Gartner is one of the many companies to publish a list of trends and technologies that the analyst group thinks companies should take a closer look at in 2014. Gartner deems a technology to be “strategic” if it is expected to have a major impact on companies over the next three years – this can involve both enhancements to existing technologies, which will open them up to new user groups, and completely new developments.
The top trends with the greatest influence, according to Gartner, will continue to be social media, mobile, and cloud computing. Within this framework, Gartner’s analysts have identified ten individual technology trends:
Next page: Three times as many mobile employees
This article is part of our focus on trends 2014: For related articles, please see our Special.
1. Number of mobile employees set to triple
The “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) approach will have unexpected consequences, according to Gartner: As more and more employees use their own hardware for work, the number of mobile employees will double or even triple. This will impose a huge burden on IT and Accounting departments alike. Companies will have to thoroughly revise and supplement their guidelines governing the use of personal devices at the workplace. According to the analysts, many companies have to date merely defined rules for accessing customer networks through company-owned devices. In 2014, these companies must establish clear regulations to strike a balance between flexibility and data security.
2. Enterprise applications migrating to browsers
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3. Companies have only started to explore the Internet of Things
In addition to PCs, smartphones, and tablets, many other devices at companies will be linked to the Internet, as well as conventional everyday objects such as cars and TV sets. According to Gartner’s observations, many companies and technology suppliers have only just begun to explore the opportunities afforded by an expanding Internet. The analysts warn against concentrating solely on the Internet of Things, however. Companies must still pay heed to the Internet of people, information, and places as well.
4. Cloud service brokers consolidate hybrid cloud services for customers
Companies will increasingly have to link services in personal clouds with offerings from external services. When they design private cloud services, companies need to keep future hybrid scenarios in mind, to ease subsequent integration. The assembly of hybrid cloud services will increasingly become the task of cloud service brokers (CSBs), which will adapt these services for their customers. Gartner forecasts that cloud computing brokerage services will become the largest single market for cloud services by 2015.
5. Cloud-client architectures are transforming
Cloud-client architectures are transforming. In these models, the client represents a multi-tier application that runs on an Internet-connected device. The server side consists of a variety of application services that are hosted on flexibly scalable cloud computing platforms. According to Gartner, this model will change in one of two directions: In one direction, constraints on Internet bandwidth – budgetary and otherwise – will result in larger components of applications running directly on mobile devices. In the other direction, the increasing demands of mobile users will require more computing and storage capacity on the server side.
6. The cloud will become the most important data manager
The era of the personal cloud will result in a shift of power: away from centralized devices and toward services. Although they will still be used, centralized devices such as PCs will become things of the past. As the trend of using multiple devices continues to accelerate, the cloud will take on the primary role of data manager.
7. No standards in “software-defined anything”
“Software-defined anything” (SDx) is a blanket term that describes the trend of software exercising greater control functions over hardware systems. Initiatives that subscribe to this concept include OpenStack, OpenFlow, the Open Compute Project, and Open Rack.
This does not mean, however, that standards will continue to spread in this area. Vendors that dominate a segment will be loathe to follow standards that reduce their profit margins and could facilitate the competition – even if their customers would benefit.
8. Amazon, Google, and Facebook become performance benchmarks in IT
Cloud computing giants like Amazon, Google, and Facebook are setting the new benchmarks in IT performance. This has long ceased to be a mere matter of size; speed and agility are also crucial factors. Gartner calls the combination of all these aspects “web-scale IT” and assumes that the IT value chain will undergo a systematic change. Companies that hope to keep up have to rethink in several different dimensions: the cloud providers’ structures, processes, and applications are pointing the way to the future. Aspects of cost optimization and sustainability will play an even greater role in future plans for data centers.
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9. Smart machines assume tasks formerly performed by humans
According to Gartner, smart machines will bring about the greatest changes in the technology domain. A mainstay of science fiction is slowly turning into reality: technology can carry out tasks that used to be performed by humans. By 2020, the smart machine era will produce a much wider variety of intelligent assistance programs, smart advisors (such as IBM’s Watson), modern industrial systems, and autonomous vehicles than is currently available.
10. Sales of 3D printers increase by 75 percent
In 2014, global sales of 3D printers are expected to increase by 75 percent – and nearly double again in 2015. Analysts predict particularly rapid growth in the price range between $500 and $50,000. The strong demand is convincing even large companies that 3D printing can help to minimize costs through improved design, rapid prototyping, and shortened production lead times.