Now that 2013 is over it’s time to look ahead to the top technology trends for 2014. Gartner recently identified the on-the-move technologies you should be on the watch for in the coming year.
- More mobile management – Employees are accessing everything on their mobile devices these days, placing a great strain on IT infrastructure, financial systems, and security. Companies will beef up their mobile policies, cracking down on use of employee-owned devices at work, and setting clearer expectations regarding mobile device usage.
- New mobile apps – Gartner predicts developers will use HTML5 and the browser as development tools, creating voice and video apps that will enable people to connect in new ways via mobile devices. Apps will become more targeted and intuitive, and will be adaptable in their programming so they can be optimized for a variety of mobile devices.
- Connected everything – Enterprise assets such as field equipment and consumer goods such as cars, refrigerators, stoves, and televisions are connected to the Internet. However, many enterprises are not ready to maximize the possibilities of this expansion of connected items. Gartner identifies four emerging Internet usage models: manage, monetize, operate, extend. By applying these models to people, things, information, and places, enterprises can successfully offer connectivity with nearly everything people touch or use.
- Hybrid cloud services – Personal clouds and private cloud services will increasingly merge, so enterprises should ensure private cloud solutions can handle future hybridization and integration. The role of managing this integration will fall on a “cloud service broker,” which will handle aggregation, integration, and customization of services.
- Shifts in cloud/client architecture – As mobile devices increase in number, power, and capability, network demands rise. This can lead to greater financial and bandwidth demands. These factors can create incentives to minimize cloud application computing and storage footprint, instead falling back on the intelligence and storage of the client device. As mobile user demands increase in complexity, it will drive a need for more server-side computing and storage capacity.
- Personal cloud – The “personal cloud era” will mark a shift away from devices and toward services. Users will use a wide array of devices without necessarily making a PC or other primary device a hub. Instead, the personal cloud will serve as the umbrella connecting multiple devices.
- Software defined anything (SDx) – This term describes the growing trend in the data center toward infrastructure programmability, interoperability driven by automation inherent to cloud computing, DevOps, and fast infrastructure provisioning. Look for vendors of specific, siloed technologies and software to elect not to follow standards in favor of increased competition and lower margins. However, this trend will ultimately be driven by end-users, who will demand the advantages SDx has to offer in terms of simplicity, cost reduction, and consolidation.
- Web-Scale IT – Large cloud services providers such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook are re-inventing the way IT services are delivered. Their capabilities include scale in terms of sheer size, as well as scale in terms of speed and agility. Enterprises must emulate the architectures, processes, and practices of these large cloud providers if they hope to keep pace.
- Smart machines – Contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants and “smart advisors,” such as IMB Watson, will continue to evolve and proliferate. These may take the form of “smart” vehicles, as well as other machines that possess capabilities once believed uniquely human. Gartner predicts the smart machine era has the potential to be the most disruptive in the history of IT.
- 3-D printing – Watch for worldwide shipments of 3-D printers to grow 75 percent worldwide. As these devices shrink in both size and price, becoming more available to the consumer market, they are poised to make an impact in design, prototyping, and short-run manufacturing.
Will any of these predictions come true? Well, we have 12 months ahead of us to find out!