Brian Hopkins, VP, Emerging Tech Portfolio and Julie Ask, VP, Principal Analyst

Show notes:

Each year, Forrester’s research team compiles a list of the top 10 emerging technologies that business and technology leaders should be watching. In this episode, Brian Hopkins, VP of Forrester’s emerging tech portfolio, and Julie Ask, VP and principal analyst, provide insight into how they developed this year’s list, which technologies are realistic to pursue today, and which ones are still a few years from being useful to the average organization.

Before the analysts dig into their top 10 list, however, they address a much-hyped technology that didn’t make the cut: the metaverse. Ask explains that they left it off because it doesn’t exist yet and might not exist for another five to 10 years, so the analysts chose to focus their top 10 list on more mature techs that will create value in the near term.

The conversation then moves to a couple of emerging technologies that may be considered metaverse precursors but are still a bit far off for the average org (labeled “across the chasm” in the report). Web3, according to Hopkins, does have some practical and tangible applications, but many of the billions of dollars in investment in this technology are focused on the long-shot applications and visions instead of the more practical ones. (Be sure to listen to Hopkins’ explanation of flash loans to get a sense of some of the unique applications for these technologies.) Ask then explains why extended reality is still considered to be “across the chasm” as a technology, even though it’s been around a bit longer than some of the others.

The next batch of technologies discussed can bring a bit more value to the average org today, including explainable AI, intelligent agents, and edge intelligence. The analysts walk through some intriguing applications for these technologies that may bring them into context for many more organizations. The final two technologies discussed — cloud-native and natural language processing — are delivering benefits now for some organizations and are expected to bring more benefits to others in the next year or so. Hopkins takes time to clearly define what cloud-native is, while Ask says that natural language processing will soon help create and scale more immersive customer and employee experiences in many organizations.

The episode closes with the analysts providing advice on how technology leaders can apply these various emerging technologies to their own organization. At a high level, Hopkins says tech leaders need to determine: 1) if the specific technology is ready for their business and 2) if their organization is ready for the technology as it stands today.