Technologies Worth a Second Look

Technology changes quickly, but not that quickly. Many high-tech developments start out as breakthroughs and then become trends. For the electronics supply chain, trends are stable — at least for awhile — and offer the market some level of predictability. Not all trends succeed for the long-term: Netbooks were a trend that petered out quickly.

In a ranking it does annually on technology trends, consultancy Deloitte looks at trends in two ways: re-emerging enablers — technologies executives have spent time and resources on that deserve a second look; and disruptive deployments — new technologies that provide new business models and new ways to operate.

The electronics supply chain is currently in a slow period, driven in part by seasonality and in part by macroeconomic instability. One of the most difficult tasks during such periods is planning for and managing inventory. Component makers have to make decisions on the best use for their factories; distributors have to determine what mix of products they are going to have on hand and where to warehouse inventory; and manufacturers have to figure out what demand is real and what is misplaced optimism. The technologies driving these decisions are one factor the upstream supply chain can use for planning.

Deloitte this year identified 10 IT trends it believes are going to shape 2012. Below are Deloitte's five re-emerging enablers — from a press release — with the effect they are expected to have in the next year. I've singled out the trends that are especially pertinent to the supply chain in terms of demand for hardware/components.

  • Geo-spatial Visualization: Within the world of visualization, geospatial takes advantage of an explosion of geographical, location-aware data. Sources feeding this growth include new semi-structured data from mobile devices, geo-tagging of existing enterprise structured data and tapping into new streams of location-aware unstructured data.

    Mobile devices — which include everything from GPS to tablets and laptops — will continue to drive demand for many categories of components.

  • Digital Identities: The digital expression of identity is growing more complex every day. Digital identities should be unique, verifiable, able to be federated and non-repudiable. As individuals take a more active hand in managing their own digital identities, organizations are attempting to create single digital identities that retain the appropriate context across the range of credentials that an individual carries. Digital persona protection is becoming a strong area of cyber focus.

    This is more software-driven, although the systems supporting digital security will require upgrades.

  • Data Goes to Work: Organizations are finding ways to turn the explosion in size, volume and complexity of data into insight and value. This is occurring across structured and unstructured content from internal and external sources. This is expected to complement but not replace long-standing information management programs and investments in data warehouses, business intelligence suites, reporting platforms and relational database experience.

    The key words here are “data warehouses, business intelligence suites, etc.” Lots of hardware opportunity.

  • Measured Innovation: CIOs can help facilitate the discovery of the next wave of true disruption — and continuously improve the business of IT and the business of the business. Measured innovation offers an approach to managing both disciplines by providing a pragmatic way to identify, evaluate and launch potential innovations with a focus on aligning opportunities to areas that can fuel disruption and create measurable, attributable value.

    This trend can impact business models, which can lead to efficiencies and savings within organizations.

  • Outside-in Architecture: Flexibility in operating and business models is proving more important. As a result, need to share is colliding with need to know and shifting solution architectures away from a siloed, enterprise-out design pattern and into an outside-in approach to delivering business through rapidly evolving ecosystems.

    The key here is “ecosystems” — a combination of devices as well as content/service offerings. Two examples: Apple and Amazon.

    In an upcoming blog, we'll take a look at Deloitte's disruptive deployments.

31 comments on “Technologies Worth a Second Look

  1. stochastic excursion
    December 21, 2011

    The technologies mentioned would go a long way toward raising efficiencies of existing manufacturing processes.  Visibility and tracking technologies are prominent on the list, which speaks to a management trend to vertically integrate their organizations.

  2. Daniel
    December 21, 2011

    “Technology changes quickly, but not that quickly. Many high-tech developments start out as breakthroughs and then become trends”

    Barbara, technology is changing very rapidly. Most of the companies are spending billions & millions of Dollar/Euro for research and developments of new technologies. But before making use of such inventions or productize such technologies, new inventions are updating the technology. So the repeated and unorganized R&D in same technological area makes the results in unfruitful manner. So I think there should be some uniformity among the research companies and they have to identify their own key areas for joint R&D, so that duplication of research can be avoided.

    December 21, 2011

    Interesting post.  I watch in awe the explosion in ecosystem opportunity and look forward to seeing how the various players capitalize on them.  These days business is not as simple as bolting some widget together and selling it.  Instead the real winners will command the content, distribution channels and consumer trending info.

  4. Jay_Bond
    December 21, 2011

    This is a very interesting post and I look forward to the follow up. I am particulary interested to see how well Geo-spatial Visualization takes off. There are so many untapped opportunities with all of the mobile devices out there.

  5. prabhakar_deosthali
    December 21, 2011


    It will be worthwhile to see how much of these forecasts become reality in 2012.  One of the disadvantages of all these evolving technologies as I see it is the businesses are soon going to loose their USPs and will be almost forced to folow the bandwagon in the fear of being left behind. 

    Some of the good and age old practices that some businesses may be following with success may be just forced to abandon them to go with the tide.

  6. Barbara Jorgensen
    December 21, 2011

    @prabakar: Deloitte includes their track record from the prior year on many of their releases. I'll check back on this one and see if they included that. They are usually pretty accurate.

  7. Barbara Jorgensen
    December 21, 2011

    Good point. Probably it would have been more accurate to say the technologies that gain some traction are around long enough to become trends. And in many cases, they are updated/upgraded quickly.

  8. Cryptoman
    December 21, 2011

    I would like to express my humble opinion on this topic too.

    I definitely think that in 2012, Wireless Sensor Networking (WSN) will be on the rise. Especially with the advances in low power electronics, capable MCUs and more importantly the increasing energy harvesting options and battery management mechanisms, WSN will be the talk of 2012 in my opinion.

    On the suitable communication protocols for WSNs, a single winner looks unlikely as many groups want a piece of the action. There are quite a few suitable candidates, however only time will tell whether this wide spectrum of choice will be good or bad for this sector in the long run.

    I am looking forward to an exciting year with WSNs!

  9. Ashu001
    December 21, 2011


    Wireless Sensor Networks have held a lot of promise for a lot of time(since 2000);but its always been a case of so near yet so far.

    So what do you think has changed now to ensure it becomes a success today?

    Most of the major players in the IT space(including Oracle and IBM) are moving this very forcefully.Lets see how things pan out now.



  10. Nemos
    December 21, 2011

    Technologies Worth a Second Look ” of course . Today, I heard an amazing idea similar to the technologies you just described. The idea is simply, to make our cars smarter by using P2P network topologies in an equivalent way that our computers communicate with P2P. The interesting point is that each car will ask the next car (using P2P) to find its way without using GPS systems. This system seems to be particular efficient inside big cities.

  11. Anand
    December 22, 2011

    @Barbara, I would like to know more about “Measured Innovation” ? Is this already happening or is it new trend which will emerge in 2012 ? And is this innovation limited to identifying the possible disruptions ?

  12. Barbara Jorgensen
    December 22, 2011

    @anadvy: I'll tell you what I know–this technology/discipline is already available and in-use. In terms of its applications, I don't think it's limited–in fact, I know the same concept is being applied to fostering innovation and new ideas from employees. But I will dig deeper and see if I can come up with something from the experts (such as Deloitte). Since this comes from their IT/CIO research group, there must be a hardware/software aspect to it that can be applied in business.

  13. Barbara Jorgensen
    December 22, 2011

    Nemos–I love that idea. I hate driving in unfamiliar cities. Other than cabs, the most efficient way to get somewhere is to drive yourself. Trolleys, vans and buses frequently make multiple stops. Some kind of automated, individual transport that you don't have to think about works for me

    December 22, 2011

    I like Nemos' idea of P2P cars.  I worry about my old banger though which thinks GPS means “going particularly slowly” today (if at all).

    I suppose it is only a matter of time before transport systems exist where there is no driver intervention.  The technology is there today so at some poit it must come to the masses.


  15. Susan Fourtané
    December 23, 2011


    It depends on what cities you are talking about. In many European cities the best and most efficient way to get somewhere is by public transport, especially by tram or subway. Of course I am talking about cities where public transport works very efficiently, just like a Swiss watch. 

    I dislike buses anywhere in the world, though. 


  16. Susan Fourtané
    December 23, 2011


    This sounds super interesting.

    “The   interesting   point   is   that   each   car will   ask   the   next   car   (using   P2P)   to   find   its   way   without   using   GPS   systems.”

    How would that be? 


  17. Himanshugupta
    December 23, 2011

    True Susan. I have lived in Europe and now i am living in India. There is a huge difference in the public transportation. In Europe, i need to just check the web to figure out what to take and when will i reach at my destination. If i mess up in my plan then its just going to web and figuring out what to do next. But in India, its better to be street smart and figure out things along the way!

  18. Himanshugupta
    December 23, 2011

    i believe that digital identity management and service is going to be a big market as the digital fingerprint that an individual or organization leaves behind can reform or destroy ones image. Right now there seems to be no company working in this field (or i am not aware of any). The biggest hurdle that seems to me is the difficulty in collecting ones digital content as most of it is either stored or owned by specific sites in servers. So until and unless users own their content; it will be difficult to be able to manage anything. So, i thinks there are opportunities for both digital content storage service and management.

  19. Susan Fourtané
    December 23, 2011

    Hi, Himanshugupta

    Yes, the public transport Websites are very useful, they save you time and energy. Also, they are good to let you know when exactly you need to be at the stop, this is especially useful in winter when you can freeze otherwise if you have to stay longer sitting at the stop waiting. 

    I also appreciate that if you are in a country where you don't speak the language this is not a problem, as you can easily see an electronic announcement with the name of the next stop and/or an audio recording announcing the next stop, too. You just need to know where you have to get off. 

    I have never been to India, yet, but I will remember your advice. 🙂


  20. Himanshugupta
    December 24, 2011

    Susan, as far as the transportation go in European countries and in India (and most of the developing countries) the experience is quite different. In Europe, the system is smart to the point that people are not used to knowing alternatives or advice at odd hours. In fact, if you are stuck at odd hours then there is either no way or very expensive way to get out. But in India, you can always find something unconventional way to reach your destination. And also people always are more starter than system :-).

  21. _hm
    December 24, 2011

    Novel battery technology for car is under immense research efforts. This is very crucial to highly efficient autos and we may see very storng growth for it in 2012.


  22. Susan Fourtané
    December 24, 2011


    That is quite right. Although there is always the night buses that can also take you out from somewhere or get you back home. But I am not really too familiar with this option as I don't need it. 

    What kind of unconventional way to reach your destination? 🙂 


  23. Wale Bakare
    December 25, 2011

    So what do you think has changed now to ensure it becomes a success today?

    I also have the same thought about WSNs. Having worked on wireless sensor networks –  routing path and power consumption of sensor nodes. I think, the application areas and other issues working against its market boom.

  24. Cryptoman
    December 25, 2011


    Good question. What has changed to make me believe that WSN will take up in 2012?

    There are two important moves that I think is going to help WSNs this year. For the first time in a few years, two IT standards have made a move towards WSNs: Bluetooth Low Energy and DECT Ultra Low Energy. I think such backing from well-established IT standards will definitely make a difference in 2012 for WSNs.


  25. Kunmi
    December 26, 2011

    Himanshugupta : The power of Technologies cannot be underestimated. Your experience in both ends has given you a medium for better comparism. I strongly agree with your opinion because it is much easier to be street smart

  26. Taimoor Zubar
    December 26, 2011

    I think what's worth mentioning in this list is the role of cloud computing and SaaS which is transforming the technology architecture within organizations and tend to influence other technologies as well. Cloud computing is enabling a lot of other paradigm shifts within the organization such as the use of consumer devices for business.

  27. Damilare
    December 26, 2011

    I agree with you that cloud computing has a vital role in shaping IT infrastructure, for example the vast amount of data involved in this form of computing would lead to the need for more advanced data warehouses and may indeed generate a true distruption in computiing as we know it. However, its limiting factor such as the speed of the internet connection may also spur innovations targeted at improving further data transfer speed.

  28. _hm
    December 26, 2011

    We may soon get recently innovated solar cell with nearly 66% efficiency! This will help us resolve many more challenging applications.


  29. Wale Bakare
    December 26, 2011

    @Cryptoman, the wireless sensor market push from the afore-mentioned standards look pretty good. I hope to see them well absorbed in the market come 2012, especially DEC ULE. 

  30. Eldredge
    December 26, 2011

    Heard today that Apple may be working on hydrogen fuel cell technology for portable power applications. It will be interesting to see if they can bring this technology to mainstream products.

  31. t.alex
    December 28, 2011

    Perhaps they are trying to improve on the iphone battery life, which has been a critical point from lots of users.

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