Gartner, Inc. recently announced its list of the “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019.” The company defines a “strategic technology” as one with “substantial disruptive potential” and that will soon break out of “an emerging state into broader impact and use.” You can read the press release here, but it’s worth noting how many of these trends have long been a featured element of regular meetings of the National Convergence Technology Center (CTC)’s Business and Industry Leadership Team (BILT). Specifically, past BILT meetings have spent a lot of time discussing these technologies and how they may soon impact classroom curriculum:
- Autonomous Things – Gartner predicts a shift from rigid programming to more adaptive behaviors driven by AI. Further, there may also soon be a shift from stand-alone devices to a more “swarm”-like approach with many devices and things working together. Obviously, all of those devices and machines will need to communicate with each other, which means there are IT networking infrastructures that need to be designed, implemented, and maintained. Few BILT meetings go by without a discussion of the coming boom of autonomous automobiles and unmanned drones.
- Edge Computing – This was such an important emerging trend for the National CTC’s BILT that the term was included in its 2016 National Science Foundation ATE renewal grant when explaining how technology and the IT landscape is rapidly changing. With the amounts of network traffic and data expanding exponentially in a word of “Internet of Things” devices and big data analytics, networks will need to do more processing and computing on the “edge” of the network rather than sending everything back and forth to a data center server. Here’s what Gartner says about the future of edge computing: “Over the next five years, specialized AI chips, along with greater processing power, storage and other advanced capabilities, will be added to a wider array of edge devices.”
- Blockchain – One particular member of the National CTC’s BILT has long insisted that blockchain is coming and will change industries. More and more, what had seemed like a far-away notion is becoming an inevitable reality. Blockchain, a distributed ledger database that no one entity controls, seems like the perfect fit for protecting and managing sensitive data at banks, government agencies, or hospitals. As Gartner notes, however, that current blockchain technologies are “immature, poorly understood and unproven in mission-critical, at-scale business operations.” Even so, seismic business disruption seems imminent.
- Smart spaces – This is another popular topic at BILT meetings as networks grow more integrated, more connected, and more expansive. Indeed, one esteemed BILT member spent time working on developing smart city solutions – that is, IT-connected and -coordinated municipal services – for a major company in Europe. In a way, it’s the next step in the “Internet of Things” ecosystem of sensors and devices as “multiple elements — including people, processes, services and things — come together in a smart space to create a more immersive, interactive and automated experience.” Gartner believes this trend is entering a period of accelerated growth.
The National CTC’s BILT convenes each quarter to discuss emerging IT trends and, once a year, validates essential job skills for entry-level IT workers. This group of IT executives and experts are always looking ahead to give the National CTC – and the 69 institutions in its Convergence College Network (CCN) community – as much lead time as possible to adjust curriculum to better align with the evolving IT workplace. Hopefully, your business group is doing the same to keep your program current and syour students learning the skills they need to be “workforce ready.”
How many of the “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019” did you already know about?
(Big thanks to Tulsa Community College for sharing this Gartner report with the National CTC.)