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Gartner envisions the future of the digital world

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13th Nov 2013
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Digital devices are advancing so rapidly, you’ll soon be using your smartphone to do time-consuming jobs, such as booking a car or sending a birthday message, for you in the next five years.

That’s according to Gartner analysts, who have predicted that by 2017 your smartphone will be smarter than you, using cognizant computing — the next step in personal cloud computing – to predict your next move, next purchase or interpret actions based on what it knows.

Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, explained at the company’s Symposium/ITxpo 2013 event: “If there is heavy traffic, it will wake you up early for a meeting with your boss, or simply send an apology if it is a meeting with your colleague. The smartphone will gather contextual information from its calendar, its sensors, the user’s location and personal data.” 

She added that the first services that will be performed “automatically” will generally help with menial tasks including time-bound events (calendaring) such as booking a car for its yearly service, creating a weekly to-do list, sending birthday greetings, or responding to mundane email messages. 

As time goes on and consumers become more confident about outsourcing menial jobs to their smartphones, they will use more a greater array of apps and services to take control of other aspects of their lives, which Gartner forecasts will be the era of cognizant computing.

However, the analyst warned that this will only take place if consumers are willing to provide the information that that require.

The event, which examined the future of the digital world, also depicted the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). According to Gartner analyst Peter Sondergaard, the IoT market will create $1.9 trillion of economic value add by 2020 as we’ll see over 30bn connected devices in use.

He said: “The traditional IT market is not going to grow at a faster rate any time soon, if ever. Increased growth will come from the non-traditional IT market. While in 2015 the combined IT and telecom market will hit nearly $4 trillion, the incremental revenue generated by the Internet of Things’ suppliers* is estimated to reach $309 billion per year by 2020.

“Half of this activity will be new start-ups and 80% will be in services rather than in products. The Internet of Things is a strategically important market. It will accelerate fast and will drive both revenue and cost efficiencies.” 

For example, Sondergaard explained that the manufacturing sector will benefit from producing billions of devices and from more efficient tracking of materials and components leading to cost efficiencies whilst in healthcare, smart slippers and other wearable devices for elderly people contain sensors that detect falls and various medical conditions.

Analyst Nick Jones outlined the impact of this for businesses and their CIOs: “Data is money. Businesses will need big data and storage technologies to collect, analyze and store the sheer volume of information. Furthermore, to turn data into money business and IT leaders will need decisions. As they won’t have the time or the capacity to make all the decisions themselves they will need processing power.

“Computers can make sophisticated decisions based on data and knowledge, and they can communicate those decisions in our native language. To succeed at the pace of a digital world, you’ll have to allow them to do so.” 

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