Gartner's strategic technologies for 2016 revolves around blending IoT, smart machines, data

Gartner's top 10 strategic technologies for 2016 has a heavy emphasis on architecture and a "digital mesh" to blend together everything from smart machines to mobile devices to data backbones.

ORLANDO--Gartner's top 2016 strategic trends for 2016 had a decided emphasis on the Internet of things, smart machines and the digital glue that will tie those technologies with the business.

In a chart, here's a look at Gartner's top 10.


The glue included in Gartner's list, delivered at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo, is something called the device mesh. While a term like device mesh sounds trendy much like Gartner's nexus of forces tagline from two years ago the concept is sound. The general idea is that the digital mesh is a dynamic network linking various endpoints. Everything is a device.

Simply put, the device mesh is a spin on the Internet of things, but will ultimately tie in augmented and virtual reality as well as experiences that are always on. Gartner's David Cearley argued that the design of applications will increasingly look to personalization and context to hit multiple devices and use cases.

To Cearley, 2016 will begin a move toward a "post-app era" that will eliminate the need for different platform specific apps. In some apps, notifications will replace functionality. Things will become more automated. Apps can be largely invisible.

The other strategic technology for 2016 is well known---3D printing. Aside from more scale for 2016, 3D printing will emerge powerful because there will be printing with multiple materials.

Smart machines is an idea that Gartner is pounding hard at its Symposium ITxpo. Machine learning, the Internet of things and automation will ultimately make businesses autonomous. A nice chunk of Gartner's agenda this year is aimed at helping CIOs become more autonomous.

The information in this equation is going to be a headache. Data is the lifeblood of a business, but what do you keep, open to others, summarize and manage. Information, knowledge and social graphs will be critical as well as all the algorithms that'll go with them.

Machine learning is another thread that will power "algorithmic business." Can you run a business on an algorithm? Rest assured someone is going to try.

To its credit, Gartner's list devoted four spots just to architecture. What companies are going to struggle with---beyond vendors telling them they have a magic bullet---is putting these moving parts together in some coherent business scheme.

Security will have to become more predictive and offer continuous monitoring and analytics. The architecture will have to predict attacks and change on the fly. Applications will also have to learn to protect themselves.

On the systems front, Gartner noted that GPUs will be critical to systems architecture to provide throughput that goes beyond graphics. If Gartner's correct, perhaps Nvidia's enterprise ambitions will move beyond supercomputing.

For the software architecture, enterprises are going to have to think small with microservices that will replace monolithic applications. Enter technologies like Docker.

As for the Internet of things architecture, Gartner noted that there will be no dominant ecosystem through 2018. Given that reality, it's not surprising that everyone from IBM to GE to Salesforce has an IoT play. Enterprises will have to roll their own platforms and integrate IoT with the back end.

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