Gartner's Rankings on New Technology Adoption Get a Reality Check

NEWS ANALYSIS: Here are my rankings on Gartner’s predictions on how soon various new technologies will be adopted by enterprises and consumers ranging from 1 (no way-no how) to 5 (in the bag).

ORLANDO, Fla.—Each year at its annual symposium, Gartner analysts pick the top 10 technologies that should change the enterprise and consumer world over the coming years. This year’s list was presented by Daryl Plummer, Gartner’s managing vice president. Here is his list and my ratings on a 1 (no way in the world) to 5 (in the bag) scale.

1. By 2016, 3D printing of tissues and organs (bioprinting) will cause a global debate about regulating the technology or banning it for both human and nonhuman use. My ranking: 2. The Gartner analysts have latched onto 3D printing in a big way. I’m a fan, but I think Gartner’s analysts have gotten ahead of themselves on this one. Gartner hedged its bets on this call by saying bioprinting will cause a global debate. There is no question that there will be relentless debate and research on this technology. However, taking the giant leap from the sheer capability to print human organs to actually getting regulatory approval and doing it on a regular basis is in the 2020 time frame at best.

2. By 2018, 3D printing will result in the loss of at least $100 billion per year in intellectual property globally. My ranking: 3. Counterfeit goods have existed as long as goods have been produced. The rise of 3D printing (like I said Gartner is a real fan) can exacerbate the problem, but I’m also betting that crowd-sourced discovery and reward for informing on counterfeiters along with the ability to embed unique sensors in goods will temper a wide open counterfeit business.

3. By 2017, over half of consumer goods manufacturers will achieve 75 percent of their consumer innovation and R&D capabilities via crowd-sourcing. My ranking: a gift 3. Is a focus group a crowd-sourced solution? If so, then that 75 percent is solid. If the idea is marketing organizations will have customer sentiment analysis systems in place and convince CEOs to create products based on those results, I don’t see half of the consumer goods manufacturers achieving this goal by 2017.

4. By 2017, 80 percent of consumers will collect, track and barter their personal data for cost savings, convenience and customization. My ranking: 2. There are two big pieces missing from the sell-your-personal-data loop. First, while consumers might embrace the idea of selling their data, there are no mechanisms in place to provide payments and if there was a payment system in place people would start gaming the system immediately. Second, sorry consumers, but big data engines are making it easier and easier to track your web habits even if you block cookies and stick to mobile devices.

5. By 2020, enterprises and governments will fail to protect 75 percent of sensitive data, and declassify and grant broad/public access to it. My ranking: 4. Protecting sensitive data is a difficult task—particularly when it is very easy to classify data as sensitive.