It is that time of the year again when research firm Gartner starts to forecast. The company’s latest report looks at digital technologies, and highlights five in particular that are predicted to have an impact during 2020.

The subject of digital technology, especially when it comes to creating a competitive edge in a given industry, is one that was discussed and unpacked during the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo in Cape Town earlier this year, and it is expected to come into even sharper focus in 2020.

Delivering experiences

Looking at a company that is successfully leveraging digital technology, Gartner points to Domino’s, and how the pizza restaurant chain aimed to get its products on to as many devices and platforms as possible.

“The solution was to create a multi-experience strategy. Customers could order their favourite meal using any device from a phone to a smart speaker, and the order would be trackable via a pizza tracker and delivered via an autonomous vehicle,” explains Gartner.

“Digital experiences are not native to ‘digital only’ enterprises any longer,”  the firm adds.

It is therefore becoming increasingly important for CIOs to understand how digital technologies are built and delivered, according to Gartner.

The big five

As for what CIOs should be zeroing in on, the research firm says the multi-experience will become a significant digital technology in 2020.

Multi-experience refers to the various devices and apps with which users interact on their digital journeys. This includes creating fit-for-purpose apps based on touchpoint-specific modalities while at the same time ensuring a consistent and unified user experience (UX) across web, mobile, wearables, conversational and immersive touch points.

“Development teams should master mobile app design, development and architecture because ‘mobile’ is typically the gateway to multi-experience,” says Daniel Sun, VP Analyst at Gartner.

Next on the firm’s trends list is interfaceless machines. Manufacturers across industries are abandoning on-machine controls or traditional interface models in favour of apps that run on their customers’ mobile devices, it adds.

Larger screens on mobile devices, high resolutions and richer device APIs allow for the creation of device control experiences far beyond what can be achieved with on-machine interfaces, Gartner’s research finds.

The third trend is agent interfaces, which represent a new model of human-computer interaction. It also has broad implications that will greatly influence how enterprises interact with customers, offer services and provide tools to employees, the firm points out.

Conversational UIs (chatbots) are good examples, and Sun believes that, “CIOs will need to build the skills required as agent interfaces become more mainstream.”

Fourth on Gartner’s list of trends is facial recognition payment, as it is a digital experience trend emerging mainly in China, although it is quickly spreading elsewhere, Gartner says.

This technology requires a high degree of confidence and trust in the provider, the firm warns though.

The final digital technology trend for 2020 is inclusive design, which is something that Gartner highlighted at the Symposium too. Inclusive design is the principle that the best way to serve the needs of the broad community is to consider the special needs of all possible communities.

To that end, “designers should work with data and analytics professionals to ensure that the data reflects the needs, values and behaviours of all segments of targeted customers,” Sun concludes.

[Image – Photo by Ashwin Vaswani on Unsplash]