From Good, Better, Best To Smart, Smarter, Smartest
Posted in Operations & IT Articles, Total Reads: 3077
, Published on 03 April 2014
Where we started and where we are?
From letters to emails, photographs to videos, carts to driverless cars; the world has taken a huge leap over a few years. The 21st century has seen a world that moves, behaves and connects in an all new way. Technology is what is all around. But is it technology that has led to exponential pace of advancement across domains? Besides, it is difficult to say that whether technology has driven the vehicle of innovation or innovation has pulled the wheels of technology. While technology provides us the means to innovate, innovations in technology also occur. Technology has equipped the world with new means of communication, it has guided the astronauts find their way in space, helped the defense to plan out strategies, moved businesses to a different level, and has also made significant contribution to the health sector.
The late 19th century had seen the first voice communicating device – telephone which later evolved into a “mobile” in the 20th century. But the mobiles of the current century are no longer limited to voice communication. Perhaps they provide the features that undoubtedly make them call themselves as “Smart phones”. They provide access to the web, m-commerce, applications, etc. This has forced web site designers to approach the mobile side of the projects first and then the desktop side, that is, the trend now is to create mobile-first sites. The reason is the growing number of mobile users and their behavior to use mobiles instead of computers. However, the word “smart” is not just restricted to the mobile segment; the word smart machines have already fallen onto the ears of all. Smart watches, driverless cars, IBM Watson, are all examples of smart machines. It is said that by 2020 smart machines era would be the most disruptive in the history of IT.
Image Courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net, twobee
Businesses too have utilized technology and have expanded across the borders smoothly. Video conferencing has made it possible for anyone to be available anywhere at any point of time. It has also helped businesses to be awake all the time through one continent or the other. While the businesses expand, the means to market are no behind. Social Media Marketing, E-mail Marketing, Content Marketing, Mobile Marketing, etc are the ones that dwarf the traditional ones. It is digitization that has created a huge boom and raised the appetite for more. Therefore, the major impact - which indeed impacted multiple other domains – is Information Technology. While this branch of science was unheard of a few decades ago, it now delivers the most jaw-dropping innovations of the technology world.
The technology trend has been shifting towards a more efficient and advanced form where the pace of growth is exponential. Year after year new trends are making space for themselves with promising future technologies. The strategic technology trends for 2014 are – Mobile device diversity and management, Mobile apps and applications, Internet of everything, Hybrid cloud and IT as service broker, Cloud/Client architecture, Personal cloud era, Software-defined anything, Web-scale IT, Smart machines, 3D printing, Wearable, and Big data. These are identified as the most swiftly unfolding technologies of the year.
1. Mobile device diversity and management: The diverse alternatives for mobile devices demands different protocols and smooth accessibility. Bring your own device (BYOD) to work necessitates the businesses to bring up interfaces that allow the devices that are not owned by the company to access the network securely.
2. Mobile apps and applications: With the increasing number of mobile users apps slated to grow, the applications would take a step back. The focus is on interfaces that would bring richer voice and video to connect. Several tools would come up to enhance the user experience.
3. Internet of Everything: It is the integration of people, processes, things and data that forms an intelligent network. It would allow businesses to claim a $14.4 trillion opportunity (2012-2022). The first movers would be at advantage as they would be more productive at reduced costs. They would streamline supply chains and logistics while encumbering innovations and improving the customer experience.
4. Hybrid cloud and IT as service broker: The future would rely on the admixture of private and public cloud. The organizations should design their private clouds such that they can fuse it with the public cloud as and when required. However, cloud service brokers would take the responsibility of managing the services that are offered by the cloud.
5. Cloud/Client architecture: Cloud resides virtually on the Internet and has access from anywhere. The client, however, is the application that is requesting service from the cloud. As the complexity of demand increases from the consumers, the architecture requires more of server-side computing and storage space.
6. Personal cloud era: Velocity, variety, and volume of data permanently overwhelm traditional platforms. Personal cloud would thus be a shift of storage of data to the cloud which can then be accessed ubiquitously. Also, managing the data on the cloud would be taken care of.
7. Software-defined anything: It is the involvement of software control programs to operate the hardware. The interoperability of data is automated and portability is enhanced. However, the risk of openness still knocks the consumers’ door.
8. Web-scale IT: It refers to the reinvention of the architecture of the IT value chain which is being undertaken by the major players of service providers such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. The six elements of web-scale are industrial data centers, web-oriented architectures, programmable management, agile processes, a collaborative organization style and a learning culture. The term scale is used to state that small or large, any business can gain from it.
9. Smart machines: Smart machines would disrupt innovations and would fulfill the visions of the early technologists. They belong to the cognitive era and are designed for big data and hold a bunch of layer of technologies. However, a New York Times columnist quotes that “Smart machines may make higher GDP possible, but also reduce the demand for people – including smart people. So we could be looking at a society in which all the gains in wealth accrue to whoever owns the robots”.
10. 3D printing: Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 75 percent in 2014 followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015. The organizations are looking at it as a real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.
11. Wearable: Google glass has already started integrating wearable with games. While the concept is still new there is a wide scope of advancement in this technology.
12. Big data: As significant from its name, it takes care of the wide variety and volumes to data to provide valuable information. For example LinkedIn uses Hadoop viz. a big data technology to provide more than a million personalized recommendations a week.
The fifth wave of IT after Mainframes, Minicomputer, Distributed Computing, and Internet PC - is SMAC - that adds a new dimension to the business model. SMAC constitutes Social, Mobility, Analytics, and Cloud. They integrate and collaboratively form the “future of tomorrow”. This wave being connective, collaborative and real-time; has a multiplying effect on businesses and their productivity. Ten years ago the information was restricted to a central database that was on-premise and accessible through application interface through ERP, CRM, SCM systems. But today the dull battleship grey interfaces have optimized to opt for visualization tools and become colorful. As a result, the user experience has reached new heights and the executives have quick access to the information. Analytics integrates to provide the most relevant and updated business information which in turn helps to take timely decisions thus providing business intelligence. Review of information has been blessed with the use of social or collaborative tools as it gets accessible to a large audience. Endless resources can be consumed from the cloud services. And all the information gets to your hand held device – the mobile. This integration of Social, Mobility, Analytics, and Cloud technology is the cutting edge for businesses.
It is clear that the impact of technology (or innovation) has been extensive and has created a revolution worldwide while it still demands a stipulated pace of growth. The past technology trends have shown a high adoption rate and have set high expectations in terms of development and consumer experience. However, the adoption and absorption of the new trends and their adaptability is yet to be seen. Perhaps the hope is to enter a smarter world which is thriving to become the smartest.
This article has been authored by DIVYA ARORA from IMT GHAZIABAD
1. Research paper: Identifying future trends in information technology – By Michael J. Savoie and Mahesh S. Raisinghani