Gartner Top Ten Strategic Trends for 2014

Gartner top-10-strategic-trends-2014-gartnerIn case you missed it, Gartner recently announced their latest revision to their strategic technologies list.   The revised list is announced annually at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando.  This post provides an overview of the trends on Gartner’s list of Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014.  The ten are all very important, but I wonder why Big Data, Analytics, and Social are not mentioned.  Regarding #9 Smart Machines, I think we are a few years away from seeing a smart machine market fully develop, but when cognitive systems do go mainstream, the impact will be highly disruptive across all business processes and enterprise applications.

1) Mobile Device Diversity.   Gartner says the explosion of mobile devices and user interfaces will make “everything everywhere” strategies unachievable from now through 2018.  Bring your own device (BYOD) programs have caused IT and Finance organizations a bunch of stress.   Gartner recommends a complete review of BYOD programs to better define expectations and to balance flexibility with confidentiality and privacy requirements.

2) Mobile Apps & Applications.  Gartner says HTML5 and mobile browsers will be the focus of enterprise application development.   Developers should focus on improving the user interface via richer voice and video in order to connect people in new and different ways.   It’s like a gold rush era for creating apps for all different and we should not expect any consolidation to happen soon.

3) The Internet of Everything.   Internet of Things (IoT) is now increasingly being referred to as the Internet of Everything (IoE).  Sensors and devices are increasingly being embedded into all sorts of enterprise assets and consumer items.    Gartner says that most organizations have not yet fully grasped the potential of IoE and not operationally or organizationally ready.   Gartner identifies four basic usage models that are emerging:  Manage, Monetize, Operate, Extend and recommends these four basic models should be applied to any of the four “internets” (people, things, information and places).

4) Hybrid Cloud and IT as Service Broker.   Gartner says the future of cloud computing are hybrid clouds.  This is an environment where clouds can talk to each other.  So enterprises should design private cloud services fro the ground up so that full integration/interoperability is possible. 

5) Cloud / Client Architecture.  Gartner says that cloud and client computing models are shifting.  In the future cloud and client architecture, the client is a rich application running on an Internet-connected device, and the server is a set of application services hosted in an increasingly elastically scalable cloud computing platform. The cloud is the control point and system, and applications can span multiple client devices.

6) The Era of the Personal Cloud.   Gartner says that there is a shift in importance coming away from personal devices and towards personal cloud services.   Users will use a collection of internet connected devices.   The personal cloud and the applications we all run as individuals will become the core control point.

7) Software Defined Everything (SDx).   Gartner sees an increased role for software in the datacenter.   Software is now able to data center more hardware more efficiently and easily than ever imagined before.  With Software-Defined Everything, the computing infrastructure is virtualized and delivered as a service.  Gartner says there is growing market momentum for improved standards for infrastructure programmability and data center interoperability driven by desires to implement cloud computing, DevOps and fast infrastructure provisioning.

8) Web Scale IT.  Gartner says that large cloud services providers such as Amazon, Google, Salesforce.com, and others are re-inventing the way in which IT services can be delivered.  Gartner recommends that IT organizations should align with and emulate the processes, architectures, and practices of these leading cloud providers.

9) Smarter Machines.  Gartner suggests that the “the smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT”.  Gartner further predicts that “Through 2020, the smart machine era will blossom with a proliferation of contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants, smart advisors (such as IBM Watson), advanced global industrial systems and public availability of early examples of autonomous vehicles.   Gartner says that the market for smart machines will include solutions like

  • contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants
  • smart advisors
  • advanced global industrial systems
  • autonomous vehicles

10) 3D Printing.  According to Gartner, 3D printing is not just for printing toys and jewelry.  Gartner says that 3D printing will have a high impact on many industries, including consumer products, industrial and manufacturing.   Gartner is predicting that shipments of 3-D printers will grow 75 percent in 2014 and 200 percent in 2015.

For more, check out the press release here or attend the December 13 Webinar

A Primer on 3-D Printing: An Emerging Technology You Should Know About

A few days ago, the first 3-d printed airplane flew for the first time.  See the LA Times article “World’s first 3-D printed airplane takes to the skies”.

Although 3D printing has been around for a number of decades, the quality has increased dramatically in recent years and the prices are just beginning to drop, making it much more affordable for small and medium businesses.  And if you really want to explore 3D printing, they are even getting cheap enough for consumers to own.

The reality is 3D printing is a very cost-effective way to have an in-house rapid prototyping capability.  For a relatively modest investment, design engineers can use a 3D printer to catch design flaws earlier in the process lowering costs and shortening design cycles.

What is 3D Printing?

3D printing involves having the computer sending the coordinates for a 3D object to an output device (a 3D Printer) that employs the same ink-jet printer principle that is used to print on paper.  However, in this case the ‘printer’ deposits successive layers of material to build up a full-scale 3D model.   The material used can be powder, plastics, resins or even metals.

In the case of powder, the printer is actually delivering ultra-thin layers of powder onto a surface, one on top of another, until it produces a 3D model.  With each successive run of the ‘printer head’, the powder that is deposited is then given a spray of a binding liquid that' helps to harden the powder and help form a solid object.

The end-result of this process might be a model which designers can use to verify a product’s design qualities before full-scale manufacturing begins, or it might be an end-use specialty product ranging from a component in a complex aircraft engine to a consumer medical  or dental implant.

The big benefits of 3D printing is it’s low cost and speed.  The printers can generally produce models in as little as one-tenth the time it takes other types of machines.  3-D Printer-produced models are throwaway models that allow you to see things you would not be able to see as well on a computer with a CAD system.  The beauty of this approach is people can hold the proposed design, study it, and get a good feel for its shape.

Video Introduction to 3D-Printing

The video below (about 4 minutes) provides an introduction to 3-D printing.

 

 

Implications for Traditional Manufacturing

It is doubtful that this new generation of 3D printers can replace traditional manufacturing methods such as injection molding, machined or milled parts and manufacturing line assembly.  However I do believe that small and medium specialty manufactures should consider implementing 3D printing processes for individual steps or subsystems in a traditional line manufacturing process.  It is very possible that these new low cost printers would help reduce overall manufacturing costs.

Implications for Consumers

Many people in the 3-d printing industry fully believe every household will have a device that’s capable of printing any solid object, and even basic mechanical objects.  Imagine pressing the “bowl” or “cup” button on the 3D printer in the kitchen, followed by the “fork” or “spoon” button. It would even work for larger objects like cutting boards and colanders and laundry baskets — and it would be easy enough to provide fairly extensive customization, too: a stripy cup, with colors of your choosing, a narrower fork, a bowl that is perfectly tapered to support and grip an unwieldy watermelon, and so on.

Implications for Healthcare

Experts also see a bright future for 3D printing in the medical industry.  3D printing technology is currently being studied by biotechnology firms and academia for possible use in tissue engineering applications where organs and body parts are built using inkjet techniques. Layers of living cells are deposited onto a gel medium and slowly built up to form three dimensional structures.  Future applications include Organ printing, bio-printing, computer-aided tissue engineering.  

Vendors

For those of you wanting to learn more about products and services out on the market, here are a few vendor sites to visit

  • Desktop Factory  Makes a very small and affordable printers that truly fit on top of a desk.
  • 3D Systems   Provides mid-range solutions that employ a technology that film transfers photopolymer to build 3-D objects
  • Z Corp  Is widely thought of as providing top of the line printers for an office environment
  • MakerBot, an entry level machine, has sold more than 4,000 so far.
  • Ultimaker, a new entrant into personal 3-d printing

For More Information

Feeding Edge: 7 Predictions For The Next Decade

FeedingEdge

Feeding Edge is a consulting company based out of the UK, founded by epredator (ex-IBMer Ian Hughes), a globally recognized metaverse evangelist and tribal leader.   I’ve been a follower of epredator ever since I first ventured into Second Life back in 2006.  He has a great vision for how gaming will improve the future of work and business.

Feeding Edge recently posted a set of 7 predictions about the next 10 years on it’s website’s blog Life at the Feeding Edge

Here is a summary of the seven predictions….

  1. Keep Walking. Our thirst for mobile computing may stress traditional telecom’s business.
  2. Batteries.  Feeding Edge says we need further innovation in batteries.
  3. 3d Printing. 10 years should be enough for this to become “mainstream”.
  4. Games as work. Work and business is a role playing game.
  5. Brands crossing digital borders.  Businesses must learn to engage with people where ever they are online….and offline.
  6. Collectives vs Corporate. Feeding Edge sees a need to reduce long statements and terms and conditions on digital content.
  7. Renaissance – Access for All.  Putting technology in the hands of all people is going to cause a generational renaissance.

Check out Feed'ing Edge’s full post “Next Decade?” at  http://www.feedingedge.co.uk/blog/2009/12/30/the-next-decade/ 

Thanks for the list epredator.