Six Top Tech Trends to Watch in 2014By Samuel Greengard | Posted 2013-12-18 Email Print
Companies are discovering that they must approach IT in radically different ways. Here are six technology trends that will sweep through the enterprise in 2014.
Big data and analytics get real.
There has been no shortage of hype about big data and analytics. However, the technology is now advancing at a rapid pace and, thanks in part to clouds, better ways to extract data and next-gen analytics tools such as IBM's Watson, organizations are able to transform a growing mountain of data (including unstructured data) into knowledge.
"With 80 to 90 percent of data today existing in an unstructured state, big data tools are essential for distinguishing the 'signal from the noise,'" says Menka Uttamchandani, vice president for business intelligence at Denihan Hospitality Group, which operates 14 boutique hotels in the United States. Although BI has been around for years, she says that organizations are now learning how to plug in the right tools and build better partnerships, cultivate the necessary internal skill sets and create an analytics-friendly culture that takes appropriate risks.
Joshua Greenbaum, principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting and an IEEE blogger, says that real-time capabilities are emerging. "There is now the opportunity to look at vast amounts of data in real time and use the data to understand the supply chain, logistics, customer behavior, patient outcomes and many other things in a way that wasn't possible in the recent past," he says. "Big data is creating a new lease on life for many traditional processes."
The Internet of things connects to business.
The growing number of connected devices and machines is radically changing the business and IT landscape. Cisco Systems' Internet Business Solutions Group predicts that the number of Internet-connected devices will hit 25 billion by 2015 and reach 50 billion by 2020. The firm also forecasts that 99 percent of physical objects will eventually become part of a network.
"Literally any sensor—physical or virtual—can be transformed into the source of data," says Dejan Milojicic, 2014 IEEE Computer Society president and senior research manager at HP Labs. "And all that data, once collected, can be analyzed, so the opportunities are infinite."
John Devlin, a practice director at ABI Research, says that businesses must begin to understand market opportunities for the Internet of things, a.k.a. the Internet of Everything. Big data and the cloud are integral components.
"The underlying technologies for the Internet of things already exist," Devlin says."A large part of the puzzle is understanding how to fit all the pieces together in an appropriate manner." That includes understanding which systems and tools work best, and building in secure access and authentication, he points out.
Séverin Kezeu, CEO of SK Solutions, a Dubai-based manufacturer of anti-collision and safety systems for aerospace, construction and oil and gas drilling, says that the Internet of things provides a way to dive deeper into big data and analytics, including historic, real-time and predictive systems. SK Solutions has already built connected capabilities into its ERP system through an SAP Internet of things solution. The system is used to deliver relevant and actionable insights, as well as better decisions.
"This can be an iterative process for many companies as they uncover unexpected insights and connections from new streams of data," Kezeu says.