Home Articles Gartner’s 2014 Trends: Smart machines, personal cloud, 3-D printing et al

Gartner’s 2014 Trends: Smart machines, personal cloud, 3-D printing et al


When Gartner talks, the IT world does lend an eager ear. What the think tank says is eagerly awaited at year’s end.

In keeping with a recent tradition, the U.S. company presented its vision for 2014 and beyond at its annual symposium in Orlando, Florida. It did an encore at a conference on the Gold Coast last month.

Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.

“We have identified the top 10 technologies that companies should factor into their strategic planning processes,” said Gartner’s David Cearley. “This does not necessarily mean adoption and investment in all of the listed technologies, but companies should look to make deliberate decisions about them during the next two years.”

Gartner defines a strategic technology as “an existing technology that has matured and/or become suitable for a wider range of uses;” or even “an emerging technology that offers an opportunity for strategic business advantage for early adopters or with potential for significant market disruption in the next five years.”

Gartner believes the convergence of a “Nexus of Forces” – social, mobile, cloud and information – will continue to drive change and create new opportunities, creating demand for advanced programmable infrastructure that can execute at web-scale.

Gartner’s top 10 “strategic technology trends” for 2014 may not always play out the same year but are seen as a trend. For those curious about Gartner’s 2013 predictions, click here. Or else read on for what it foresees for 2014 and beyond:

Mobile device diversity, management. ‘Everything everywhere’a reference to ubiquitous computing across any device – anywhere is an enterprise utopia. But that will remain one, at least through 2018, simply because corporate resources are, well, limited.

Mobile apps and applications. An improved JavaScript performance will begin to push HTML5 and the browser as a mainstream enterprise application development environment. Still, no single tool will be optimal for all types of mobile applications. So expect to employ several.

Internet of Things. The Internet is expanding to more and more things but enterprises or even technology vendors are not ready. Enterprises can, instead, leverage the Internet of people, information and places.

Hybrid cloud and IT as service broker. With cloud computing still evolving, the new imperatives would include bringing together personal clouds and external private cloud services. So be ready to welcome such things as cloud service brokers and private infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

Cloud/client architecture. Cloud/client computing models are shifting, thanks to robust capabilities of client devices, mobile and desktop alike. This could help reduce bandwidth and cloud costs but the growing complexities and demands of mobile users will drive apps toward server-side computing and storage.

The Era of Personal Cloud. This has consequence. The device becomes far less important, though still necessary.

Software-defined anything. Software-defined anything (SDx) is a term for the growing trend toward improved standards for infrastructure programmability and data center interoperability driven by automation inherent to cloud computing, DevOps and fast infrastructure provisioning.

Web-scale IT. The rise of large cloud service providers such as Amazo and Google has raised the bar. Consequently, enterprises need to re-invent the way IT is delivered across the company. Gartner calls this “web-scale IT.”

Smart machines. Siri has been around for a while now but expect more savvy personal assistants including automated chauffeurs. The “smart machine era” will blossom through 2020 with a proliferation of “contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants, smart advisors (such as IBM Watson), advanced global industrial systems and public availability of early examples of autonomous vehicles.” Gartner believes the smart machine era could be the “most disruptive” phenomenon in the history of IT.

3-D printing. Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 75% in 2014 and nearly double the following year as the technology emerges as a real, viable and cost-effective means for designs, streamlined prototyping and short-run manufacturing.