A broad range of emerging technologies is coming into a CIO's purview, from Web3 to adaptive AI. This tech might still need to demonstrate ROI, but it should be at the top of the watch list.
Research firm analysts provided their top emerging technologies to watch heading into 2023 -- technologies that could expand business capabilities in new ways over time, including advancing business sustainability goals. The drive toward sustainability is a significant underlying theme CIOs should pay attention to when considering current and future technologies, according to Gartner analyst David Groombridge.
He said it's crucial for business leaders to know what emerging technologies to focus on, as it points to where future innovation will be focused.
An increasing number of executive leaders believe that "innovation is going to be a major tactic to sustain growth," Groombridge said.
"It's very important for executive leaders to have a clear understanding of where that innovation may come from and that's what these trends help them rapidly navigate," he said.
Groombridge described Gartner's top emerging technologies list as "pioneer technologies." By using such technologies, businesses develop a reputation for pioneering innovation, he said.
That list includes the following:
- Super apps. A super app is an app that helps organizations consolidate multiple apps into one to provide a more streamlined experience for users. WeChat by Tencent is an example of a super app. Groombridge said super apps provide businesses with "new ways of engaging with customers, employees and partners."
- Adaptive AI. This technology continuously retrains AI models to quickly adapt to changes in the environment -- changes that were unforeseen during deployment. Groombridge said since adaptive AI rapidly responds to changes, it "enables you to get more long-term value out of your AI solutions."
- Metaverse. The metaverse is a 3D virtual world where individuals can work, play, shop and do business. While some companies like Decentraland have already built virtual worlds, the technology still has a long way to go before it becomes a viable opportunity for enterprises. But businesses that begin working with the metaverse may get a recruiting edge, drawing top talent interested in futuristic projects, Groombridge said.
Underlying a business's emerging technology roadmap is the push toward sustainability, he added.
David GroombridgeAnalyst, Gartner
Sustainable technology will be a significant focus for business leaders heading into 2023, particularly when looking at emerging technologies and how they might fit into business operations down the road, Groombridge said.
Investors, consumers and even young job seekers wanting to work for companies with goals like sustainability is driving CEO interest, Groombridge said. Though definitions of sustainability differ, it's typically viewed as business practices supporting human and economic health, such as measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
"It's really difficult for executives to ignore the fact that technologies and solutions have an impact on society," he said.
For Forrester Research analyst Brian Hopkins, while concepts like the metaverse are over hyped, other emerging technologies will prove to be more beneficial endeavors for businesses in the future. Forrester Research defines these as frontier technologies.
Forrester's list of emerging technologies to watch includes the following:
- TuringBots. TuringBots are AI-powered software that automatically supplements developers' work designing and building software code. It functions as an intelligent agent using advanced forms of machine learning to help auto-generate code, Hopkins said.
- Extended reality. Extended reality (XR) includes a combination of visual elements provided by tools like augmented, mixed and virtual reality. Though use cases are hard to pin down for enterprise businesses, Hopkins said in five years, use cases like training and onboarding for frontline workers could be viable opportunities.
- Web3. Web3 is a concept Hopkins said promises a decentralized internet by using technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency that's not dominated by big tech companies, financial institutions and other entities. But it's unclear how the technology will develop and benefit enterprises. According to Forrester Research's report, it made the list of emerging technologies to watch due to significant growing interest and investment. Web3 startups saw an estimated $30 billion in venture funding in 2021, according to the report.
- Zero Trust Edge. Zero Trust Edge "securely connects and transports traffic" from remote sites using cloud-based networking services, according to the Forrester Research report. The concept combines software-controlled networking and networking security, Hopkins said.
Makenzie Holland is a news writer covering big tech and federal regulation. Prior to joining TechTarget, she was a general reporter for the Wilmington StarNews and a crime and education reporter at the Wabash Plain Dealer.