yet still remains sparsely understood in its impact to the world at large,” says Plummer.

“When we consider applications that begin to allow things like 3D printing at nanoscale, then it becomes possible to advance the cause of printed organic materials and even human tissue that is generated from individual stem cells. 3D bioprinting has shown promise and nanotech is helping deliver on it.”

Swarm intelligence

Digital business will stretch conventional management methods past the breaking point. The enterprise will need to make decisions in real time about unpredictable events, based on information from many different sources (such as IoT devices) beyond the organisation’s control.

Swarm intelligence is the collective behaviour of decentralised, self-organised systems, natural or artificial. A swarm consists of small computing elements (either physical entities or software agents) that follow simple rules for coordinating their activities. Such elements can be replicated quickly and inexpensively. Thus, a swarm can be scaled up and down easily as needs change.

CIOs should start exploring the concept to scale management, especially in digital business scenarios.

Human-machine interfaces

Human-machine interface (HMI) offers solutions providers the opportunity to differentiate with innovative, multimodal experiences. In addition, people living with disabilities benefit from HMIs that are being adapted to their needs, including some already in use within organisations of all types.

Technology will give some of these people “super-abilities,” spurring people without disabilities to also employ the technology to keep up.

Software distribution revolution

The way in which software is located, bought and updated is now in the province of the software distribution marketplace.

With the continued growth of cloud platforms from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, Google, IBM and others, as well as the ever-increasing introduction of cloud-oriented products and services, the role of marketplaces for selling and buying is gathering steam.

The cloud platform providers realise (to varying degrees) that they must remove as much friction as possible in the buying and owning processes for both their own offerings and the offerings of their independent software vendors (ISVs) (i.e. partners). ISVs or cloud technology service providers (TSPs) recognise the need to reach large and increasingly diverse buying audiences.

Smartphone disintermediation

The use of other devices, such as virtual personal assistants (VPAs), smartwatches and other wearables, may mean a shift in how people continue to use the smartphone.

“Smartphones are, today, critical for connections and media consumption,” says Plummer.

“However, over time they will become less visible as they stay in pockets and backpacks. Instead, consumers will use a combination of voice-input and VPA technologies and other wearable devices to navigate a store or public space such as an airport or stadium without walking down the street with their eyes glued to a smartphone screen.”

CIOs and IT leaders should use wearability of a technology as a guiding principle and investigate and pilot wearable solutions to improve worker effectiveness, increase safety, enhance customer experiences and improve employee satisfaction.

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