The 2014 Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is under way in Orlando. David Cearley, Vice President and Gartner Fellow presented a variety of different topics throughout the day. But one of the highlights of the event covered the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015. As always, their IT experts have identified what they believe to be the top-ten information technology trends for the year ahead. Gartner defines a strategic technology trend as one with the potential for significant impact on the organization in the next three years.
The top 10 strategic technology trends for 2015 are:
Infographic by Gartner
Here is a summary of the trends:
1. Computing Everywhere
With the continued advancement in smart-phone technology, Gartner predicts an increased emphasis on serving the needs of the mobile user in diverse contexts and environments, as opposed to focusing on devices alone. Gartner notes that smart-phones and wearable devices are part of a broader computing offering to include connected screens in the workplace and in public spaces.
2. The Internet of Things (IoT)
The ubiquity of user-oriented computing will continue to be mirrored in industrial and operational contexts. Gartner notes that this is central to digital business products and processes. The combination of data streams and services created by digitizing everything creates four basic usage models — Manage, Monetize, Operate and Extend.
3. 3D Printing
The cost of 3D printing will reach a tipping point over the next three years as the market for relatively low-cost 3D printing devices continues to grow rapidly. Industrial use will also expand significantly. Gartner highlights that expansion will be especially great in industrial, biomedical and consumer applications will continue to demonstrate that 3D printing is a real, 3D printing is a viable and cost-effective way to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.
4. Advanced, Pervasive, Invisible Analytics
Analytics will take centre stage as the volume of data generated by embedded systems increases and vast pools of structured and unstructured data inside and outside the organization are analyzed. Gartner points out that every app will need to be an analytic app. The analysis also concludes that big data remains an important enabler for this trend but the focus needs to shift to thinking about big questions and big answers first and big data second.
5. Context-Rich Systems
Ubiquitous embedded intelligence combined with pervasive analytics will drive the development of systems that are alert to their surroundings and able to respond appropriately. Gartner highlights that context-aware security is an early application of this trend, but others will emerge.
6. Smart Machines
Analytics combined with an understanding of context will usher in smart machines. Advanced algorithms that allow systems to understand their environment, learn for themselves and act upon those learnings. Gartner highlights that machine helpers will continue to evolve from the existing prototypes for autonomous vehicles, virtual personal assistants, advanced robots and smart advisors. This smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT.
7. Cloud/Client Architecture
The convergence of cloud and mobile computing will continue to promote the growth of centrally coordinated applications that can be delivered to any device. Gartner points out that cloud computing is the new style of elastically scalable, self-service computing for both internal applications and external applications will be built on this new style.
However, network and bandwidth costs may continue to favour apps that use the intelligence and storage of the client device effectively, co-ordination and management will be based in the cloud. In the future, games and enterprise applications alike will use multiple screens and exploit wearables and other devices to deliver an enhanced experience.
8. Software-Defined Infrastructure and Applications
Agile programming of everything from applications to basic infrastructure is essential to enable organizations to deliver the flexibility required to make the digital business work. Software defined networking, security, data centres and storage are maturing.
Application programming interface (API) calls render cloud services software configurable and applications too increasingly have rich APIs to access their function and content programmatically. Gartner points out that in order to deal with the rapidly changing demands of digital business with demand shifts both up and down require computing to move away from static to dynamic models.
9. Web-Scale IT
Web-scale IT is a pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting. More companies will begin thinking, acting, and building applications and infrastructure in the same way that technology stalwarts like Amazon, Google GOOGL -2.44%, and Facebook do.
Web-scale IT does not happen immediately but will evolve over time as commercial hardware platforms embrace the new models and cloud-optimized and software-defined approaches reach mainstream. Gartner outline that the marriage of development and operations in a coordinated way (referred to as DevOps) is the first step towards the web-scale IT.
10. Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection
Finally, the analysis concludes that security will remain an important consideration through this evolution toward the digital future. However, it should not be so heavy-handed as to impede progress. Organizations will increasingly recognize that it is not possible to provide 100 per cent secured environments. Gartner notes that once organizations acknowledge that, they can begin to apply more sophisticated risk assessment and mitigation tools.
Gartner recognition that perimeter defense is inadequate and applications need to take a more active role in security will give rise to a new multi-faceted approach. Security aware application design, dynamic and static application security testing, and runtime application self-protection, combined with active context-aware and adaptive access controls will all be necessary.