Top 10 Strategic Tech Trends for 2014

It's October, which means three things: The leaves are changing, most retail outlets have their Christmas decorations up, and research houses are starting to make predictions for the coming year's markets.

Gartner began to do so at this month's Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 in Orlando, Fla., where it identified its top 10 strategic technology trends for 2014. The research firm defines this as technology with the potential to make significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years — including disruption to IT or the business, major investments, and risks from being late to adopt them.

“We have identified the top 10 technologies that companies should factor into their strategic planning processes,” Gartner analyst David Cearley said in a press release. “This does not necessarily mean adoption and investment in all of the listed technologies, but companies should look to make deliberate decisions about them during the next two years.”

For the electronics supply chain, those decisions include what components to keep on supply when considering increased end-market demand, how distributors can help OEMs and other partners and customers navigate the increased opportunities and potential pitfalls those opportunities come with design chain plans and work, and logistics issues.

Gartner's list shows a clear merging of business and consumer forces that have been brewing demand for some time — social, mobile, cloud, and information.

1. Mobile device diversity and management
From now through 2018, the growing variety of devices, computing styles, user contexts and interaction paradigms will make “everything everywhere” strategies unachievable, Gartner said in its report. Add to that the unexpected consequence of BYOD programs, and we will see “a doubling or even tripling of the size of the mobile workforce,” which will put massive strain on IT organizations that aim for secure device interactions and information exchanges.

2. Mobile apps and applications
According to Gartner, as HTML5 gains traction, so will “the browser as a mainstream enterprise application development environment.” Developers should focus on “creating expanded user interface models including richer voice and video that can connect people in new and different ways.” The use of smaller, more targeted applications will continue to grow, while the use more comprehensive platforms will fall. “For the next few years no single tool will be optimal for all types of mobile application so expect to employ several. The next evolution in user experience will be to leverage intent, inferred from emotion and actions, to motivate changes in end-user behavior.”

3. The Internet of everything
The electronics industry has been in tune with the Internet of Things for some time, but Gartner sees it “expanding beyond PCs and mobile devices into enterprise assets such as field equipment, and consumer items such as cars and televisions.” Basically, “the most important products, services, and assets” will become digitized. “Enterprises should not limit themselves to thinking that only the Internet of Things.”

4. Hybrid cloud and IT as service broker
Along the same lines as the mobile device diversity and management trend, “bringing together personal clouds and external private cloud services is an imperative” as we move into next year. “Enterprises should design private cloud services with a hybrid future in mind and make sure future integration/interoperability is possible.” Smart enterprises will take on a “cloud service broker” role in which they manage the “aggregation, integration and customization of services.”

5. Cloud/client architecture
“Cloud/client computing models are shifting.” As mobile devices become more advanced and offer more intensive capabilities, “the increased demand on networks, the cost of networks and the need to manage bandwidth use creates incentives, in some cases, to minimize the cloud application computing and storage footprint, and to exploit the intelligence and storage of the client device.” Still, “the increasingly complex demands of mobile users will drive apps to demand increasing amounts of server-side computing and storage capacity.”

6. The era of personal cloud
As users access their clouds through more devices, these clouds become less personal and device driven and more services oriented. “The specifics of devices” will become less important. People will utilize “a collection of devices, with the PC remaining one of many options, but no one device will be the primary hub,” Garter said. “Access to the cloud and the content stored or shared from the cloud will be managed and secured, rather than solely focusing on the device itself.”

7. Software-defined anything
SDx — a recently coined term that “encapsulates the growing market momentum for improved standards for infrastructure programmability and data center interoperability driven by automation inherent to cloud computing, DevOps and fast infrastructure provisioning” — will come into play in 2014. This will include sometimes similar initiatives like OpenStack, OpenFlow, and Open Rack. “As individual SDx technology silos evolve and consortiums arise, look for emerging standards and bridging capabilities to benefit portfolios, but challenge individual technology suppliers to demonstrate their commitment to true interoperability standards within their specific domains.”

8. Web-scale IT
Gartner defines Web-scale IT as “a pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting by rethinking positions across several dimensions.” It cited Amazon, Google, and Facebook as example of firms that “are re-inventing the way IT in which IT services can be delivered.” Enterprises that don't keep up with datacenters that look for any opportunity to reduce logistical cost and waste through Web-oriented architectures could be left behind.

9. Smart machines
Describing the coming timeframe as “the most disruptive in the history of IT,” Gartner predicts that the smart machine era will explode between now and 2020 “with a proliferation of contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants, smart advisors (such as IBM Watson), advanced global industrial systems and public availability of early examples of autonomous vehicles.” Systems are emerging that can do “what we thought only people could do.” The firm expects “individuals will invest in, control and use their own smart machines to become more successful.”

10. 3D printing
“Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 75 percent in 2014 followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015.” Though such devices have been around for 20 years, “consumer market hype has made organizations aware of the fact 3D printing is a real, viable and cost-effective means to reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.”

What do you think of Gartner's list? Do you see any other strategic technology trends coming in 2014? Tell us in the comments field below.

20 comments on “Top 10 Strategic Tech Trends for 2014

  1. Nemos
    October 28, 2013

    In general Gather report is very accurate in “prediction” and I think we will see all the above. I just want to mention the number 10 3D printing as this technology will shake the whole market and the supply chain in particular.


  2. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    October 28, 2013

    I am at the Electronic Component Industry Association (ECIA) executive confernce and one speaker today made a list of the top 10 disruptive technologies (markets with exponential growth over the next decade). Many are on your list. There are some others that maybe we should think about adding: robotocis, wearable technology, nanotechnology, storage, and sensors (smart buildings, for example).  all of these are going to change the way we look at hte supply chain.

  3. Himanshugupta
    October 28, 2013

    3D printer is really something we all are excited about. The potential are limitless and it make technology exciting again. Thinking of building products at home or atleast customized product is cool.

  4. Himanshugupta
    October 28, 2013

    All the tech trends expcept one is realted to IoT. Internet seems to be playing a huge role all the tech trends be it smartphone or cloud. I think faster, omnipresent and cheaper communication will be at the heart of all this.

  5. Anand
    October 28, 2013

    Some of the most interesting things that may be dominating the technology of tomorrow are: 3D printing, IOT and Home automation. The 3D printing has uses and abuses (like the printing of the handgun), so in order to prevent these abuses, some rules and regulations need to be followed. As the market grows, people will be educated about this new technology. Another such technology is the smart home, which will track the movements of the people that reside in it; it will also record their activities and psychological pattern and adjust accordingly. If somebody with a smart home ever has a heart attack or a break in, the smart home will be calling the ambulance or the police, or both.

  6. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    October 28, 2013

    I heard a guy from Intel speak on IoT, and he said that there are 1.5 billion devices connected to the internet today that are not tablets, smart phones, PCs or wearaable computing. That's a huge number of things–and yet only about 1 percent of things in teh word are connected to teh network he said. (He got these numbers by bringing together data from a variety of sources).  What that translates into is a huge arena for innovation and sales. this is going to be very hot.

  7. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    October 28, 2013

    @anandvy, teh home automation piece is really interesting. Today, i can control teh lights and heat of my home from my iphone. Tomorrow, perthaps, my refrigerator will realize my milk is old, warn me to throw it out and order that new milk be dleivered. This is a hot market because people can imagine a future that's different. The Jetsons anyone?

  8. Daniel
    October 29, 2013

    “All the tech trends expcept one is realted to IoT. Internet seems to be playing a huge role all the tech trends be it smartphone or cloud. I think faster, omnipresent and cheaper communication will be at the heart of all this.”

    Himanshu, you are right. All the devices are going to connect or communicate to some networks, irrespective of whether it's an automated one or an IoT based. So networking and communications channels are going o be the back bone of all these process.

  9. Taimoor Zubar
    October 29, 2013

    @Hailey: Products to build a smart home seem to be a popular area for innovation these days. Just recently I read about a company building a smart kitchen sink that washes the dishes as you place them in the sink. You don't need to have a dishwasher separetely and you save on a lot of space and time.

  10. Himanshugupta
    October 30, 2013

    Jacob, this is good for semiconductor industry. All the network gears and equipments will need high-tech chips so if IT&S is new happening field then there will be opportunities for semiconductor companies to improve the sale and profit.

  11. RyanL
    October 30, 2013

    Perhaps I'm “that guy” in this instance but I'm more wary of the IoT than excited. We already complain about invasion of privacy as it is now. Can you imagine the level of spying the NSA could do with sensors connected to the internet in our homes, offices, cars, beds, toilets, etc… it just leaves a very high tech 1984 feel in my mouth.

  12. Daniel
    October 30, 2013

    “All the network gears and equipments will need high-tech chips so if IT&S is new happening field then there will be opportunities for semiconductor companies to improve the sale and profit”

    Himanshu, we can say it's good for electronic industry in total. I don't think there may be separate requirement for chips and i feel that a general purpose microcontroller can be programmed for serving the purpose.

  13. Daniel
    October 30, 2013

    “Can you imagine the level of spying the NSA could do with sensors connected to the internet in our homes, offices, cars, beds, toilets, etc… it just leaves a very high tech 1984 feel in my mouth.”

    RynaL, personally I feel that, we haven't much worry about such spying and data breaching because we are not celebrities or distinguished peoples.  We are just common citizens and no use in spying our activities.

  14. ahdand
    October 31, 2013

    @Ryan: I get your point but do you think spying is good and needed at this moment ?            

  15. ahdand
    October 31, 2013

    @Himanshugupta: Yes indeed as long as you capture everything and the usage will be done in a very wise manner, things will make you or gain you the revenue you require.               

  16. ahdand
    October 31, 2013

    @Taimoor: I think it's the same process that an Auto- Washing Machine does isn't it ? Good to have such technologies creeping in to simplify the work load of the people.

  17. Millerarther
    March 7, 2014

    Your information regarding the Tech trends shows you experties.For more info 

  18. ahdand
    March 7, 2014

    @Himanshugupta: Well as long the market is there, there will be more and more opportunities for them. I think its always better to figure out an alternative since the technology gets out dated soon.

  19. speedo1456
    July 21, 2014

    The technology that we see all around us may impress us, however we have to acknowledge that this is merely the beginning. We are only at the brink of what is possible, who knows what comes at us in the next thousand years. Even the next hundred years will be pure magic. For communication we are depending on technical devices, but there are investigations starting from the beginning of the last century that direct communication between people is a possibility without any technical devices like cell phones.

  20. itguyphil
    July 22, 2014

    I wouldn't even go that far into the future. Things will be starkly different in the next 5-10 years. Think back 5-10 yrs & realize the things that exist now we didn't think possible.

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