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
- Smart products
- Software-defined environments
- Web scalability
- Risk-defined security.
State of the hotlist
As the weeks and days lead 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. In fact, they offer a great nutshell glance of a field from a relatively objective perspective.
Gartner Research is one of the most widely respected business analysis firms, and it released its list of top technology trends at a conference a couple 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.” Trends that are strategic are ones that could cause disruption, require high-dollar spending, and/or that could give your competitor an advantage if you hesitate to adopt it. 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 just consider devices but the various environments in which the user operates.
Phones and smart watches 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 jurisdiction of the company.
#2 – Internet of Things
Four data usage models are emerging as digitization is becoming more comprehensive: manage, monetize, operate, and extend. Enterprises should be wary of focusing on the Internet of Things in isolation when it comes to integration of 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 smarter and analytics becomes pervasive, devices will become capable of generating 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 deeper and more intensive, with a building focus on contextualization, products will become more intelligent. This is essentially forward progress in artificial intelligence, with machines “learning to learn” and develop 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. Virtual administrative assistants and intelligent advisors are quickly being refined and improved.
As machines become smarter and more helpful, everyone will be scrambling to best use them to their organization’s advantage.
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