In this article, we look at how the technology world is changing through the eyes of Gartner Research:

  • State of the hotlist
  • What is a strategic trend?
  • Mobility 2.0
  • Internet of Things
  • 3-D printing
  • Pervasive analytics
  • Contextualization
  • Smart products
  • Cloudification
  • Software-defined environments
  • Web scalability
  • Risk-defined security.

State of the hotlist

As the weeks and days leading up through the holidays to the new year, we see more and more “hotlists” from writers attempting to summarize some aspect of culture or business in the form of 2015 projections. These compilations of trends are not all fluff, and they offer an excellent glance of a field from a relatively objective perspective.

Gartner Research is one of the most widely respected business analysis firms. It released its list of top technology trends at a conference a couple of months ago, the Gartner Symposium/IT 2014 in Orlando, Florida.

What is a strategic trend?

Gartner described its list of tech trends as “strategic” for the majority of companies in 2015. These technologies were chosen based on their “potential for significant impact on the organization in the next three years.” Strategic trends could cause disruption, require high-dollar spending, and that could give your competitor an advantage if you hesitate to adopt them. They represent developments within IT that are relevant now but also have far-reaching implications for the years ahead.

Gartner VP David Cearley explains that the technologies included in the “top 10” are not necessarily essential to have today or tomorrow at your company, but that everyone should be creating plans to incorporate them by the end of 2017.

The Gartner trends are as follows:

#1 – Mobility 2.0

When we think of mobility, we will no longer consider devices but the various environments in which the user operates.

Phones and smartwatches are part of a broader computing experience, courtesy of the “third platform,” with screens connected between public and internal settings. “Increasingly,” Cearley states, “it’s the overall environment that will need to adapt to the requirements of the mobile user.”

As that transition takes place, IT management will become more difficult because the devices will step farther outside the company’s jurisdiction.

#2 – Internet of Things

Four data usage models are emerging as digitization becomes more comprehensive: manage, monetize, operate, and extend. Enterprises should be wary of focusing on the Internet of Things in isolation when it comes to integrating these various uses of data. There are broad applications for all four models throughout the assets, services, people, locations, and technological structures involved.

#3 – 3-D printing

Expect a 3-D printer in the mail any time now. Why? 2015 will see a 98% rise in the sales of these incredible devices globally. That astronomical rise won’t hit a plateau, though, although growth will slow slightly in 2016 to a not-exactly-tepid 50%.

Through 2017, the demand will skyrocket as industries begin to understand how to benefit from the machines by “[reducing] costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping, and short-run manufacturing.”

#4 – Pervasive analytics

Analytics – along with the Internet of Things, mobility, and the cloud – is one of the four pillars of computing’s third platform, which is gradually becoming the dominant model. Data is increasing exponentially, and everyone wants to know what it means. We are entering an era in which analytics will be built into applications standardly. Firms must learn how to filter and assess big data, and the best way is to deploy as many automated systems as possible, embedding analysis throughout.

#5 – Contextualization

As applications and devices become more innovative and analytics become pervasive, devices will generate the output based on the environment. Context-defined security is one maturing example, but similar technologies are on the way. “By understanding the context of a user request,” explains David, “applications can not only adjust their security response but also adjust how information is delivered to the user.”

#6 – Smart everything

As analytics become more profound and intensive, products will become more intelligent with a building focus on contextualization. This is essentially progress in artificial intelligence, with machines “learning to learn” and developing autonomy.

Google has received considerable publicity for its gradually evolving self-driving car, and a French company has released a commercially available autonomous buggy. Robots are becoming more sophisticated, and virtual administrative assistants and intelligent advisors are quickly being refined and improved.

As machines become more intelligent and helpful, everyone will be scrambling to best use them to their organization’s advantage.

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By Moazzam Adnan


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