For one reason or another, there was a spate of articles written earlier this year about game-changing technologies that could change how we live and work. For example, Felicity Duncan, Managing Editor at Moneyweb, wrote about three high-impact new technologies identified by Google chairman Eric Schmidt. ["Three disruptive technologies that will change your life," mybroadband, 26 May 2013] McKinsey & Company analysts, James Manyika, Michael Chui, Jacques Bughin, Richard Dobbs, Peter Bisson, and Alex Marrs, wrote about a new research study they had completed in which they identified "12 technologies that could drive truly massive economic transformations and disruptions in the coming years." ["Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy," 1 May 2013]. And Gregory T. Huang wrote about 20 of "the most important trends in innovation that nobody is talking about." ["Top 20 Under-the-Radar Trends in Innovation," Xconomy, 30 May 2013] In parts one and two of this four-part series, I want to address trends that have been identified as game-changing. In parts three and four, I'll discuss the technologies. In some cases, it is difficult to separate the trend from the technology -- as you will see.
A good place to start is with the list of twenty-one trends that Daniel Burrus, CEO of Burrus Research, claims are going to create both disruptions and opportunities in the years ahead. He writes, "Over the next five short years the following game-changing technologies will transform how we sell, market, communicate, collaborate, educate, train, innovate, and much more." ["20 Game-Changing Technology Trends That Will Create Both Disruption and Opportunity on a Global Level," The Raddon Report, 20 March 2013] In this post, I'll discuss the first ten trends identified by Burrus.
Trend 1. Rapid Growth of Big Data.
"Big Data is a term used to describe the technologies and techniques used to capture and utilize the exponentially increasing streams of data with the goal of bringing enterprise-wide visibility and insights to make rapid critical decisions."
I agree with Burrus that big data (and next trend -- high speed analytics) are going to combine to help us understand the world in a much different way. Big data analytics will affect governments, businesses, and individuals.
Trend 2. High Speed Analytics.
"This new level of data integration and analytics will require many new skills and cross-functional buy-in in order to break down the many data and organizational silos that still exist. The rapid increase in data makes this a fast growing hard trend that cannot be ignored."
Some of the most important benefits derived from big data analytics will come from deep learning systems that will discover surprising relationships from diverse disciplines that will create better solutions for difficult challenges.
Trend 3. Cloud Computing and Cloud Services.
"Cloud Computing and Advanced Cloud Services will be increasingly embraced by business of all sizes, as this represents a major shift in how organizations obtain and maintain software, hardware, and computing capacity."
Cloud computing and services will also ensure that companies always have the latest version of software solutions. The burden for updating software moves to cloud services provider and away from corporate IT department as discussed in the next trend.
Trend 4. On Demand Services.
"Hardware as a Service (HaaS) joins Software as a Service (SaaS), creating what some have called 'IT as a service.' ... These services will help companies cut costs as they provide access to powerful software programs and the latest technology without having the expense of a large IT staff and time-consuming, expensive upgrades."
There are even discussions about how Data as a Service (DaaS) will join HaaS and SaaS as companies begin to understand the value of the data they have collected and stored and what data they are missing.
Trend 5. Virtual Computing.
"Virtualization of Storage, Desktops, Applications, and Networking will see continued acceptance, ... allowing mobile devices to access supercomputer capabilities and apply it to processes such as purchasing and logistics, to name a few."
Burrus further discusses the trend toward mobile devices later in his list. Virtual computing is predicted to have an even greater impact in the world of robotics where machines will be connected to the industrial internet and most of the computational heavy lifting will be done by super-computer servers to which robots and other machines will be connected.
Trend 6. Consumerization of Information Technology.
"Consumers become the driving source for innovation and technology, which is fueled by rapid advances in processing power, storage, and bandwidth. Smart companies ... are turning it into a competitive advantage by consumerizing their applications, such as recommending safe and secure third party hardware and apps."
Bring your own device (BYOD) to work strategies have been much discussed in recent months. The biggest drawback remains cybersecurity challenges.
Trend 7. Gamification.
"Gamification of Training and Education will fuel a fast moving hard trend of using advanced simulations and skill-based learning systems that are self-diagnostic, interactive, game-like, and competitive, all focused on giving the user an immersive experience thanks to a photo-realistic 3D interface."
For more on this topic, read my post entitled Gamification and the Future. In that post, I noted that analysts believe that gamification, when partnered with big data analytics, can be used to address security and fraud challenges as well as improve training and education.
Trend 8. Social Business.
"Social Business takes on a new level of urgency as organizations shift from an Information Age 'informing' model to a Communication Age 'communicating and engaging' model. ... Social Search will increasingly be used by marketers and researchers, not to mention Wall Street, to tap into millions of daily tweets and Facebook conversations, providing real-time analysis of many key consumer metrics."
I normally discuss "social business" in terms of targeted marketing and the consumer's digital path to purchase. David Nordfors, president and co-founder of IIIJ, told Huang, that combining semantic and social network analysis is a trend that is going to make a difference. "Semantic analysis looks at how words connect," Nordfors stated. "Social network analysis looks at how people connect. We used to do this separately. But words and people connect each other. So when semantic and social network analysis mix, we get new tools for analyzing society." These are becoming much more important because of the next trend.
Trend 9. Mobile Computing.
"Smart Phones & Tablets Become Our Primary Personal Computers, and the Mobile Web becomes a must-have capability. ... The vast majority of mobile phones sold globally will have a browser, making the smart phone our primary computer that is with us 24/7 and signaling a profound shift in global computing. This new level of mobility will allow any size business to transform how they market, sell, communicate, collaborate, educate, train, and innovate using mobility."
Since the majority of tomorrow's consumers live in emerging markets (and the majority of those consumers already have smartphones), it's critical that businesses have a strategy to reach them.
Trend 10. Additive Manufacturing.
"3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing) represents a revolutionary type of manufacturing where 3D printers build things by depositing material, typically plastic or metal, layer by layer until the final product is finished. ... It allows companies to manufacture quickly, locally and with far fewer costs."
Everything from boots to body parts and from fashion to food will be manufactured using additive manufacturing. The possibilities are truly mind-blowing. The big fight, however, will be over intellectual product rights and copyright infringement.
I think you'll agree that first ten trends identified by Burrus will make the future more interesting. Tomorrow, I'll discuss the final eleven trends he identified.