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Let’s take a quick look into the future: Gartner’s vision of technology in 2013 and beyond

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It’s that time of the year when Gartner reveals what its star analysts foresee for technology’s future next year and further on, notably the one that inhabits the corporate world.

What the world’s leading corporate technology think tank says matters a lot because it can move minds, not to mention millions of dollars in big-ticket technology purchases.

Gartner first presented its vision for 2013 and beyond at its annual symposium in Orlando, Florida last month. It will do so again on the Gold Coast later this month. For those who don’t want to wait anymore here are its top 10 predictions:

#1. China’s mobile conquest. With the market consolidating around Android and iOS – or Apple and Samsung, if you will – traditional handset makers are getting marginalised. Aggressive Chinese players, most notably Huawei and ZTE, will make it worse. By 2014, three of the five largest mobile handset makers will be Chinese.

#2. Big Data shortfall. Big data doesn’t need any more evangelism. Its real financial and competitive benefits are well established. But the challenge is this: How do companies find the people with new skills — data management, analytics and business expertise – necessary to extract extracting the value of big data, as well as artists and designers for data visualization? Expect two-thirds of the expected 4.4 million Big Data jobs to remain unfilled by 2015.

#3. What Windows 8? Microsoft as a technology company might be able to proactively embrace its own new Windows 8 operating system. However, most enterprises are far from ready or willing. Gartner predicts enterprises will wait for stability. So much so, by 2015, 90% of the enterprises will simply have bypassed broad-scale deployment of Windows 8.

#4. Offshoring will shrink. This one’s been long in coming. With growing unemployment, the European Union will introduce legislation by 2014 to protect local jobs. The protectionist laws will not end offshoring but will shrink the market by 20% as companies rebalance labour arbitrage.

#5. Leak of data. By 2017, 40 percent of enterprise contact information will have leaked into Facebook via employees’ increased use of mobile device collaboration applications. This suggests corporates will struggle to manage transfer of information between legitimate enterprise-controlled applications and consumer applications.

#6. Malware threat grows. Through 2014, employee-owned devices will be compromised by malware at more than double the rate of corporate-owned devices. This will lead enterprises to block or restrict access for those devices that are not compliant with corporate policies.

#7. Software costs will go up. Previously “dumb” devices like vending machine and parking meters are getting embedded software, and sensors linked to the Internet. Someone has to pay for this. Gartner expects such costs through 2014 to rise 25%.

#8. Gamification grows. The World Bank and the U.S. Army, among others, have already embraced gamification. Clearly, it’s important in today’s era. By 2015, 40 percent of the Global 1000 organisations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations, swelling the market more than 10 times to $2.8 billion in 2013.

#9. Computers to wear. Okay, this one is not enterprise computing. But looks like Gartner couldn’t resist weighing in on a broader thing. By 2016, wearable smart electronics in shoes, tattoos and accessories will emerge as a $10 billion industry. And here’s the enterprise link: CIOs must evaluate how the data from wearable electronics can be used to improve worker productivity, asset tracking and workflow.

#10. IT services market upheaveal. This is the biggie. Gartner says a “Nexus of Forces,” including cloud, big data, mobility and social media, along with continued global economic uncertainty, will accelerate restructuring of the nearly $1 trillion IT services market. By 2015, low-cost cloud services will cannibalize up to 15 percent of top outsourcing players’ revenue, and more than 20 percent of large IT outsourcers will simply disappear through merger and acquisition.

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