Meet George Jetson. His boy Elroy. Daughter Judy. Jane, his wife ... Yeah, we were all fans of the 1960s cartoon "The Jetsons" and fantasized about the incredible technology we watched this space-age family use—from voice-activated machines to wearable computers to even mobile technology.

Elliot Markowitz

October 11, 2013

3 Min Read
Gartner’s Top IT Predictions Would Make the Jetsons Envious

Meet George Jetson. His boy Elroy. Daughter Judy. Jane his wife …

Yeah, we were all fans of the 1960s cartoon “The Jetsons” and fantasized about the incredible technology we watched this space-age family use—from voice-activated machines to wearable computers to even mobile technology.

But back when the cartoon sitcom first appeared, and then reintroduced in the 1980s, everything on this futuristic show seemed completely out of reach. Fast forward 50 or so years and some of the technology we use makes the Jetsons look more like the Flintstones. Anyone remember Rosie the robotic maid? Primitive when compared to today’s robotic advancements.

This is especially true when looking through Gartner’s latest top predictions for IT organizations and IT users for 2014 and beyond—emphasizing Digital Business, Smart Machines and the Internet of Things. And while some of these predictions seem to be a bit of a stretch, it all spells opportunity for the evolution of the solution provider.

And beyond all the technology hype, this continued evolution and melding of IT and business is the real key. As technology becomes more ingrained in business functions, solution providers are bound to play a more critical role.

“Gartner’s 2013 CEO survey suggests CEOs feel that business uncertainties are declining and yet, CIOs awake each day into a world of technology uncertainty and change,” said Daryl Plummer, managing vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, in a prepared statement. “The savvy CIO will get his or her CEO to recognize the change being brought about by disruptive shifts is coming at an accelerated pace and at a global level of impact.”

Again, the more influence CIOs are having over business decisions, the more opportunity will be created for solution providers. It’s been moving in that direction for years and it will continue as solution providers continue to be lynchpin holding all this together.

But let’s go through some of Garnter’s predictions. Solution providers, pay attention: every category here will require expertise. Gartner’s top 10 predictions are broken out into four categories: Digital Industrial Revolution, Digital Business, Smart Machines and Internet of Things.

Digital Revolution: IT is no longer about function, according to Gartner. It is now the catalyst for the next phase of innovation in personal and business scenarios. Gartner points to the evolution of 3D printing as the clearest example and predicts that by 2018, 3D printing will result in the loss of at least $100 billion per year in intellectual property worldwide. This is known as bioprinting. I don’t think the Jetsons ever had an episode on this.

Digital Business is the result of digital assets built around digital assets, products, services, customer interaction through the creation of digital communities. The research firm says by 2017, more than half of consumer goods will receive 75 percent of their consumer innovation and R&D from this crowdsourcing model. In other words, digital social communities are not passé, they are here to stay and will only grow in influence.

Smart Machines: Without getting too geeky, these are machines that take the place of human functions creating greater efficiency but lacking a human element. Gartner predicts that by 2014, at least 10 percent of activities that are considered dangerous to people will use mandated smart systems. Yes, it’s the ultimate Terminator screen play where machines replace humans. Scary, but that is where we are heading.

The Internet of Things: This is the thread tying it all together, connecting all these machines, systems and devices. By 2020, Gartner predicts consumer data collected from wearable devices will drive 5 percent of sales from the top 1,000 companies in the world.

While many of these IT advancements seem to be a stretch, just take a look at your current cell phone can accomplish. The Jetsons have nothing on us.

Knock ’em alive!

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About the Author(s)

Elliot Markowitz

Elliot Markowitz is a veteran in channel publishing. He served as an editor at CRN for 11 years, was editorial director of webcasts and events at Ziff Davis, and also built the webcast group as editorial director at Nielsen Business Media. He's served in senior leadership roles across several channel brands.

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