Ten years ago, not many of us could have predicted that we’d be holding conversations via video on paper-thin devices called tablets. Or that we wouldn’t have to be at a particular computer to access a file. Or that our cell phones would be the thing most of us rely on to get through the day. Or that we’d see a 500+% increase in global Internet users.
Technology is a tricky thing to predict, but it’s still fun to give it a try. What do the next 10 years hold for us?
1. The Barriers to Entry Will Become Nonexistent.
It used to be that you needed some sharp technical skills if you wanted to use a computer in your office. And lots of money. And room. But as we see computers, mobile, social, and cloud converging into one giant ball, everyone’s included in the fun. Even the least technical person at your company can likely use a computer, and he’ll find it even easier in the next few years. Technology is starting to be designed for that person, not the head of IT.
And mobile apps? No longer just a rich man’s game. Even the smallest business can now afford to have one developed. The future will just bring down prices to do so even more.
2. We’ll See More *aaS.
We’ve got Software as a Service. Backend as a Service. Platform as a Service. Services in IT are on the edge of explosive growth, and features that currently require a technical manager to oversee will soon be handed off to companies profiting by providing IT services.
This is an exciting prediction, and it leads back to #1: if you no longer have to worry about the backend your app uses or developing tools for your platform, you can spend more time focused on growing your business.
3. The Internet of Things Will Be Big for B2B.
Right now, the “Internet of Things” is focused on the consumer market. Just look at your FitBit, which tells you how many calories you’ve burned. Or your XBox SmartGlass app for your tablet that lets you interact with XBox on your television. But B2B applications are in the works, and will soon help businesses work more smartly.
Examples have been given of predictive maintenance on large business campuses. Rather than wait until a chiller or other major piece of equipment breaks down, connected devices can alert maintenance crews to prevent unscheduled downtime. Or the oil and gas industry could use technology to find sources of oil without as much experimental drilling. The possibilities, truly, are limitless.
4. We’ll Get a Handle on Big Data.
If there’s a buzzword for 2012 up until now, it’s “Big Data.” Unfortunately, most businesses still don’t know what to do with all the information zooming at them from their customers and technology. But they will. There’s an entire industry being built up around this overload we’re currently experiencing in trying to sift through all this data, and soon we’ll be able to use it intelligently.
If the focus right now is on capturing all that Big Data, the future will be interpreting it easily.
5. Apps Will Replace Software
Enterprises will no longer bother with complex software builds and installations. Why deal with the hassle when apps will be much more agile and easier to implement? Large companies will also get away from the idea of an app or software having to be completely perfect, and will adopt the iterations of Agile software development, which constantly tests and tweaks software rather than waiting until it’s completed.
All of these predictions are believable enough; it’s what we can’t predict that’s truly exciting. What lurks around the corner? What technological advance will once again turn our world on its head? I, for one, can’t wait to find out. What are your predictions?