The IT research firm Gartner has listed out top 10 technology trends that will provide tactical advantage to most organizations in 2012 and impact their long-term plans, initiatives, and growth prospects. These trends are as follows:
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- Cloud computing: Although derogated as hype by many, cloud computing is here to stay. This technology trend will have a broad-based long-term impact in most industries. With the cloud market still in its nascent stage, a number of large enterprise providers are dedicated to building cloud environments and offering varied cloud services. The vendors such as Oracle, IBM, and SAP plan to deliver a wide range of cloud services over the next two years. So is the case with Microsoft which is expanding its cloud offerings. Competition is set to increase as many other enterprise players are expanding their set of cloud offerings as well, giving the customer a wide variety of options to choose from.
- Big data: Another major technology trend is big data. With skyrocketing data volumes, traditional data management technologies are not enough to manage this sheer volume. Many promising technology trends like in-memory DBMS have emerged, though users wanting to put all information into a single data warehouse will be unable to do so. However, this model will be replaced by the logical data warehouses compiling information from multiple sources. Analytics is a compelling application for data warehousing, with the use of MapReduce outside and inside the DBMS, and the use of self-service data marts.
- In-memory computing: Gartner foresees a surge in adoption of flash memory in consumer devices, entertainment equipment, and other embedded IT systems in 2012. In servers, this technology will drive improvements in design to achieve space optimization, heat reduction, performance enhancement, and improved ruggedness. The availability of large amounts of memory is driving new application models, while existing in-memory applications are delivering better performances, lower latency and high scalability. This technology trend is expected to enter mainstream in 2012 as cost and availability of memory intensive hardware platforms expands.
- Next-generation analytics: Analytics is the new kid on the block and a major technology trend to consider. There has been an ongoing effort to shift traditional offline analytics to in-line embedded analytics, and to simulate and predict the future using real-time data. Analytics will also mature fast and start to analyze complex information of many types. Consequently, analytics is also beginning to shift to the cloud and exploit cloud resources for high performance and grid computing. In 2011 and 2012, analytics will increasingly focus on decisions and collaboration.
- Mobile-centric applications and interfaces: Mobile centric applications and interfaces is a budding technology trend and is set to replace the user interface model, with applications likely to shift to more focused and simple apps. A user interface designing and cross-platform environment development capability is a necessary skill-set. By 2015, applications will be delivered as Web apps.
- Contextual and social user experience: If the aim is to improve the quality of interaction with the end-user, then context-aware computing is the answer. This technology trend anticipates the end-user’s needs and throws out the most appropriate and customized content. On the social front, the interfaces for applications are taking on the characteristics of social networks. Social information is a key source of contextual information to enhance delivery of search results or the operation of applications.
- Extreme low-energy servers: A noteworthy technology trend is the adoption of low-energy servers which are built on low-power processors typically used in mobile devices. With the prospect of delivering 30 times or more processors in a particular server unit with lower power consumption, the new approach is suitable for only non-compute intensive tasks vis a vis most applications that require more processing power. However, this technology trend comes with a huge management cost.
- Media tablets: According to Gartner, another technology trend to reckon with is the emergence of media tablets. This trend is now a rage and in the case of mobile computing, users have a wide variety of form factors to choose from. No single technology trend will take over; and companies will have to run a diverse environment with two to four intelligent clients through 2015, as well as employees bringing their own smartphones and tablet devices into the workplace. This technology trend suggests that enterprises will be forced to come up with a dual mobile strategy–addressing both, B2B and B2C scenarios.
- Internet of Things: This technology trend has existed for years, however, only now has it gained momentum. Internet of Things is expected to reach critical mass and an economic tipping point over the next few years. Key elements of the IoT include:
- Embedded sensors
- Image recognition
- Near field communication (NFC) payment
10. App stores and marketplaces: Gartner forecasts the app stores to be a key technology trend; and by 2014, more than 7,000 crore mobile application downloads from app stores every year is expected. Application stores by Apple and Android have widened the marketplace with thousands of applications now available to mobile users. This technology trend has provided IT governance and brokerage services to users, segmenting apps by risk and value.