The only way to describe the notable technology trends of 2013 is big. Really big. The vast potential to disrupt the status quo of business operations across various sectors is enormous.
These trends will redefine the way we interact with objects around us, redirect the way we think about complex issues, and reinforce the bedrock to collaboration and innovation. Though the impact cannot yet be entirely measured, these, we feel, are the ones to look up and adjust your stride to. Behold, the disrupters:
Internet of Things (IoT) is the real-time integration of objects through connections to the Internet and cross-referencing systems. 2013 saw the development and commercial launch of various devices where trackers, sensors, and mapping technologies are embedded. So far, there are approximately 2 billion connections across various gadgets that enable constant flow and subjective response to information.
What does this really mean? It means hypothetically that your phone, neatly tucked in your pocket, will talk to your car, and as you approach, the car will turn on. Depending on your vital readings, your car radio will play appropriate music to your mood.
The IoT truly causes a stir in its potential. Internet-connected billboards, better resource management, smart homes for elderly with chronic conditions using hardware like Xbox One’s Kinect sensor. Innovation will abound across industries because operations will be smoothed, traffic will be better managed, and supply will more accurately meet demand.
McKinsey & Company reports that by 2025 more than 50 billion objects will be connected. The potential, greatest in health care, could have an economic impact of $2.7 to $6.2 trillion by 2025. (link to report)
Big Data Visualization makes complexity simple. This is indeed the era of big data, from health sensors to RFIDs, mobile mapping to scientific innovation in genomic sequencing. With visualization of that data we take abstract symbols and add dimension, color, and shape so that our brains can quickly assess unique comprehensive meaning.
Visualization software and applications being developed enable real-time, strategic, and deeply informed decisions to be made. The amassed data become translatable. Here are some great examples that illustrate visualization and how businesses might spend far less resources and have far less error in their various operations.
Cloud Computing makes everything immediate and accessible. iCloud, Egnyte, and Windows Azure are among the top cloud storage servers for business use. According to a Gartner study, the bulk of IT spending by 2016 will be on cloud computing platforms and applications. The cloud frees businesses from the IT overhead of having to manage the hardware that holds the keys to efficient operations.
The expanse of cloud computing is just beginning, yet nearly half of the world’s large corporations will work within the cloud by 2017. With cloud computing, information can be seamlessly shared and accessed across devices and parties, leading to another big tech trend: security.
Cybersecurity has emerged front and center this year with the advent of things such as biosensor technology, electronic medical records, and the Hub (government home to all our personal identification records.) Not to mention recent NSA revelations, hacking, identity theft, and genomic sequencing.
As computing, software, and hardware advancements have facilitated business opportunities to flourish, cybersecurity must advance right alongside. Again, Gartner says the cloud-based security services market, now at $2.1 billion, could rise to $3.1 billion by 2015.
Mobile Internet has fundamentally transformed the way we do business. New waves of smartphones and tablets emerge with quickening demand for better 3G and 4G network quality, and increase dependency on being connected to everything, everywhere, all the time.
Developing nations, the fastest-growing economy for mobile devices, promises two billion to three billion more users. Imagine that many more users involved in the world economy through e-commerce, application development, social networks, and cloud computing. Not only will quantity expand, mechanisms to better mine mobile data have already been employed, revealing invaluable information in lifestyle patterns, including health and consumerism.
3D Printing is ushering in a new era, where the biggest implications revolve around goods being manufactured locally, closer to the point of purchase or consumption. There will be more on-demand production—perhaps even in homes—and printing locally, eradicating shipping costs.
Goods will be more customized, and the creativity of the individual at the helm of the printer can be tapped. This means designs need to be flexible and customizable to the consumer’s aesthetic. Once-valued factory sameness might just become something of the remote past.
As with all technologies, the potential in these trends is only as far reaching as the creative reception around them. If corporations fail to make systemic shifts to accommodate cloud computing, or flexible design through 3D printing, then what could be will never be. So note, as you look toward 2014, the existence of these disruptors. Their potential has been exposed, and the movement has begun to truly leverage the potential of these broad-sweeping technological advances.