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  • In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), the internet of things (IoT) and 3D printers. But which of these technologies have emerged as the biggest potential business drivers? IoT appears be leading the pack, with somewhat less buy-in so far for VR, according to a recent survey from Spiceworks. The resulting report, "Future of IT: Hype Vs. Reality," indicates that all four of these technologies are the source of considerable intrigue. In the end, AI may generate the liveliest debate: It is expected to improve the automation of tasks, allowing IT pros to spend more time on strategic initiatives. But many survey respondents also expressed concerns about AI and privacy, as well as its potential to put jobs at risk. VR and 3D printers are perceived as "safer" types of technology, with VR viewed as a means to improve data visualization and creativity, while 3D printers are expected to result in faster prototype generation and parts replacements. In either case, it's best to think about how each acquisition would contribute to the bottom line, rather than buying into the hype without assessing the value. Would you "like to hyper-drive emerging tech into your business?" the report asks. "You can help secure a smooth transition by thinking through how such devices fit in with your existing infrastructure and business goals, how you'll address the costs, and how you'll measure the benefits. A little prep can help organizations ensure they're adopting new technology that syncs with their strategic plan … instead of just taking a quantum leap forward because of the buzz." More than 560 global IT professionals took part in the research.

  • Here are five tech and business trends to watch this year: artificial intelligence, internet of things, cyber-security, mobile-first and predictive analytics.

  • Success with these technologies hinges on how companies marry AI and big data with business domain expertise—a C-suite imperative that cannot be ignored.