Gartner has unveiled its predictions for the top 10 technological trends for 2014.
According to Gartner analyst Chris Howard, the trends were determined based on the impact they are likely to have on enterprises, and the amount of change or disruption they are likely to drive in the industry. Also taken into account is whether there are changes or tipping points occurring now or over the next three years that make the technology newly strategic or applicable to a wider market.
The 2014 tech trend list, in no specific order:
1. The era of personal cloud: personal cloud allows users to use whatever devices they want and have constant access to the content and services they want, says Howard. This can be divided into community (Facebook, news sites, online shopping), personal (photos, hobbies, music), family (sharing of content within a protected group), and professional (data, functions and applications that live on a personal device that are used for work purposes).
2. Hybrid cloud and IT as service broker: Howard divides hybrid cloud into four composition models. Static composition is designed so that services are always used together in the same manner, while deployment composition in the cloud is composed each time the service is provisioned or used. Event composition is composed based on a planned or one-time event, and dynamic composition is cloud recomposed dynamically during runtime.
3. The Internet of everything: this composes the Internet of things, places, people and information, says Howard. He points out there are four ways in which the Internet of things can be leveraged for enterprises, including management, operational use, and monetising and extending services and content.
4. Cloud/client app architecture: the cloud is the control point and system of record, says Howard. Applications span multiple client devices and the experience flows to where users are and what they are doing in context. “Applications will use multiple client endpoints simultaneously.”
5. Mobile apps and ecosystems: Howard predicts we will see wearable electronics expanding the client world, an increase in connected apps and a number of development challenges like a lack of new design skills. “Microsoft, Google and Apple will battle for leadership.”
6. Enterprise mobile platforms: these will have broad capabilities, including applications, application development, data integration, services, security software, and device and application management.
7. Smart machines: Howard divides smart machines into three categories, namely movers (ie, autonomous vehicles), sages (linguistically smart helpers like voice-activation), and doers (machine-focused helpers, for example cars that can detect you have a medical emergency and drive you to a hospital).
8. Software-defined everything: characteristics include function being defined through software not hardware and following a policy-based approach. Benefits include standardisation, faster reconfiguration, higher agility and higher utilisation.
9. Web-scale IT: “Web-scale IT is a pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud services providers within an enterprise IT setting by rethinking positions across several dimensions,” says Howard.
10. 3D printing: This is an ecosystem (software, hardware, materials, service bureaus) with broad and niche market opportunities, says Howard. It is applicable to the private and public sectors, rapid and more iterative prototypes and models, short-run manufacturing and presents new product opportunities.