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 Trend Reports Are Now Available

Public versions of my 2015 Trend Reports are now available at my HorizonWatching Slideshare account.   Direct links to the 2015 reports are as follows:

I’d love to hear your feedback on these reports.  Let me know how you are using them.   I’m on Twitter and LinkedIn… so those are probably the best places to keep in touch with me.

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.

The Internet of Things: The next computing platform

Note:  This post was originally written for and published on

Early phases of the Internet included connecting people to static information and more recently, people to people.   Over the next decade, the Internet will evolve to connect people to physical things and also physical things to other physical things …all in real time. It will become the Internet of Things:  Billions of interconnected smart devices measuring, moving, and acting upon, sometimes independently, all the bits of data that make up daily life.

Internet of Things network

So what really is the Internet of Things?   It is made up of physical objects (“things”) that have chips, sensors embedded in them that allow the sensing, capturing and communication of all types of data. These devices are then linked through both wired and wireless networks to the Internet.  Advanced  “things” have actuators embedded into them as well, giving them the capability to interact with other devices, computing systems and the external environment, including people.

If you look around you as you read this, you will see many physical objects that already have or could easily be embedded with a sensor in order to track some type of measurement or activity happening.  Forecasts for how many objects will be sensor-enabled in the next five years run into the tens of billions.  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.

IoT Infographic - 212 billion

Image source: IBM. Data source: IDC

The big game changer is that when all these physical objects can sense, analyze and interact on their own, it changes how and where decisions are made, and who makes them.  The important thing to remember though is the embedded device by itself is not the game changer….it’s the combination of the applications, the people, and the processes around the “things”.   The IT challenge is to design IoT-enabled systems and then help their teams learn how to leverage the information collected as a decision-making tool.

Internet of Things will impact business processes, change business models, and transform industries. It will also be big business.  According to new research from International Data Corporation (IDC), the worldwide market for IoT solutions will grow from $1.9 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion in 2020.

What types of changes in processes will the Internet of Things enable?  Here are some examples:

  • Wearable healthcare devices can monitor a patient’s blood pressure, heart rate and other metrics and transmit that data to a doctor anywhere in the world.
  • Flow rates of water, oil and gas pipelines, no matter how remote, can be monitored and actions taken to reduce or cut off the flow.
  • A homeowner can view his house on a web page or smartphone app, complete with the status of interior devices such as the security alarm, heating system and more.
  • RFID tags on boxes of merchandise can track a box as it leaves the manufacturer and then all through the supply chain until purchased by the end user.
  • Sensors embedded into roads measure traffic congestion and report that information to not only city crews, but the whole population via the Internet.
  • Smart clothing, including a smart “onsie” for babies, is being developed.
  • Sensors are increasingly being used by farmers to monitor irrigation and livestock in their fields.
  • Thousands of video cameras are being deployed in large urban environments to monitor traffic and activity on city streets.

We can’t imagine the full potential of the Internet of Things today.   It will go beyond even these examples, not just people interacting with objects, but objects interacting with each other, creating what might eventually become something of a global central nervous system.

In future blog posts, I will explore other facets of the emerging Internet of Things trend, including the driving forces, the challenges that we must overcome, and the implications for business leaders and IT professionals


Cost of a Security Data Breach Rises According to 9th Annual Ponemon Institute Study

The “Cost of Data Breach Study” (sponsored by IBM), was recently conducted and published by Ponemon Institute. Close to 300 organizations from eleven countries participated in this year’s study. There are some important findings for Security Professionals.

Data breaches are becoming increasingly common around the world. It seems like we hear of a major breach every other week and who knows how many we don’t hear about. A major data breach can cost large companies millions of dollars in lost records and then the research into what happened, why it happened, and what to do prevent future attacks. But the highest cost of all is that of a loosing a customer forever.

The study asked some key questions of organizations participating in the study, including

    • What is the cost of a data breach?
    • What are the main causes of a data breach?
    • What types of attacks result in the highest data breach costs?
    • What is being done to reduce the cost of a potential breach?
    • Which threats pose the greatest concern?
    • How effective are the current methods being used to avoid breaches?

With up to nine years of data to work with, this annual Cost of Data Breach Study conducted by Ponemon offers detailed trending information on the cost of a data breach. The cost measurement includes direct, indirect and opportunity costs associated with an organization’s response to the theft or loss of personal information.

Some overall important findings include:

  • Most countries saw an uptick in both in the cost per stolen or lost record and in the average total cost of a breach.
  • The average cost of data breach has increased 15% to $3.5m
  • The cost of each stolen sensitive and confidential data occurrence has increased 9% to $145
  • Fewer customers remain loyal after a breach, particularly in the financial services industry.
  • For many countries, malicious or criminal attacks are the most frequent root cause of the data breaches.
  • Having business continuity management involved in the remediation of a breach can help reduce the cost.

Root Causes of a Data Breach

Some country-specific findings include:

  • US and Germany respondents reported the most costliest breaches with each costing $201 and $195 respectively. India and Brazil reported the lowest, with each costing $51 and $70, respectively.
  • Countries which are most likely to face data breach include India, Brazil and France
  • Data loss cost companies most customers in France and Italy while least number of customers were lost by companies in Brazil and Arabian region.
  • The main cause of data breach differs from country to country
    • Malicious or criminal attack was the highest cause in Germany and Arabian countries
    • System glitch is main cause of breach in India
    • Human error is the main cause of breach in the UK and Brazil.
  • Malicious attacks were the costliest type attack with the US and Germany with organisations paying maximum of $246 and $215 per compromised record while least amount paid in India and Brazil, where companies paid $60 and $77 per compromised record, respectively.


  • As a preventive measure, companies should have a crisis management and data breach response plan in place. The research shows that having an efficient and swift response to the breach and containment of the damage reduces the cost of breach significantly.

To download the complete report please use the following link:

12 Trends to Watch in Enterprise Security for 2014

Security is a long term trend that just continues to grow in importance as the number of potential entrances that can be exploited grows.  Today’s CIOs have security on their mind 24×7.

As new technologies like cloud, mobile and social take the IT landscape by storm, security risks grow exponentially.  The data center is more vulnerable than ever.  New threats are  emerging daily and even hourly.  For this reason, it is no longer enough for organizations, or even entire governments, to try to address security strictly within their own enterprises, they must understand and protect all the the potential external risks.

In my  report “Enterprise IT Security Trends To Watch In 2014” available on Slideshare, I provide the following list of twelve trends I am watching this year around the Enterprise Security Trend.

  1. “Target”ed Attacks: Expect more targeted and coordinated attacks (like we saw at Target) that are successful in disrupting service and fraudulently obtaining significant amounts of intellectual property.
  2. CISO Role:  As a result of attacks, more enterprises will institute the Chief Information Security Officer role and task them with developing a corporate wide security strategy.
  3. More Complexity: IT Security continues to become very complex, thanks to the ‘third platform” of mobile, social, big data, and cloud. Enterprises must guard against both theft of data, fraud, etc. and hacking into systems and infrastructures.. Security skills will be in high demand.
  4. Encryption:  Expect a huge interest in encryption technologies as enterprises realize that unencrypted data traffic behind the firewall is vulnerable to detection from outsiders.
  5. Biometrics:  The acceptance of biometrics has been very gradual. In 2014, we will see increased adoption of biometrics as a way to transition from the traditional user ID/password combination used most frequently to verify online identities.
  6. Internet of Things:  Need to secure enterprise systems against unwelcome access by Sensors, M2M Devices, Wearables and Embedded Systems.
  7. 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.
  8. Smarter Malware:  Malicious code authors are very adept at camouflaging their work. They will get smarter in 2014. Expect mobile to be a target.
  9. Mobile Threats:  Mobile usage overtakes PCs. Mobile security platform weaknesses are giving rise to new threats. In 2014 hackers/criminals will increasingly target Mobile email, apps, platforms, wallets, and app stores.
  10. BYOWearables:  Employees will be bringing their Smart Glasses, Watches, and Health Monitors to work with them, causing more complexity for I.T. Security professionals.
  11. Device & Location Important:  Enterprises begin analyzing both device and location information to help them understand the potential context of the user’s attempt to access the network.
  12. BYOS:  Expect a rise in “bring your own security” scenarios, in which employees using their own mobile devices for work also employ their own personal security measures – often without the consent or awareness of enterprise security managers.


3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing) Trend Report

I’ve published my 2014 Trend report on 3D Printing.  The 76 page powerpoint slide deck provides an overview of 3D Printing trend along marketplace research and insights and hundreds of links to additional resources.

About 3D Printing:  Also called Additive Manufacturing, 3D printing has been hailed as a transformative manufacturing technology, 3D printing involves fabrication of physical objects by depositing a material using a nozzle, print head, or any another printer technology. Though initially used for prototyping of products, 3D printing has evolved and is currently capable of customized short-run manufacturing of industrial products, dental implants, and medical devices. The reality is that 3D printing is finding use in a diverse range of applications across varied markets.

Technological advancements are increasingly facilitating the use of 3D printers for manufacturing final products. The technology has now reached a stage where digital models can be replicated to produce physical components or prototypes, which would be similar to those of mass produced products. The declining cost of printers has led a wide range of industries ranging from aerospace and automotive to footwear and jewelry to adopt 3D printing technology for manufacturing desired objects. 3D printing technology is thus offering individuals as well as companies with the ability to design as well as manufacture objects at relatively lower costs.

Table of Contents
My 2014 trend report includes the following table of contents.
1.Introduction to 3D Printing
2.Marketplace Opportunities and Industry Applications
3.Materials & Technologies
4.Vendor Ecosystem
5.Drivers, Challenges, Implications, Trends to Watch
6.Summary / Recommendations
7.Appendix:   Resources for further reading & understanding


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.


Friday Gadget: The BIOSwimmer Fish Robot

BioSwimmer1The Biomimetic In-Oil Swimmer (BIO-Swimmer) is an robotic fish that has been under development the last 4-5 years by Boston Engineering Corporation’s Advanced Systems Group in Waltham, MA, for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is tasked with uncovering attempts to damage, disrupt, or illegally use the flow of commerce; without detection.  As you can imagine, this is a challenging process.  With regard to waterways, a balance needs to be maintained between monitoring ports, rivers and other waterways without slowing commerce.  The BIOSwimmer is being developed to help the U.S. secure and protect these very waterways.  It is a fish-inspired (it looks like a Tuna) robot that can be deployed rapidly.  It is designed to maneuver into locations previously inaccessible to current robots and provide security intelligence far beyond current capability.

The robot is a hybrid of the design features of a regular submarine (i.e. dive planes, thruster-powered locomotion, and a rigid hull) combined with the flexible keel of a fish.  The tuna is used as a biological model because its natural swimming gait holds the front 2/3 of the fish’s body rigid, while the rear 1/3 moves; this allows the robot to utilize the front 2/3 of its body as a rigid, watertight hull, while the rear 1/3 is converted into a flooded flexible structure. The robot uses hydraulic actuators to move the flexible tail structure from side to side and electric motors for dive plane control.

It is a drone that is controlled via laptop-based system, so it requires a human operator.  It uses an onboard camera and computer suite for navigation, sensor processing, and communications.  It has onboard sensors which are designed for the challenging environment of constricted spaces and high viscosity fluids that are found in crowded and active ports on our waterways.   

All this capability produces a robotic fish-inspired drone that can both move through the water quickly and turn on a dime, a set of traits not usually seen together in underwater vehicles of any type. 

The BIOSwimmer will be expected to perform tasks like conducting ship hull inspections; performing search and rescue missions; and checking cargo holds that may have toxic fluids.   It can inspect the interior voids of ships such as flooded bilges and tanks, and hard to reach external areas such as steerage, propulsion and sea chests.  It can also inspect and protect harbors and piers, perform area searches and carry out other security missions.