23 September 2020

People create their own digital twin - Gartner makes these and other predictions in his Hype Cycle 2020. Read about the technologies that will change society and the economy.

Corona has also shaped the start of the new decade in the IT industry. This is shown by Gartner's "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2020": The pandemic obviously influenced the outlook of the augurs on technological development in the coming years. Although the analysts had already been keen in previous years to place new technologies on the hype cycle, the situation has never been as radical as it was in 2020. Only two technologies from 2019 made it into the current overview.


Hype Cycle 2020: Gartner's Top 30

"Emerging technologies are inherently disruptive, but the competitive advantage they offer is not yet properly recognized, let alone proven," said Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner, dampening hasty expectations. Most of the technologies identified in 2020 would take more than five years, some even more than ten years, to reach the productivity plateau.

However, given these long-term dimensions, it would be a mistake to sit back and wait, the analyst warns corporate leaders. "Some technologies that are in the hype cycle will already be mature in the near future. Anyone who has classified innovation as business-critical for his strategy must be able to understand and classify the possibilities of these new technologies.

In the current Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, Gartner has filtered out the 30 technologies out of over 1,700 that analysts consider to offer the greatest transformation potential for society and the economy and that promise high benefits. This year, these include technologies that allow companies to modularize their operations, that are designed to restore society's confidence in technology and that can change the state of the human brain.

Innovation has become the key to how companies differentiate themselves from the competition and is a catalyst for fundamental change in many industries, according to Gartner's credo. In 2020, Gartner divides its emerging technologies into five key trends:
• Digital Me
• Composite architectures
• Formative Artificial Intelligence (AI)
• Algorithmic trust
• Beyond the silicon


The phases of the Gartner Hype Cycle

Gartner's hype-cycle model illustrates which phases of attention a new technology goes through. The Y-axis shows the degree of expectations, the X-axis shows the time since the first appearance of a new technology. The curve can be divided into five phases:
Innovation triggers: A technical breakthrough, a public demonstration or a product launch generate considerable public interest.
The peak of exaggerated expectations: Enthusiasm about the new technology generates enthusiasm and exaggerated expectations. There are initial successes, but teething troubles are often overlooked.
Valley of disappointments: The first enthusiasm is followed by hangover. The dark sides of the new technology come to light and put a damper on the high expectations.
Path to Enlightenment: The new technology is assessed more realistically and users learn how to implement it correctly. One sees the advantages, but also the limitations.
Plateau of productivity: The new technology is recognized and accepted. Users understand how it works and know how to use it to their advantage. The technology is evolving and becoming more solid.
The quintessence of Gartner's Hype Cycle can best be described with a quote from the American futurologist Roy Charles Amara: "We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short term and underestimate it in the long term".

Hype Cycle 2020: Digital Me

According to Gartner, people are increasingly creating digital versions of themselves. Digital twins provide models that can represent people in both digital and physical space. The COVID 19 pandemic was the main driver of this trend. In the wake of the corona crisis, technologies were quickly developed to help people maintain social distance.
In view of the pandemic, technologies for distance measurement or even digital health passports were able to go through the hype cycle particularly quickly. Some have already arrived in practice, others will follow in the next two years. Technologies for social distancing, especially apps for contact tracking, have landed right at the top of the hype cycle from the start. According to Gartner, it is above all the broad media echo and the discussions about data protection concerns that have given these solutions a high level of attention.
The solutions range from apps for tracking contacts to tools for video surveillance including face recognition. The basics are positioning and localization functions on mobile devices and systems for measuring distances. The latter are usually based on wireless technologies such as Bluetooth.
Analysts warn that most solutions are still incomplete. The challenges lie in the inaccuracy of the measurements, the lack of reliability, as well as in the lack of user acceptance and privacy concerns. Nevertheless, social distancing technologies could help to reduce risks. Gartner believes that the technologies will develop rapidly and mature over the next two years.
Companies could use them to minimize health risks for their employees as part of a back-to-office strategy. Workers in production environments could use them to maintain physical distance from one another. Companies with a functioning Unified Endpoint Management are at an advantage when introducing social distancing techniques, say the Gartner analysts. However, it must always be clear to those responsible that the technology cannot guarantee that infections will be completely ruled out. It is important to assess the possibilities realistically.
App-based solutions in particular are less accurate than dedicated devices. It is also important to communicate deployment and data use transparently and honestly so that no reservations are raised among the population or your own staff. Cooperation with the authorities could create more trust at this point. In principle, social distancing technology should also be accompanied by other measures, such as rules of conduct regarding hygiene and limited office use.
Digital health passports are still at the very beginning of the hype cycle. However, the report states that there have rarely been technologies that started with a market penetration of five to 20 percent. This is mainly due to the fact that these technologies - usually in the form of apps - are required in countries such as China and India when people want to enter restaurants, markets and public spaces or use transportation such as buses and trains. As a result, apps are developed quickly
Gartner expects the development of such health passports to accelerate rapidly. However, the acceptance of the people depends strongly on the respective government and society forms. Especially in liberal democratic countries with strong civil rights, there are great concerns, he says, because they restrict people's freedom of movement. In addition, the analysts warn that alternative methods are needed, since by no means everyone owns a modern smartphone.
In Gartner's view, transparency and ease of use are the keys to the acceptance of such apps. Users must be aware of the basis and algorithms used to determine their own health code. The analysts recommend centralized solutions, ideally supported by national health authorities, and warn against uncontrolled growth.
Many institutions and companies are currently looking for health code solutions to protect employees and visitors from infection as effectively as possible. However, the handling of different apps is not very convenient and is likely to become confusing. This would rather counteract the actual purpose of protecting people's health.
In addition, the area of the digital ego encompasses various techniques relating to the digital twin. Gartner speaks of the "Citizen Twin" and the "Digital Twin of the Person". Authorities and governments in particular are currently working on digital images of citizens - the Citizen Twins. This is where different data can flow together: Information from public authorities, but also movement and social media data. Ultimately, the aim is to create profiles or personas.
The technology has two sides to it: With the help of analyses, social needs such as traffic or transportation resources can be better planned. On the other hand, the data can also be used to set up specific scores and thus evaluate the behavior of citizens and regulate it according to their values. Such solutions, which already exist in China, are heavily criticized by civil rights activists in the Western world.
The Digital Twin of the Person reflects the physical presence of a person in various digital situations. This can be the remote office, but also his shopping profile with online retailers. As a rule, solutions should be designed to keep the corresponding profiles up to date as quickly as possible, ideally in real time.
This opens up new opportunities for companies to gain insights into the behavior, wishes and requirements of employees and customers. As expected, Gartner urges companies to handle data responsibly. Companies must apply high ethical and security standards to ensure acceptance on the part of the people whose data is used. Furthermore, it is important to ensure that no regulatory requirements are violated.
Analysts predict that the way people interact with the digital world will fundamentally change in the coming years. At this point they speak of "multiexperience". Sensor technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and technologies based on Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality will open up new possibilities and allow people to seamlessly immerse themselves in digital worlds and interact with content and other users in a more natural way.
Gartner is certain that since this is done contactlessly, the corresponding technologies will receive a significant boost in development, especially in the wake of the Corona crisis. The resulting customer data should become interesting for many companies in terms of insights into the customer experience. In view of the many proprietary ecosystems and devices, however, it will still take time and major integration efforts before users can move freely through the entire digital space without barriers.
Bidirectional Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMIs) are dreams of the future from Gartner's perspective. These should allow direct interaction between computers and the human brain - in both directions. This is no longer just a matter of determining and monitoring certain mental statuses of a person. Future technologies should be able to intervene by means of implants or other stimulants and react to fatigue, for example.
If such solutions are networked, a kind of "Internet of Brains" (IoB) could emerge, according to Gartner. At present, this usually only works in one direction, when people use wearables to collect, monitor and evaluate their health data. However, Gartner observes that various companies are already thinking ahead. In September 2019, for example, Facebook acquired Ctrl-labs, a startup working on neural interfaces, for $


Gartner Hype Cycle: Composite Architectures

This trend is about IT infrastructures in companies that are to be composed of components in the future. This architecture should make companies more modular and help those responsible to react more quickly to changing business requirements. Flexibility and agility are the decisive capabilities, say the Gartner analysts. The following technologies can help companies to achieve this:
The "Composable Enterprise" has largely modularized its business models, its technological architecture, its organization and its partner ecosystem. The basis for this is an application design that provides applications as building blocks of customer-specific packaged business functions in a group- or even user-specific manner. The basic principles are nothing new: modularity, efficiency, continuous improvement and innovation are, according to Gartner, well known and in some cases already learned in most organizations.
The challenge is rather to embed the associated cultural change in the organizations across the board. So it's all about employee behavior and mindset. The change from rigid but familiar corporate structures to a continuously changing and improving organization is the challenge - a major barrier for many companies.
The Corona crisis was a wake-up call to become more active here. The need to make one's own company more resistant to crises forced those responsible to fundamentally question the way in which they conduct their business. The analysts position Composite Architectures on the Hype Cycle technology shortly before the peak of expectations and expect it to be ready for productivity in two to five years.
The technical basis is provided by so-called Packaged Business Capabilities (PBCs). According to Gartner, these are encapsulated software components that represent a clearly defined business capability. PBCs include features of microservices (encapsulation and domain-driven design) as well as monolithic applications (self-contained and focused on a clear business contribution). However, they are more business-oriented than the former and more adaptable than the latter.
Large business applications will in future be delivered as assemblies of such PBCs, analysts believe. With the help of special tools, users could use these building blocks to put together the applications that suit them best. Central components of such architectures are sets with preconfigured interfaces as well as low-code development environments. In view of the challenges posed by the COVID 19 pandemic, Gartner believes that the PBC idea will develop and spread rapidly.
Another key component of such composable architectures is a data fabric. Gartner sees this as an alternative design concept for data management. It is based on a combination of different tools, specific processes and the necessary skills of the employees. In terms of data handling in particular, many companies would face ever greater challenges in the course of their digital transformations.
The number of data sources and data types is growing, as is the data volume and complexity of integration. At the same time, there is a growing need to gain insights from the data in real time, if possible, to support business decisions.
Basically, data fabric is all about using metadata to tame and control volume and data pipelines to properly manage the flow of data within the enterprise. Since these tasks are almost impossible to accomplish manually, the analysts recommend that users use machine learning and automation techniques for this purpose. Dynamic data structures would have to be created, and companies would have to move away from rigid point-to-point connections in data integration. Techniques such as data catalogs and data virtualization could also help here.
While the data fabric is heading for the peak in the hype cycle, technologies such as private 5G and low-cost single-board computers for the network edge are only just developing. These edge systems are based on system-on-chip (SoC) solutions and are designed to solve very specific tasks in machines, vehicles or factories. The primary goal is to pre-process and analyze data at the point where it is generated. This market is currently developing. Many companies are currently experimenting with products from Nvidia or the popular "Raspberry Pi". However, missing standards and security features still stand in the way of a broad adaptation.
According to Gartner, Private 5G is a suitable Private Mobile Network (PMN) for integrating edge systems into the corporate network. Especially in the wake of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, the new mobile phone standard with its higher bandwidths should open up new possibilities. Especially car manufacturers like Volkswagen and BMW are working hard to implement 5G as a central networking technology in their production halls.
In order to analyze data in edge systems, the necessary intelligence is needed. Gartner speaks of Embedded AI and Tiny Machine Learning. These are lightweight analytics functions that can also cope with less pronounced computing resources at the network edge. Some of the chip architectures are already optimized for these AI and ML components.
The advantage of local data analysis is that the data does not have to be transferred to a data center first. This reduces latency and increases efficiency in the systems. A classic business case is predictive maintenance. Gartner analysts assume that a number of other application scenarios will open up in the coming years, for example in the area of Smart Cities and Smart Buildings.


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