Show me the money… which technologies will prove fruitful in 2013? Photo: Karl Hilzinger
Come this time of year, technology companies, analysts and everyone in between, issue their take on the technologies that will make or break companies in the next 12 months.
In the first of three pieces, here is a summary of what industry experts and insightful vendors have to say about what to expect from big data, cloud, BYOD, security, social media, apps, and other technology developments on the horizon.
By 2015, there will be 4.4 million positions for people involved in big data globally, but only one-third of those jobs will be filled, according to the analyst firm Gartner.
The demand for big data is growing and enterprises will need people with skills such as data management, analytics and business expertise as well as non-traditional skills for extracting the value of big data. There will also be big demand for artists and designers for data visualisation, Gartner says.
Big data will become smart data, according to Conrad Bates, the managing partner at C3 Business Solutions, business intelligence consultants.
“Smart data concentrates on specific signals rather than trawling vast amounts of data.”
Big data will be used to improve security, says Alister Dias, regional country manager for EMC Australia and New Zealand.
“The application of big data’s predictive analytics to the IT security problem will deliver a new level of protection for organisations, by monitoring (event and log information), providing deep forensic capability to thwart attacks and continuously harden (reduce vulnerable points) the environment.”
Better broadband from the rollout of the NBN means new technology will allow users to easily migrate between data centres and clouds, says Terry Percival, the director of broadband and the digital economy at NICTA, and one of SMH’s Top 100 Thinkers.
“This will increase competition and drive down prices and allow users to change to different types of services as their businesses grow. Currently vendor lock-in traps users to a provider for many years, as the cost and complexity of migrating between cloud vendors or from data centres to the cloud is prohibitive,” Dr Percival says.
Open cloud platforms will also help users avoid vendor lock-in, says open source solutions provider Red Hat. “Linux and open source will increasingly drive the next wave of cloud and virtualisation, innovation and adoption.”
Forrester predicts that by the end of 2013 there will be at least three substantial OpenStack-based clouds, which will erode Amazon Web Services’s strong market position.
Cloud and mobile apps will merge, according to several Forrester reports. “More often than not, we are finding mobile applications connected to cloud-based, back-end services that can elastically respond to mobile client engagements and shield your data centre from this traffic.”
The cloud will also be used for back-up and disaster recovery, according to the Playbook, as everything will be cheaper and easier to put in the cloud, and faster to recover.
There is a big push from Microsoft (Azure), Amazon (AWS) and VMware (CloudFoundry) towards developing applications with the cloud in mind, specifically around PaaS (Platform as a Service), says Rhys Evans, from Thomas Duryea Consulting.
“The idea of PaaS is that there is no longer an operating system to manage as part of your application. PaaS is designed to be elastic with the ability to expand and contract capacity automatically based on demand.”
Privacy and the digital trail
Research into how much personal data is being lost through online services and apps will be important in the next few years, says NICTA’s technology strategist, Dean Economou.
The research will develop transparency around our digital trail, he says.
“The information about our activities and movements can be misused. That is part of a trade-off (of using these online services), but at the moment it’s a trade-off we can’t measure easily. To a large extent we don’t know what information is being collected about us, we don’t know if it’s correct, and we don’t know how to fix what might be wrong.”
“There is a shift away from using internet browsers to using apps,” says Geof Heydon, business development manager at the CSIRO ICT Centre, and former Alcatel-Lucent futurist. Apps are easy to use and no technical knowledge is required, he says.
Mobile app store downloads will surpass 81.4 billion worldwide in 2013 (up from 45.6 billion in 2012), with free downloads accounting for 90 per cent of the market, according to Gartner. By 2014, the number of mobile CRM apps available for download from app stores will have grown by 500 per cent. By 2015, one third of consumer brands will integrate payment into their branded mobile apps. By 2016, use of mobile apps will surpass that of internet domain names, making mobile apps the dominant means of engaging with brands.