Ten Strategic Tech Trends for 2018

Analyst publishes its 2018 enterprise tech watch list

Gartner has released a list of the top 10 strategic technological trends that will impact the most organizations in 2018. The list reveals both ongoing priorities expected to play an even larger role and emerging trends. Gartner believes these trends make up the “Intelligent Digital Mesh” which will be proliferating and are expected to reach the tipping points within the next five years.

David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow sees the Intelligent Digital Mesh as “a foundation for future digital business and ecosystems.”

IT leaders must factor these technology trends into their innovation strategies or risk losing ground to those that do.

Intelligent Apps and Analytics

Gartner predicts that nearly every program will incorporate AI to some degree. Some of these apps will use AI in the background to provide a better experience, while others apps will only be possible due to AI and machine learning. Mr. Cearley believes organisations should “”explore intelligent apps as a way of augmenting human activity and not simply as a way of replacing people.”

Augmented analytics is a particularly strategic growing area which uses machine learning to automate data preparation, insight discovery and insight sharing for a broad range of business users, operational workers and citizen data scientists.

Event Driven

Many technologies, including the Internet of Things, cloud computing, AI, and event brokers, will provide better event detection and analysis. However, cultural changes and effective leadership will be needed to make the most of these technologies.

Intelligent Things

Small devices will increasingly be able to do more without having to connect to remote servers. Some of these things will stand alone, but many will become key elements of the ever-growing Internet of Things. Cearley believes we’re likely to see the first driverless cars on a smaller scale than hyped.

We are likely to see examples of autonomous vehicles on limited, well-defined and controlled roadways by 2022, but general use of autonomous cars will likely require a person in the driver’s seat in case the technology should unexpectedly fail.

“For at least the next five years, we expect that semi-autonomous scenarios requiring a driver will dominate. During this time, manufacturers will test the technology more rigorously, and the non-technology issues such as regulations, legal issues and cultural acceptance will be addressed,” he adds. 

Digital Twin

Digital twins are augmented reality-based representations of physical entities or systems. When linked to their real-world twins, digital twins will provide invaluable data and allow companies to better abstract and manage their infrastructure.

“Over time, digital representations of virtually every aspect of our world will be connected dynamically with their real-world counterpart and with one another and infused with AI-based capabilities to enable advanced simulation, operation and analysis,” notes Cearley.

City planners, digital marketers, healthcare professionals and industrial planners will all benefit from this long-term shift to the integrated digital twin world.

Continuous Adaptive Risk and Trust

Risk- and trust-based decision-making will let companies make the most of their adaptive resources. The CARTA approach will be key to leveraging burgeoning technologies.

Cloud to the Edge

The cloud isn’t going anywhere, but more and more processing will be done on the edge. Edge computing will lower latency where needed while adding better functionality and reducing bandwidth consumption.

On this point, Cearley suggests “cloud can be the style of computing used to create a service-oriented model and a centralized control and coordination structure with edge being used as a delivery style allowing for disconnected or distributed process execution of aspects of the cloud service.”

Immersive Experience

Virtual, augmented, and mixed reality experiences are becoming an affordable reality. Companies that are able to provide real value with these technologies will separate themselves from competitors.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is becoming smarter and better able to adapt, meaning it can take on many roles that previously required humans. Through 2020 and potentially beyond, tech vendors will find effective AI to be critical for competing.

According to Cearley, “AI techniques are evolving rapidly and organizations will need to invest significantly in skills, processes and tools to successfully exploit these techniques and build AI-enhanced systems.”


The blockchain concept is still evolving, but its influence will extend far beyond the financial sector. While the technology holds tremendous potential, Gartner believes the technology will remain immature over the next two to three years.

Conversational Platforms

Conversational interfaces will provide a friendlier and more useful interface for people interacting with computer systems. Companies able to leverage these platforms will be able to lower their labor costs. However, conversational platforms “still fall short” in human-like relatability according to Cearley, pointing out their rigidity.

The challenge that conversational platforms face is that users must communicate in a very structured way, and this is often a frustrating experience. A primary differentiator among conversational platforms will be the robustness of their conversational models and the application programming interface (API) and event models used to access, invoke and orchestrate third-party services to deliver complex outcomes.

Gartner announced these trends during its Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando. Upcoming locations include Sao Paulo, Tokyo, Barcelona and Goa.