Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014-2015

Mobile and cloud hosting services are moving technology in new directions in 2014, as an infographic from points out. Based on a report presented by Gartner at the Gartner Symposium/IT Expo, the infographic reveals ten clear strategic technology trends impacting businesses and consumers in 2014.

Mobile Device Diversity and Management

The rapid adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in many workplaces has brought new challenges for security professionals. 2014 is the year professionals will realize the risks related to mobile devices and strengthen policies to address these risks.

Mobile Apps and Applications

Gartner predicts that apps will continue to grow in popularity and applications will start to dwindle as users go increasingly mobile. For developers, the push toward HTML5 and the browser as a delivery mechanism will change the development environment.

The Internet of Everything

For both businesses and consumers, internet connectivity will go beyond devices to include wearable items, household appliances, field equipment, and much more.

Hybrid Cloud and IT as a Service Broker

In its report, Gartner stresses the importance of bringing personal clouds and external private cloud services. Cloud environments should be set up with a hybrid future in mind.

Client/Cloud Architecture

The architecture of client/cloud computing is changing, with the client serving as the application on a PC or mobile device and the cloud requiring scalability. Applications must be able to run on multiple devices.

The Era of Personal Cloud

Thanks to the emerging personal cloud, services will become more important than services. While equipment will still be important, they will merely be a conduit to the apps and data a user needs.

Software Defined Anything

Known as SDx, Software Defined Anything encapsulates the networking, data centers, storage, and storage networks that make up technology today. SDx calls for improved standards for cloud computing and development.

Web-Scale IT

Calling upon the experience of large cloud providers like Amazon and Google, Gartner created a term called “Web-Scale IT.” This term refers to the need for enterprises to examine the IT value chain for improvements in every area across the organization.

Smart Machines

Devices will become more sophisticated through the year 2020 as machines like IBM’s Watson show more human qualities. Gartner predicts this smart machine era will be among the most disruptive in IT history.

3-D Printing

2014 will be the year mainstream 3-D adoption begins to grow, as the number of units shipped this year should grow by 75 percent. Gartner predicts this will be followed by double growth in 2015.

Study: Enterprise Mobile Apps Increase Productivity

appsAs mobile use continues to grow, small businesses are still struggling to determine if they should implement their own mobile apps to interact with customers and perform operations. While many businesses have taken steps toward mobile adoption through cloud hosting, apps still seem like a big commitment.

A new study reveals that the investment may be well worth it, even for smaller organizations. In a survey of 688 technology professionals, InformationWeek found that custom mobile app development is on the rise in business, with 41 percent of businesses stating they’d created custom mobile apps for their companies.

Increased Productivity

Consumers may use apps for playing games and watching movies, but in the business environment, apps are for improving operations. Whether through existing apps like Salesforce and GoPayment or through apps created specifically for an organization, mobile apps can make it easier for employees to communicate, work on projects, and track spending, among many other functions.

In many cases, SMBs will likely choose to use an existing application to meet their needs. However, when it becomes necessary to create an app to interact with customers or make their lives easier, custom app development may become necessary. Instead of paying a development team top dollar to create an app from scratch, many businesses are turning to app creation tools like and TheAppBuilder to create an app easily and affordably.

Apps have freed businesses up to reduce paperwork and manual entry, saving time that can be put toward more important issues. When an app can keep a workforce in touch and save valuable steps, it adds value to an organization. It’s important that a business weigh its many options before setting on an app solution that meets its own needs, only adding apps that will increase productivity rather than distract workers from their daily duties.

Using Business Apps? iOS Still Offers the Best Selection

appsBusinesses are always faced with choices when it comes to their smartphones and tablets. While there are many variations, these devices all rely on a core group of mobile operating systems. Because of this, professionals are frequently required to choose between devices powered by iOS, Windows, Android, or BlackBerry O/S.

The software that makes these devices useful for work-related applications is integral to their usability. If a company needs to run Salesforce mobile, for instance, that business must first ensure the Salesforce mobile app runs on the chosen mobile operating system. Increasingly, application compatibility drives a business’s choice as it shops for devices.

The iOS Advantage

For a time, BlackBerry was the preferred device for enterprises, since its easy-to-use email features made it business-friendly. But in recent years, apps have taken over, leading to a growing trend toward iPhones and iPads. According to a report from Good Technology, iOS holds 88 percent of the enterprise app market, thanks to applications developers who design for the popular operating system.

The business popularity of iOS is demonstrated in tablet purchases, with iPads comprising 90 percent of all business applications. The report stated iPads as having the most significant impact on conventional PCs in the business environment. This move toward iPads is changing the way business is conducted in various industries, the report said.

Your Choice

Does that mean you should completely toss Android- or Windows-based devices aside? Not at all. Before purchasing new devices for your business, make an inventory of all of the applications your workers will need. You may find your own organization uses applications that are only available on Android or Blackberry.

Keep in mind, though, that over the next few years, new applications will emerge that you’ll want to add to your suite of productivity tools. Choosing an operating system that has a wealth of apps available may be the best way to position yourself for the future.

Consumer Shift to Smartphone to Affect Cloud Marketing

smartphonesearchA new report from eMarketer has shed new light on the way consumers search for everything from restaurants to hotels. This information confirms an earlier report from Nielsen that revealed consumers spend more time using the internet on mobile phones than on desktops and laptops.

Marketing in the Cloud

As the internet has increasingly become an essential part of everyday life, marketers have moved their marketing efforts online. Services like Google AdWords allow businesses to sign up for services online, automating marketing efforts that have traditionally been relegated to billboards and paid media advertising.

The best thing about cloud-based advertising is that results can easily be tracked. Advertisers often offer businesses the ability to gather detailed information about click-through rates and referring URLs, helping them craft more successful campaigns in the future.

The Move to Mobile

As the report details, smartphone use has eclipsed PCs as the medium of choice for finding information. If a consumer is planning a trip, planning is more likely to be conducted using a mobile app like Kayak than to use Google to find information. A homebuyer searching for a house will probably turn to mobile apps like Zillow to gather information and set up notifications when a new home goes on the market.

This shift has real-world implications for today’s businesses, still struggling to compete in a technology-driven marketplace. Marketers who have centered their collective attentions on techniques like Google AdWords and search engine marketing must now consider new methods to reach customers.

Does your business need an app to reach this new consumer market? Not necessarily. But understanding that searches are taking place from smartphones, using voice commands and location search can make a big difference in your success in your next marketing campaign. As technology continues to evolve, businesses will likely notice old ways of reaching consumers no longer work and, by staying ahead of the market, your business can better compete.