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What’s Trending in Technology - Predictions vs. Profit

30 May, 2014 By: Sand Sinclair, Editor

We are moving steadily towards a more flexible work environment that demands increased services and devices to enable the way that we, and our customers, conduct business.  Changing how we work takes planning and the latest tools, which can be challenging; some would say daunting, but the office Channel has been evolving for some time now, as the pace of doing business gets faster. Fortunately, we have unique opportunities to take control of today’s technology tools in effort to leverage them.

Let’s face it. You, me, your customers all use various types of technology, including smart devices to conduct our work and personal activities. This is evident in the survey findings that identified nearly 60% per cent of your employees work away from the office a few times a month while 15 per cent (and growing) are working away from an office on a daily basis. Department managers and/or IT people not only have to provide the 'main devices' such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, they must truly understand the dynamic benefits of the new mobile workforce who is using them.

A generation of devices

Forecasters and survey information show managers that are re-enforcing this trend towards increased employee use of mobility-enabling devices are seeing a high percentage of employees are already using tablets for business purposes: over 30 per cent of these are using company-paid tablets for business- related work, while the use of personal tablets for business purposes is growing. At the same time, nearly seven out of 10 organizations expect the use of smart phones and tablets to increase over the next few years.

It’s not hard to believe that more than half of the U.S. adult population connects to the Internet through a smartphone or tablet, and 60 percent of businesses allow employees to access company networks via their “personal devices.”  This is known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).  Again, let’s face it. The efficiencies offered by a device-in-hand mobile work force are often too good to pass up - moving the cost of access to the employee is a cost savings hard to ignore.  However, the caveat is, wireless devices have a range of user-installed apps, so how does the employer or business owner know if any of them are malicious and can hurt their network?  Then there is the issue of a company’s data being stored, and someone can access it using their own device. And there is the possible security risk if someone loses their smartphone or theft, etc.

According to a report by Gartner, Employee-owned Devices will be compromised by malware at more than double the rate of corporate-owned devices. Gartner says that enterprises that adopt BYOD initiatives should establish clear policies that outline which employee-owned devices will be allowed and which will be banned. In the BYOD era, security professionals will need to diligently monitor vulnerability announcements and security incidents involving mobile devices and respond appropriately with policy updates.

Thankfully, there are forward-looking IT pros that are in the process of mapping out a new set of rules for BYOD. This can start with implementing a companywide policy that addresses acceptable and unacceptable device use and provides details of excluded apps, data ownership and scheduled IT access to the device for updates. Those same pros are also pushing for encryption of all files stored on or accessed by a personal device, either through the phone's encryption program or through a third-party app.

Top predictions to 2020

Samsung recently announced plans for future biometric security features in smartphones. Although fingerprint scanning technology has only just made its way into the company’s flagship Galaxy S5, Samsung is already looking into the development of new biometric security technologies. One area which appears particularly appealing to Samsung is iris detection; the company has already filed a patent for a smartphone iris sensor. As you would expect, this technology would appear in high-end smartphones first.

Gartner’s research indicates that “market consolidation” will displace up to 20 per cent of the top 100 IT services providers.  The evolving tech forces, including Cloud, Big Data, Mobility and Social Media, along with continued global economic uncertainty, will accelerate the restructuring of the nearly $1 trillion IT services market.  Gartner predicts that by 2015, low-cost Cloud services will cannibalize up to 15 per cent of top outsourcing providers’ revenue, and more than 20 per cent of large IT outsourcers who are not investing enough in industrialization and value-added services, will disappear through merger and acquisition. We see this trending in 2014 and it will continue to increase going forward.

Big data demand will reach 4.4 million jobs globally, but only one-third of those jobs will be filled. Gartner says the demand for Big Data is growing, and enterprises will need to reassess their competencies and skills to respond to this opportunity.  One important aspect of the challenge in filling these jobs lies in the fact that enterprises will need to hire people with new skills — data management, analytics and business expertise for extracting the value of Big Data.  Still, the much-hyped big data movement is set to disrupt the multibillion-dollar consumer data marketplace with transformational results. The escalation in consumer awareness of data collection practices has set the stage for offering consumers more control over the disposition of personal data — collected both online and offline. This affects certain sectors in particular: Online portals and retailers, especially Amazon, Google and Facebook, which collect vast troves of data on users, and Communications service providers, which have visibility into highly revealing data, especially that which is associated with mobile device usage.

There will also be focus on disruptions brought about by Digital business, the Internet of Things (IoT), smart machines and the onset of the Digital Industrial Revolution. IT leaders face a new set of realities in a much larger context.

As early as 2016, Gartner believes that 3D printing of tissues and organs (bioprinting) will cause a global debate about regulating the technology or banning it for both human and nonhuman use.  3D printing represents a different kind of disruption from other IT-related technologies in that it affects things largely centered on the physical world rather than the digital one. In this regard, the use of digital resources to shape our physical reality can also have the effect of shaping our fears of personal impact. The emergence of 3D bioprinting facilities with the ability to print human organs can leave people wondering what will be the effect on society, in the new “world of healthcare.”

However, by 2018, Gartner research indicates that 3D printing will result in the loss of at least $100 billion per year in intellectual property globally. Intellectual property theft is a multinational issue. For instance, the United States alone has over $300 billion in intellectual property stolen annually. 3D printers employ one of seven different technologies, giving each printer a unique range of items it can make or copy.  In addition, the plummeting costs of 3D printers, scanners and 3D modeling technology, combined with improving capabilities, makes the technology for intellectual property theft more accessible to would-be criminals. Naturally, the issue of technology security is always at the forefront of evolving devices and services.

By 2017, 80% of consumers will collect, track and barter their personal data for cost savings, convenience and customization.

 By 2020, Garner estimates that enterprises and governments will fail to protect 75% of sensitive data, and will declassify and grant broad/public access to it.

The transformative influence

In the last decade alone, we've seen the influence of consumer technology on businesses continually increase. Whether it's with smart phones, tablets, SMS, wireless, VoIP, 3 D printers; the list goes on... with the space for new technology R&D growing and becoming highly competitive. Now, when we consider all of the technologies appearing in the business environment, including the office channel, business professionals, dealers, MSPs, VARs are being asked to integrate many new technologies with their existing business processes and existing technologies. 

However, there needs to be a way to ensure that the capabilities of our technology applications are viable for applicable need and markets; able to be merged effectively so that the business model, and our customers, are benefiting greatly as a result.

Put simply, cutting down on wasted time and costs, utilizing the technologies on the new frontier, and collaborating with peers to solve business challenges faster, will keep our business moving forward toward the end game of increased profitability.

About the Author: Sand Sinclair, Editor

Sand Sinclair, Editor

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