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Five tech trends that IT professionals need to know about

Companies haven’t written up their reviews of the year, but IT experts are already looking ahead to 2019. Traditionally in the autumn, Gartner's experts publish their outlook on technology trends that will shape the coming year. Forbes magazine and other industry experts have made their predictions – and we’ve also looked into our glass ball.

1. Swarm IntelligenceWord has got around that industry is tinkering with self-driving cars. But the interesting question isn’t about individual smart vehicles – on tomorrow's roads, intelligent cars will communicate with each other. If a tree falls on the road, the smart car brakes, warns the vehicles directly behind it and thus prevents rear-end collisions. Vehicles driving further back are told that the road is blocked and can then take another route to their destination. Experts at Gartner are convinced that this type of swarm intelligence will also find its way into many other areas of application.

2. Edge ComputingEdge computing refers to decentralized data-processing at the edge of a network. Computer applications, content and services are shifted away from central nodes and used on-site – for example, in an end device or a company. Experts see a high demand for edge computing, especially for the emerging "Internet of Things". Edge computing will not be seen as the opposite of decentralized cloud computing – the two principles can complement each other.

3. Augmented Reality (AR) Beats Virtual Reality (VR)Virtual Reality is cooler than Augmented Reality, writes Daniel Newman, tech expert at Forbes. But AR simply has many more practical applications. Many companies are already working intensively on the vision of an astronaut, doctor or car mechanic with all the information they need on their smart glasses whilst working. In comparison, forecasts suggest that VR is more of a gimmick.

4. Better ChatbotsGartner experts are convinced that chatbots – customer-care programs based on artificial intelligence (AI) that answer calls and text messages – are the future. The potential savings are simply too tempting! The first encounters with this technology were mostly frustrating for the user. But with improved AI, chatbots are now taking off and in many companies more and more customer enquiries are being handled satisfactorily.

5. MulticloudA multicloud strategy uses various public and private clouds and makes individual users or entire companies independent of individual clouds. The seamless use of different clouds is one of the challenges facing tech professionals next year.