2014 predictions from SAP, Ruckus Wireless and Brocade

With the end of the year a number of IT hardware and software companies issue predictions for the next 12 months in an effort to guide reporters and customers on what to expect in the near term.

We’re rolled three of them into one story covering analytics, Wi-Fi and networking to make it easier for you to ponder:

Bob Elliott, Managing Director, SAP Canada

–Mobile apps just become apps

People need to be able to work or interact with a company seamlessly at every touch point. If I can’t continue my job on the move via my iPad or smartphone, I’m less productive. We’re no longer chained to our desks all day at one location. 2014 will be the year that more businesses start to adopt enterprise applications that will provide the overall experience of consumer apps. This will allow businesses to operate anytime and from any device or desktop to do all sorts of business functions from HR, to sales, to finance.

The Internet of things changes our lives

The Internet of things has the power to radically transform how we do business and how we live our lives.  We have customers in the sports industry who are fully embracing this technology to monitor the performance of athletes and game plays through data points in their soccer ball and clothes, we’re working with the insurance industry to track how you drive your car and develop fairer insurance fees based on that, and green roofs will start to grow agriculture in cities through connected sensors. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Soon every appliance in our home will be connected to operate in the most convenient way for us.

–Personalized healthcare

Over 2014 there will be a dramatic shift in Canadian healthcare and it’s already happening in Vancouver. Healthcare practitioners and researchers are leveraging technology to research disease, personalize drug treatment and decrease disease and mortality. Individualized treatment for diseases such as HIV or cancer requires massive amounts of data and knowledge.  The analysis is complex and slow and results in “slash and burn” treatment as opposed to something more targeted. Being able to analyze the patients individually, rather than in clusters, allows practitioners to prescribe the right drugs and treatment.  2014 will be the year healthcare can better process data and we will see improvements in our patient outcomes.  This will no doubt evolve and look very different over the next five years.

–Bob’s supermarket

This year, Target launched in Canada, Canada Goose was bought by a U.S. company and Lulu lemon is on a mission to reform its image. Today’s retailers have to offer a seamless shopping experience across all channels and must not lose track of their customers if they’re to stay ahead of the game. A great example of a Canadian brand getting it right has to be Loblaw [an SAP customer]. Their points system has completely personalized how we shop. By analyzing big data the company can track what and how you buy, then send you personalized offers and promos that are completely customized to your habits. Even the supply chain is connected to this. RFID tags have become so small you can include them on all products, sending messages instantly to the company about demand for products.

–Taking transit will become rewarding

The transit system in Canada hasn’t changed much in almost a hundred years. We still use it the same way we use to; to get from A to B quicker and maybe catch up on emails or social media. In 2014 the way in which we use transit will be completely reevaluated.   The Montreal Transit system [an SAP customer] has significantly evolved the concept of transit with its first-of-its kind loyalty mobile app which brings real-time offers and incentives to riders and I believe other systems will begin to follow suit in 2014. The long term benefit of this is that the more merchants and partners get involved, the cheaper the transit system should become, as it will be subsided by partners. Maybe not in 2014 but one day soon we’ll be riding the transit for free.

Salah Nassar, senior manager, enterprise product marketing, Ruckus Wireless

–802.11ac access point adoption will increase, mainly driven by more 802.11ac-enabled devices, and as vendors release lower cost 2×2 802.11ac APs.

–Cloud solutions for Wi-Fi management and services will continue to provide ‘out of reach’ enterprise technology for small and medium enterprises.

–Wi-Fi based location analytics will play a bigger role for organizations to increase business intelligence, define security policy, and improve customer/user Wi-Fi experience.

–Analytics will become more important specifically to correlate the myriad data points from clients (locations, apps, device type, trending, etc.).

–We’ll see a continuation of adoption and integration of BYOD solutions and device management.

–Hotspot 2.0 will get traction in the Enterprise as another means to provide Wi-Fi access as Passpoint-certified/ready smartphones make their way into the marketplace.

–Social media (Facebook, Google+) as user log-in credentials for Wi-Fi will be pervasive among organizations providing guest access.

Brocade Communications Systems

Network Functions Virtualization and Software-Defined “Everything” will gain momentum.

Although it may still be too early for full SDN deployments, a key decision making criteria for infrastructure will be to ensure that infrastructure will support SDN going forward. Open architecture will be key to this future-proof strategy.  NFV will gain prominence and drive new revenue opportunities for service providers by pulling managed services into the cloud, drastically reducing costs and increasing service agility.

Fat will be trimmed in Data Centers and Cloud Architectures.

The explosion of data is forcing an end to the traditional three-tier network and with Gartner predicting that by 2014, 80 per cent of network traffic will flow from server to server, we expect to see enterprises continuing to flatten their networks. They will benefit from more powerful and resilient networks, while ensuring that the networks can massively grow network capacity on demand without disruptions. Even at the age of 40, Ethernet will continue to revolutionize networking.

–Clouds loom large

A study by 451 Research forecasts that the worldwide cloud computing market is expected to grow at a 36 per cent compounded annual growth rate through 2016, reaching a market size of US$19.5 billion by 2016. In 2014, we expect the cloud to develop into a key business enabler and, as private clouds mature, the desire to leverage public cloud elasticity will grow.

–The Internet revolution continues.

According to IDC, the total “Internet of Things” market including technologies and services will be US$8.9 trillion by 2020, with 212 billion devices connected to the Internet, changing networking forever. The Internet of Things is set to revolutionize industries such as healthcare, retail and transportation with the movement gaining traction in 2014. As a result, enterprises need to start studying how the Internet of Things will affect their business.

— Big data becomes too big to handle.

Enterprises will go back to basics in 2014 and ask fundamental questions of their data center infrastructures as they look to deal with unprecedented data volumes.  We expect to see one or two significant cases of network shutdowns caused by data overload.



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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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