Technology Innovation Insights ™

a service of Technology Executives Club ®

Gartner’s Top 10 Technologies for 2016 – Explained. Part Three

By Alex Jarett
A summary of a presentation given by Todd Kimble, Executive Partner, Gartner.
In my last two posts I introduced our presentation by Todd Kimble, Executive Partner from Gartner, to our Leaders Circle program.  Todd gave an excellent presentation called “Gartner Technology Predictions for 2016.”  In the introduction I shared Todd’s explanation of Gartner’s annual list of top Technology trends to watch for.    In Part Two I shared the details on the Digital Mesh.   In this post, we’ll discuss Smart Machines.  Look to the bottom of this post for links to the previous two posts.
In today’s post, we’ll explore Todd’s explanation of the shift towards Smart Machines.

I found this area of Todd’s presentation one of the most interesting sections,
“Smart Machines are enabled by Machine Learning”
As Todd puts it, “Machine Learning … starts getting into the realm of Science Fiction.” But it’s coming.  Todd showed a great chart to kick off this section.

Machine Learning is broken into 7 categories:
1.    Deal With Complexity
2.    Make Probabilistic Predictions
3.    Actively Adapt
4.    Passively Learn
5.    Reflect A well Scoped Purpose
6.    Appear to Understand
7.    Act Autonomously

Just by reading this list, you start to see what he means as we begin to shift towards what is called “Autonomous Agents.”
Before we get there – let’s start at the beginning, which is processing the tremendous amount of data that is being collected.  As mentioned in the last section, the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything basically speaks to the fact that sensors and devices are being connected – everywhere.  That is creating huge volumes of data and information.  So big that new words, such as Brontobyte, are being created to describe the amounts.
The Information Architecture challenge that is being created by each device includes not only what to collect and store, but what to transmit, delete, what to do with it, etc.
Machine Learning starts at the Deep Neural Networks – sophisticated programs that can analyze this massive amount of data, then classify it and identify trends within it.  Todd points to the challenge of identifying specific faces out of multiple pictures, something that Facebook is starting to do now.

One very interesting chart that Todd showed is a grid called the Spectrum of Autonomous Smart Machines.  There are four plot points on the grid – Physical versus Virtual, and Unobtrusive versus Obvious.  What makes this chart interesting is when Todd plots examples of the kinds of smart machines we are seeing by category.

So for the section of the grid called Physical and Obvious, he points out:
•    Robots
•    Drones
•    Driverless Vehicles

For Robots – we are seeing single task robots.  Todd predicts we’ll see these robots become more generalized in the future.  For Driverless vehicles, they are already being used in Diamond Minds and we’ve all see the reports of Google testing these.

For the section of the grid called Virtual and Obvious, he points out:
•    Virtual Customer Assistants
•    Virtual Personal Assistant
•    Smart Advisors

For this category, Todd points out that there is a distinction between personal assistants that know you or virtual customer assistants that know a specific area of intelligence.  As example of the former, Todd points out with his Windows assistant, Cortona (like Suri), he can say, “Remind me to pick up batteries when I’m in a hardware store,” and Cortona can use GPS to figure that out and it will tell him.   This is already here.   For the latter, he gives the example of a “virtual concierge” at a hotel that knows everything about the area near the hotel and can recommend restaurants, entertainment, etc.

For the section of the grid called Physical and Unobtrusive, he points out:
•    Smart Camera Systems
•    Intelligent Sensors
•    Smart Appliances

These devices are getting smarter – not only are they monitoring, they are learning to alert somebody that they should be checked, and eventually will be able to take action.

Finally, for the section called Unobtrusive and Virtual, he points out:
•    Translations and speech to text
•    Smart Security
•    Smart Enterprise Apps

In the near future, Todd predicts a new virtual interface, similar to what you saw in the Iron Man Movies where the Robert Downey Jr. character spoke to a single interface to access multiple programs.  It’s coming!

As you can see – this stage of Smart Machines is exciting.  In my next and final post for this series, I’ll review Todd’s explanation of how this is changing IT, why you should care and recommendations about what to do about it.
As I mentioned previously, I consider this a terrific presentation, and well worth studying, both in this series of brief articles and watching directly.
Additional Resources:
1.   Read the first post here:

Gartner’s Top 10 Technologies for 2016 – Explained. Introduction

2. Read the second post here:

Gartner’s Top 10 Technologies for 2016 – Explained. Part TWO

3.  Watch the entire presentation here:

About Todd Kimble – the presenter.
Todd Kimble is an Executive Partner with Gartner Executive Programs supporting CIO and executive clients across a wide variety of enterprise customers. His primary areas of focus include strategic planning, technology innovation, enterprise application development, and the formation of efficient and high-performing IT organizations.

About Alex Jarett
Alex Jarett is the founder and CEO of the Technology Executives Club and the Technology Innovation Institute, the official online education portal of the Club.   The Club is dedicated to helping CIOs, Chief Innovation and Digital Officers, CTOs and senior Technology executives create growth through Technology Innovation and Leadership.
For more articles like this subscribe to the weekly newsletter at:
Visit the

Updated: February 29, 2016 — 4:52 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Technology Innovation Insights ™ © 2015 Frontier Theme