Digital mesh: Continuous, hyper-connectivity for everyone

An ‘electronic halo’ around individuals is part of the post-smartphone world. IT service firms need to be aware of that and adapt so they can help provide it.

Digital mesh: Continuous, hyper-connectivity for everyone
Credit: Scott Maxwell via Flickr

Hyper-connectivity is the way of the future. The world is going to become more electronic, and CEOs are banking on digital technology to grow their revenue.

To make that a reality, IT services need to be involved, said Helen Huntley, a Gartner research vice president, speaking at Gartner’s Tech Growth and Innovation Conference in Los Angeles earlier this week.

It calls for having a kind of device or digital mesh that produces hyper-connectivity for everyone. That, coupled with vast swaths of data and smart machines, will be a principal “strategic technology change” we’ll see, she said.

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And those digital devices aren’t simply isolated to endpoints, like a PC or smartphone, such as we’ve been used to. It’s everything around the user, including the data generated.

At Gartner, Huntley provides analysis for IT executives. Her presentation at the conference was aimed at advising technology providers on how to develop their businesses.

The new post-mobile phone world

Users want to compute wherever they go, Huntley said. That’s part of what creates a new IT reality. It’s something that’s going to “change the way IT delivers things.”

As an example, Huntley described a sports fan attending an auto racing event. That sports fan wants to do more than just observe the race. With the user’s awareness of hyper-connectivity—or device mesh—he wants real-time analytical data from the cars and track, she said. How fast were those cars going around the track? How much was the separation between the lead car and the following car?

That’s the kind of continuous, hyper-connectivity users will demand, she said. It’s “a post-mobile phone world.”

Consumers and businesses want to have a continuous dynamic experience. Think of it as “an electronic halo,” she said.

How IT can help

To help deliver this future, IT must figure out what to do with all of the structured and unstructured data that’s being generated. Those kinds of demands for analytical data sets are now permeating user expectations.

All of the devices will need to be tied all together, and the consumers and clients expect the IT world to do it.

It’s a new IT reality, Huntley said. These kinds of new technologies are yet to be built, so it’s a case of taking every product and digitizing it.

Digital business and algorithmic business are the two biggest overall trends Gartner sees coming up, and digital mesh and smart machines are part of that, she explained.

However, sub trends are also bubbling. One of those is “ambient user experience,” Huntley said. People are expecting devices and user experiences to be totally customizable and geared towards themselves.

That’s not happened before in IT, Huntley said. The “me” element is new and needs to be addressed.

IT service providers should be thinking of ways to use technology and data “to do every single task that we do,” as well as all of the tasks that the clients perform, she said. Because the complexities are so vast, IT can, more than ever, help the clients. Data and algorithms are an important part of that.

“There are some clients that are absolutely scared to death about what data they have and what they can glean from it,” Huntley said.

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