It's the beginning of September (and no, I don't know how that happened either), and as the summer lull winds to a close and we prepare for a renewed frenzy of activity, it's a good moment to take stock of the year so far. Last month, two different articles were published looking back over some of the key trends we've seen in 2018 with regard to emerging technology and digital transformation, and comparing them to what was predicted. One was a piece by Forbes contributor Daniel Newman of CMO Network, who revisited his predictions for digital transformation in 2018 in light of the past eight months, to see where we are with some of 2018's most potentially transformative technologies. It takes a broadly optimistic view of the technologies that are meant to be shaking up the digital world in 2018, with a few caveats. The other was by The Register's Andrew Orlowski, written in response to the publication of Gartner's annual'Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle', which revealed that a number of the most "hyped" technologies from last year have vanished from this year's chart.
Want to know how survive and thrive in the digital economy over the next five to 10 years? Gartner has just published its Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2017 and identified three "megatrends" you need to be aware of: I'm going to guide you through them. This is going to be a long read because I'm sure, like me, you're reading about these topics. As professional communicators we need to understand these areas to know what to implement for our organisations and clients. It's important to me to provide clarity through my blog, so I'm going to jargon bust as we go.
According to the 2016 Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, machine learning is at the very "peak of inflated expectations," the highest point in the S-curve that Gartner awards technologies in its Hype Cycle reports. Many machine learning advocates may feel betrayed to think that machine learning is at the peak of its hype cycle, thinking that analysts like Gartner believe machine learning to be all fluff and no substance. But that is not the case. Many emerging technologies never actually make it to the peak of the hype cycle, fizzling out long before they can make a true impact. In reality, technologies that make it to the peak of the hype cycle are almost ready for universal deployment.
Every year, Gartner, a leading industry analyst firm, releases a report called the "Hype Cycle on Emerging Technologies." The purpose of the report is to identify up-and-coming technologies and visualize how close they are to becoming mainstream. The Hype Cycle is a graphic representation of the path that a technology goes through from obscurity through hype to stabilization and mainstream use. In 2016, at the top of this hype cycle was the term machine learning. This means that machine learning is a hot topic across all industries.
Last year, we had the benefit of leaning on the recent findings of our inaugural Cycle of Progress digital transformation benchmark study to inform my predictions. This global survey examines global business leaders' hopes and fears about emerging technologies, and reveals which technologies they are actively implementing to drive the digital transformation of their business--versus which ones are yet to live up to the hype. Based on our findings, I see several technologies continuing to lead the way in 2019, namely Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain. More than half (53%) of Cycle of Progress respondents say that they have adopted IoT in some shape or form so far. Already well established in many businesses, IoT applications and services are leading the pack in having the greatest positive impact.