Strategic technology trends are defined as having potentially significant impact on organizations in the next three years. Here is a summary of a few trends according to Forbes; Gartner, Inc.; Computerworld; and other technology visionaries:
- Wearable Devices – Uses of wearable technology are influencing the fields of health and medicine, fitness, aging, education, gaming, and finance. Such devices include bracelets, smart watches, and Google glasses. Wearable technology markets are anticipated to exceed $6 billion by 2016.
- Cloud Computing – Gartner says cloud computing will become the bulk of new IT spend by 2016. Business drivers behind cloud initiatives include disaster recovery or backup, increased IT cost, new users or services, and increased IT complexity.
- Smart Machines – Smart machines include robots, self-driving cars, and other inventions that are able to make decisions and solve problems without human intervention. Forbes states that 60% of CEOs believe that smart machines are a “futurist fantasy” but will, nonetheless, have a meaningful impact on business.
- 3D Printing – 3D printing offers the ability to create solid physical models. The cost of 3D printing will decrease in the next three years, leading to rapid growth of the market for these machines. Industrial use will also continue its rapid expansion. Gartner highlights that expansion will be especially great in industrial, biomedical, and consumer applications, highlighting the extent to which this trend is real, proving that 3D printing is a viable and cost-effective way to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping, and short-run manufacturing. Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to double.
- New Wi-Fi Standards – Prepare for the next generation of Wi-Fi. First, the emergence of the next wave pf 802.11ac and the second development of the 802.11ax standard. Wi-Fi hotspots are expected to be faster and more reliable. Wi-Fi alliance predicts that products based on a draft of the standard will likely reach markets by early 2016.
- Mind-Reading Machines – IBM predicts that by 2016 consumers will be able to control electronics by using brain power only. People will not need passwords. By 2016, consumers will have access to gadgets that read their minds, allowing them to call friends and move computer cursors.
- Mobile Devices – Mobile device sales will continue to soar, and we will see less of the standard desktop computer. Worldwide mobile device shipments are expected to reach 2.6 billion units by 2016. Tablet PCs will be the fastest growing category with a 35% growth rate followed by smartphones at 18%.
- Big Data – Big data refers to the exponential growth and availability of data, both structured and unstructured. The vision is that organizations will be able to take data from any source, harness relevant data, and analyze it to reduce cost, reduce time, develop new products, and make smarter business decisions.
Only time will tell which of these will materialize as well as to what extent. However, one thing is certain: technology is getting faster, smarter, and more mobile by the minute. Interacting with technology any place and any time has become the norm, and this trend will continue to have a greater and greater impact on all types of organizations. Look up: George Jetson might be your next employee.