|By Esmeralda Swartz||
|February 2, 2015 09:00 AM EST||
In 2015 Predictions, Application Economy, Cloud and Vertical-Specific Marketplaces Meet IoT, Big Data
As we enter 2015, it is time to dust off the crystal ball once again for our annual predictions forecast. The parade of new technology innovations and breakthroughs is unfolding across many fronts. In some cases the convergence of technologies themselves provides the breakthrough. The cloud, Internet of Things, mobile platforms, social media, Big Data and analytics, vertical-specific marketplaces and even wearables all have a part to play to transform industry and society and shape the new global economy.
- It's all about the apps. The global uptake of the smartphone has reshaped the way we communicate and consume content online and has ushered in the application economy. The most desirable feature of a smartphone has nothing to do with the hardware; it's all about the apps, which personalize the experience and unlock the full capabilities of the smartphone. Apple's App Store has reached 75 billion downloads, and both Apple and Google have reached 1.2 million applications. From games, social media, news and stocks to Uber and OpenTable, the number of apps available in app stores continues to explode. And just like the smartphone, the coming tsunami of the Internet of Things (IoT) will usher in a new era of applications from new industry players to augment those of Apple, Facebook, Google and others.
- The Internet of Things moves from puzzle pieces to solution. Many descriptions of mainstream IoT services tend to emphasize sensors and monitoring, with a degree of autonomous actions to help people, but mostly these services feed information to cloud data centers for storage and analysis. However, we are seeing smarter and more sophisticated solutions, such as those with the ability to identify a need for medication and trigger an Internet-connected thing to deliver a dose. Systems don't just notice an intruder and raise an alarm; they also can lock paths of exit and attempt facial recognition of intruders. IoT services can track vehicle movements, assess anomalous behaviors and call for help when needed. All of this happens in near-real time. It isn't directly controlled by humans, although humans set the rules of behavior. It is not driven directly by data analysis either, but data analysis contributes to creating the semi-persistent rules for appropriate actions. As things become more intelligent, predictive action and maintenance will emerge as important IoT segments for the new industrial and consumer Internet.
- The customer is omnichannel. The cloud, mobile platforms, IoT, Big Data and analytics all come together to help enterprises mine data to deliver improved customer knowledge and personalize interactions. Applications are the window into the organization, shaping the way in which customers perceive the enterprise and how the enterprise interacts with customers to create and drive new products and services. Enterprise CIOs will need to take the lead in the new application economy or risk being left behind as more IT budgets are spent outside of IT by other lines of business. Digital is changing how applications are built, delivered and consumed, turning old ways of doing business upside down. Successful enterprise IT leaders will need to align with business leaders to determine what is strategic, what should be done in-house and what gets outsourced.
- Enterprises move to the cloud, and a new battlefield emerges. Cloud migration for enterprises has not lived up to the hype, but change is in the air. IDC forecasts that PaaS, SaaS and IaaS services will be a hotbed of activity in 2015, with $118 billion in spending. And with enterprises as the target, the battlefield will be value-added services - not price alone - as new competitors take on Amazon Web Services (AWS) with enterprise-class IaaS offerings.
- Industry-specific marketplaces, clouds and platforms develop. The cloud is too fertile for only a select few providers to benefit. New companies, new alliances and even new industries will emerge to take on the original players. Marketplaces are cropping up to deliver industry-specific services. We will see specialty enterprise platforms that will support smart cities, energy and utilities, transportation, security, financial services, retail services and many more fields. Customers will take advantage of innovations and services specific to their industry to completely transform business models. Data centers will also undergo a fundamental transformation with compute and storage capacity moving to the cloud and big data-optimized data centers operated by cloud service providers targeting different verticals. Businesses of all sizes can buy and sell globally, and leverage vertically and horizontally integrated supply chains.
- Data becomes the new currency. IDC predicted Big Data spending will grow to $125 billion in 2015. The rise of Big Data over the last few years created a lot of hype, but the ability to monetize data was not where it needed to be. The massive amounts of data that can be collected through IoT sensors from smart homes, wearables, e-health and telemedicine devices, industrial machines, smart cities and connected cars can be harnessed to enable companies to deliver tailored services to customers. The cloud plays a critical role in enabling intelligent machines to operate and data to be used by the machines themselves to self-diagnose and self-repair. Analytics platforms for managing data produced by intelligent machines and sensors convert data from machines and turn it into new offerings for consumers and corporate customers. The issue of privacy will also take center stage as the subject of personal data versus anonymous data reaches data protection regulators.
- Software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) become mainstream. SDN and NFV are now established within the telco and enterprise markets to virtualize, industrialize and automate service delivery along with the requisite cost reduction. In 2015, proprietary hardware will begin to transition to hardware supported by open SDN and NFV specs. Enterprises will drive to a single IT service environment as the distinction between the management and delivery of cloud and IT services is blurred.
- The agile enterprise demands agile enterprise platforms. Some industries are using technology to innovate while others languish with traditional ways of running their business. In our massively networked age, it's rare to find examples of technology not having an impact on helping businesses become more efficient and grow. Well, almost never. Traditional ERP and billing systems regularly get in the way of enterprises flexing and adapting to capture new revenue streams, be responsive to customers, change business models or roll out new services. The agile business needs to constantly take into account all pricing and service options from subscriptions to one-off purchases to usage and consumption models, unconstrained.
- Enterprise cloud means continuous delivery becomes mainstream. While the connection between agile development and continuous delivery may seem obvious, the migration of enterprises to cloud makes agile development and continuous delivery a reality. With its emphasis on having releases in a ready state at all times, continuous delivery is the natural evolution from agile development and continuous integration practices. For most organizations, the challenge will be adapting from existing software release processes.
- Wearables and unrelated industries come together. The partnership between Google and Luxottica (the eyewear company with brands including Ray-Ban and Oakley) for Google Glass foreshadows what we can expect to see in the form of relationships that leverage expertise and connect players in what were previously unrelated industries. In this case, high-tech developers will match up with fashion designers and eyewear professionals with teams of experts working on the design, development, tooling and engineering of Glass products. High-fashion, lifestyle and technology lines are now crossed. This trend will increase considerably in 2015, raising new legal issues, including protection under intellectual property laws under fashion-related terms for their usage as trademarks in the technology sector (as occurred in the Google Glass versus Glassup case), but could also extend to hand gestures.
What trends do you expect for 2015? Check out our Internet of Things billing solutions infographic to learn how to prepare for tomorrow's IoT services.
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