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The global research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc. has released their strategic technology forecast for 2019. Here are seven of their key predictions for what we can expect to see more of in the year to come:
The blockchain is everywhere these days, and it's not going anywhere. A distributed electronic ledger, the blockchain allows users to make permanent, unalterable, encrypted transaction records. The decentralized nature of the blockchain makes it a perfect platform for electronic currencies like Bitcoin, but it can be adapted to serve a wide variety of functions, such as supply chain management and health care recordkeeping.
2. Smart Spaces
The natural evolution of smart devices, smart spaces are environments where people can interact with technology in a fully integrated framework that allows for more open, connected, and dynamic activities for both work and play. Whether it's a single room or an entire city, AI and other innovations will be helping to create interactive digital ecosystems that bring people together and allow them to achieve more.
More devices and machines will be self-operating in the years to come. Artificial intelligence and robotics will continue to find ways to transform vehicles, appliances, drones, and tools. Self-driving cars will be one of the most visible examples, but autonomous technology will increasingly turn up in subtler applications as well.
4. Digital Twins
A "digital twin" is a digital representation of something that exists in the real world—it can be an object, or something abstract like a system or process. Operators can view, manipulate, and analyze digital twin models more easily than the actual things they represent, and improvements in technology will enable these digital copies to accurately mirror their subjects down to the smallest detail.
5. Edge Computing
Edge computing refers to the practice of processing data close to its source (like consumer devices) rather than at a centralized system (like a server), the idea being to reduce network traffic and latency. Edge computing is expected to help Internet of Things devices operate more quickly and efficiently by making them less reliant on provider-side computers and network resources.
With small, affordable devices now able to offer convincing virtual reality experiences, we can expect immersive technologies to become more widespread, along with augmented and mixed-reality platforms. While most of us are familiar with VR, AR, and other immersive technologies in a gaming or entertainment context, businesses, educators, and other adopters are exploring productive ways to utilize them.
7. AI-Driven Development
Behind many predictions about the technological innovations of tomorrow is the assumption that powerful and adaptive artificial intelligence platforms will be powering them. Over time, AI is expected to become more modular, giving a wider range of developers the ability to embed AI into the tools and applications they're creating.
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