3d data for the enterprise: IBM

Sometime in the next five years enterprise workers will access information in novel three-dimensional ways such as modeling a product in virtual space before building it, or deriving analytics by walking around a projected 3D image of a bar chart.

“Advances in 3D technology have consumer value in TV, but gives enterprises the opportunity to start looking at enterprise data in three dimensions too,” said Don Campbell, chief technology officer for business analytics with IBM Canada Ltd. “If you can walk around that data you can really see it in all dimensions it’s trying to project,” said Campbell.

That’s just one innovation IBM foresees as part of its Next Five In Five, a list of five predictions for the next five years issued annually by the Armonk, New York-based vendor.

IBM also foresees the next five years will produce device batteries that feed off the physical properties of the atmosphere around us to live longer and make the enterprise worker more productive.

“If we can take advantage of the chemistry of our atmosphere and have those batteries last longer … to be able to have the device continue to be effective for me then it can play a bigger role in my day,” said Campbell.

While battery technology has so far undergone steady growth, it has been minor. Campbell said batteries will have to advance much more in order to power the heavy processing that enterprise workers must do on their mobile devices.

IBM’s predicts the next five years will bear witness to significantly more efficient data centres. Currently, a whopping 50 per cent of energy in data centres is allocated to cooling heavy-duty processors but that is about to change, said Campbell. Enterprises will use water to transfer heat from processors and reuse it for other business needs such as warming office buildings or brewing coffee.

Citizen scientists will emerge in the next five years. Everyday people, including enterprise workers, will utilize existing technology such as smart phones, laptops and social media to feed valuable data to research.

“At a creek bed they can answer simple questions to water departments and give them a massive amount of very local content that they would never be able to get themselves,” said Campbell.

It’s not such an outlandish thought given enterprise workers are already using technology to share information, collaborate and work remotely, said Campbell. It’s merely a matter of using the same technology more intelligently and productively to derive added value to help the planet.

“It’s not a matter of now re-arming people now with a brand new set of technology, it’s about being smarter with the technology that we already possess,” said Campbell.

Your commute to work will be personalized. IBM foresees the next five years will be when systems start combining myriad bits of information already out there to help people better schedule their route to work. Information such as GPS, traffic data and parking garage vacancies will be integrated for greater value, said Campbell.

“Before I start my commute the information can tell me, ‘Don, you’re best to travel on this route today to work and you’re best to park in this garage over here rather than the one closest to your building because by the time you get there it’s likely going to be filled already,’” said Campbell.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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