Tomorrow’s Business: 2014 Tech Predictions Roundup

by Richi Jennings

In 2014, hybrid cloud comes of age, flash opens up new business models, and autonomous cars are more than just a science project.

As the end of the year races towards us, the tech press loves to entertain us with prediction of what the next year will look like. Here are just a few that caught my eye — looking from our usual vantage-point of embracing change, exploitingopportunity, and accelerating business.


Kicking us off, Jay Kidd sets out his stall:

The tension within IT on moving to the cloud will resolve as organizations recognize that a hybrid cloud model is needed to serve their application portfolio. CIOs will sort their application portfolio into those applications that they must control entirely (in on-premises private clouds), control partially (in enterprise public clouds)…and those best purchased as SaaS. IT will act as brokers across these diverse cloud models.

As CIOs move to managing a portfolio of cloud services, they will look at their internal IT as one more service option. All IT owned by a company will be considered a “private cloud,” and expectations of responsiveness to the business, cost competitiveness, and service-level agreements will be compared to external cloud options.


Stretching the brief a little, Roger Kay channels IBM’s view of life by 2018:

During the next five years…computers do not replace humans, but work alongside them in a kind of virtuous feedback loop. … Computers also help stretch skilled resources across larger populations.

Right now, online has many advantages over retail, but what if retail was able to make use of all the tools of online and in addition offer a real, rich, physical experience? … This is not so much comparison shopping as buyer engagement. … Technology need not be threatening. In fact, it can be quite helpful.


But Google’s Eric Schmidt waxes dystopian:

Speaking at the recent Paley Center for Media…summit in New York, Schmidt said he was worried Russia is “on the path” of copying China. … Until now, he said, the Russian Internet has been “very open, which has benefited Russian society.”

Schmidt predicted that in the next decade there will be “some form” of revolution in China. … 600 million Internet users…will eventually move in a way “the government can’t fix,” demanding rights, complaining about their children being poisoned by pollution.


The controversial cybernetics professor, Kevin Warwick, predicts that self-driving cars are much closer than we think:

It all depends on how quickly society is prepared to shift. … The advantages are enormous. … You don’t have that human-error factor that comes from tiredness or a lapse in concentration. Autonomous cars will also be better at predicting and dealing with mechanical faults.

We can eliminate the…highway median. The idea of having fixed lanes will be obsolete. … You’ll see the early adopters showing off…the way you did with those huge car phones in the 1980s. They’ll be there, reading a book or tapping away at a screen, maybe ostentatiously waving…as they sail past.

It’s inevitable. Academically it’s one of the hottest topics right now, and if there are any major car manufacturers who aren’t sponsoring this research you have to ask: What’s wrong with you?


Don’t underestimate the exciting future brought by speedier storage, urgesMark Welke:

Business success is met or missed on the narrow edges of decisions. Choices get made in a split second or informed by deep understanding—increasingly, both. … Microsecond-by-microsecond analysis of information, data, and consumer preferences is now the norm. … Flash is what makes that possible, but…what changes will it drive in our day-to-day reality?

Competitive advantages will be defined by the ability to better analyze and predict outcomes. … Putting greater power in the hands of decision makers allows decisions to be made with more accuracy and at lower risk, by basing them on facts. [And] end users thrive on the ability to control their own destiny through informed choices. … This newfound ability is creating a downstream ripple effect in the industry. … The net effect is the dramatic acceleration of business—at the speed of flash.


Meanwhile, Larry Freeman adds his thoughts on flash — and also on big data and cloud computing:

In recent years, few enterprise storage technologies have seen as rapid adoption as flash did in 2013. Rest assured that the fun will continue in 2014.

As developments in 2013 have shown, achieving big data ‘nirvana’ will require some adjustments along the way.

While 2013 was the year of mainstream cloud adoption, 2014 looks to be the year of cloud immersion, with many companies following the lead of the U.S. Government and adopting a “cloud first” policy. … Each transition to cloud-based workloads means an organization must decide whether to use on-premise or off-premise cloud storage. This decision requires an assessment in three areas: performance, control, and cost.


Image credit: (cc:by)

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