Components of the “third platform” dominate the International Data Corporation (IDC) list of this year’s IT trends in almost every aspect. IDC analyst Frank Gens uses this term to describe an IT world built on mobile technology, cloud services, Big Data analysis, and social technologies that distinguish themselves from the Internet services and client-server technology of the “second platform.” This is already the third time the third platform has played a role in IDC’s yearly prognosis, says Gens. He expects fierce distribution battles to be fought in this area this upcoming year.
Gens presented an assessment based on the opinions of 1,000 IDC analysts worldwide as part of a webinar. It forecasts what can only be described as an escalation in 2014. Gens predicts that being able to quickly conquer market shares globally by means of new offers and services will be more important for IT providers than ever before. At the same time, we will see a consolidation of third platform-associated areas, from which only a few major providers will emerge victoriously. According to Gens, a provider’s potential success will depend on its ability to find and retain developers of “killer applications.” Companies will spend 15% more money on third platform-related technologies in 2014 than the year before, IDC says, with mobile technology, cloud computing, Big Data, and social technology expected to make up 29% of worldwide IT expenditures.
2014 trends in mobile, cloud, Big Data, and social technologies
Analysts predict the following developments in the next 12 months.
1. Smartphones and tablets will make up 60% of IT spending
Worldwide IT expenditures will be $2.1 billion, a growth of 5% compared to last year. Sales of smartphones and tablets will be responsible for 60% of this growth. Without these, IT expenditures would only rise by 2.4%. Mobile devices will account for 13% of IT spending.
2. Emerging markets to rise (again):
With regard to IT expenditures, emerging markets will see a return to a double-digit growth rate of 10%. The investment in IT in this area will total nearly $740 billion, which constitutes more than a third of global revenue. More than 60% of growth will take place in developing markets. In terms of actual dollars spent, IT expenditures in China will increase just as strongly as in the USA, despite the Chinese market being only a third of the American market’s size.
3. A shift from IaaS to PaaS:
Within the domain of the third platform, IDC predicts a shift from Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to services in the category of Platform as a Service (PaaS). Analysts predict a veritable avalanche of PaaS offers for developers and powerful services for companies from Amazon Web Services. Consequently, companies that were market leaders in the age of the second platform will most likely be forced to make fundamental changes in the way they operate. Google will also enter the fray as a competing party to secure a strong position.
4. Double-digit growth for mobile devices:
The onslaught of mobile devices will continue: Tablet revenue will rise by 18%, smartphone revenue by 12%. The Samsung-led Android community will retain its competitive edge over Apple in terms of absolute figures. Apple will continue to rely on above-average retail prices and sustain its established ecosystem of apps, but will likely lose market revenue to the Google Play store for Android apps, which is growing strongly.
5. Cloud computing to become a 100 billion dollar market:
Cloud expenditures will increase by 25%, rising to $100 billion. IDC expects a dramatic increase in cloud data centers worldwide, since all major cloud competitors will want to position themselves globally.
6. Data brokers will take advantage of Big Data growth:
Expenditures on Big Data technology and associated services are expected to grow by 30% and subsequently surpass $14 billion. As a consequence of this growth, IDC predicts a severe shortage of sufficiently trained Big Data analysts. Content providers and data brokers, on the other hand, will pop up in large numbers, says IDC. These fulfill the needs of companies that are looking for valuable data sources and applications to gain a better understanding of their customers and markets.
7. The end of insularity for social technologies:
Social technologies no longer exist in isolation. Over the next 12 to 18 months, they will become more and more integrated into existing enterprise applications. The data collected and processed by these technologies are now being used not only for customer retention and marketing, but are increasingly also channeled into product development and services. IDC expects social networks for companies to become increasingly available as a standard cloud solution.
Next page: Trends 8-10: “Cloud first” strategy, industry-specific innovation, and the Internet of Things
8. “Cloud first” strategy will become a must:
Data centers constitute the physical base below the cloud and are therefore an important component of the third platform. The number of data centers geared towards providing cloud services is growing, turning providers of cloud services into important consumers in the server, storage, and networking components business. Consequently, the analysts say, established hardware providers that found it hard to gain a foothold in this market in the past will in future be forced to adapt a “cloud first” strategy.
9. The emergence of industry-dependent innovation platforms:
The third platform will see a broad range of next generation applications that can help companies secure their own competitive edge. Industry-specific innovation platforms will be a key aspect in the development of innovations; IDC cites the software Predix platform from GE Software as one example. According to the analysts, hundreds of similar platforms will soon emerge.
10. Internet of Things will pick up speed, enabling new industry partnerships:
In 2014, the third platform will expand from smartphones, tablets, and PCs to the Internet of Things. The analysts predict that the Internet of Things will pick up speed during the year. IDC expects new industry partnerships to form, such as between traditional IT providers and telecommunication providers or semiconductor manufacturers, for instance, that want to create a joint integrated offering within consumer electronics and for networked devices in general. By 2020, IDC expects revenues totaling $8.9 billion from technologies related to the Internet of Things.