Gartner's top IT predictions for 2014
Gartner has revealed its top predictions for IT organizations and IT users for 2014 and beyond. Gartner’s top predictions for 2014 combine several disruptive trends from mobile device and app management to smart machines and from 3D printing to the Internet of Things — that are set to have an impact well beyond just the IT function. Some of the key focus of Gartner are as follows:
Mobile device management: The coming year will be marked by an array of mobile devices, platforms and computing styles with a greater focus on bring your own device (BYOD) programs. Gartner says enterprise policies on BYOD needs to be thoroughly reviewed and, where necessary, updated and extended as CIOs should have a set of policies to define clear expectations around what they can and cannot do in order to balance flexibility with confidentiality and privacy requirements.
3-D Printing: Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 75 percent in 2014 followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015. While very expensive “additive manufacturing” devices have been around for 20 years, the market for devices ranging from $50,000 to $500, and with commensurate material and build capabilities, is nascent yet growing rapidly. The consumer market hype has made organizations aware of the fact 3D printing is a real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.
Smart Machines: The emergence of smart machines can enhance processes and decision making, but could also remove the need for humans in the process and decision effort, says Gartner. CIOs will see this as a means of delivering greater efficiency, but will have to balance between the active human workforce and the cold efficiency of machines that can learn. According to Gartner, by 2024, at least 10% of activities potentially injurious to human life will require mandatory use of a “smart system,” and the trend will begin to evolve since 2014, as the number of speech recognition applications running on deep neural network algorithms will double.
Software Defined Anything: Software-defined anything that will comprise various initiatives like OpenStack, OpenFlow, the Open Compute Project and Open Rack, which share similar visions. Different interpretations of SDx definitions may be anything but open from SDN (network), SDDC (data center), SDS (storage), and SDI (infrastructure) technologies are all trying to maintain leadership in their respective domains, says Gartner. Vendors who dominate a sector of the infrastructure may only reluctantly want to abide by standards that have the potential to lower margins and open broader competitive opportunities, even when the consumer will benefit by simplicity, cost reduction and consolidation efficiency.
Cloud/Client Architecture: Cloud/client computing models are shifting. In the cloud/client architecture, the client is a rich application running on an Internet-connected device, and the server is a set of application services hosted in an increasingly elastically scalable cloud computing platform. The cloud is the control point and system or record and applications can span multiple client devices. The client environment may be a native application or browser-based; the increasing power of the browser is available to many client devices, mobile and desktop alike. Robust capabilities in many mobile devices and the need to manage bandwidth use creates incentives, in some cases, to minimize the cloud application computing and storage footprint, and to exploit the intelligence and storage of the client device. However, the increasingly complex demands of mobile users will drive apps to demand increasing amounts of server-side computing and storage capacity.
The Era of Personal Cloud: The personal cloud era will mark a power shift away from devices toward services. In this new world, the specifics of devices will become less important for the organization to worry about, although the devices will still be necessary. Users will use a collection of devices, with the PC remaining one of many options, but no one device will be the primary hub. Rather, the personal cloud will take on that role. Access to the cloud and the content stored or shared from the cloud will be managed and secured, rather than solely focusing on the device itself.
Internet of Things: The Internet of Things cements the connection between machines, people and business interactions in the modern era. With the advent of massively connected devices, businesses, governments and people now have access to more information about themselves and their surroundings than they can actually act on. Gartner’s prediction focuses on the opportunity to build applications and services that can use that information to create new engagement models for customers, employees and partners, and to foster a new set of business and marketing models that make the word “engagement” a truly valuable asset.
Wearable computing: Wearables are quickly moving into mainstream and in the coming years, both enterprise and consumer wearables will become more sophisticated, says Gartner. The technical hurdles that have stalled the adoption of wearables (battery life, augmented reality, chip evolution and bandwidth) are quickly eroding; opening doors to creative minds determined to exploit this technology for commercial gain as evidenced by sizable investments in wearable technology from Samsung, Google, Apple and Microsoft.
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