Key Trends in Information and Communications Technology (ICT): A Look at 2016 and Beyond
By the Mind Commerce Staff
The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry is experiencing profound change across a broad range of areas. The following evolving trends play a significant role and impact on society and therefore ICT:
- Anytime, anywhere, any device access to communications, content, commerce, and applications: Consumer Cloud Services is a concept involving the storage of various consumer electronic items in “the cloud” for the benefit of anytime, anywhere, any device access. The concept is that one would not be limited to things like not being able to listen to their music because it is stored on a laptop (only) and not accessible when wanted on the go.
- Increased emphasis on non-human communications: With worldwide carriers reaching saturation of human users, network operators are looking for new ways to generate revenue and enhance profitability. At the same time, miniaturization is reaching the point in which embedded computing can be virtually ubiquitous. With the advent of IP version six (IPv6) and the attendant huge increase in IP addresses, virtually everything can be labeled (e.g. have an address or reference). All of this adds up to translate into a world in which objects (devices, equipment, and other assets) are communicating, transacting, signaling, etc. Arguably this market will overtake human communications rapidly as there are vastly more objects in the world than humans, they can communicate much faster, much more frequently, and for many more reasons than humans.
- The convergence and integration of many things: Many things are converging including everything from networks, services, and entire business models. One key example that is particularly poignant for enterprise is the convergence of M2M, IoT, Social, and Big Data. In many enterprises, discrete information systems that were developed over time for specific functions in an uncoordinated fashion have traditionally hampered high-level decision-making. When internal systems are organized in a silo fashion, top management typically struggles to spot correlations among individual departmental reports that could indicate areas for cross-departmental or divisional improvements. Historically, discrete data collection systems fail to present big picture perspectives since any actionable information on trends is constrained, as if perceived through horse blinders.
- Open networks, open interfaces, and many applications: While a large part of the market is yet to understand their technological and strategic significance, Telco Network Application Programmer Interface (API) play a critical part in carrier networks as a secondary stream of revenue. Telco Network APIs capitalize on existing network infrastructure to create a vast array of business opportunities for carriers worldwide. In essence, these APIs allow carriers to disseminate a wealth of internal information or resources to third parties. This could entail everything from network QoS for video service delivery to Subscriber Data Management (SDM) for advertising and profiling, the goal being to enable third party developers to offer services in return for revenues.
Because of the aforementioned trends (and a few others beyond the scope of this blog post), the following developments are anticipated:
- Artificial Intelligence is becoming a part of Everything: It getting integrated into everything from machine learning, predictive analytics, security software, intelligent agents, and more.
- Data is a Central Part of all Corporate Planning: The so-called Data Economy is here to stay. It is pervasive throughout everything from Analytics, Big Data, Business Intelligence, Discovery and Visualization (of data), and more. ICT companies of all types and enterprise in general are learning that data is one of their most valuable assets and there are evolving tools to realized optimal benefits.
- Cloud Computing is moving beyond IT: Once relegated primarily to IT personnel tasks with reducing costs, cloud computing is becoming a strategic differentiator, enabling companies to more flexibly manage operations, create, and maintain new products and services. It is also continuing to expand beyond pure “computing” to include communications, applications, content, and commerce across a diverse number of industry verticals.
- The Internet of Things (or Internet of Everything) is becoming more than Just Buzz Words: As meaningful problems find solutions with IoT, and it becomes clear that it is not just technology chasing a need, IoT will become part of the global lexicon of indispensable things, just like Smartphones and the Internet itself.
- Broadband (particularly wireless) is Enabling Key Technology Areas: While 4G via LTE is currently the worldwide recognized standard for high-speed wireless data, it will pale in comparison to what will be commercially available by 2020 when 5G is in operation. With 5G there will be no perceivable latency, facilitating expansion of a number of advanced applications such as Augmented Reality and Haptic Internet. Interestingly, these applications will cause vast amount of data to come into being, which will drive the need for more expansion in the data economy.