Enterprise IT Context for the CTO

Bob Gourley

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December Tech Trends Report and 2016 Enterprise Tech Projections

Welcome to December's Technology Trends report. We produce this monthly to provide insights you can use regarding the rapidly changing technological landscape. We want to help you find the best ways to leverage new technologies to accomplish both your personal and professional goals.

If you would like to change the e-mail address you get this report on please visit this link:http://eepurl.com/GJr3D. We also encourage you to use that link to try out some of our other email newsletters. For example you can sign up for our daily Threat Brief from that URL.

The Cyber Threat:

Our book on The Cyber Threat is available in both paperback and Kindle formats. The book provides insights into the threat designed for executives and business leaders, including insights from history and current operations. It also provides context around the emerging discipline of cyber threat intelligence. For more see: http://CTOlink.us/TheCyberThreat

The Trends To Track in 2016

We continue to refine and update our projections on the future of technology along seven key topic areas: :

  • Cloud Computing
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Mobility
  • Big Data
  • Robotics
  • Internet of Things
  • CyberSecurity
(You can remember all these trends at once by use of the easy mnemonic: CAMBRIC).

Advances in these seven technologies are closely interrelated. Individually they are important and will change businesses and government. Together they are synergistic and will change humanity.

Here is more on what we expect each will bring us in 2016:

Cloud Computing: The efficiencies of this new architecture are driving compute costs down. And the agility of this model is helping innovators innovate and developers develop. New forms of Cloud Computing include ultra-small datacenters which can function as internal clouds, the most versatile of which can be bought in shipping containers and put anywhere, for very low cost. For 2016, expect more IT departments to be buying these small form factor cloud in a box data centers. Also look for more use of software for operating datacenters in scalable ways and for moving workloads between and among clouds.

Artificial Intelligence: Science fiction has brought this term to be a household word, but few realize the reality of this field of computing. AI and related disciplines like Machine Learning are enabling computers to assist humans in performance of their jobs now, and with AI being coupled with incredibly low cost cloud computing we see rapid development of capabilities continuing. In time many lower level jobs will be displaced by this technology. Will the efficiencies make up for that? In 2016 expect every user of a smart phone to have a growing respect for the utility of AI with capabilities delivering useful services on every smartphone device. Web applications based on AI, like x.ia, will grow slow but steady followings and move more into the mainstream. The use of cloud based AI to serve users will be led by Amazon and Echo.

Mobility: This is the greatest leap in humanity's ability to stay connected since the advent of spoken word. The only thing that would be better than this always on continuously connected super computer in our pocket would be ESP. But this is not just a connected supercomputer. It comes with 100's of sensors and millions of applications which can fuel and support use cases we have yet to begin to imagine. Expect 2 Billion smart phones in the world in 2016. We expect over 65% of the US will use smartphones by late 2016.

Big Data: For years now people and our sensors and our computers have been generating more information than we can analyze. Breakthrough methodologies and new scalable data approaches based around Hadoop hold great promise to helping us make sense over increasingly large data sets. Sensemaking is key to success in most all other technology advancements. In 2016 expect every enterprise will have at least a proof of concept based on the Apache Hadoop framework with most moving towards production environments. Home-based big data solutions that are easy to configure and manage will make their appearance.

Robotics: Operating along a spectrum of human controlled to semi-autonomous to totally independent, robots are already operating in our world. They save lives in hospitals, are taking the place of humans in dangerous jobs, improve our oil exploration and farming, endure the hazards of outer space and now fight our wars. Soon they will make driving safe. In 2016 we expect to see serious political discourse on what to do about the coming job displacement expected because of robotic manufacturing and services work. We also expect IT departments everywhere to realize that they must be qualified not just in dealing with data from robots but in robot repair.

Internet of Things: Today's Internet connects people, governments, academia and business. The already emerging Internet of Things goes far beyond that. Largely enabled by embedded computing devices and ubiquitous communications, the Internet of Things reaches to vehicles, homes, towns and cities, commerce, manufacturing and every aspect of industry. Use cases are expected to include enhancements to education, training, safety, security, healthcare, transportation and optimized manufacturing. The home will be a major avenue for IoT advances. We already mentioned one popular devices in the IoT category, the Amazon Echo. That is just one of 100's that will be in the home, and increasingly these IoT devices will communicate directly to each other.

CyberSecurity: Some of humanity's greatest thinkers, business leaders and computer scientists have struggled for years trying to enhance the security of our computers and networks. By just about every measure it is clear these approaches are not working. Consider that observation in the light of the trends above. Cybersecurity will have to advance or none of these other technologies will be optimized. We can make a prediction with absolute certainty: In 2016, cybersecurity will be like watching a rodeo. Sometimes the rider will ride and sometimes the rider will be thrown. We can also say with absolute certainty that enterprises that want to mitigate risk will need to realize they cannot do it alone. Everyone needs help. If your enterprise faces serious cybersecurity risks, whether you are in government or not, we recommend you do two things:  1) Sign up for the daily Threat Brief, a free recap of intelligence on the strategic cyber threat, and 2) Contact Cognitio (or reply to this note) to ask about our Cyber360 methodology.

Now consider the potential impacts of these technologies together. Humanity is building some very elegant applications on top of these foundational technologies. For example, an entire new domain of virtual reality and augmented reality which depends on the seven key technologies above is now poised to transform multiple industries and our home lives. That is just one example of what synergies between these technologies can produce.

How might these technologies work together in other ways to impact your personal life and the life of your family?What should you do now to improve your career or mentor others to better prepare themselves for the future? How might these technologies impact your business or organizational mission? What risks might they introduce that we should work to mitigate?

On the plus side these technologies hold the potential of:
- Better enabling mass collaboration on problems to generate solutions
- Make access to the highest quality education a right accessible by all
- Enhancing the ability to leverage data to solve issues of poverty, healthcare, the economy and issues of war and peace
- Enable new business models across every industry
- Improve safety in our everyday lives and in the workforce
- Enable knowledge capture, which will enhance the continued advancement of humanity
- Enhance the ability of law enforcement to fight violent crime
- Improve healthcare and extend meaningful life

On the negative side these technologies can potentially:
- Increase risks to individual privacy
- Open up new methods for criminals to steal information
- Increase risk of job displacement
- Increase wealth inequality

Recommendations on what do do about our coming future?

Organizational leaders should consider the impact of these technologies on how you operate. Odds are very high that old processes will fail under the pressure of change. Anticipate how you will adjust.

The most important thing we can do as individuals is to understand we have a personal responsibility to learn and to continually educate ourselves. Those of us with technical training have a special responsibility to learn and to help others understand.

Getting the most relevant information from our media properties:

We love comments and engagement with readers via any path easy for you. Engage us via any social media channel you prefer. And to tailor your news by topic area please visit the sites below and subscribe to the specific social media feeds and newsletters that most interest you:

  • ThreatBrief.com - Providing an updated feed of open source threat intelligence reporting, including a daily report. Our open source daily provides you the actionable intelligence you need to reduce risk and optimize your decisions. Like an unclassified version of the President's Daily Brief (PDB).
  • CTOvision.com - We serve the enterprise technology community by seeking out the most relevant news, commentary and assessments on technology.

And a final note: 

Thank you for reading in 2015, we look forward to a very bright 2016 with you and hope you will stay in touch.

Bob Gourley

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Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder of Crucial Point and publisher of CTOvision.com