Trends to Watch in Cloud Computing for 2017

The concept of cloud and enabling technologies have been around for long time. However, we are entering the second decade of the modern cloud computing trend.  The focus is clearly on leveraging cloud computing for business value. .

At the bottom of this post I have embedded an external version of the IBM Cloud Computing Trend Report for 2017 that our internal HorizonWatch team developed below. This Trend Report provides an overview on the Cloud Computing trend and what to watch out for in 2017. Summary information about the Cloud Computing trend is provided along with trends to watch, drivers, adoption challenges and many links to additional resources.

The Trend Report covers six important trends to watch in 2017.

  1. Convergence of IaaS and PaaS Cloud Services: The IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and PaaS (platform as a service) cloud service models are converging to a single, unified model that combines these services as an integrated IaaS+PaaS offering which will disrupt existing markets.
  2. AI and IoT use cases drive cloud adoption: Artificial intelligence in the cloud promises to be the next great disrupter as computing is evolving from a mobile-first to an artificial intelligence-first model.
  3. Industry Clouds will be one of the fastest growing segments: The industry cloud market is growing fast, with dozens emerging each month throughout many industries.
  4. Containers will alter cloud platform and management strategies: Linux containers, popularized by Docker, are becoming available in every major public and private cloud platform. This will mean that organizations will be rethinking their PaaS, container orchestration and cloud management needs.
  5. Hybrid Cloud Services/Platforms. Hybrid cloud – and hybrid IT – is the end game for the majority of enterprises. Integration and management are complicated driving enterprises to seek help from service providers.
  6. Cloud hyperscale providers grow: Hyperscale providers will continue to leverage scale-driven benefits, to expand their geographic footprint, develop user-requested capabilities, attract partners, and command market attention.

Below is the Trend Report.  Enjoy.

Tech Trends To Watch In 2017

All the HorizonWatch Trend Reports for 2017 have been loaded to Slideshare.  I’ll start featuring them one by one here on separate posts.

The first Trend report is the overview report (embedded from Slideshare below).  It is divided up  into two parts.   The first part of this deck provides a brief view into a few really interesting trends that I feel are important to watch over the next 10-50 years.  The slow march of automation that started a couple of centuries ago will impact labor and commerce in new and different ways.  Thus you will see slides on Industrial Automation, Robots, Intelligent Transportation, and the Future of Work.  

The second half of the deck provides an overview of the important foundational technolologies that make up the current information technology platform in 2017.   You will find a slide that covers the key trends in each of those foundational technologies. 

This report is best read/studied and used as a learning document.  So I encourage you to download it and view the slides in slideshow mode so you can easily follow the links



This presentation (Tech Trends to Watch in 2017 ) will be available publically on Slideshare at

Please note the fine print: This report is based on internal IBM analysis and is not meant to be a statement of direction by IBM nor is IBM committing to any particular technology or solution.

Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality

Yesterday I had the opportunity to discuss two related but different emerging trends with a couple of colleagues. 1) Augmented Reality and 2) Virtual Reality.  I thought I would put together a short post on both of them here.

These are two very interesting trends that, while not new, are both moving steadily along the adoption curve. As enabling technologies for both of these gets better, cheaper, and smaller and more ubiquitous, we will see both AR and VR begin to take off, both in the consumer and in business markets.  I believe a fully functional Internet of Things will be an important catalyst for both AR and VR adoption.

But what are these two technologies and how do they differ?

For Augmented Reality….the way I think of it is when you are having a computing device help you understand what you are looking at right now, that is Augmented Reality. So if you happen to be at Liberty Island in New York and point your mobile phone at the statue in front of you, your AR app on your phone might provide you with all the information you might want about the Statue of Liberty, including the time the next ferry leaves the island. Augmented Reality apps help you understand your current environment/location.

On the other hand, Virtual Reality is where the device you are using provides you with a simulated version of reality. Typically the user wears goggles or helmet of some sort and is immersed into a visual application.  The technology is increasingly being used by gamers to help transport them into a virtual gaming world.  The technology in effect, makes you feel like you are looking through a video camera lens into a virtual world.  So, lets say you are in Chicago and you want to “visit” Tokyo.  Instead of flying there, you can just put on your VR goggles and you can visit Tokyo virtually.

The question on business leader’s minds though is how could this technology be used in business applications?  For AR, I think there are going to be many, many applications. Wherever there is glass or a display…or could be glass or a display… there is a potential AR application.   For VR, I believe there will be important uses in the area of simulation to improve products, services and business processes.

Interested in more reading on these topics?

Here are some links to help you understand Augmented Reality

  • Wikipedia is always a good place to start.  See the Augmented Reality article.
  • Corning Glass has done a fantastic job to provide us with some scenarios of how Augmented Reality applications might fit into our daily life.
  • Panasonic has done some interesting work Augmented Reality mirrors
  • DHL is looking to use AR to help them with logistics:
  • Automobile Windshields of the future will display information that help us navigate our trips of the future. Here’s an article from Popular Science and here is one from the Wall Street Journal.

And here are some Virtual Reality links

The “reality” is that both these technologies will see gradual adoption in both consumer and business markets.  The key to the adoption cycle is always application use cases.  I have a feeling that these both will begin to take off as soon as the adoption of Internet of Things sensor networks begin to mature.

An Intelligent Internet of Things = A Smarter Planet

Note:  This post was previously written for and published on the IBM CAI website.

IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative turns seven years old this fall, and the vision painted back then is now becoming reality every single day, thanks in part to the movement toward the Internet of Things.   However, you can have an Internet of Things that is not necessarily smart (as you’ll read later).

During a speech titled “A Smarter Planet:  The Next Leadership Agenda,” given at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City on November 6, 2008, then IBM Chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano outlined the premise of a smarter planet made up of whole new generation of intelligent systems and technologies. Then in January 2010, Palmisano spoke with the Chatham House about the “Decade of Smart” – highlighting dozens of initiatives in which leaders created smarter systems to solve the planet’s most pressing problems.

Both speeches emphasized how the world’s systems and industries are becoming more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent:

  • Instrumented:  Information captured wherever it exists, such as through the use of remote sensors
  • Interconnected:  Information moved from the collection point to wherever it can be usefully consumed.
  • Intelligent:  Information processed, analyzed and acted upon to derive greater knowledge and value.

Given where we are today, with all the buzz around the Internet of Things, it’s a good time to revisit these three pillars of a Smarter Planet.  Let’s take a closer look.


There is no question that the world has been getting increasingly instrumented and that the trend will continue.  IDC has estimated that by 2020 there will be 30 billion Internet-connected, sensor-enabled objects and another 182 billion that could easily be enabled.  Powerful computing capability can now be inexpensively delivered in forms so small that it is being put into things no one would recognize as computers: RFID tags in stand-alone products, sensors in cars, appliances, rail lines, highways, power grids, golf balls, fitness and health monitors, shoes, and even baby clothes.  Devices are being embedded across processes and global supply chains and even in natural systems, such as agriculture and waterways.  These physical objects with embedded devices are the “things” that will make up the “Internet of Things.”


Given that these physical objects will have computing capability, it’s natural to assume that they can have an IP address.  The importance of the IP address is very significant to the Smarter Planet vision.   That means these physical objects can be accessed via the Internet and that they can communicate with other objects that have IP addresses.

A key enabler of the concept of interconnected things is cloud computing.  With cloud computing, networks of Internet-addressable objects can be monitored in real time and can communicate with each other directly across public or private networks.  This kind of interconnection – with objects communicating data collected to other devices, systems and humans and vice versa – is what the “Internet of Things” is all about. And it’s already starting to emerge.


The third “I” is arguably the most important pillar in the Smarter Planet vision, and the one overlooked in many Internet of Things discussions.  Our planet Earth could be covered in an Internet of Things, but without the ability to create intelligence, it will never become a Smarter Planet.

Intelligence does not happen just by embedding sensors and computers in objects and then connecting those objects to the Internet.  Making the world smarter requires gathering all of the data that is observed and collected by the “things,” analyzing that data (either at the device level or via analytics capability in the cloud), and then making decisions that improve businesses, industries and society.

To make sense of all the data that will be captured, we need sophisticated big data, analytics and cognitive computing systems that turn all the data into intelligence.  This intelligence will allow us to become smarter….to help us reduce cost and waste, improve efficiency and productivity, and raise the quality of everything from our products, to our companies, to our cities.

When instrumentation and interconnectedness is combined with intelligence, it can lead to unprecedented real-time visibility into our business processes, systems, infrastructures, and entire supply chains. So, while the emerging concept of an Internet of Things is a critical foundation for a Smarter Planet, we need to make sure that we don’t forget the third “I”.  An intelligent Internet of Things will enable us to create a Smarter Planet that is much greener, more efficient, more comfortable and safer.

Want to know more?  Explore what is new on a Smarter Planet.

2015 Trends Research

I am well into my 2015 trends research.   I usually start this work up in early October, but really don’t shift into high gear until late November.  This year there is so much happening with this third I.T. platform that I have a feeling it will be hard to cover all the trends.

There are the foundational trends (like Big Data, Analytics, Cloud, Mobile, Social, and Security) and then some new emerging trends I have been watching for the last 4-5 years, like (Internet of Things, 3D printing, Wearables, Gamification, and Data Visualization). And then I hope to find the time to create and publish some new blog posts on some exciting new trends that will be disruptive (can you guess what they will be?).

If you have a technology trend you would like to see a blog post on, head on over to the HorizonWatching LinkedIn Group where I have a discussion question posted to collect ideas just like yours.

15 Wearable Computing Trends To Watch

I’ve just published my trend report on the topic of Wearable Computing.  You can get a summary PDF out on my HorizonWatching Slideshare account

In my report, you will find the following list of 15 trends to watch around the topic of Wearable Computing.

15 Wearable Trends to Watch in 2014

  1. Fitness Trackers:  Enterprises will increasingly give trackers to employees as part of health and wellness programs. Overtime, trackers will experience increased competition from other wearables, including smart clothing.
  2. SmartWatches:  Expect more fashionable and functional watches to hit the market in 2014. Smartwatch developers must focus on cutting prices, adding more apps, and improving the look to attract broad consumer interest. The expected iWatch announcement from Apple might just do for watches what the iPhone did for mobile phones
  3. Smart Glasses:  Expect a number of announcements in 2014 within smart glasses, which has huge potential for any workforce that could benefit from access to hands free computing. Google isn’t the only game in town. Vuzix, GlassUp, Recon Instruments and Telepathy are ones to watch too.
  4. Smart Clothing:  Real, working smart clothing might be a bit further off, but it’s on its way. Smart Clothing like OMSignal, Hexoskin and Athos will lead the way.
  5. Fashion Required!!:  For consumer wearables to really take off, they must be fashionable. In 2014, look for leading device manufacturers to focus on the fashion and style of these devices.
  6. Healthcare Monitors:  Wearable technology is likely to significantly disrupt our healthcare model as we know it, helping doctors and patients keep track of real-time health data in ways never capable before.
  7. Enterprise Adoption:  In 2014 leading edge companies will begin to explore using wearables not only for employee wellness programs, but for other applications designed to improve worker productivity.
  8. New Business Processes:  As wearables enter the workforce, we will find new ways to use these devices to help us make better business decisions. Business process engineers will explore new ways to reengineer older business processes in order to do just that.
  9. Wearables Apps: New apps are required to integrate wearable data into business applications. As the user base grows for wearables, so too will the developer community which will bring some new and exciting use cases for wearables including some killer features that will justify their need.
  10. Big Data to get Bigger:  Wearables, a subset of Internet of Things, will produce even more data than we have now, taxing our already complex enterprise Information Management systems and data warehouses.
  11. Wearables Analytics:  Advanced analytics and dashboards will be needed to provide insights from all the wearables. Some wearable devices will have embedded analytics and cognitive capability right on the device.
  12. Wearable Communications:  In the future, wearables will communicate not only with smartphones, but with other ‘things’, both other wearables and other sensors/devices. This ability to communicate seamlessly andd transparently will provide new and innovative capabilities for enterprises to leverage wearables.
  13. Security: In 2014, IT professionals will need to decide how to cope with the increasing threat from wearables.  For those who found implementing BYOD a challenge over the past few years, expect the bring your own wearable (BYOW) issues to be much harder to figure out
  14. Privacy:  There will be increased interest on the part of consumers to 1) protect the personal data that is being collected via their own wearables and 2) protect against unlawful video recording from smartglasses and other cameras.
  15. Ecosystem Partnerships:  Traditional IT vendors accelerate their partnerships with wearable providers, mobile app developers, global telecom service providers and semiconductor vendors.


Information Technology Trends and Prediction Articles for 2014

The information technology industry is already heading into a period of amazing transformation. Trends such as cloud computing, mobile, social business, big data and analytics are the enabling technologies that are part of a new computing platform…a platform that all business must get on quickly. This means leaving legacy applications behind and quickly adopting new applications that are built on the new enabling technologies. A critical requirement is that this new platform must be built and designed from the ground up with enterprise wide security in mind.

Other new technologies that are quickly coming into play include Internet of Things, Cognitive Computing, and Digital Services. All of this flurry of activity requires a new breed of application software developer who can leverage all the new technologies and build that computing platform that will allow companies to survive….and thrive into a future that is digital.

I recently published my trend report Information Technology Trends to Watch in 2014 out on slideshare.  Below I’ve provided you some articles on this trend that I thought you would want to read.

Source Title
Forbes Top VCs Predict Where They’ll Invest Their Money In 2014
DigiTimes 10 technology predictions for 2014 Top B2B Tech Trends for 2014
Customer THINK Top B2B Tech Trends for 2014
Tech Cocktail Big Trends to Look for at 2014 CES
TechnoBuffalo Top tech trends in 2014 (video)
Two Thirds Done 10 Predictions for the Computer Industry for 2014
Appirio The Coming Disruption: 2014 Technology Predictions
CMSWire Forrester: Top Tech Trends Say Hold onto Your Virtual Hat
Market Watch Top tech trends in 2014 and what they mean to investors (slideshow)
HuffingtonPost 4 Big Trends in 2014 — Social/Mobile/Data in the Cloud


2014 Trend Reports

The past couple of months I have been busy researching, reading, and thinking about what the important trends will be in 2014.   Most of my reports have already been posted out there.  You can access them via my Slideshare account.

2014 Technology Trend Webinars in December

I’m well into my research phase for developing my annual trend reports for 2014.  One place I go every year for validation of the trends I am seeing are the various analyst trend webinars that happen in December and January every year. 

For this post, I’ve inventoried the major ones I thought you all might be interested in that are happening in December.  The title of the webinars are linked so you can just click on the ones you want to register.  These should all be free webinars, but you may need to register on the website if you have not done that already.


03 Dec 2013  Gartner   IAM at the Nexus of Cloud, Mobile and Social

03 Dec 2013  Gartner  Internet of Things and Wearables: The Battleground

03 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Worldwide Predictions 2014: Battles for Dominance – and Survival – on the 3rd Platform

03 Dec 2013  Alteryx   14 for 2014:  14 Predictions for Big Data Analytics in 2014

04 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Predictions 2014: CIO Agenda

04 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Predictions 2014: Cross-Industry Overview

05 Dec 2013  Gartner   Five Ways Cloud Can Help You Transform Your Business

05 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Government Insights 2014 Predictions: US Government

05 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Health Insights 2014 Predictions: Worldwide Health

05 Dec 2013  Deloitte  Cloudy With a Chance of Core: Managing Integration in an Increasingly Complex World

09 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Financial Insights 2014 Predictions: Worldwide Financial Services

10 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Worldwide Infrastructure Software Predictions 2014

10 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Manufacturing Insights 2014 Predictions: Worldwide Manufacturing

10 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Retail Insights 2014 Predictions: Worldwide Retail

10 Dec 2013  Gartner  Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014

10 Dec 2013  Gartner  Capitalizing on the Nexus of Forces Impact in Vertical Industries

10 Dec 2013  Yankee Group  2014 Yankee Group Predictions

11 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Canada Predictions 2014

11 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Big Data Predictions: Beyond Irrational Exuberance – Opportunities in the Big Data and Analytics Markets

11 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Energy Insights 2014 Predictions: Worldwide Oil & Gas

11 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Energy Insights 2014 Predictions: Worldwide Utilities

12 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Worldwide Server Predictions 2014

12 Dec 2013  Digital Clarity Group  Thinking Small: DCG’s Big Data Outlook and 2014 Agenda 

12 Dec 2013  SilverSky  2013 Security WrapUp and 5 Security Predictions for 2014

16 Dec 2013  Informa Telecoms & Media  Global LTE trends: As momentum to 4G accelerates, successful strategies emerge

17 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) 2014 Predictions

17 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Worldwide Datacenter Predictions 2014

18 Dec 2013  Gartner  Top 10 Trends and Their Impact on IT Infrastructure and Operations

18 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Worldwide Application Development & Deployment Predictions 2014

19 Dec 2013  Gartner  Hybrid Clouds and Hybrid IT: The Next Frontier

19 Dec 2013  Gartner  Digital Marketing Predicts 2014

19 Dec 2013  IDC  IDC Worldwide SMB Predictions 2014

In tomorrow’s post, I’ll provide a list of webinars that have happened over the last few months that discuss 2014 trends / predictions.

I.T. Security: A 2013 HorizonWatching Trend Report

Embedded below you will find my report “Information Technology Security: A 2013 HorizonWatching Trend Report”

There is so much hype and attention these days on the big four trends of social, mobile, cloud, and analytics.  However, talk to any CIO and they will most certainly tell you that Information Security is one of their biggest challenges.  It’s one that most likely keeps them up late at night.

Many of the challenges facing enterprise I.T. departments were not around 10 years ago.  The enterprise infrastructure of today is both more sophisticated and more interconnected than ever before – linking vast amounts of information and services in new ways.  The advent of cloud, mobile, social, big data, other digital trends is disrupting even the most secure enterprise I.T. infrastructure. In addition to those disruptive and emerging technology  trends is the fact that the criminals and hackers out there are getting more and more sophisticated in their planning of cyber attacks.  All this puts so much stress on the security of the enterprise infrastructure that IT security can no longer be an afterthought.   Security must now become part of an enterprise’s IT design and involve security intelligence capabilities that prevent, detect and address system breaches anywhere. 

2013 Information Technology Security Trends to Watch
Below you will find some of the key areas to watch within the overall Security Trend in 2013

  1. Complexity Increases:  IT Security continues to become very complex, thanks to mobile, social, big data, and cloud trends.
  2. Mobile is a Target:  Hackers and criminals increasingly target Mobile Platforms, Mobile Wallets, and App Stores, causing  CIOs ro allocate more resources towards securing Mobile Device Management and BYOD policies.
  3. Malware Sophistication:   Criminals target enterprise infrastructures with sophisticated malware at all potential endpoints.
  4. Cyber Wars: Government and Terrorist-sponsored attacks increase on all institutions.
  5. Targeted Attacts:  Expect more targeted and coordinated attacks that are successful in disrupting service and fraudulently obtaining significant amounts of intellectual property.
  6. Cloudy Forecast #1:  Expect a few very large and public attacks on clouds.
  7. Cloudy Forecast #2:  CIOs look to Cloud-based Security Services for help.
  8. Security Automation:  Enterprises will invest in better security management facilities, the use of analytics and intelligence to identify trends and usage patterns, and the ability to monitor, report, and act on security intelligence.
  9. Security Leadership:  More enterprises will institute the Chief Information Security Officer role.

Information Technology Security: A 2013 HorizonWatching Trend Report

Enterprise Mobile Computing: A 2013 HorizonWatching Trend Report

I’ve posted “Mobile Computing: A 2013 HorizonWatching Trend Report” out on Slideshare and have embedded the presentation below.  This report provides an overview on the Mobile Computing trend for those of you who are interested in learning more about the mobile trend, which we all know is very hot.  This report contains summary information as well as insights into what trends we might see around the Enterprise Mobile Computing topic during 2013.

In 2013, the shipment of smartphones and tablets is expected to exceed that of traditional personal computers, including laptops.  Enterprise workers want and expect to be able to be productive while away from the office.  CIOs need to find ways to leverage mobile in a positive way for the enterprise.  This includes developing new mobile applications, working with business leaders on new mobile business strategies, and securing enterprise data. Suffice to say, Mobile is such a big trend that it must be a core component of every organization’s IT strategy.

Trends in Enterprise Mobile Computing for 2013
I’ve developed the following list of trends to watch around the Enterprise Mobile topic in 2013.

  1. Mobile App Developers Are Popular:   As businesses find new ways to harness mobility in 2013, the demands for specialized apps and support will only increase.
  2. HTML5 comes on board:  Android and iOs have the market for the moment, but developers are also interestd in HTML5
  3. Consumerization:  BYOD is here to stay….and Consumerization leads to other related BYOs (personal cloud, app stores, Windows 8, etc.)
  4. Mobile Device Management:  Growth in BYOD programs will lead to increased populartity of MDM solutions and services
  5. Mobile Collaboration:  Social Business trend drives need for new mobile collaboration capability
  6. Video Streaming:  Live and recorded videos embedded into mobile business processes
  7. Mobile Assistants:  Workers demand enterprise versions of Watson/Siri for mobile search and productivity apps
  8. Mobile Analytics and Visualization Apps:  New analytical and visualization solutions will be developed and deployed for remote and mobile workers.
  9. Mobile Clouds:  Enterprises will develop and deploy mobile clouds for specific apps
  10. Mobile Payments:  Employee expenses paid via mobile.  Business accepting payments for products solutions and services via mobile
  11. Increased Need for Speed:  Big data, analytics, social, and mobile video will drive demand for faster mobile networks
  12. CIO Leadership:  CIOs take lead in managing the enterprise mobile strategy, including developing  new business models, embedding mobile technology innovations into processes, and protecting mobile data.

Enterprise Mobile Computing: A 2013 HorizonWatching Trend Report


Virtualization: A 2013 HorizonWatching Trend Report

My “Virtualization: A 2013 HorizonWatching Trend Report” is available out on Slideshare.  See the embedded deck at the bottom of this post.    The report provides an overview of the Virtualization trend and what’s in store for 2013.  The report contains summary information about the trend with many links to additional resources to aid in learning more about Virtualization.

Virtualization helps drive more business value from an IT infrastructure. By decoupling logical resources from physical assets, virtualization enables businesses to be more agile, allowing them to changing business conditions or changing business strategies.  Virtualization is certainly not a new trend, but it’s become very popular in the past 5-6 years as enterprises learn they can cut costs and prepare for cloud computing by implementing virtualization technologies.  Watch the video below for an overview of Virtualization.

Top Virtualization Trends to Watch in 2013

  • Server and Storage Virtualization:  SMB Market catches the wave, but needs services and solutions to be tailored to them.
  • More Than Just Servers & Storage:  Large Enterprise focus turns rest of infrastructure, including  Desktop, Networks, and Data Center
  • Desktop Virtualization:  Growth continues with focus on network security & efficiency, driven by the mobile and BYOD trend
  • Software Defined Networking (SDN):  Expect lots of activity as SDN demand continues to grow and product innovation occurs
  • Virtualizing Linux Workloads:  Linux server virtualization grows and plays “catch up” to Windows
  • Containerization:  Interest increases in O/S Virtualization
  • Mergers & Acquisitions: Activity grows and valuations increase
  • Vendor Competition Heats Up:   VMWare is King – but competitors are becoming more attractive
    • Lower prices:  More competition means lower prices
    • Innovation:  More compeition means more innovation
    • Multiple Vendor Strategy:  Growing number of firms try this approach


Virtualization:  A 2013 HorizonWatching Trend Report