Top 10 tech trends for 2013

Gartner, the  research and analysis firm, has identified its top 10 strategic trends in tech for most organisations in 2013.

Strategic technology trends, according to Gartner, are those with the potential for significant impact on business 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,” it said.

The group added that the technologies may already exist, having matured into a wider range of uses – or they may be new and emerging.

David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow, noted further that these technologies are emerging amidst a nexus of converging forces – social, mobile, cloud and information.

Mobile Device Battles

Gartner predicts that by 2013 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device, worldwide; and that by 2015, over 80 per cent of the handsets sold in mature markets will be smartphones.

Gartner points to further diversification in terms of mobile operating systems, with Windows 8 taking up third position behind Google‘s Android and Apple‘s iOS.

This means the end of the Windows-dominated era, as consumerisation will mean organisations won’t be able to force users to drop or adopt specific devices.

“Businesses will need to support a greater variety of form factors, reducing the ability to standardise PC and tablet hardware. The implications for IT is that the era of PC dominance with Windows as the single platform will be replaced,” Gartner said.

Mobile Applications and HTML5

The market for tools to create consumer and enterprise facing apps is complex with well over 100 potential tools vendors, the research firm said.

“For the next few years, no single tool will be optimal for all types of mobile application so expect to employ several. Six mobile architectures – native, special, hybrid, HTML 5, Message and No Client will remain popular,” Gartner said.

However, Gartner noted that there will be a long term shift away from native apps to web apps as HTML5 becomes more capable.

“nevertheless, native apps won’t disappear, [they] will always offer the best user experiences and most sophisticated features,” it said.

Personal Cloud

The personal cloud will gradually replace the PC as the location where individuals keep their personal content, access their services and personal preferences and centre their digital lives.

“It will be the glue that connects the web of devices they choose to use during different aspects of their daily lives,” Gartner said.

As no one platform, form factor, technology or vendor will dominate the market – and managed diversity and mobile device management will be an imperative – the personal cloud shifts the focus from the client device to cloud-based services delivered across devices, gartner said.

Enterprise App Stores

By 2014, Gartner said that many organisations will deliver mobile applications to workers through private application stores.

This is due to the current complex nature of purchasing and distributing applications from multiple stores, using multiple platforms and multiple payment methods.

“With enterprise app stores the role of IT shifts from that of a centralised planner to a market manager providing governance and brokerage services to users and potentially an ecosystem to support ‘apptrepreneurs’,” gartner said.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept that describes how the internet will expand as physical items, such as consumer devices and physical assets, are connected to the internet.

Key elements of the IoT which are being embedded in a variety of mobile devices include embedded sensors, image recognition technologies and NFC payment.

“As a result, mobile no longer refers only to use of cellular handsets or tablets,” Gartner said.

Cellular technology is being embedded in many new types of devices and smartphones and other devices don’t just use the cellular network – they communicate via NFC, Bluetooth, LE and Wi-Fi to a wide range of devices and peripherals.

“The IoT will enable a wide range of new applications and services while raising many new challenges,” Gartner said.

Hybrid IT and Cloud Computing

A recent Gartner IT services survey revealed that the internal cloud services brokerage (CSB) is an emerging role within organisations.

This is because businesses realise that they have a responsibility to help improve complex cloud services for their internal users and external business partners, the firm noted.

“The internal CSB role represents a means for the IT organisation to retain and build influence inside its organisation and to become a value centre in the face of challenging new requirements relating to increasing adoption of cloud as an approach to IT consumption,” Gartner said.

Strategic Big Data

Big Data is moving from a focus on individual projects to an influence on enterprises’ strategic information architecture.

Dealing with data volume, variety, velocity and complexity is forcing changes to many traditional approaches.

“This realisation is leading organisations to abandon the concept of a single enterprise data warehouse containing all information needed for decisions,” Gartner said.

“Instead they are moving towards multiple systems, including content management, data warehouses, data marts and specialised file systems tied together with data services and metadata, which will become the “logical” enterprise data warehouse.”

Actionable Analytics

Analytics is increasingly delivered to users at the point of action and in context.

With the improvement of performance and costs, IT leaders can afford to perform analytics and simulation for every action taken in the business, Gartner said.

This means that mobile client linked to cloud-based analytic engines and big data repositories, potentially enables the use of optimisation and simulation each time.

“This new step provides simulation, prediction, optimisation and other analytics, to empower even more decision flexibility at the time and place of every business process action,” said Gartner.

In Memory Computing

The execution of certain-types of hours-long batch processes can be squeezed into minutes or even seconds, allowing processes to be provided in the form of real-time, or near real-time services.

“Millions of events can be scanned in a matter of a few tens of millisecond to detect correlations and patterns pointing at emerging opportunities and threats ‘as things happen’.”

“The possibility of concurrently running transactional and analytical applications against the same dataset opens unexplored possibilities for business innovation,” Gartner said.

Numerous vendors will deliver in-memory-based solutions over the next two years driving this approach into mainstream use.

Integrated Ecosystems

“The market is undergoing a shift to more integrated systems and ecosystems and away from loosely coupled heterogeneous approaches. Driving this trend is the user desire for lower cost, simplicity, and more assured security,” Gartner said.

For vendors, the ability to have more control of the solution stack and obtain greater margin in the sale, as well as offer a complete solution stack in a controlled environment without the need to provide any actual hardware, is a driving factor.

This trend will manifest in three levels, Gartner said:

  • Appliances: combining hardware and software, and software and services packaged to address and infrastructure or application workload.
  • Cloud: cloud-based marketplaces and brokerages to facilitate purchase, consumption and/or use of capabilities from multiple vendors.
  • Mobile: vendors including Apple, Google and Microsoft drive varying degrees of control across and end-to-end ecosystem extending the client through the apps.

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Top 10 tech trends for 2013