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A "down under" perspective on IT trends


By Roger Lawrence, Chief Technologist, Strategic Enterprise Services - HP South Pacific


“If not now, When?”

“If not you, Who?”


This is a quote from HP CEO Meg Whitman (arguably not original) in her talks to staff as she builds HP into a company for the next 70 years.


I like it because it’s inspirational. A strident call to action.


With that strong call to action in our minds, let’s talk about the trends you should capitalise on for next year:


Software as a Service


Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is quickly becoming a commodity, and a highly contested market. Yet Independent Service Vendors (ISVs) aSaaS imagere still struggling to adapt to the cloud. Commercially they’re re-engineering internal compensation and revenue recognition models. Technically they have to re-architect applications to SOA, multi-tenancy all while providing a way to provision, measure and bill their enterprise systems.


This work has largely been conducted over the last three years; freeing ISVs up to focus on other areas. In 2013 more SaaS providers will emerge for a number of services including: Payroll, HR, Records Management, SW Development (ALM), Project and Portfolio Management, Logistics, Staff and Scheduling Management.


Data sovereignty becomes a non-issue


I have a feeling that data sovereignty will be less of an issue this year. I believe this will be the case partly because:

  • More people are shifting to SaaS
  • Cloud vendors are onshore
  • Organisations have a more mature approach to the cloud
  • The US Government will strike a deal with Australia (one can hope!)

I simply foresee less people being hung up about where their data resides. This will finally be the catalyst for mass moves to cloud delivery models.


From BYOD and OS to the Internet and the personal Cloud


BYOD-Pic.pngThe continuing appeal of new, connected devices will drive more people to connect their own devices to work networks. It doesn’t matter if IT approves the devices or not, employees will continue to bring them and use them. IT needs to find a way to accommodate and enable the business in this regard.


The other impact of lower power and functional devices will be to drive applications, or entire desktop OS’s, to the cloud. Now it is feasible for SMBs already to run their entire business via a browser. This ability will continue to shape all facets of the marketplace.


Google Chrome OS is operating on the horizon, but I don’t see it as a major competitor for another year or so. Currently the functionality of native apps over online apps, at least on the desktop, is still too familiar to people. Operating systems are also too entrenched in business licence agreements to change soon. More people are bringing their own devices and choosing a mobile platform from Apple or Google, I think the applications ratio will shift away from Microsoft Office as a result.


The competition will be for your pocket


Mobile devices provide a shop front to vendors in your pocket. The iPod, iPhone and iPad all provide a shop front for music, books and content as well as for applications. The Kindle series provides a shop front for Amazon for content and physical products. The Nook does the same for Barnes and Noble. Not only do you not have to leave your home to shop; now you no longer have to head to a computer. You simply shop from your device, wherever you may be, and have instantaneous access to your purchase.


More handheld devices like the Sony and Nintendo personal consoles will be introduced or changed. These products are in addition to what is provided from major smartphone vendors as well as offerings from Google and Microsoft.


Networks will be upgraded


The vast amount of unstructured data (video, photo and audio) will continue to increase as more people become comfortable with these technologies. So networks of all sorts will continue to be upgraded.


With cellular we’ll see widespread adoption of LTE and 4G networks. Home rollouts like the NBN in Australia, and the UFB in New Zealand, will continue. Even without these efforts businesses will update their Wide and Local Area Networks.


If you think all of these are passé, or almost obvious, here’s some additional out there predictions:


The social network gets corporatised


We are already seeing bets being made on Facebook. It strikes me that there is a proven collaboration, Identity and Access Management and communications system that reaches most people with access to the Internet.


Why wouldn’t Facebook work on a walled garden version for corporate clients? Especially at Public Cloud prices (or free with advertising) this would gazump other collaboration and messaging providers. It’s an offering waiting to happen.

Will a vendor like Microsoft, HP or IBM with deep business relationships, benefit from partnering here?


Augmented reality becomes mainstream


In 2012 we saw augmented reality enter our consciousness. We saw it with in-car navigation and telemetry systems (Heads Up Display) to smartphone recognition systems and wearable computing (glasses, touch devices, in-ear). At the end of 2013 most people will be using some form of augmented reality in their daily lives, and not realise it (much like Cloud today).


We don’t call a road sign augmented reality, but it is. In the same way, computer mediated AR will be as seamless to our lives—we won’t recognise that it is there.


3D Printing is the next revolution


We can already print 3D objects with over 170 materials, including metals, cement, and types of wood. Over the last year prices for 3D printers dropped from “hobbyist” to consumer levels (much like the PC’s in the 80’s, laser and inkjet printing in the 90’s and digital SLR’s in the 2000’s) The importance of these two factors should not be under-estimated.


If a physical object can live as code in the cloud, and then “printed” at home, or with more sophisticated equipment by service providers, this will disrupt a number of industries. This could be trivial: like getting a voucher to print your child’s “Happy Toy” at home when you visit a fast food vendor. Or, it can be significant: by driving low-cost manufacturing back from developing nations. (This is already happening)


In both instances you save costs by removing distribution and shipping. But there are other impacts, such as “mass customisation.” Because the object is stored as code you can programmatically insert variables. For example, your child’s name could be embossed in that “Happy Toy”


Imagine being able to logon to a retailers website, and print your next purchase at home—all from your mobile device. That reality is not too far away. And HP, as the premier technology and printer company, is positioned to be a major player in this space.


What do you think? Have I missed the mark? What do you think will be possible in 365 days? Let me know in the comments and share your ideas with others. 


There is no difference between theory and practice, in theory....
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About the Author


Roger has been trying to get out of Information Technology since programming COBOL on mainframes in the late '80's. But no matter in which continent he awoke, or whom employed him, his passion to enable people with technology was constant. So now he enables businesses to determine their strategy using the latest technologies like cloud computing, mobility, and big data. HP calls these Strategic Enterprise Services, Roger calls them "another day in the office."

Jan 30-31, 2018
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