WEF publishes “Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014”

WEF Outlook 2014The World Economic Forum has published their annual outlook.  This years publication “The Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014” provides a view on the challenges and opportunities of the coming 12–18 months for both Governments and Business organizations around the world.  The publications is a good read for anyone wanting an overview of the status of the world economy.   The publication is based on a survey of more than 1,500 global economic and development experts that asked them to explore the most important issues we all face in the coming year.

The Top 10 trends identified in the Outlook on the Global Agenda for 2014 are:

  1. Societal tension in the Middle East and North Africa: war in Syria, political instability and unemployment in North Africa.
  2. Widening income gap: ramifications for health, education and social mobility across all regions of the world.
  3. Structural unemployment: a global issue demanding a global solution
  4. Intensifying cyber threats: electronic armies and government agencies are threatening the fabric of the Internet
  5. Inaction on climate change: extreme weather events may be occurring more frequently, but there has been no breakthrough on action to tackle the problem
  6. Diminishing confidence in economic policies: the scale of the global downturn and the pace of recovery have left deep scars, particularly among the young
  7. Lack of values in leadership: this has led to a crisis of legitimacy in governments and other institutions
  8. Asia’s expanding middle class: greater hope for increased prosperity – but also environmental and resource challenges
  9. Growing importance of megacities: these original social networks are home to more and more people, yet we still understand surprising little about how they grow and evolve
  10. Rapid spread of misinformation online: the speed of social media – and the scale of big data – is making it harder for people to know that information received is real

I’ve highlighted in orange 4, 9, and 10 as these are trends that are particularly important to those of us in the Information Technology industry. 

In addition to ranking the top trends for leaders in 2014, the publication also highlights emerging trends that experts believe will become increasingly important in the coming 12 months. These include the implications of shale gas extraction, the failure or inadequacy of democratic institutions, the rise of emerging market multinational companies and the role continued exploration of, and experimentation in, space can have in improving our world.  The Outlook also offers insight into how different regions and age groups perceive global trends, as well as data from Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, which conducts public opinion polling on issues, attitudes and trends that are shaping the world.

You can access all the digital content, including big data analysis and infographics, at http://reports.weforum.org/outlook-14/

IDC Energy Insights Predictions for 2012 Utilities Industry

I recently attended IDC Energy Insights Predictions 2012:  Utilities conference call today.  I look forward to the IDC Insights series of conference calls every year as it helps me understand the critical issues and trends that impact Information Technology decisions within a particular industry. 

In this case, the predictions were focused on the Utilities industry with an emphasis on North American issues.  There are other calls coming up that focus on Europe and Asia.   

Leading the conference call was the IDC Energy Insights team of Jill Feblowitz, Jay Holman, Sam Jaffe, Usman Sindhu, Casey Talon and Marcus Torchia

Summary and Key Themes

IDC Energy Insights says in 2012, the industry is entering a ‘post stimulus’ period.  While funding has dried up, there are areas where investment spending is growing, such as Solar PV installations.   Other investment areas include Smart Grid, Smart Buildings, Electric Vehicles, and Energy Storage.

The 2012 predictions list below was sourced from the conference call slides.

  1. Smart Meters. “Smart meters will peak in 2012, propelling demand response, but spending tempered for now”.
  2. Smart Grids. “Distribution automation will lead smart grid control investments with 13% CAGR”
  3. Smart Buildings. “Smart building technology investments will gain more traction with utilities”
  4. Electric Vehicles. “120,000 plug-in electric vehicles will be sold in North America in 2012”
  5. Lithium Batteries. “Lithium-Ion large format batteries will reach $600 per kWh by the end of the year”
  6. Solar PV Installations. “Despite the 1603 Treasury Grant expiring in 2011, PV installations will grow by >25% in 2012”
  7. Commercial PV. “>60 MW of commercial PV installations will incorporate micro-inverters or DC optimizers in 2012”
  8. Security & Risk. “Security and risk will continue to grab decision maker’s attention, leading to increased budgets”
  9. Big Data Analytics. “Utilities will invest in analytics in anticipation of big data”
  10. IT Spending. “IT spending by North American utilities will increase by 4.5% % over the next four years”

For More Information

IDC Government Insights: 2012 Technology Predictions and Trends

imageI attended IDC Government Insights Predictions 2012:  Government conference call today.  I look forward to the IDC series of conference calls every year as it helps me understand the critical issues and trends that impact Information Technology decisions.  

The conference call was led by IDC Vice President Thom Rubel, and IDC Research Directors Ruthbea Clarke, Shawn McCarthy, and Adelaide O'Brien 

Summary and Key Themes

IDC says that the Government spending on IT in the U.S. will reach $82B.  The majority of that is Federal, with spending at the Federal level split about evenly between DoD and Civilian initiatives.  IDC expects the majority of this spending will be allocated to improve decision-making, operational efficiency, and citizen services for 2012

Overall, IDC believes there are four overall themes to watch in Government spending for 2012:

  1. Operational Efficiency:  Broader strategies are need to reduce operational costs
  2. Mobility:  Better management and provision of services are required
  3. Smart Government:  Improve the value of information and broaden service channels
  4. Economic Sustainability:  Investing to improve quality of life and promote economic growth/competitiveness

Top Ten Predictions for 2012

The 2012 predictions lists are developed from IDC analysts, who draw upon their ongoing discussions with industry clients, vendors, and years of experience.  The list below was sourced from the conference call slides.

  1. Cloud Computing.  “Up to 10% of States will have shared cloud hubs by the end of 2012, rapidly growing to 65% of the States by 2015”.
  2. Social Media.  “The use of social media for U.S. Local, State, and Federal organizations will begin the move from experimental to systematic information dissemination and collection.”
  3. Mobility.  “Mobility will become the number 1 IT governance issue and moves beyond device management to encompass broader business issues.”
  4. DataCenters.  “Small datacenters in the U.S. Federal government will hit the endangered species list in 2012 and be reduced by 70% with State and Local governments following suit.”
  5. Business Process Outsourcing.  “Over 20% of government IT and business process outsourcing requests for proposals will include service-level agreements tied to internal business and/or program outcomes.”
  6. Smart Cities“The growing availability of intelligent technology solutions will accelerate global investment in smart city technologies to $40.9 billion in 2012.”
  7. Service Level Agreements.   “Due to increased use of cloud computing, CIOs will spend up to 20% of their time in 2012 reviewing the terms and conditions of service-level agreements and mover toward standardization.”
  8. Big Data.  “Governments will take small steps to satiate their big appetite for Big Data.”
  9. Communication Networks.  “Foundational high-speed communications networks will finally hit critical mass.”
  10. Smarter Government.  “Governments will start updating legacy systems and engage in cross-agency collaboration that will move them to a higher stage in smart government maturity.”

The last few minutes of the conference call was spent going over recommendations and guidance to those in governments and those at vendors who serve governments.

For More Information

IDC’s Conference Call on 2012 IT and Economic Outlook

Today IDC held their annual State of the Market IT & Economic Outlook 2012 conference call.  In this annual web conference, IDC reviews the current state of the global economy and IT spending and provides outlook for the new year.   This is my summary observations from that call.

IDC Outlook 2012 IDC holds this call every year the first week of November and it signals to me that it is officially time for me to start focusing on developing my list of key trends for the next year.  As I do every year, I’ll publish that list in early January.

The speakers on this call from IDC were;

  • Stephen Minton, Vice President for the IDC Worldwide IT Markets research group, focusing on IT spending and global end-user trends.
  • Anna Toncheva,  Program manager and Economist with the IT Markets and Strategies group in IDC's Global Research Organization.

IDC stated that macroeconomic indicators have worsened over the past 6 months, causing a general weakening of the 2012 outlook.  In general, we’ve seen good levels of IT investment so far in 2011, but with economic forecasts sliding down since mid-year, we should be concerned about IT spending in 2012.  In addition, the European debt crisis is still lingering and threatening the very existence of the European single currency, leading us to ask…what would a double-dip recession mean for IT vendors?

IDC provided the following regional observations;

  • Western Europe IT spending has softened, showing impact of debt crisis on business and consumer confidence.  As a result GDP forecasts for next year have been scaled back significantly.
  • The U.S. market has been resilient so far in spite of economic headwinds.  There’s been some volatility in enterprise hardware and weakening PC sales, but software spending was strong in first half of 2011.
  • Emerging markets (BRIC) are still strong and driving overall industry growth at 2x GDP. 
  • Mobile devices are also a major contributor to overall growth (global IT growth is 2.5% at constant currency excluding mobile this year)

IDC says that downside risks are still there and we all need to be aware of a downturn.  However if the U.S. stays resilient and if stability returns to Europe, that should prevent an outright recession and IT spending crash.  Therefore, IDC’s baseline assumption is that there will be no global recession in 2012.  IDC does encourage and expect that all businesses will go through contingency planning for all types of IT capital spending/hardware upgrades including PCs, servers, and enterprise networks.   IDC stated that project-based services will likely be more vulnerable than operational spending and while software spending has been very strong in 2011 it would not escape a downside scenario. 

The bottom line is that IT buyers are still nervous, but IDC expects that their confidence should improve in coming months if the economy stabilizes.

For more information about this conference call, go to IDC’s website at State of the Market IT & Economic Outlook 2012 conference call.

IBM Relaunches Smarter City Initiative With An Innovative Portal

IBM has relaunched it's Smarter City initiative and the website portal is something you should visit to experience.  It is truly an immersive, interactive experience designed to show how cities all over the world are using advanced technology to help address some of the biggest problems facing our planet.  

 Smarter City Portal
It is a fact…our cities are getting larger and larger.  With that growth comes significant challenges for city leaders.  Increasingly, city operations are being digitized, creating brand new data points.  With the greater digitization of its core systems and the use of advanced analytic capabilities, cities can enhance decision-making and improve urban planning.

The Smarter City portal allows you to explore and experience how Smarter Technology can have an impact on making a city more sustainable, more intelligent, and simply better places to live and work.  At the portal, you have options to learn more about how technology can impact all areas of a Smarter City, including Transportation (all forms of transportation), Public Safety, Communications, Energy & Utilities, Healthcare, Social Services, Education,  Retail, Economic Development and other critical operations that make up a large urban city today. 

I suggest you give it a visit and explore this innovative portal at www.thesmartercity.com

IBM: 5 Innovations That Will Impact Us Within 5 Years

IBM 5 in 5 The world is experiencing unprecedented urbanization.  Last year marked the first time in history that the majority of the world’s population was residing in cities.  This trend is not stopping and will have huge implications for our large urban environments we call home.  So what can be done to make our cities economically, socially and technologically healthy–and keep them that way?

IBM recently unveiled a list of 5 innovations that will have the potential to change how people live, work and play in cities around the globe over the next five years.  The following text provides a summary and there is a 3 minute video embedded below…

IBM’s Next 5 in 5…

1) Cities will have healthier immune systems:  Because of population densities, cities will remain hotbeds of communicable diseases.  By standardizing methods for sharing health information and analyzing disease outbreaks, public health officials will know precisely when, where and how diseases are spreading.

2) City buildings will sense and respond like living organisms:   The technology that manages building facilities "will operate like a living organism that can sense and respond quickly." Thousands of sensors inside buildings will monitor everything from motion and temperature to humidity, occupancy and light.  These smart buildings will enable repairs to be made before something breaks, will help emergency units respond quickly, and will let people and companies monitor their energy consumption and carbon emission in real-time.

3) Cars and city buses will run on empty:   IBM predicts that improved battery technology will power the next generation of eco-friendly vehicles. It says the new batteries won’t need to be recharged for days or months at a time (depending on how often the vehicles are driven) and will allow trips of 300 to 500 miles on a single charge.  Also smart grids in cities will allow vehicles to be charged in public places using renewable energy, such as wind power, for charging so they no longer rely on coal-powered plants.

4) Smarter systems will quench cities' thirst for water and save energy:  To deal with the estimate that demand for water is expected to increase sixfold in the next 50 years cities will install smarter water systems to reduce water waste by up to 50 percent.  Smart sewer systems will also be installed that not only prevent run-off pollution in rivers and lakes, but purify water to make it drinkable.  Plus, interactive meters and sensors will provide people with real time, accurate information about their water consumption. 

5) Cities will respond to a crisis:  Even before receiving an emergency phone call. In support of the news:  IBM is helping law enforcement agencies analyze information so they can anticipate crime and be ready to respond when it happens.  Also the New York Fire Department has selected IBM to build a state-of-the-art system for collecting and sharing data in real-time and the company is also designing smart levee systems to prevent cities from devastating floods. 

A common denominator in all five of these innovations is a sophisticated data analytics capability that can take volumes of data, perform modeling and simulation on that data, and turn it into actionable insights for decision makers.  Five years could be an optimistic time frame for a few of these, but in this case, I think a little optimism helps to push the envelope on research and development of the innovations.

Watch the 3 minute video….

Read up more on IBM’s Next 5 in 5

IDC Insights: Predictions 2010 – Government Industry

IDC Government Insights The IDC Government Insights team held its annual predictions conference call today related to Government IT spending.  Presenting on the call was Thom Rubel, Vice President of Research at IDC as well as a number of other analyst.   This conference call provided a review of 10 predictions that IDC expects will heavily influence the direction and magnitude of IT investment, management, and evaluation by the Government.

While the title of the call did not mention it, the focus of the predictions was the U.S. Government.

IDC says that IT spending by Government organizations is expected to grow at 3.9% in 2010.   This is higher than the average spending growth forecasted by IDC.  A great deal of this spending will be related to the ongoing stimulus spending and to support its temporary role as business manager for financial firms and other organizations it has invested in order to stabilize the economy.  Additional spending will go towards improving operational efficiency in the data centers and new solutions that keep citizens not only informed, but engaged in the process of rebuilding the economy.

Here’s a summary of IDCs top ten predictions for Government

  1. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:  IDC says this act will drive $1.5B in IT spending on additional IT services across Government entities.
  2. Cloud Computing – Shared and Private:  IDC says that Cloud is not mature enough yet. 2010 will be a year of testing and getting ready for 2011.
  3. Legacy Systems Live On: IDC expects that Governments look to extend legacy systems via SOA, smart applications, and other life-extending strategies.
  4. Government 2.0 Dies, Social Media Lives:  All the social media noise will eventually become valued channels of information.
  5. Recovery.gov Shortcomings:   More standardized reporting on metrics and trends is needed 
  6. Government Citizen Service Delivery:  IDC expects Governments will continue to innovate in the area of Internet-delivered citizen services
  7. 2010 Census News:  IDC expects Governments will eventually employ the use of wireless handheld devices to collect new information during the census.
  8. State Outsourcing and Services Contracting:  IDC says State government spending to outpace the Federal Government
  9. Transparency:  IDC says government will focus efforts on boosting data integrity
  10. Government Security Strategy:  In 2010, IDC expects governments will get serious about cyber security.

At the end of the call, IDC had a slide that provides some guidance to Government IT leaders and also some guidance to IT vendors.   

For more information,

L’Aquila G8 Meeting and Climate Change

Earlier in the year, I blogged about Climate change, so the G8 meeting last week in Italy gives me an opportunity for some updates, but I should add that these remain rather disappointing. 

Last week, G8 leaders made an agreement that sounds great – by 2050, they’ll cut the number of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by half. It’s an improvement to Kyoto Protocol, at least, but it does not set short term objectives which limits its impact.  The statement on climate change approved by summit participants also includes a promise of an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by the world's richest countries, however, developing nations, including China and India, were quick to criticize the accord, insisting that the G8 cut their emissions by more.  The G8 declaration leaves it to individual nations to decide their emission baseline and the G8 countries also could not agree on a pledge to help fund poorer countries moves toward cleaner energy.

G8 leaders also agreed to restrict global temperature rises to no more than 2 degrees (Celsius) above pre-industrial levels – which had long been resisted by the US.  But the G8’s consensus is hardly airtight – it’s not yet legally binding, and no one has thought of a good way for rich and poor nations to share the burden.

The world leaders said they were determined to reach a comprehensive deal at a United Nations summit in Copenhagen this December, to reach agreement on a successor treaty to the Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012.  Despite promises from G8 leaders on climate change, concerns were raised that other countries invited to attend the summit would not commit to some of the provisions.