By Eden Watt, Vice President, Application Innovation, Able-One Systems
The importance of information technology – not only from the operational perspective of maintaining mission critical systems – but also strategically steering the organization to face competition and meet the needs of a new generation of customers who have unprecedented expectations on how you must engage with them – is a given in today’s business world.
To stay on top of these ever-changing demands, an understanding of where technology is going should be in the wheelhouse of every C-suite executive (not just the CIO).
To help advise customers in this area, I’ve always found tracking the Top Ten Strategic Technology Trends that Gartner releases annually to be a good starting point. Anyone who has been involved in steering technology decisions over the last five years will know that mobile, analytics, social, and cloud computing along with security concerns, have been key drivers for buying decisions.
However, as technology matures and morphs, the complexity of these requirements (and offerings) take on new meaning. Consider the chart below which summarizes Gartner’s Top Ten Technology Trends for the past 7 years. I’ve highlighted Mobile topics in Green, Analytics in Purple and Cloud in Blue to give you a flavour for how these have all evolved and in many cases become intertwined.
For 2015, Gartner has grouped their Technology Trends into three areas, as follows:
Merging the Real World and The Virtual World
- Computing Everywhere – This is an extension of the mobile evolution but encompasses computing everywhere around us, not just mobile devices but screens everywhere, wearable devices, car systems, etc. and many form factors, screen sizes, interaction styles (touch, voice, keyboard, mouse, gesture), platforms, and architectures.
- The Internet of Things – This encompasses the growing world of gadgetry, displays and smart sensors, embedded intelligence and tracking with data streams and services created by digitizing everything with four identified usage models that must be considered — Manage, Monetize, Operate and Extend. Over 50% of Internet connections are “things”.
- 3D Printing – is growing rapidly in key areas:
- BioPrinting – still emerging but can be used today for products such as hearing aids and prosthetic limbs
- Consumer – 95% increase predicted for 2016, becoming pervasive
- Enterprise – 81.9% increase, injection molds cut tooling costs by up to 97%, Innovation opportunities to be more responsive and agile to customer needs
Computing is all around us and embedded in everything that we do so that we can’t just think about “computing” and automation but intelligence; big data is not as important as BIG ANSWERS.
- Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible Analytics – Analytics embedded everywhere, not just one data warehouse
- Context-Rich Systems – Systems that understand and respond based on who, what, when, where, how and why
- Smart Machines – autonomous vehicles, advanced robotics, virtual personal assistants and smart advisors are leading us to a new age of machine helpers
The New IT Reality Emerges
- Cloud/Client Computing – unify cloud and mobile strategies
- Software-Defined Applications and Infrastructure – everything is programmable, API’s for everything
- Web-Scale IT – Global class of computing that can deliver capabilities similar to the large cloud services providers to the enterprise
- Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection – security must be a consideration with a more and more digitized future, enable applications to protect themselves, security-aware application design
It’s a lot to absorb so we will try to tackle some of these topics in more depth in future posts. Just remember, much of the science fiction you enjoy have their ideas rooted in current science and technology and what is predicted in the future. With ingenuity and a commitment to innovation, you can move your business forward to take advantage of emerging technology trends in a practical manner.
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