February 23, 2016. Technical Author: David Fearne

Top Technologies, Trends and Concepts in 2016 – Part 2

Welcome back to the second part of my 2016 predictions. If you missed part 1, please click here.

 

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a game changing opportunity that will one day be so universal we won’t even notice it’s there. A smart watch will simply be a watch. 

However, last year IoT was still a semi-niche trend and was placed on Gartner’s 2015 hype curve - with a predicted entry into mainstream productivity in two to five years. But in 2016 the application for industrial IoT - e.g connected healthcare apps - will become very real.

This presents a massive market opportunity for solution providers – particularly as the pace of innovation in the device space is huge. Independent hardware vendors will all be looking at how they can either incorporate Internet connectivity into their legacy devices or how they can adopt market opportunities that could offer intelligent distributed systems. 

But, the support infrastructure for this industry is not keeping up with the rate of innovation. IoT at any scale requires a certain type of backend scaling in ways that aren’t common to enterprise apps or web platforms - for many there could still be a long way to go. 

 

Gamification 

Gamification is a technique used by app developers to improve user experience and engagement in business by introducing game-design elements in non-game contexts. This can include functional features such as point scoring, competitions and rules of play. As well as game design elements - for example, improved visual design, colour schemes and layouts. 

Gamification can also extend to the human computer interaction by introducing gesture control into an app. This has been used with great results so far in sales and marketing - but is now also breaking into security, operational systems and trading, and is expected to grow throughout 2016. Treating employees as players rather than users has shown to have positive effects on a business outcome, whilst also improving staff enjoyment and engagement. 

 

Augmented Reality

Adding context to a situation or experience is a very powerful tool for increasing customer engagement, targeting the market more accurately and helping organisations understand customers’ behaviour better. This is commonly referred to as Augmented Reality, or as I like to call it, Virtual Reality’s little brother. 

Augmented Reality is nothing new, but in the last couple of years has become considerably more achievable for many organisations. The combination of mobile device technology improvements and lower cost Bluetooth Low Energy smart tags has driven innovation in this space at a dramatic pace. 

Combine this technology with real-time analytics and Bluetooth enabled mobile devices, and organisations could have an effective, long-term approach to understanding customers as they interact with products and services. This will provide real-time product information, product suggestions and targeted offers. 

 

5G

Often it’s an external factor that accelerates innovation the fastest. In the case of mobility, it’s three factors: handset computing power, bandwidth and connection latency. Some could argue that battery life is the ultimate innovation for mobility - but in this case we are going to imagine everyone now carries a power bank! 

It’s fair to say that handset computing power isn’t limiting innovation so this leaves us with bandwidth and latency. With current 4G systems running at an average speed of 15Mbps and 55.0ms latency in the UK we aren’t poorly catered for - but up either one of these two factors and the possibilities are huge. 

5G is due to be introduced in early 2016 and will bring with it – if it meets design requirements – massive bandwidth improvements of up to 3.6Gbps. However, most important - from an innovation standpoint - is the sub-millisecond latencies. 

What does this mean for enterprises in 2016? It opens up the mobile device to a new raft of low latency and near real-time apps for everything from stock market trading to health monitoring. Basically anything that relies on sending and receiving data quickly, rather than on mass, will benefit immensely.

 

Software Defined Work Place (SDWP) and Software Defined Data Centre (SDDC)

Software Defined Everything was the title of one of my 2015 predictions. This time last year we couldn’t see where the uptake was going to be first, however it’s safe to say it was simply a matter of time before it found its natural home. 

SDWP and SDDC describe the practical implementation of the software-defined world. These abbreviations help to organise our thoughts around what’s practical for 2016 in relation to the market opportunity. 

SDDC broadly covers data centre products such as Software Defined Networking (SDN), Network Function Virtualisation (NFV), Software Defined Storage (SDS) and compute virtualisation and management. While, SDWP covers Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), application streaming and Mobile Device Management (MDM). This might seem like a mouthful but it actually represents a year’s worth of maturity for the software-defined world and we expect to see it grow over 2016.

 

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