Cloud ComputingBy Michelle Maisto
Media Tablets and Beyond
Consumerization, falling prices and "bring your own device" policies will drive more tablets into the enterprise, where a melange of mobile platforms and security challenges will be the norm. In 2012, says Gartner, assign a team to explore how best to exploit the devices. Evaluate your strategy and adjust as necessary.
Mobile-Centric Applications and Interfaces
Mobile applications are setting user expectations for means simple, intuitive solutions with touch capabilities and voice commands. Video will expand beyond conferencing. Microsoft, Google and Apple will wrestle for control of the new user interfaces. Apple is widely expected to be working on a TV that will have Siri-like capabilities. Microsoft's Xbox 360 with Kinect can be voice controlled.
Contextual and Social User Experience
Multiple devices are the norm. Expect apps to recognize them and orchestrate how they might best work together. A multichannel experience will be inevitable, which HTML5 will help, says Gartner, though it's "no panacea."
The Internet of Things
Thanks to the low cost of embedding intelligence in objects, more than 50% of Internet connections are now from "things," creating big, if overwhelming, potential (as this Verizon ad hints at). Ask yourself, said Cearley, what one piece of information, if you had it from customers or employees, would change your business model. Go after that.
It's not the CIO's job to own all the intelligent devices, it's his or her job to orchestrate them. "Start asking those what-if questions," said Cearley. A unified view of all Internet-connected technologies will be an imperative by 2015.
Mobile devices, internal apps, the cloud, social computing and other sources are all contributing data that can quickly overwhelm in-house resources. To cope, Gartner recommends text analytics for scanning sources, video and audio tools for indexing and searching and using MapReduce, available through Apache Hadoop, to handle extreme data volumes.
App Stores and Marketplaces
By 2014, Gartner expects most organizations to have some kind of private mobile app store in place (in October, Verizon began offering private app stores for businesses). In the near term, CIOs should look at how to control and manage access to app stores, and over the long term, how to bring that plan and the cloud together.
Caption: Flash is getting cheaper than ever, while the cloud reduces client storage needs. New software in this space will be critical, and a proliferation of vendor offerings will address the need. Consider the impact, says Gartner, of migrating to boost performance, refactoring for efficiency and flexibility and exploring new applications
Extreme Low-Energy Servers
Caption: These new server architectures, based on chips targeted for mobile devices, are a bad fit for most apps, but for a select group can effectively offer extreme cost, energy and space savings. HP, for example, recently introduced "Project Moonshot," a server architecture that will take up 94% less space, use 89% less energy, and fit up to 288 servers in a four-use server chassis.
The service battles between Oracle, SAP and IBM will escalate as cloud computing continues to disrupt the IT landscape. Just be careful, Gartner cautions, of "cloud-washing" - solutions that use cloud as a marketing term rather than a true description of the technology.