Main menu (IT)

Gartner: Immersive Experiences Among Top Tech Trends for 2019

October 22, 2018

A man using a virtual reality headset. Photo Courtesy of Campus Technology

"IT analyst firm Gartner has named its top 10 trends for 2019, and the "immersive user experience" is on the list, alongside blockchain, quantum computing and seven other drivers influencing how we interact with the world. The annual trend list covers breakout tech with broad impact and tech that could reach a tipping point in the near future.

The Immersive User Experience

The concept of the "immersive user experience" describes what happens when human capabilities mix with augmented and virtual realities to change how people perceive the digital world. The ubiquitous use of Amazon Alexa in American homes to turn on music, turn off a light or tell a joke is one simple case; vocal interaction changes the processes for those activities. But the impact reaches even further in work. Companies are using remote assistance through digital channels, for example, to enable "an expert engineer to work with somebody in a remote factory to get a piece of equipment back online, saving millions of dollars so the production line is not down," explained Gartner Vice President David Cearley, in a video discussing the trends. He also presented on the trends at Gartner's recent Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando.

According to Cearley, our thinking about individual devices and the multitude of user interfaces we interact with will shift to a "multimodal" and "multichannel" experience. The first "will connect people with the digital world across hundreds of edge devices that surround them, including traditional computing devices, wearables, automobiles, environmental sensors and consumer appliances," he said. The second will "use all human senses as well as advanced computer senses (such as heat, humidity and radar) across these multimodal devices." The resulting "multi-experience" environment will produce an "ambient experience in which the spaces that surround us define 'the computer' rather than the individual devices." In other words, the environment will become the computer.

Autonomous Things

Gartner labels a technology as a strategic trend for two reasons: The technology begins breaking out of an "emerging state" and shows the potential for broader impact; or the "volatility" of the technology suggests it might reach a tipping point within the next five years.

Therefore, "autonomous things" shows up on the list because it's already showing up in everyday life. As Cearley noted, "Autonomous things is about using [artificial] technology to drive new capabilities in hardware and software systems — on the land with autonomous vehicles, in the air with drones and even on the sea with autonomous shipping." These "things" take advantage of AI to provide more advanced behaviors. When a drone examines a large field and finds it ready for harvesting, it's a small stretch to imagine the drone calling on an "autonomous harvester" to handle the job. Likewise, when a self-driving vehicle delivers packages to a specific area, it could also transport the robots and drones needed to make "last mile" delivery of the packages to the recipients."

Read more about these exciting trends at Campus Technology