Gartner defines a strategic technology trend as one with the potential for significant impact on the organisation in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to the business, end users or IT, the need for a major investment, or the risk of being late to adopt. These technologies impact the organisation’s long-term plans, programmes and initiatives.
‘We have identified the top technology trends that organisations cannot afford to ignore in their strategic planning processes,’ said David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow. ‘This does not necessarily mean adoption and investment in all of the trends at the same rate, but companies should look to make deliberate decisions about them during the next two years.’
Mr Cearley said the top trends in 2015 cover three themes: the merging of the real and virtual worlds, the advent of intelligence everywhere, and the technology impact of the digital business shift.
The technology trends for 2015 are:
As mobile devices continue to proliferate, Gartner predicts an increased emphasis on serving the needs of the mobile user in diverse contexts and environments, as opposed to focusing on devices alone.
‘Phones and wearable devices are now part of an expanded computing environment that includes such things as consumer electronics and connected screens in the workplace and public space,’ said Mr Cearley. ‘Increasingly, it’s the overall environment that will need to adapt to the requirements of the mobile user. This will continue to raise significant management challenges for IT organisations as they lose control of user endpoint devices. It will also require increased attention to user experience design.’
The Internet of Things
The combination of data streams and services created by digitising everything creates four basic usage models — Manage, Monetise, Operate and Extend. These four basic models can be applied to any of the four ‘Internets.’ Organisations should not limit themselves to thinking that only the Internet of Things (IoT) (assets and machines) has the potential to leverage these four models. For example, the pay-per-use model can be applied to assets (such as industrial equipment), services (such as pay-as-you-drive insurance), people (such as movers), places (such as parking spots) and systems (such as cloud services). Businesses from all industries can leverage these four models.
Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 98 per cent in 2015, followed by a doubling of unit shipments in 2016. 3D printing will reach a tipping point over the next three years as the market for relatively low-cost 3D printing devices continues to grow rapidly and industrial use expands significantly. New industrial, biomedical and consumer applications will continue to demonstrate that 3D printing is a real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.
Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible Analytics
Analytics will take centre stage as the volume of data generated by embedded systems increases and vast pools of structured and unstructured data inside and outside the organisation are analysed. ‘Every app now needs to be an analytic app,’ said Mr Cearley. ‘Organisations need to manage how best to filter the huge amounts of data coming from the IoT, social media and wearable devices, and then deliver exactly the right information to the right person, at the right time. Analytics will become deeply, but invisibly embedded everywhere.’ Big data remains an important enabler for this trend but the focus needs to shift to thinking about big questions and big answers first and big data second — the value is in the answers, not the data.