In a recent study, technology research firm Gartner identified a number of top technology trends emerging in 2014, with the potential to have a significant impact on enterprises over the next three years.
David Cearley, a vice president at the firm, said there is a “Nexus of Forces” made up of social, mobile, cloud and information technologies, which are converging and creating demand for “advanced programmable infrastructure that can execute at Web-scale.”
Here are 5 of the top trends Gartner identified:
Mobile Device Diversity and Management
The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon is a new reality in the workplace.
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Business are in the middle of deciding how they want to address the expectations of their employees, and some business are pushing BYOD themselves, in a bid to save costs on hardware and software.
According to Gartner, one result of BYOD is “a doubling or even tripling of the size of the mobile workforce.”
Provisioning for all of these devices is a major undertaking, with the need to secure network access for employees, guests, and partners, even when they are using personal devices at work.
Mobile Apps and Applications
The firm recommends the development of richer voice and video as a key focus for developers, which can already be seen as WebRTC grows in prominence.
Gartner believes the number of mobile apps will grow—while the number of larger applications shrink–with apps becoming smaller and more targeted than more comprehensive applications.
The Internet of Everything
Along with smart TVs and field equipment, the “Internet of Things” is beginning to take off, with a staggering array of devices, appliances and vehicles just waiting to have their own IP addresses.
Garter lists four basic usage models created by the combination of data streams and services digitizing everything: “Manage, Monetize, Operate and Extend,” which are applicable to any of the four fields of the Internet: people, things, information and places.
The reports cautions that “most enterprises and technology vendors have yet to explore the possibilities of an expanded Internet and are not operationally or organizationally ready.”
This is another area that’s been very buzzy lately, usually focused on Software-Defined Networking, or SDN.
Gartner predicts Software-Defined Anything (SDx) will result in emerging standards bridging capabilities to benefit portfolios, while challenging individual technology suppliers to achieve true interoperability standards, as opposed to seeing increased siloing.
“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,” Gartner says, “even when the consumer will benefit by simplicity, cost reduction and consolidation efficiency.”
You may want to call this “The Rise of the (Smart) Machines.”
Gartner forecasts that over the next two decades, there will be a “proliferation of contextually-aware, intelligent personal assistants, smart advisers (such as IBM Watson), advanced global industrial systems and public availability of early examples of autonomous vehicles.”
According to the firm, this will be the most disruptive in the history of IT.
Whatever the consequences of these titanic shifts in technology and how it’s used, you have to admit: These are interesting times.
*Note: The other 5 trends included in the report are: 3D printing, hybrid cloud and IT as a service broker, cloud/client application architecture, personal cloud, web-scale IT.