Four Technologies for the Future

(reprinted with permission from Your Virtual Insurance Oct 12 2001)

Analysts from Gartner, Inc. (, at the company’s Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2001,
which ran in Florida in early October, announced what they suspect will be the four key emerging technology
trends for the next decade .

Here they are:

Customer Self Service

By 2005, more than 70 percent of customer service
interaction for information and remote transactions will be automated, according to
Gartner. “A range of technologies are improving customers’ ability to complete
increasingly complex informational and service-based transactions without the need for
human assistance,” said Jackie Fenn, vice president and research fellow for Gartner.
“The nontechnology factors driving this increased automation include strong return on
investment, better customer reach and improved service quality. This will ultimately
result in increased competitiveness, and in savings that can be passed on to the customer.”

Web Services

By packaging business processes as software components,
Gartner feels Web services will drive much of the still-to-be-developed e-business
landscape. “Web services will facilitate much faster software development and integration.

They will also enable businesses to become more agile, and
help them focus on their core competencies while outsourcing other functions,” said
Alexander Linden, research director for Gartner. “Companies should enter the learning
curve on Web services capabilities now, but because this technology is not yet mature or a
proven success, they should not create mission-critical Web services projects until a
clear case for revenue-generation opportunities can be made.

Web Services are likely the hottest trend of 2001 and 2002,
and are probably still an underestimated technology.”

Wearable Computers

By 2007, Gartner says more than 60 percent of the U.S. population aged 15 to 50
will carry or wear a wireless computing and communications device at least six hours a day.

“Widespread adoption of wireless, wearable computing
will provide constantly connected employees and consumers with access to communities,
information and other services as they go about their business in the real world,”
said Fenn. ” The prevalence of ‘wearables’ will lead to commerce and service
opportunities as significant as those resulting from the wired Web.”

Tagging the World

By 2008, at least $90 billion worth of business-to-consumer
(B2C) purchase decisions — and $350 billion worth of business-to-business (B2B) purchase
decisions — will be based on tags containing information and opinions about purchasable items.

“The flood of information, products and services
available to today’s consumers and businesses is spurring a focus on organizing and
labeling choices in a way that supports a person’s ability to find, prioritize and select
items,” said Linden. “The tagging industry will modify consumer buying behavior
and drive newindustries focused on advisory and market research services.”