In the new year of 2016, what will you the IT decision-maker need to be aware of? Of course, my focus is on Cloud computing, web services and other cool technologies, but what will gain traction?
Drones and other autonomous actors. While the focus has been on the US Federal Aviation Administration wanting to control pilot-driven remote aircraft, true advancement will come from autonomous control. Artificial intelligence is slowly advancing, soon we will see more ground and air vehicles operating on their own. For example, thank of Google’s autonomous driving car, or Amazon’s coming drone delivery service.
Internet of Things. Even now, millions of devices supply information to the Internet. And thanks to inexpensive embedded systems, potentially billions of other devices that would not be classified as a "computer" are communicating over networks, mostly with other machines. Low-cost computing, low-cost or free connectivity, and the relative ease for software and processors to make connectivity happen, will make it possible for organizations, governments, companies, and even individuals to collect detailed data from all sorts of devices — and automate them in many ways.
SOA and cloud deployment of applications. For an eternity (in technology terms), developers have built native applications, for a particular device and platform/OS. Data associated was stored on the device, although perhaps uploaded remotely. Depending on the nature of the app, Internet connectivity might not even be a factor. This will change radically in 2016: mobile cloud apps don’t require a download; you can use the mobile cloud app UI in a browser window on the remote device, and an Internet connection will be required because data will be transferred between the mobile device using JSON over HTTP/S.
Advanced customer relationship management. You should be looking at proactive security architectures, and the ability to deliver self-service or automated response to customers. Because every organization wants to deliver activities designed to enhance the level of customer or stakeholder satisfaction, more efforts will be directed at preventing a negative customer event from occurring. Anticipating a need to prevent escalation reduces devilry costs and leaves the target user with a better feeling about the organization. Notifying a customer of account activities, sending reminders, and reflecting a “human touch” in communications are all ways of advancing CRM — and can be automated by analyzing past interactions with that user.
Three-D Printing. The promise of “mass customization” will mean personalized products, manufactured on demand at the end-user location. Newer, cheaper 3D printing technologies will mean consumers create exactly the objects they want from available models, or modify those models for their own needs. Full industrial-sized products, such as cars will not be too far off.
What else? I am sure quantum computing will become more of a reality, as the power to process huge volumes of data from GPS-enabled apps, data marts, and “internet of things” devices will have to be analyzed. Marshaling the swarms of drones overhead will require non-human air traffic control. Highways will become more safe, but with greater volumes of vehicles packed into lanes. More will be done, with less resources, freeing us to undertake high-value pursuits.