What will happen next? How technology is going to shape the future of business? Analysts and entrepreneurs are obsessed by questions like these. One thing is for sure: innovation is already changing the way customers connect with products and brands, and this process is accelerated by digital and mobile. Being on top of things is the key factor to succeed in an ever-changing scenario. That is the reason why Gartner's top 10 technology trends for 2015 are strategic for your organization.
You have already seen many researches online, but this is not just another prediction made by a business blogger, being Gartner the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. The list of trends for 2015 have the potential for a significant impact on markets and organizations: some have already emerged in the last few months, others will start rising next year. Many of them will have an influence on your marketing strategy and digital customer experience.
You will need to make decisions about them during 2015, although this does not mean that a company has adopt all these trends at the same rate. The list can be divided into three main areas: the merging of the real and virtual worlds, the advent of intelligence everywhere, and the technology impact of the digital business shift.
- Computing Everywhere: we are now in the era mobile mind-shift, and companies have to think and act mobile first. The smartphone market will continue to grow, and we will face the wearables boom, so brands have to put an increased emphasis on serving the needs of mobile users at all touch points of their customer journey.
- The Internet of Things: the interconnection of different devices and the automation in all fields is not a dream anymore. As pointed out by Gartner, the combination of data streams and services creates four key usage models — Manage, Monetize, Operate and Extend.
- 3D Printing: right now it is still an expensive object of desire, but evolving fast. Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to double in 2015, followed by another doubling of unit shipments in 2016. The reason behind the success is that "3D printing is a real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing".
- Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible Analytics: as we have often said, in the age of big data you can only succeed if you are able to extract useful insight from a huge amount of numbers and statistics. Analytics is the perfect tool to generate strategies from the volume of data generated by embedded systems. To provide the right information to the right person, in right-time, analytics will become deeply, though invisibly, embedded everywhere.
- Context-Rich Systems: in the age of the customer there is no content without context. Location-based promotions and push notifications are just two applications of the new capability made possible by the ubiquitous embedded intelligence combined with pervasive analytics. The result will be the development of context-monitoring systems, able to respond appropriately (just think about beacons).
- Smart Machines: machines able to understand and interact with humans is not a sci-fi fantasy anymore. Deep learning and analytics applied to an understanding of context provide the preconditions for a world of smart machines. New algorithms will allow systems to understand and learn from the surrounding environment, to act autonomously. The Car that drives itself is just the tip of the iceberg.
- Cloud/Client Computing: with empowered customers, the rule is 'give them what they want, when they want it, easy, fast and deliver it though all devices'. The convergence of cloud and mobile computing will help companies in developing centrally coordinated applications that can be delivered to any device, paving the way for next generation digital customer experiences.
- Software-Defined Applications and Infrastructure: digital markets require that companies are able to work with flexibility. Agile programming of everything, from applications to basic infrastructure, is essential to deal with the rapidly changing demand of digital business and scale systems up — or down — easily.
- Web-Scale IT: some changes are more customer-facing, others will affect other business processes. That is the case of web-scale IT, a pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting. The result of this evolution? More organizations will begin thinking, acting and building applications and infrastructure following the path of Web giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook.
- Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection: if privacy is a concern for many users (Ello the anti-Facebook is the perfect example), security is key for all companies. There is no digital future without security. Progress will require that we all understand that a 100 per cent secured environment is not achievable, it is just utopia. That said, technology can help to set up more-sophisticated risk assessment and mitigation tools. The future is a new models of building security directly into applications: every app needs to be self-aware and self-protecting.
Disruptive technologies will produce a profound impact to your business, but you need to be well-aware that it is how you adopt and use it that will decide in the end if your company will win or lose the race to digital innovation.