Where is IT headed in 2017? Our experts point to five trends that will impact IT, business and the workplace this year. Together, these trends point to a further acceleration of digital transformation and the widening gulf between traditional IT and digital innovation.
1) The Expanding “Internet of Things” (IoT)
The IoT is the concept of connecting any “thing” or device with an on and off switch to the Internet and possibly to each other. These things can be small, like your phone or coffee maker, or large, like an autonomous vehicle or an airplane. The concept will be applied to the home, the workplace, transportation networks or entire cities, blurring the lines between the digital and physical and impacting all aspects of life. It will redefine our relationship with objects and the relationships of internet-connected objects to each other. Even with the positive benefits and possibilities of the IoT, it presents the issue of increased security risks, data privacy and sharing concerns - and opportunities for innovation in those areas.
2) The Hyperconnected Digital Mesh
The digital mesh is comprised of people, smart machines, Internet-connected devices, content and services. The expanding and increasingly interoperable set of endpoints people can use to access applications and information, or interact with other individuals, self-selected communities, governments and businesses will inspire further technical changes, as well as cultural and individual change as people adopt wearable, Internet-connected technology and other personal technology that allow them to be always connected.
3) The Ongoing Challenge of Security
Expansions in digital technology, like the IoT and digital mesh, will require multi-layered security that can adapt via behavioral analytics. As these technologies extend to every workplace and home, the need for “adaptive” security will become universal. Beyond information security, adaptive responses to all types of risk, from regulatory compliance to natural disasters will be developed and adopted.
4) The Promise and Possibilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Well-funded startups continue to pursue AI: intelligent systems that can learn independently, adapt and extend to every technology enabled service, object or application. Still, there is dispute about how “intelligent” AI actually is at this moment in time, because it continues to perform based on preset instructions. Some, including Bill Gates and Elon Musk, express a need for caution in pursuing true AI. Advances in AI and its adjacent technologies - machine learning, deep learning and neural networks - will be enabled by the cloud and its ability to provide the computing power necessary for these processes. Because AI has the potential to substantially alter every home, industry and workplace, it’s a hot topic and definitely one to watch.
5) The Adoption of “Start-Up” Techniques in IT Workplaces
Development techniques that are common in tech start-up environments will increasingly be adopted to reinvent established IT workplaces, because they deliver competitive advantages. Open source software, Agile practices and DevOps have long been used in start-ups to bring faster time to market, lower development cost, collaboration opportunities, and faster adoption by users. Open source software is credited with reducing barriers to entry and affording opportunities for innovation, collaboration and customization. Agile practices rely on incremental, iterative work cadences as an alternative to traditional project management and sequential development, increasing productivity.
Likewise DevOps, in which operations and development engineers (Dev) work together throughout the service lifecycle - design, development and production - is also a departure from the traditional structuring of IT workplaces and is credited with productivity gains. With competition increasing in the market, IT organizations are looking for any edge and will find it by implementing startup techniques to create speed and enhance innovation in their organizations.
What IT trends are you following as we begin 2017? To join the conversation, leave your answers - or predictions - in comments.