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Gartner tips ‘smart dust’ as tech of the future

“Smart dust” is set to take the technology industry by storm in the next decade, according to Gartner, which has outlined a number of emerging tech trends in its Hype Cycle report.

The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies tracks the progress of various technologies from innovation to widespread adoption. It is based on perspectives of business and IT leaders gathered from across the technology industry.

In the latest version of the report, Gartner identifies smart dust as one of the most cutting-edge technologies, placing it at the beginning of the “innovation trigger” section. Smart dust is a collection of tiny dust-like sensors or devices which can be used to detect factors such as light or sound. Gartner tips the trend to reach the plateau of productivity – where it is adopted widely – in more than 10 years.

Virtual personal assistant technology joins smart dust at the beginning of the “innovation trigger”, but that is expected to hit the big time in between five and 10 years.

More-established trends such as wearables and the Internet of Things are at the top of the “peak of inflated expectations” on the cycle, along with machine learning and advanced analytics. All those trends are expected to plateau in between two and five years.

Enterprise 3D printing and gesture control tech are heading for the plateau fast but are currently placed in the “slope of enlightenment”.

Gartner says the newcomers to the Hype Cycle mark the emergence of a tech trend known as “digital humanism”, which is the notion that people are the central focus of digital innovation.

Gartner distinguished analyst Betsy Burton said the driverless cars trend enjoyed notable movement in the Hype Cycle.

“Major changes in the 2015 Hype Cycle include the placement of autonomous vehicles, which have shifted from pre-peak to peak,” she said. “While autonomous vehicles are still embryonic, this movement still represents a significant advancement, with all major automotive companies putting autonomous vehicles on their near-term road maps.

“Similarly, the growing momentum in connected-home solutions has introduced entirely new solutions and platforms enabled by new technology providers and existing manufacturers.”

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