Engineering trust, accelerating growth, and sculpting change are three main reasons companies are looking to explore emerging technologies, such as NFTs, sovereign cloud, data fabrics, generative AI, and composable networks, according to Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2021. 

“Technology innovation is a key enabler of competitive differentiation and is the catalyst for transforming many industries. Breakthrough technologies are continually appearing, challenging even the most innovative organizations to keep up,” said Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner. “Leading organizations will lean on the emerging technologies in this year’s Hype Cycle to build trust and new growth opportunities against a background of continued strategic change and economic uncertainty.”

According to Gartner, trust demands security and reliability, but it can also be a foundation for delivering business value if that foundation consists of engineered, repeatable, trusted, proven and scalable practices and innovations. 

Currently the market for cloud technologies and services is dominated by US and Asian providers, which is leading many European companies who store their data in these reasons to have political uneasiness, concerns about retaining data control, and complying with local regulations. One solution to these concerns is to use a sovereign cloud that will provide legal requirements to apply data protection controls, residency requirements, protectionism, and intelligence gathering. 

In addition to sovereign clouds, other technologies to watch to engineer trust include NFTs, machine-readable legislation, decentralized identity, decentralized finance, homomorphic encryption, active metadata management, data fabric, real-time incident center, and employee communications applications. 

Wanting to accelerate growth is another impetus for exploring new technologies. Gartner recommends company balance technology risk with business risk to ensure that their near-term objectives can be met. 

Technologies to explore to accelerate growth include multi-experience, industry cloud, AI-driven innovation, quantum machine learning, generative AI, and digital humans. 

Finally, technology can be used to sculpt change and bring order to the chaos that the disruptive nature of change usually brings with it. 

Organizations should look to composable applications, composable networks, AI-augmented design, AI-augmented software engineering, physics-informed AI, influence engineering, digital platform conductor tools, named data networking, and self-integrating applications.

For example, composable applications allow businesses to recognize and take advantage of business opportunities, respond to change, and meet customers’ changing demands. 

“As organizations continue their focus on digital business transformation, they must accelerate change and cut through the hype surrounding emerging technologies,” said Melissa Davis, research vice president at Gartner.