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/

The Robot Report: A Great Source for Robot Industry News

I wanted to inform you of a website that is a great source of news on the Robot Industry.  Plus the website has a great new mashup that displays the location of over 1000 robot industry related companies on a Google map.

While the market for industrial robotics is well established, there is a nascent and growing market for robots outside of the factory in government, business and in the home.  We are nearing a point in our history where robots and robotic technology will begin to play a much more active part in the lives of humans.  I believe there is huge potential for robots and robotic applications in not only on the manufacturing floor and for government defense, but in the consumer and business environment as well.  I do see a day on the horizon where robots will be mass produced like automobiles and smartphones are today.  That might seem crazy right now, but mark my words…it will happen.

Frank TobeSo I am interested in following this important emerging trend and learning about the future market for robots.   One person I have been following is Frank Tobe.  Frank loves researching and learning about the market for robots.  Early in 2008, in a personal effort to learn about the robotics industry and the future of robotics, Frank began an intensive research project that took him to Japan, Korea, Germany and all over the Internet.   In the process, he founded and created  The Robot Reportwebsite to communicate industry news, his research, and his thoughts about the development of this important technology trend.

The Robot Report  gathers and reports industry news, tracks the business of robotics, and has developed proprietary (ROBO-STOX™) methods to compare robot industry stock performance to the NASDAQ Index.  Whether reporting about a robotic arm, a new robotic hand or the stock results of the robotics industry, The Robot Report does a great job of keeping me informed about all the developments in the market for business and consumer robots.

1000-Global-Robot-MfgrsOver the last 4 years, Frank has built a comprehensive worldwide database of public and private companies that are participants in the robotics industry.  Recently Frank mashed this database with Google Maps to produce a global map of 1000+ robot manufacturers worldwide.  The map is color coded so Red markers show where industrial robots are produced; blue show service robots; and green reflect start-ups. The top 20 robotics universities and research labs are shown in yellow.   The map is located at this URL: http://www.therobotreport.com/index.php/site/TRR-Global-Map/.   You can find some detailed country level analysis by going  here.

Even though this industry is still in an emerging state, you can get a feel for the potential just by looking at all the companies involved.   The map certainly reveals the growing diversity, vigor and scope of today’s robotics industry.   Kudos to Frank Tobe for being a pioneer in researching and tracking this emerging industry.  You can read Frank’s blog posts at Everything-Robotic blog and you can follow him on Twitter via @therobotreport.

Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013

During last week’s Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, held in Orlando (http://www.gartner.com/symposium/us), Gartner http://www.gartner.com released its annual top 10 technologies and trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2013.  Every year, I anticipate the release of this trend list as it always helps me confirm the trends I am seeing in the marketplace.

As I do every year, I provide for you, via this post, the list of Gartner’s Strategic Technology Trends, along with my summary observations about the trend and what Gartner has to say.   As a note before we begin the review, Gartner defines a strategic technology as “one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.”

So with that, here is the list of Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013 along with my summary thoughts.

Mobile Device Battles:  Unless you’ve been on Mars, you know that individuals are moving to mobile devices as a primary means to access information and stay connected.  We see this everywhere as we go about our daily activities.  Gartner is predicting that by 2013 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide. Plus, more individuals are switching over to tablets as their primary device.  Gartner says that by 2015, media tablet shipments will reach around 50 percent of laptop shipments.   Gartner also mentions the announcement of Windows 8 as a turning point in the mobile industry.  Window’s 8 is Microsoft’s big bet on mobile. For CIOs, the mobile device trend means they will need to support a greater variety of form factors and this will reduce the ability to standardize across the enterprise on PC and tablet hardware, software, and services.

Mobile Applications and HTML5:  Developers are flocking to mobile as a way to deliver applications and services.  As they do, they look for standard development tools.  Gartner points out that the market for tools to create consumer and enterprise facing mobile apps is complex with well over 100 potential tools vendors.  While for the next few years, no single tool will be optimal, six mobile architectures – native, special, hybrid, HTML 5, Message and No Client will remain popular.  The Gartner report does say that we should expect a long term shift away from native apps to Web apps as HTML5 becomes more capable.

Personal Cloud:  As individuals gradually move off the PC platform, the personal cloud will gradually replace the PC as the location where individuals go for all their digital content and services.  Individuals will be drawn to the cloud for the benefits of mobility, portability, and an always-available place where they store content and go for all their digital needs.   Gartner expects that no one platform, form factor, technology or vendor will dominate the personal cloud market, but that managed diversity and mobile device management will be an imperative.

Enterprise App Stores:  Gartner predicts that some app store vendors will end up specializing in specific devices and/or types of apps.  This will force the enterprise to deal with multiple stores, multiple payment processes and multiple sets of licensing terms.  As employee usage of these stores increase, CIOs and IT departments will need to provide some type of governance system and brokerage services on behalf of the entire enterprise.

The Internet of Things:  The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a trend we’ve been watching for awhile.  More and more sensors and computing devices are designed to be embedded into physical items at time of manufacture.  These physical items are then naturally connected to the Internet.  Key enabling technologies include embedded sensors, image recognition technologies, GPS, cellular communications, and Near Field Communication (NFC).   The important strategic implication is that the IoT will enable a wide range of new applications and services for enterprises and consumers alike.

Hybrid IT and Cloud Computing:  The Cloud Computing trend is maturing and many IT organizations realizing that they have a new responsibility… that of an internal cloud services brokerage (CSB) and governance role.  Only the IT organization can help coordinate and improve the provisioning and consumption of inherently distributed, heterogeneous and often complex cloud services across the enterprise for both  internal users and external business partners.

Strategic Big Data:  2012 was all about understanding the Big Data trend and implementing some pilot projects to learn how to deal with data volume, variety, velocity and complexity.   During 2013, Gartner says that the focus will shift from a focus on individual departmental projects to establishing a cross-enterprise strategic information architecture.  Gartner expects organizations to move away from the concept of a single enterprise data warehouse towards a strategy that includes multiple systems.  These multiple systems will necessitate “logical” enterprise information architecture that includes content management, data warehouses, data marts and specialized file systems tied together with data services and metadata.

Actionable Analytics:  As enterprises deal with the Big Data trend, users are increasingly demanding advanced analytical capability that harvests insights from that Big Data.   Gartner says that in 2013 we will see a shift where IT leaders can begin to afford to perform analytics and simulation for every action taken in the business. Gartner says analytic professionals will focus on utilizing simulation, prediction, optimization and other analytical tools to empower even more decision flexibility at the time and place of every business process action.

In Memory Computing:  In memory computing (IMC) can significantly boost computing performance by moving data off of disk storage devices and into memory.  Operations that previously took hours to process data can be completed in minutes and seconds.  Gartner sees this technology as transformational, allowing applications to detect correlations and patterns pointing at emerging opportunities and threats “as things happen.”  While most likely not a mainstream trend in 2013, it is an important long term trend in computing that will impact IT departments.  Gartner predicts that numerous vendors will announce new in-memory-based solutions over the next two years.

Integrated Ecosystems:  Gartner confirms that we are seeing a shift towards more integrated systems and ecosystems.  CIOs have a need for IT systems that can help them drive to a lower TCO, are less complex, and more reliable and secure.  Vendors are also interested in driving this shift as they would like to provide a complete solution stack in a controlled environment, but without necessarily the need to provide any actual hardware.   To meet this need, traditional vendors are combining hardware, software, and services into appliances that address an infrastructure or application workload.   Cloud-based vendors are providing a standardized and integrated foundation for ISV development and application runtime.  Mobile-based vendors are busy building varying degrees of control across an end-to-end ecosystem

For More Information

Churchill Club: 13th Annual List Of Top 10 Tech Trends

Last week the Silicon Valley was abuzz as The Churchill Club held their annual Top 10 Tech Trends event in Santa Clara.  The annual event is much anticipated by the Silicon Valley crowd….as well as VC-types as it can provide an interesting perspective on what the future might hold for the software industry. 

As always, I have my radar up to capture any insights I can from events like these. I could not attend the event, but thanks to some bloggers and news articles, I am able to report what was discussed.

As the 10 trends were presented, four leading industry panelists were on stage to debate the worthiness of each trend.

Below is a list of the ten trends on the Churchill Club’s list along with my take on the pace of adoption of each trend.    From sources I’ve read, the panelists themselves only agreed on a couple of the trends. Which ones do you agree on?

1) Age before beauty:  This trend asserts that the Baby boomer generation will dictate the technology trends of the future.  The premise is that this is such a large market that is largely unserved today. 

  • My take: I don’t agree.  Although the retired population is a largely untapped market, it is not one that gets excited about technology trends.  They are not digital natives.  I don’t see my parents flocking to buy the latest Ipad or the latest 3D TV.

2) The doctor is in: The trend is toward complete automation: a combination of artificial intelligence, the Internet, and very low-cost medical instrumentation to provide high-quality diagnostics and advice—including answering patient questions—online to a worldwide audience.  

  • My take:  I see this trend happening, but the focus will be first on specialized medicine.  The trend will be very slow to adopt to a mass market.  Privacy, culture, and behavioral issues will make changing over to online medial practices a long road.  

3) Made for me:   Manufacturing is undergoing a revolution. This trend is about the one-off production of physical goods in widely distributed micro-factories: the ultimate customization of products.  It is becoming technically and economically possible to make products that are unique to the specific needs of individuals.   

  • My take:  Consumers and Businesses are all expecting more and more customization of products and services.  The enabler of this trend for product manufacturing is the 3D printer technology trend.  For services, it is the software and advanced analytics that drive Internet-based services. 

4) Pay me now: The trend is technology and business models based on attracting consumers to share large amounts of information exclusively with service providers.  Why?  Because information can be very valuable. This knowledge is becoming a key asset and a major competitive advantage for the companies that gather it and analyze it.  Businesses will become increasingly smarter and more aggressive in convincing us to share our information with them and not with their competitors  

  • My take:  I am not sure about the name of this trend here, but this all ties into the trends of privacy, cloud computing / storage, and database analytics trends.  Businesses who figure out how to use analytics to make sense of all the information they gather will know better how to target and customize services to individuals that are most likely to buy.

5) Rosie at last: Rosie was the Jetson’s robot who did most everything for the Jetsons and even had a personality anyone could love.  Robots ARE slowly becoming embedded in our environments.  They will take full advantage of the cloud and advanced analytics in order to anticipate, understand and fulfill our needs. 

  • My take:  I do see a future for personal robots. See my post:  A Primer on the Consumer Market for Household Robots.  This will be another long term trend.  We are not going to see explosive growth overnight.  However, there will be a gigantic industry in the future all around the robot and robot Industry … both for consumers and businesses.

6) Social, really: The rise of true social networks, creating real respectful relationships online. 

  • My take:  The key here is the word relationships.  The value of social technology is it can enable better relationships.  If businesses can find ways to leverage social technology to form better relationships, then their sales will benefit.

7) Augmented Reality: Augmented reality will become indistinguishable from actual reality. 

  • My take:  AR will transform how we receive and process information throughout the day.  The AR trend will take another 15-25 years to take hold in the mass market, but it will take allot longer (1-200 years) to get to the point where AR is indistinguishable from actual reality.

8) Engineering by biologists: practical engineered artifacts, devices, and computers based on biology rather than just on silicon. 

  • My take:  This is all about the convergence of computers, biology, chemistry, and nanotechnology.  This is another of the long-term trends that will have profound impacts on human lives over the next 200-300 years, but I don’t see much impact in the next 25 years.  

9) Tis a gift to be simple: Cyber defense through wide spread adoption of simple, low-feature software for consumers and businesses. 

  • My take:  The security industry is secure.  That is, the need for security solutions will only increase as technology becomes embedded in every part of our business and personal lives.  While these solutions may look simple and low-featured, there will be a huge technology capability under the covers.

10) Reverse innovation: the trend for developing countries to turn around the flow of innovation: Silicon Valley will begin to learn more from them about innovative applications than they need to learn from us about underlying technology. 

  • My take:  History has shown us that innovation (agriculture, industrial, military, technology) leads to good things.  The quest for innovation will always be an important part of the human journey.  Successful businesses must ensure they enable innovation daily, whether that innovation happens in America Valley or in BRIC or in other emerging markets.

For more information about the Churchill Club event

2011 Horizon Report: Emerging Trends in Higher Education Technology

The 2011 Horizon Report was released earlier this year at the by EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) and the New Media Consortium (NMC).  

This report has staying power as it has been released every year since 2002.  Each year, the report identifies six emerging technologies that are likely to have a significant impact on higher education in the next one to five years.  The format of the report stays consistent every year, but the process to arrive at the six emerging technologies keeps improving. 

The report presents an overview of each of the six technologies accompanied by examples and suggested readings for each technology.  Below I provide my summary of the six emerging summaries. I’ve also embedded a video (3:30) that provides you with an overview from the NMC team.

The areas of emerging technology cited for 2011 are:

Timeframe:  The Next 12 months…

  • Electronic books:   The Horizon Report mentions that e-books have taken hold strongly in the consumer sector and the time for mass adoption across campuses is now.  This trend has been strongly enabled by the explosion of tablet computing, which can augment text with interactive experiences, support classroom note-taking and research activities, and allow readers to interact socially.  This trend will totally change our perception of what it means to read.
  • Mobiles (i.e., mobile devices).   Mobiles enable ubiquitous access to information, social networks, tools for learning and productivity, and much more.  2011 will bring new interfaces and new apps that leverage location-awareness.  The mobile device of is a versatile tool that can be easily adapted to a host of tasks for learning, productivity, and social networking.

Timeframe:  Next 1-3 years….

  • Augmented reality, enables content providers the ability to provide additional information to what ever users are viewing on a screen device.  This information is ‘layered’ over the whatever the user is viewing at the time (e.g. whether in the real world, or on a screen). While most applications have been in the consumer sector (tourism is one application example)), we can expect new applications to become available over the nest 1-3 years that will enhance learning.  Augmented reality brings a significant potential to supplement information delivered via computers, mobile devices, video, and even the printed book.
  • Game-based learning continues to grow as an application area that can enhance learning for students of all ages. We should expect to see a whole new suite of emerging game and simulation-based applications that are developed expressly to enhance the learning process.  The report says that perhaps the  greatest potential of games for learning lies in their ability to foster collaboration, problem-solving, and procedural thinking.

 

Timeframe:  4-5 years…

  • Gesture-based computing technologies continue to evolve. Gone is the day of interacting with the computer via just a keyboard or a mouse.  Gestures allow the motions of the body to control computing devices.  The next generation of students entering higher education will have grown accustomed to interacting with computers and gaming systems via touching, tapping, swiping, jumping, and moving.  The Horizon Report specifically mentions new interface technologies such as Kinect, SixthSense, and Tamper, which make interactions with computational devices far more intuitive and embodied.
  • Learning analytics employs a combination of data-gathering tools and analytic techniques to study student engagement, performance, and progress in practice.  The goal is not just to understand the past, but to help predict the future.  This technology trend area will help administrators and teachers revise curricula, teaching, and assessment in real time.  Learning analytics will allow educational institutions to tailor education to individual students more effectively.

For more information, you can download the 2010 Horizon Report or view the 2011 Web version

HorizonWatching Newspaper: Daily Recap of Emerging Trends, Technologies, and Business Issues

A few weeks ago I started publishing The HorizonWatching Daily via paper.li.  I thought I’d give it a try and so far I like it.

It takes the links those I am following on Twitter and pulls those stories into a newspaper-like format.   Most of those I am following are professional futurists or have something to do with emerging trends, technologies and business issues. Thanks to all those I am following for their link-sharing and content.

Here’s the URL to the online paper http://paper.li/horizonwatching.   I’ve also embedded the latest issue here.  Take a look.


World Future Society: 2011 Top 10 Forecasts

The World Future Society Outlook 2011 report was released about 6 months ago, but I came across it again today and thought it would be a good post for my readers. 

The video below is 4 minutes long and provides a summary of the top 10 forecasts from the World Future Society.

Every year the WFS Outlook report (published by the The Futurist Magazine) examines the key trends in technology, the environment, the economy, etc and provides a summary of top ten forecasts for the coming year.  You can access these forecasts at http://www.wfs.org/Forecasts_From_The_Futurist_Magazine

The 2011 report provided the following ten forecasts:

1. Physicists could become tomorrow’s leading economic forecasters.

2. Environmentalists may embrace genetically modified crops as a carbon-reduction technology.

3. Search engines will soon include spoken results, not just text.

4. Will there be garbage wars in the future? Trash producers in the developed world will ship much more of their debris to repositories in developing countries.

5. The notion of class time as separate from non-class time will vanish.

6. The future is crowded with PhDs. 

7. Cities in developed countries could learn sustainability from so-called slums in the developing world. Dwellers of "slums," favelas, and ghettos have learned to use and reuse resources and commodities more efficiently than their wealthier counterparts.

8. Cooperatively owned smart cars and roads will replace dumb, individual gas guzzlers.

9. Fighting the global threat of climate change could unite countries—or inflame rivalries.

10. We may not be able to move mountains with our minds, but robots will await our mental commands.

All of these forecasts plus dozens more were included in the report that was published in The Futurist Magazine.  In fact, The Futurist, has also made public the contents from Outlook 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. You can access these forecasts at http://www.wfs.org/Forecasts_From_The_Futurist_Magazine

A Primer on the Website Personalization Trend

The Personalized Web will be driven by analytic engines that will integrate data from many sources in order to present an online experienced tailored to each user.

Thanks to the explosion of social media, how users are influenced, consume information, and make purchasing decisions has been altered forever.  Users are increasingly expecting company websites, products, and services to be tailored to their individual preferences, past experiences, and what they happen to be doing at this very moment.  This puts the demand on business and IT leaders to create a personalized and engaging experience for end-users across all channels, both online and offline. 

image

                Unica: The State of Marketing 2010 (link)

Users want to their experience to be customized:

  • Returning visitors to a web site want to see a page based on all the information collected from previous visits.  Businesses should present personalized sites to these customers by organizing information and prioritizing it based on the individual's liking.  Products and services offered on those pages will be pre-configured.
  • “Anonymous” visitors to websites should get customized messages based on the referring URL, search terms, geo-location and any other insights. 

In 2011, I expect business leaders to focus on advanced solutions that can delivering a more personalized experience to end users.  These solutions will be designed to mine the user profile, buying behavior, browsing behavior and other insights obtained through marketing analytics in order to deliver a more customized and personalized online experience.  Look for further improvements in technologies such as marketing analytics and predictive algorithms that can automatically deliver highly relevant, contextually aware, personalized content and recommendations to customers via both online and offline channels. I also expect the personalization trend to be extended beyond the website to other digital channels, including social media marketing, mobile marketing, and email marketing.

One other point, the personalization trend is not only about presenting personalized pages to users of sales and marketing processes. All business application users can benefit from web sites and applications that present information that is personalized to the user. 

The rest of this post provides you with some background information on the trend, some quotes from the marketplace, and a bunch of links to additional reading information.

Trend Drivers

  • Individuals want content that is personalized and is relevant to why they are on a particular website at a given time /
  • New analytic capability

Trend Inhibitors/Challenges

  • Integrating offline as well as online behaviour
  • Need to build and retain complete profile data
  • Privacy issues

Trend Implications

  • New business processes and skills required
  • Need to track individual’s interactions and transactions across all channels, in order to provide the best offer or communication.
  • Messaging plans can be tailored to interests and preferences of each individual.

Quotes from the Marketplace: 

“Emerging context-enriched services will use location, presence, social attributes and other environmental information to anticipate an end user's immediate needs, offering more-sophisticated, situation-aware and usable functions” – Gartner (link)

“Marketers are focused on making their communications more timely and relevant to recipients. To do that, they need to build communications around the interests and preferences of each individual customer or prospect. “ – Unica, Sept. 2010 (link)

“Personalized product recommendations are proven to consistently increase sales, conversion rates, average order value and customer retention“ – Coremetrics, Oct 2010 (link)

Featured Video

Personalising the Web Experience – Unica Video

For More Information

Here are some sites where you will find links to other learning resources like white papers, demos, customer briefs, and videos

More Information From ibm.com

HorizonWatching: Top IT Technology Trends For 2011

I’ve developed my list of top Information Technology Trends for 2011 to add to the trend lists that are being published at this time of year.  I came up with 11 trends this year on the list, rather than the customary ten. 

Slide2 The list below should not be a surprise to you all that much as most of the trends have been on my radar (and probably yours) for a number of years already.  Some of them are more mature in their adoption and development than others.  However, those that made my list are the trends that I feel will have the most impact on IT departments in 2011. 

For each of the trends, I’ve provided a short discussion of trend and what developments I expect in 2011.  I also provide you with links to sites where you can explore the trend topic in more detail.  All the text makes for a long post, but I like sharing more information rather than less.   With that in mind, here are the top IT technologies trends to watch in 2011.

 

1.  Private Clouds

The cloud computing ‘buzz’ has been going on now for 3 years.  Public clouds have been a major part of the discussion and experimentation.  However, more companies have begun adopting approaches to private clouds in parts of their businesses.  Many CIOs and business leaders are concerned with having their data residing outside their firewall.   In 2011 I expect to see mid and large-sized businesses to increase their experimentation and implementation of private clouds as the promise of the cloud delivery model is one that is just too good to pass up.  There’s also a growing interest in private ‘community clouds’ hosted for a group of organizations who trust each other.  The largest hurdles to cloud computing continue to be a lack of cloud standards and concerns regarding security, availability and performance.

For more information

 

2. Virtualization

Virtualized infrastructures are becoming popular not only for cost savings, but because they can enable quick changes to business models, operating structures and the way that business processes are enabled.  In addition, a highly virtualized infrastructure is a prerequisite for private clouds so CIOs will continue to focus on virtualization.    Over the last 3-4 years we’ve seen server virtualization really take off as a trend and now it is almost standard technology in the data center.  While security concerns remain a hurdle to deployment, we’ll continue to see a focus on virtualization across the entire infrastructure in 2011. 

For more information

 

3. Social Business

Social collaboration is changing the way business is being conducted.  Over the next 10-15 years, social computing capability will becomes part of every business function within the company.  Social capabilities will become embedded in every single website, computing device for every participant in every single business transaction.  All participants involved in a company’s business processes and transactions will have the ability to share content, comment on content, rate/vote on content, and collaborate in an open and sharing environment.  In addition, all this social activity will generate data that will be mined and analyzed in both batch and in real-time.  The insights generated will be a critical input into all business processes, including research, product development, marketing, sales, technical support, and even business processes like accounting, procurement, and legal.  Since social will eventually be embedded in every business process and transaction workflow, social computing capability will need to be a critical part of every business application.  As a result, I expect entire business application suites will be rewritten to make use of social collaboration features.

For more information

 

4. Mobile Computing 

5 years ago, mobile meant something entirely different than it does today, thanks to the introduction of the smartphone, the Iphone, Google’s introduction of Android, and just this past year, the iPad.   Mobile computing and the ecosystem that surrounds it is a major growth industry.  As smartphone adoption grows and the application infrastructure becomes more sophisticated, mobile will expand beyond messaging, and make mobile email, mobile websites and mobile applications viable channels in which to conduct business.  Enabling technologies will be new devices, faster networks, new location-aware technology, and improved mobile applications.  Some key mobile trends to watch in 2011 include Location Based Services, Mobile Apps, Mobile Gaming, Event-Based Mobile Marketing, and Augmented Reality.

  • Prediction that Smartphone Sales To Beat PC Sales By 2011 (see this)
  • Mobile Web usage more than doubling YoY (see this)

For more information

 

5. Storage Trends

The huge growth of videos, pictures, audio, social media and other unstructured data is taxing the storage systems of many data centers.   The cost of storage for most enterprises remains a high component of the overall cost of a datacenter, even though the cost of storage per gigabyte continues to drop.  In addition other trends are impacting storage, including Cloud computing, virtualization, energy costs, economics and performance.  In 2011, watch for increased adoption of storage technologies like data deduplication, flash, solid state disks and automating volume-level tiering.

For more information

 

6.  Advanced Business Analytics

While information overload was once a barrier to good decision making, today’s technology and analytics expertise make it a real benefit. The explosion of data that is taxing storage systems is also driving the requirement for advanced business analytics.  Business leaders are yearning for deeper knowledge and insights on all aspects of their business and they know that the information they need is available within all the data flowing through the company IT systems.  Advanced analytics solutions can help business leaders adopt a proactive versus reactive strategy, enabling them to predict future behaviors and events before they occur.   Insights generated can help business leaders optimize individual business decisions, processes and entire business models, as well as manage risk and fraud, with the goal of improving the development and delivery of products and services. In 2011 look for advancements in streaming technologies, mathematical algorithms and predictive modeling as applied to business analytic solutions. 

For more information

 

7. The Personalized Web

Thanks to the explosion of social media, how users are influenced, consume information, and make purchasing decisions has been altered forever.  Users are increasingly expecting company websites, products, and services to be tailored to their individual preferences, past experiences, and what they happen to be doing at this very moment.  This puts the demand on business and IT leaders to create a personalized and engaging experience for end-users across all channels, both online and offline.  In 2011, I expect business to focus on advanced solutions that can delivering a more personalized experience to end users.   These solutions will be designed to mine the customer’s profile, buying behavior, browsing behavior and other insights obtained through marketing analytics in order to deliver a more customized and personalized online experience.  Look for further improvements in technologies such as marketing analytics and predictive algorithms that can automatically deliver highly relevant, contextually aware, personalized content and recommendations to customers via both online and offline channels.

For more information

 

8. Video-enabled Business Processes

Video content continues to make its way into all business processes.  This trend will continue over the next 5-10 years.  It makes my list this year as it is crossing over from both a security tool and a marketing (e.g. YouTube) tool, into a tool that can be applied across business processes to improve the way businesses communicate, collaborate, and educate all stakeholders.  Visual communication can actively promote teamwork and accelerate problem-solving processes leading to better business decisions.  In 2011, I expect forward looking business leaders and business process reengineering consultants will begin to use video to transform key business processes in order to create competitive advantage, lower costs, and to reduce environmental impact, particularly by avoiding the need for travel.  IT departments need to start preparing now to be able to handle future video requirements.

For more information

 

9. Service Oriented Architecture

In 2011 (as in recent years), I expect continued focus on aligning information technology efforts with business objectives and SOA will be a big part of those discussions.  SOA has been around for years, so it is not a new concept at all.   What’s new is that 1) business processes are in need of reengineering as a result of the social, mobile, and video trends discussed above and 2) a service orientation is a prerequisite for private clouds.  This doesn't mean that a mature SOA must already exist before an enterprise can venture into the cloud, but rather that architecture strategies that involve cloud must have a service orientation.  A service orientation gives businesses the ability and flexibility to realign operations as business goals evolve from year to year.   This ability can mean a competitive edge in terms of time to market for products and services, responsiveness to customers, and customer satisfaction.  So in 2011, I expect to see increased interest in SOA policy governance tools, repositories, and business rules engines all driven by the need of businesses to become more agile and prepare themselves for private clouds.

For more information

 

10. Sustainability and IT

Government and Business leaders alike are looking across their operations, to the products and solutions they sell, to the way they manage supplier relationships in order to understand how to better protect Mother Earth. The sustainability trend is a big one and technology can play a big part in helping to eliminate wasted energy, wasted space, and wasted natural resources/materials.  New technologies are available that can help organizations become more energy efficient, implement new ways to source, manufacture and distribute goods and services in a more sustainable manner, and enable safe and renewable sources of energy. In 2011, I expect companies and governments to develop strategies to incorporate sustainability information technology solutions that include the capability to analyze data and synthesize information in a variety of forms required by different departments within an organization.

For more information

 

11.  Risk Management

Organizations are facing an ever evolving and increasingly sophisticated threat environment.  Adding to the complexity is the fact that organizations are installing new computing capabilities such as cloud computing, mobile computing, and social computing that are making applications  interconnected than ever before.  These new technologies are also introducing new risks that are compromising critical infrastructures, privacy and identity, requiring organizations to rethink how they deal with compliance, risk management and data protection. Business and IT leaders are realizing that they need to build security and risk management capability into the initial design of their infrastructure and their applications, rather than add them on as an afterthought.  In 2011, I expect organizations will increase their focus on employ technology solutions to help them manage risk and provide a more secure environment for business operations.

For more information:

 

So there you go, that is my list of the top IT related technology trends that I believe will have an impact on IT departments in 2011.  CIOs and their IT departments should be well aware of these trends and have plans to implement the enabling technologies that make up these trends.   I’m developing a slide deck version of this post and will be posting it to the HorizonWatching account at SlideShare http://www.slideshare.net/HorizonWatching  sometime in early January. 

Frost & Sullivan: Global Megatrends Shaping Our Future

Today I attended a webinar offered by research firm Frost & Sullivan that was titled “Mega Trends that will Shape the Future of the World”.  The stated purpose of the webinar was to discuss the most important global mega trends, potential scenarios of specific trends in 2020, and the implications of these mega trends in transforming society, markets and cultures. 

The webinar was jointly led by Frost & Sullivan Partner Sarwant Singh and Frost & Sullivan Team Leader Archana Amarnath. For those of you who want to view the webinar, at the end of this post I have the embedded the webinar, courtesy of Frost & Sullivan and Bright Talk.

I really enjoyed the webinar.  Here is my review of the megatrends covered during the webinar.

1)  Urbanization.   Frost confirms a trend that we’ve seen mentioned by others.  That is that the world’s population is increasingly shifting towards an urban environment.  Frost says that this trend will result in mega cities, mega regions, and mega transportation/business corridors.   Technology will be applied to enhance living and business activities within these mega-environments.

As a result of the urbanization trend, technology companies will try to address issues that impact consumer and business activities.  Frost predicts there will be an increased focus on making cities ‘Smarter’.  There will be over 40 global cities to achieve a designation of being “SMART” by 2020.  Frost says that more than 50% of the smart cities of 2025 will be from Europe and North America.   As the worlds businesses competes to realize the smart city opportunity, Frost expects there to be a convergence of smart city technology that will ultimately lead to convergence of competition in three different industries 1) Energy Infrastructure Players, 2) IT Players, and 2) Automation/Building Control Players.

2) Social Trends.  Frost mentioned three sub-trends here 1) Geo Socialization, 2) Generation Y and 3) Reverse Brain Drain.   

Geo Socialization.  Frost says Geo Socialization services will become an important part of the landscape in 2020 as we’ll see all sorts of location based services being pushed to mobile consumers and mobile business workers.

Gen Y.  There will be an increased focus placed on new and innovative products and services that cater to the values, beliefs, interests, and lifestyles of the younger generation.  A prime market will be the younger generation in India and China, who are increasingly displaying four key characteristics as consumers

  • Personalization and Individualization
  • Techno Savvy and Connected 24×7
  • Civic and Environmentally Friendly
  • Demanding and Impatient – “Fast and the Furious

Reverse Brain Drain.  Frost expects there to be a migration of skilled and educated workers from developed companies back to their homelands to fill a shortage of CXO Positions In BRIC countries.  Frost also says that many Europeans and Americans will seek jobs in these developing countries in the future in order to participate in the huge growth economies that are materializing.

3) Increased Satellites In Orbit.   Frost expects that by 2020 there will over 900 satellites will be launched annually around the globe. While this will cause a traffic jam in space, all those satellites will enable a whole set of new and innovative applications and services.

4) Cyber Warfare.  Frost is concerned that by 2020 cyber warfare will become an everyday occurrence.  In fact, Frost says that if there is a World War 3 in our future, cyber warfare will play an important part. 

5) Robot Technology.   Frost paints a strong future for robots across all sectors of the economy.  Future robots will utilize artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to be able to help us with everyday decision making.  The top applications for industrial robots will be in Robots in Space, Military, Healthcare

6) Virtual Worlds.  Frost says that by 2020, 3D simulated environments will be used to significantly enhance consumer and business activities.   Simulation and virtual world technology will change the way we interact with users and data.  For example, virtual shopping will allow customers to try products without leaving their homes.   Virtual surgeries will allow doctors to train for new types of procedures just like airplane pilots train in flight simulators today.  Frost explained that haptic technology is an an enabling technology for these immersive virtual and simulation environments in the future.

7) Cloud Computing.   Frost says we will have smart clouds by 2020.  These will be flexible and customized clouds created by consolidation of different off premise hybrid cloud services.  Cloud computing will allow future information technology infrastructures to  be scaled up or down as the workload demands.  Key enabling technologies will be  API standards and cloud security standards.

8) Innovating to Zero.   As we move towards 2020, there will be a focus on using emerging technologies to minimize failures.  Governments and businesses alike will strive to reach a level of zero security accidents, zero facility failures, zero emissions, zero accidents.   Frost mentioned initiatives in Norway as well as initiatives in the power generation generation industry to enable innovative zero emission technologies including Wind energy, Solar PV Cells, Ocean energy, Geothermal Energy, Bio Fuels, and Travelling Wave Reactors.

9) Infrastructure Development and New Transportation Corridors.  Frost expects higher spending on travel, transportation, and utilities infrastructures.  Frost mentioned the highest spending may be in water management systems, but also mentioned power generation/distribution, Road & Rail, and Air/Seaports.    Frost provided the example of the Trans-Siberian railroad.   This new transportation corridor will result in industrial and business hubs along the railroad, much like “Route 66” did to the American landscape.  Development of Trans-Siberian railroad will have significant socio economic and business impact to Russia. 

10) E-Mobility.  Frost expects that over the next decade all sorts of new forms of personal transportation vehicles will make its way to the economy.  Many of these will target urban commuters who just need to get to work and back.  Frost says that 40 million electric 2 and 4 wheeled vehicles will be sold annually around the globe by 20120.   

11) Healthcare:  Spending will rise globally.  Frost says that if the current spending trend continues, Healthcare spending will almost double by 2050.  Some countries will end up spending 20-30% of their GDP on Healthcare.   Spending will transition away from treating and more for predictive analytics that will be used to help diagnose and monitor conditions before they become serious.


A BrightTALK Channel

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About HorizonWatching

Profile pic from TwitterWhat is HorizonWatching?:   HorizonWatching was launched in 2006 to encourage sharing information and collaborating about emerging trends, technologies, and business issues that will impact businesses of all sizes in the future.  We’re also interested in discussing how businesses plan for the future.  So what is your vision of the future for the business/technology topic that you are focused on?

About Me: I’m an IBMer who is interested in understanding the potential futures that await us.  I’ve spent most of my career in marketing research and strategy roles.  So, I like to do research on emerging trends, technologies and business issues.  Anything I say or do related to the HorizonWatching effort is my own work and does represent the views of the company I work for (IBM).   I won’t bore you here with my background.  For more on me, see my LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/whchamb

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Gartner’s 2011 Top Ten Strategic Technologies

Gartner Ten Strategic 2011 Gartner recently held their Symposium/ITxpo, October 17-21, in Orlando.  At that conference, Gartner released their annual list of top 10 Strategic Technologies and trends for 2011 in a presentation delivered by Gartner VPs David Cearley and Carl Claunch

Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years.  Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.  

The summary below provides the list of the ten technologies along with my summary observations about Gartner’s take on technology trend.  The first five on the 2011 list is familiar from last year's list. 

  • Cloud Computing. This trend continues to mature along both private and public delivery models.  In 2011 expect more vendors to focus on providing private services or technologies to create private implementations to address concerns with security and control.
  • Next-Generation Analytics.  Gartner says the next focus for analytics is to combine real-time predictive functionality with collaborative applications.   Future analytics capabilities will bring business intelligence to a much broader set of users and therefore impact a broader set of business processes.
  • Social Communications and Collaboration.  An outgrowth of the ‘Web 2.0’ trend, this technology area includes the use of social software for internal communication and collaboration, customer-facing websites, and public social networking.
  • Mobile Applications and Media Tablets.  This emerging technology will significantly impact both consumer and enterprise computing.  Gartner points out that the launch of the Apple iPad will drive IT departments to evaluate when, where and how tablets should be used in a business context.
  • Storage class memory.   Gartner says that flash memory, becoming popular in consumer devices, will make its way into the enterprise storage hierarchy in servers and client computers.  There are key advantages for IT (space, heat, performance and ruggedness).  Expect this technology to have a significant impact on many analytical and transactional applications.

New to the Gartner list for 2011 are the following 5 technologies.

  • Social Analysis:   Gartner says that social analytics, an intersection of “Next Generation Analytics” and “Social Communications and Collaboration”, is an important emerging trend.   A key development to watch out for will be the ability to harvest intelligence from mobile applications and context aware computing. 
  • Context-Aware Computing:  Systems will increasingly anticipate the user's needs (based on their things like environment and historical behavior patterns), then proactively provide the most appropriate and customized content, product or service.
  • Video:  Gartner says it is time for businesses to develop strategies and goals for using video technologies within business processes.  Video can add new capabilities to business processes and workflow.
  • Fabric-Based Infrastructure and Computing:   Gartner says systems will become more flexible and modular as they evolve to support the dynamic needs of public and private cloud computing.
  • Ubiquitous Computing:   The explosion of sensors, chips, and other low cost computing devices is resulting in smarter objects.   Businesses and IT leaders will need to learn how to incorporate these ever increasing large number of computing devices and their data they provide into business processes and decision making systems.

For more on Gartner's list of 10 strategic technologies