Gartner’s 10 strategic predictions for 2017….and beyond

Claiming a 78% accuracy rate based on prior years’ results, chief of research Daryl Plummer delivered Gartner’s 10 strategic predictions for the next 3-5 years at the company’s Symposium/ITExpo yesterday.

Claiming a 78 per cent accuracy rate based on prior years’ results, chief of research Daryl Plummer delivered Gartner’s 10 strategic predictions for the next three-to-five years at the company’s Symposium/ITExpo yesterday.

The overarching theme, Plummer said, is digital disruption, which is not only happening, but is increasing in scale over time. Here are the 10 predictions:

1. By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in virtual reality.

Plummer says the Pokemon Go phenomenon is the precursor to deeper experience and engagement on the part of consumers. The next step is head-mounted displays, followed by augmented reality. Gartner predicts that by the end of 2017, one in five major retailers will begin deploying augmented reality on their web sites. If you’re in retail, it’s something to think about.

2. By 2020, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen.

In other words, people will rely more and more on bots like Alexa or Siri, whose understanding of natural language is getting better all the time. In fact, Plummer says, somewhat tongue in cheek, that by 2020 the average person will have more conversations with their bots than with their spouse. As bots become better, smart agents will start taking over all types of mobile interactions. Gartner also predicts that instrumented devices will have speech capability, so, for example, a maintenance person can ask a jet engine whether it needs any parts replaced.

3. By 2019, 20% of brands will abandon their mobile apps.

Plummer notes that most of us have dozens of apps on our phones, but rarely use them. And there’s nothing more annoying than having to constantly update multiple apps. He said that smart companies will abandon the traditional mobile app in favor of instant or progressive web apps.

4. By 2020, algorithms will alter behavior of billions of global workers in a positive way.

This means that companies will use behavioral, psychological, social and cognitive science to create algorithms that influence employees to be better at their job. An example would be a program that listens in on a customer service call and then gives the customer service agent suggestions on how to answer questions more effectively. Plummer says this makes the employee more effective at their job and can help with talent retention.

5. By 2022, a blockchain-based business will be worth $10 billion.

Gartner acknowledges that blockchain technology isn’t mature yet, but it has great potential to reduce costs in the financial services industry. And blockchain technology can be applied to any industry where transactions across communities need to be validated. Plummer says that by 2017 blockchains across industries will begin to appear.

6. By 2021, 20% of activities will involve at least one of the seven digital giants.

That list consists of Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. For companies in the digital world, you need to either join them or compete against them. Plummer also predicts that by 2018, at least two of the digital giant brands will be in your kitchen.

7. Through 2019, every $1 that enterprises invest in innovation will require an additional $7 in core execution.

In other words, companies looking to innovate and transform themselves will first have to modernize their legacy IT. And that’s expensive.

8. Through 2020, the Internet of Things will increase data center storage demand by less than 3%.

That seems counterintuitive, considering the expected explosion of IoT, but Plummer says that most data generated via IoT sensors and devices will not be stored or retained.

9. By 2022, IoT will save consumers and businesses $1 trillion a year.

Plummer points out that something as simple as predictive maintenance, can slash costs by 10% to 20%. That’s when an instrumented jet engine or elevator or other device reports when it needs maintenance.

10. By 2020, 40% of employees can cut healthcare costs by wearing a fitness tracker.

The scenario is that companies buy fitness trackers for their employees, so that the overall health of their employees improves. In response, employees might be able to negotiate a reduction in their health care costs. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2018, 2 million employees will be required to wear fitness trackers as a condition of employment.

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