Gartner has outlined the top ten technologies and trends that will have mostsignificant impact for businesses next year, including 3D printing and mobile apps.
Characterised by factors such as a high potential for disruption to IT or the business and the need for a major dollar investment, Gartner ahs said that a strategic technology may be an emerging or existing technology that has matured and/or become suitable for a wider range of uses, such as mobile apps.
Gartner’s David Cearley said: “We have identified the top 10 technologies that companies should factor into their strategic planning processes. This does not necessarily mean adoption and investment in all of the listed technologies, but companies should look to make deliberate decisions about them during the next two years.”
Cearley added that the Nexus of Forces – social, mobile, cloud and information – are driving these changes in technology.
The top 10 strategic technology trends for 2014 were outlined as being:
Mobile device diversity and management: Through 2018, the growing variety of devices, computing styles, user contexts and interaction paradigms will make "everything everywhere" strategies unachievable. The unexpected consequence of bring your own device (BYOD) programs is a doubling or even tripling of the size of the mobile workforce. This is placing tremendous strain on IT and Finance organizations. Enterprise policies on employee-owned hardware usage need to be thoroughly reviewed and, where necessary, updated and extended.
The internet of everything: The internet is expanding beyond PCs and mobile devices into enterprise assets such as field equipment, and consumer items such as cars and televisions. The problem is that most enterprises and technology vendors have yet to explore the possibilities of an expanded internet and are not operationally or organizationally ready.
Hybrid Cloud and IT as service broker: Bringing together personal clouds and external private cloud services is an imperative. Enterprises should design private cloud services with a hybrid future in mind and make sure future integration/interoperability is possible. Hybrid cloud services can be composed in many ways, varying from relatively static to very dynamic. Managing this composition will often be the responsibility of something filling the role of cloud service broker (CSB), which handles aggregation, integration and customization of services.
Cloud/Client architecture: 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, the increased demand on networks, the cost of networks 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.
Software defined anything: Software-defined anything (SDx) is a collective term that encapsulates the growing market momentum for improved standards for infrastructure programmability and data center interoperability driven by automation inherent to cloud computing, DevOps and fast infrastructure provisioning. As individual SDx technology silos evolve and consortiums arise, look for emerging standards and bridging capabilities to benefit portfolios, but challenge individual technology suppliers to demonstrate their commitment to true interoperability standards within their specific domains.
Web-Scale IT: Web-scale IT is a pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting by rethinking positions across several dimensions. Large cloud services providers such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc., are re-inventing the way IT in which IT services can be delivered. Their capabilities go beyond scale in terms of sheer size to also include scale as it pertains to speed and agility. If enterprises want to keep pace, then they need to emulate the architectures, processes and practices of these exemplary cloud providers
Smart machines: Through 2020, the smart machine era will blossom with a proliferation of contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants, smart advisors (such as IBM Watson), advanced global industrial systems and public availability of early examples of autonomous vehicles. The smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT. New systems that begin to fulfill some of the earliest visions for what information technologies might accomplish — doing what we thought only people could do and machines could not —are now finally emerging.
3D Printing: Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 75% 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 organisations 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.