Gartner's Top 10 Technology Trends For 20134:00 PM EST Tue. Nov. 06, 2012
Disruptive technologies like mobility and the cloud have already taken the IT industry by storm -- and according to Gartner, they're not done yet.
According to the analyst firm's findings from the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo event last month, the full impact of these technologies is just starting to be felt, while other new trends, such as the Internet of Things and big data, will become more and more pressing over the next few years.
Here are Gartner's 10 tech predictions for next year and beyond.
Gartner predicts that mobile phones will officially overtake PCs by 2013 as the most commonly used devices to access the Web.
Tablet adoption will also continue to soar, according to the firm, with shipments reaching around 50 percent of worldwide notebook shipments by 2015.
"The implications for IT is that the era of PC dominance with Windows as the single platform will be replaced with a post-PC era where Windows is just one of a variety of environments IT will need to support," Gartner wrote.
The mobile development tool and mobile architecture landscape will remain complex and siloed over the next few years, Gartner projects.
The firm noted that there are over 100 different vendors offering tools for mobile app development, a number it doesn't expect to shrink until a single development tool, ideal for all applications, makes its way to the market.
What's more, six different mobile architectures -- native, special, hybrid, HTML 5, Message and No Client -- will continue to be popular, though HTML 5 will eventually become more sophisticated, causing an eventual transition from native apps to Web apps.
In another bout of bad news for PC makers, Gartner predicts that the personal cloud, like smartphones, will make PCs less and less relevant, as users choose to store their files and other content in the cloud, instead of an on-premise device.
Private clouds, according to Gartner, will become "the glue" that holds together users' digital lives.
"The personal cloud will entail the unique collection of services, Web destinations and connectivity that will become the home of their computing and communication activities," Gartner writes. "Users will see it as a portable, always-available place where they go for all their digital needs."
As smartphones and tablets become an integral part of enterprise environments, the need for enterprise-specific app stores will rise.
That's why Gartner predicts that, by 2014, many businesses will create centralized and private app stores for their users to purchase apps. This movement will eliminate the IT headaches caused by having to purchase apps from a variety of third-party stores and dealing with disparate payments processes as a result.
A concept that originally sounded like something out of sci-fi movie -- the "Internet of Things" -- is, in fact, a reality, and one that is bound to become even more widespread.
Per Gartner's predictions, the Internet of Things, or the ability for consumer devices and appliances to communicate with one another via Web access and a complex system of embedded sensors, will "enable a wide range of new applications and services while raising many new challenges," Gartner believes.
Among these up-and-coming possibilities is the ability for smartphones to communicate via NFC and Wi-Fi to a range of devices, including wristwatches, healthcare sensors and home entertainment systems.
Using results from a recently conducted IT services survey as leverage, Gartner predicts that a cloud services brokerage (CSB) role will quickly emerge in the enterprise, as IT grapples with provisioning complex cloud services models both internally and among outside business partners.
This CSB role, according to Gartner, will be a way for an IT organization "to become a value center in the face of challenging new requirements relative to increasing adoption of cloud as an approach to IT consumption."
As enterprises continue to wrestle with big data, they are going to move away from having one data warehousing solution and adopt instead multiple systems that can better meet their needs.
Gartner suggests this transition will happen more and more frequently among organizations dealing with large, unstructured volumes of data over the next few years. Rather than host one data warehouse, these organizations will on-board several warehouses, along with new solutions for content management, data marts and specialized filing systems.
The rise of mobility and the cloud, coupled with the growing capabilities of analytical engines, will enable enterprise users to make faster, more informed decisions on the go, Gartner predicts.
"With the improvement of performance and costs, IT leaders can afford to perform analytics and simulation for every action taken in the business," Gartner writes.
This trend will be fueled by the fact that more and more mobile client devices will tap into cloud-based analytical engines and big data repositories over the next year.
Like analytics, in-memory computing is expected to become much more sophisticated over the next two years, Gartner predicts.
Vendors will start coming forward with new in-memory solutions that, for example, will be able to concurrently run transactional or analytical applications against the same dataset, leading to "unexplored possibilities for business transformation."
Gartner notes that in-memory computing, thus far, has allowed for the execution of hours-long batch processes to be "squeezed into" just minutes or seconds, arming businesses with real-time or near-real time services. Soon, these processes will become even faster and more advanced.
The last of Gartner's 10 projections is the rise of "integrated ecosystems" in the tech market.
One example of this more integrated delivery model, Gartner says, would be cloud-based marketplaces and brokerages streamlining the purchase and use of cloud functionality from multiple vendors, while also providing a foundation for ISV development.
Another example of these "integrated ecosystems" is Apple's vertically integrated manufacturing approach, whereby the tech giant not only produces its mobile devices but also its processors and software. Microsoft has been adopting this approach, as well, a transition that the software giant made loud and clear with the launch of Surface, its own homegrown tablet, last month.