February 18, 2016. Technical Author: David Fearne

Top Technologies, Trends and Concepts in 2016 – Part 1

Some of you may be familiar with ‘Moore’s Law’, an observation made in 1965 that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit would double every year and continue to do so. However, the more widely accepted this has become, the more it’s served as a goal for the entire industry. This is most definitely the truth today – technology is moving rapidly all the time and companies need to introduce three or four new products or services every year to stay current.

Last year saw the fastest pace of innovation the world has ever seen, so I make no excuse that my predictions for the top technology trends of 2016 are a little ‘out there’. My 2015 predictions were possibly a little tame compared to what actually happened – but this year I’ve taken it back to the drawing board, so buckle up for a technological roll-coaster!


The rise of the ‘phablet’

As smartphones increasingly become our main personal computers the desire for a more productive device in our pockets is greater than ever. When some smart phones were released they were deemed too big for mass market appeal – however, in 2015 this was turned on its head when sales of these devices overtook tablets by more than double. [1]

So what does this mean? Well, this trend is helping to redefine the case for mobility in the workforce. Mobile devices are no longer only being useful for low productivity apps – instead wider screen sizes mean many apps are now more usable for businesses. It also opens up new opportunities for companies who want to make use of innovative apps to expand their market share.

In 2016, I expect to see an uptake in apps specifically designed with a combination of the ‘always-connected’ mobile platform and the larger screen size, bringing a new wave of mobile productivity. 


Security risk modelling

Last year saw encryption, malware and cyber warfare become household names, with security threats plastered across every newspaper. A breach can no longer just be swept under the carpet and disguised to consumers with baffling technical language. So security is a top priority for all organisations in 2016 – but what can they do to protect themselves?

Simply implementing more firewalls just isn’t going to cut it this time. In a world where the only events you can guarantee are birth, death, hard drive failure and hacking, an aggressively proactive stance is required. Businesses need to be constantly questioning themselves in the simplest way possible. This can be achieved by introducing risk modelling technologies: a security discipline that takes an exact model of your network – warts and all – and puts it under constant pressure to help find vulnerable attacks as fast as possible.


De-centralised Applications

At its peak in 2013, the world’s newest currency, Bitcoins, was worth more than $1,100 per coin but dropped to an average price of $220 in 2015[2]. This was due to poor consumer understanding of the technology and its use in some un-favourable transactions.

Bitcoins is underpinned by The Block Chain – one of the most used apps by start-ups –and this has helped Block Chain technology become the real winner. Its de-centralised nature, that doesn’t have any single point of failure, is a very attractive solution for a wide range of applications.

As an open source technology, The Block Chain can be freely copied, changed and implanted by anyone so it’s of high value to many organisations. Hundreds of companies are exploring how to make use of the technology for contract negotiations and transferring and storing data, such as medical details. This one is sure to grow in popularity throughout 2016. 


Hybrid Applications

With the rise of the just-in-time culture and the on-demand workforce, no longer is it practical to do everything ourselves. In today’s world, the measure of outcome is the most valuable message any IT solution provider can have; hence the arrival of the cloud.

But as wonderful as a cloud-based solution might sound, this only removes the infrastructure overheads; there’s still capital expenditure and operational costs. No longer is it good enough to move the problem somewhere else as the majority of time and effort is spent in supporting the apps and their various complexities. So what’s up next? Hybrid applications to support the cloud.

Hybrid apps allow data to reside on-premise while management platforms, configuration and updates are run by a third party. This is where some virtualisation, storage, security and even core access and identity management platforms are already going. And I’m sure we’ll be seeing many more organisations using hybrid apps to help them deliver business outcomes over the course of 2016. 


Machine Learning

Practical applications in machine learning exploded in 2015. This advanced form of analytics is helping transform drug discovery, financial forecasting, insurance decisions and can even help you organise your holiday snaps.

The fundamental principle is it allows computers to reason. Moving computers away from being pure machine – and instead building a system that can learn in the same way we do – allows them to make justified decisions and solve problems by using examples of valid inputs and outputs. Some commercial software packages, websites and apps have used machine learning for years. However, the main difference in 2016 is that machine learning is now a separate function within many organisations that have enough data and a strong enough use case.

But we’re still a little way off from any real ‘Terminator’ style artificial intelligence just yet!


Stay tuned for the second part of my predictions for 2016…

[1] IDC Company Data

[2] http://www.coindesk.com/price/

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