Cloud, Mobility, 3D Printing Make Gartner's 2014 Key Technologies List

1 - Cloud, Mobility, 3D Printing Make Gartner's 2014 Key Technologies List
2 - Getting a Handle on the Growing Numbers of Mobile Devices
3 - Developers Should Aim for Flexibility, Adaptability in UIs
4 - Time to Start Thinking About the Internet of Things
5 - Getting Your Head in the Hybrid Cloud
6 - The Development of the Cloud/Client Architecture
7 - A Shift in Personal Clouds
8 - Anything Can Be Software-Defined
9 - Enterprises Should Emulate Cloud Services Providers
10 - Smart Machines Are Coming
11 - The Democratization of 3D Printing
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Cloud, Mobility, 3D Printing Make Gartner's 2014 Key Technologies List

by Jeffrey Burt

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Getting a Handle on the Growing Numbers of Mobile Devices

The size of the mobile workforce will only grow, fueled by such trends as bring-your-own-device (BYOD), and along with that growth will come increasing diversity in the kinds of mobile devices and how they're being used. Even with all this, most companies still only have policies around network access based on corporate-own and managed devices. Policies around employee-owned hardware need to be reviewed, updated and expanded.

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Developers Should Aim for Flexibility, Adaptability in UIs

Developers need to start building expanded user interface models that offer richer voice and video, and that span a variety of devices, according to Gartner analysts. They should develop ways that they can take apps and use them as building blocks to build larger applications, and create adaptable programming structures that can assemble the building blocks into content optimized for each device.

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Time to Start Thinking About the Internet of Things

Vendors from IBM to Cisco Systems to Intel are looking at the Internet of things as a huge growth opportunity, with intelligence and compute capabilities being built into everything from cars to appliances to clothes. However, most enterprises—and even most vendors—have yet to really explore the possibilities and are not ready for them. That needs to change.

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Getting Your Head in the Hybrid Cloud

Enterprises need to start designing private clouds with the idea of making them into hybrid clouds in the future. A key to managing all this will be the job of a cloud service broker, for handling such tasks as aggregation, integration and customization of services.

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The Development of the Cloud/Client Architecture

In this architecture, the client is a rich application running on an Internet-connected device, with the server being a set of application services hosted in a scalable cloud computing platform, the Gartner analysts said.

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A Shift in Personal Clouds

Personal clouds will move away from devices and toward services, with the device specifics becoming increasingly less important for businesses to worry about, though devices will still be necessary. Employees will use a range of devices, with the personal cloud becoming the primary hub among them.

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Anything Can Be Software-Defined

Gartner analysts are talking about software-defined anything (SDx), which touches on everything from better and easier infrastructure programmability and interoperability in the data center, fueled by automation that is found in cloud computing, development and operations, and fast infrastructure provisioning. SDx also incorporates such initiatives as OpenStack, OpenFlow and the Open Compute Project, and standards will continue to pop up. That said, enterprises should challenge their vendors to ensure their commitment to true interoperability standards, they said.

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Enterprises Should Emulate Cloud Services Providers

Such large providers as Google, Amazon and Facebook are changing the way IT services can be delivered, and their scale goes beyond such size to include aspects like speed and agility. Enterprises should look to these providers and their architectures, processes and practices, the combination of which Gartner calls Web-scale IT.

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Smart Machines Are Coming

The era of smart machines will run through at least 2020, with continued growth in the numbers of contextually aware, intelligent personal assistant, smart advisers—like IBM's Watson—advanced industrial systems and, to some extent, autonomous vehicles. People and enterprises alike will invest in their own smart machines, which will add fuel to the continued consumerization of IT, the analysts said.

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The Democratization of 3D Printing

Global shipments of 3D printers will grow 75 percent in 2014 and will nearly double the following year, the analysts said. Some very expensive versions of these "additive manufacturing" devices have been around for two decades, there is a nascent but growing market for systems in the $500-to-$50,000 range, and the noise around the consumer market for the technology should tell organizations that 3D technology is real.

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