There were plenty of interesting headlines in the tech industry last year, and doubtless there will be plenty more this year. In this article, we're going to take a look back at three major tech trends that stood out last year in terms of their impact on people and the industry, before considering what 2015 is likely to bring as it unfolds.
Harnessing the power of big data
Big data finally eclipsed the cloud last year as the leading tech buzzword in the market. It has become the shiny new object that business leaders and IT professionals are trying to harness.
Big data can be a powerful tool for many businesses, in all sectors. Government agencies can use it to understand where social services need to be concentrated most, yet musicians can also use big data to work out which songs to play at their concerts, based on Spotify or other streaming music site data.
The opportunity is there, and companies know they need a big data strategy. Some have cracked it, some haven't, but it's clear that this will only improve, and there are certainly plenty of tech companies lining up to deliver a solution to the problem.
The rise of hybrid cloud
2014 also saw the rise of hybrid cloud, which finally came into its own as a viable option for businesses. Cloud buyers have become discerning, sophisticated (sort of), and the market is starting to mature with the view that hybrid will be the de facto norm for the foreseeable future.
The challenge for 2015 will be helping businesses to choose which hybrid combination is right for them, but more importantly, to make it work!
Internet of Things: an explosion of data
Finally, the big headline for me personally last year was the Internet of Things (IoT). Working in the hosting industry, we deal with many different clients trying to manage and utilise their data in the most effective way possible. With the explosion of IoT and devices attached to the internet, such as fitness trackers through to fridges, we're seeing customers coming to us more and more to help them harness this data and improve the experience of their customers.
Essentially this is a subset of big data, and there is tremendous value to be found in mining this data for company insight. By digging into this we can really start to change the game and use this data to become experts in our industries.
Looking at the year ahead
In 2015, with regards to hybrid cloud, I expect there to be real progress in terms of federation and interoperability. Significant progress was made in 2014, but it is still in the initial stages. For example, SAML identity federation code has made it into OpenStack, but it isn't leveraged yet by any of the other services. OnApp is building a federation model to allow service providers to resell their excess capacity between each other but workload migration is still not a fully automated proposition.
I think we will see more entrants into this field, and more emphasis placed on the actual technologies and services that will make various cloud models truly interoperate in a meaningful way for consumers.
With big data, I can't imagine this not grabbing even more of the headlines in 2015, especially with IoT seeping into the workplace. Some of the shine may start to wear off as some early adopters really start to dig into the available technologies, and with some technologies lacking integration and usability, there are potential pitfalls here.
I think we'll start to see more case studies emerge from a few of these early adopters, where real investment in big data has yielded impressive and worthwhile results (ROI always helps sell a technology). We may also start to see consolidation among the ecosystem software companies that specialise in analytics and visualisation, as the core software platform providers start to snap up these solutions to round out their capabilities for enterprise users.
Finally, the Internet of Things will creep more and more into the lives of consumers and in turn the workspace. Wearable tech will become a much more widely adopted technology and we'll start to see fad turn into real value-add. It's hard to predict the actual use cases, but you can be sure that technologies that improve people's personal lives will soon start to become part of their work lives as well.
- Toby Owen is VP Product at Peer 1