Technology Trends You Should Pay Attention to for 2014

Already two weeks into 2014 and the top strategic technologies and trends for organizations is something worth paying attention to. Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Looking at four powerful forces: social, mobile, cloud and information, Gartner shared the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014.

Here is a summary of those trends:

1. Mobile Device Diversity and Management

Gartner expects the mobile workforce will double or even triple in size because of bring your own device (BYOD) programs. Thus, employee-owned hardware usage needs to be reviewed and managed. Gartner suggests that organizations must set policies and clear expectations in the workforce to balance flexibility with confidentiality and privacy requirements.

Female construction worker wearing a yellow hard hat while talking on smartphone.

Mobile phones are becoming necessary for work in all industries, including construction.

2. Mobile Apps and Applications

Gartner predicts that developers will focus on expanding user interface models including richer voice and video that can connect people in new and different ways. Apps will continue to grow while applications will begin to shrink, with more popularity in smaller, more target apps than more comprehensive, one-size-fits-all apps. According to Gartner, “The next evolution in user experience will be to leverage intent, inferred from emotion and actions, to motivate changes in end-user behavior.”

3. 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 television. Gartner suggests that the problem is that most organizations has yet to explore the possibilities of an expanded Internet. However, Gartner recommends that organizations improve their businesses by adopting the four basic usage models:

  1. Manage
  2. Monetize
  3. Operate
  4. Extend

These four models can be applied to the “Internet of Things”, which consists of people, information, things and places.

4. Hybrid Cloud and IT as Service Broker

Bringing together personal clouds and external private cloud services is an imperative. Gartner recommends enterprises should make sure they are ready to go hybrid in the future and that integration/interoperability is possible. As a result, the rise of cloud service brokers (CSBs) will be a great responsibility to fill these needs.

5. Cloud/Client Architecture

Increasing demand for the cloud “create incentives, in some cases, to minimize the cloud application computing and storage footprint, and to exploit the intelligence and storage of the client device.” As a result, Gartner anticipates that the increasingly complex demands of mobile users will drive the need for increasing amounts of server-side computing and storage capacity.

6. The Era of Personal Cloud

There will be a powerful shift away from devices toward services. Users will use a collection of devices, including the PC as an option, but there will be no one primary device. Gartner suggests that the personal cloud will take on that role. Access to the cloud and its content will be managed and secured, rather than solely on the device itself.

7. Software Defined Anything

Gartner defines software-defined anything (SDx) as “improved standards for infrastructure programmability and data center interoperability driven by automation inherent to cloud computing, DevOps and fast infrastructure provisioning.” Gartner expects SDx will cause vendors to be reluctant to adopt standards that will lower margins and increase competition. However, if vendors do adopt these standards, end-consumers will benefit from simplicity, cost reduction and consolidation efficiency.

8. Web-Scale IT

Large cloud services providers such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook are reinventing the way in which IT services can be delivered. If enterprises want to keep pace, Gartner suggests that they must “emulate the architectures, processes and practices of these exemplary cloud providers.” Gartner calls the combination of all of these elements “Web-scale IT”

9. Smart Machines

According to Gartner, the smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT. Information technologies may accomplish “what we thought only people could do and machines could not” These smart machines include personal assistants, smart advisors (remember IBM Watson?), advanced global industrial systems and self-driving vehicles. Gartner further expects that individuals will invest in and use their own smart machines to become more successful.

10. 3-D Printing

Gartner predicts 3-D printing to grow 75 percent in 2014 alone, followed by near doubling of unit shipments in 2015. Gartner says that it will lead to organizations to be aware of 3-D printing as a “real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.”

How to Prepare for 2014

Make sure your employees are aware of all business policies and expectations. They must be prepared for technology trends that will impact the organization whether it is through social, mobile, cloud or information forces.

Explore all possibilities of expanding the use of technology in your organization to secure privacy and flexibility.

A recommended possibility is to use software such as BrowseControl and BrowseReporter to control monitoring and security of your network.

What are your thoughts on Gartner’s predictions? What is the best way to prepare for future technology trends?

By @Trinh_Anthony

Sai Kit Chu
Sai Kit Chu
Sai Kit Chu is a Product Manager with CurrentWare. He enjoys helping businesses improve their employee productivity & data loss prevention efforts through the deployment of the CurrentWare solutions.