Monday, December 29, 2014

Gartner's 2015 Strategic Technology Predictions: Trivial, Over Estimated and Interesting

In a previous post titled: Technology Predictions for 2015: Trivial, Over Estimated and Interesting, I analyzed  IDC's 2015 Technological Predictions. This post is dedicated to Gartner's top ten Strategic Technology Trends for 2015. In addition of reading Gartner's prediction hyperlinked above, I read TechRepublic's article: Gartner's top 10 technology trends for 2015: All about the cloud.

Methodological notes
1. Classifying of a prediction as Trivial does not imply that it is not valid and does not imply that it should not be included in analysts' prediction.

2. A prediction could be classified as Over Estimated in different circumstances:

a. The Technology is not so important as the analyst classified it. 
It may vanish in Long Term or its use will be less prevalent than the analyst predict it will or its use will provide less Value than predicted so it will not be so important.  

b. It is so immature that it will take longer time than speculated by the analyst, until it will be Interesting or Trivial. 

3. Do not ignore mainstream mature technologies, which will never appear in Next Year Trends Prediction. For example, read: SOA is Dead again

Wearables in Gartner's trends predictions vs. Wearables in IDC's trends predictions
The difference between the predictions is that Technologies appearing in Gartner's trends predictions are described as Strategic. The predictions are about Technologies strategic to Organizations.

IDC's predictions are described as "IDC Worldwide Predictions 2015: Accelerating Innovation on the 3rd Platform". IDC's predictions focus on Innovation. "The 3rd Platform" is a term coined by IDC in 2007, referring to the next generation of software. It is applicable to Enterprise Software as well as to mobile devices and social media. The context is not limited to organizations: Consumers software is included as well.

Gartner's predictions does not have a dedicated prediction for Wearables. They are mentioned in three sections.

The first is titled: "Computing Everywhere" It is about mobile devices including phones and wearables. I assume that Web connectivity of computing everywhere is implied.  

The second is titled: "Cloud/Client Computing". The context is clearly Web related. Wearables are only one type of Cloud Clients devices i.e. Wearables in this context are subclass of Internet of Things.

The third is titled: "Advanced Pervasive and Invisible Analytics". 
It is about analyzing a large amount of data from Embedded systems such as Internet of Things (IOT), social media and wearable devices.

The bottom line is Werables are not Over Estimated in Gartner's predictions as a dedicated trend. It is only included as one of the devices used for enabling other trends.  

TechRepublic point of view
TechRepublic compares Gartner's trends predictions for 2015 to its predictions in 2012, 2013 and 2014. A trend may be a new trend or a trend appearing in 2014 or in 2013 and 2014 or in 2012 and 2013 and 2014. 

It is possible to use this data together with my classification: Trivial, Interesting and Over Estimated.

For example IOT appeared in Gartner's top prediction in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. 

In the Methodological notes section of this post, I discussed two types of Over Estimated trends: those which will mature and those which are not so important. 
It seems that IOT of 2012 and 2013 was Over Estimated. However, it was than immature. In 2014 and 2015 it is Interesting trend. 

Trivial Predictions
I think that the following Gartner's predictions are Trivial:

Cloud/Client Computing
According to Tec Republic it is a Gartner prediction in the last 6 years. The assumptions of no computing power at Client Devices was a wrong assumption in previous Technological Generations, why should it be correct assumption in the age of strong and capable Pavlets? 

Risk-Based Security and self-protection 
Nobody can take care of so many Security threats so Security measures taken should be Risk based: Handle threats that are high risk threats.
Handling low Risk threats could cost more than the damage caused by the risk.

It is not a new approach. Security should be implemented according to this principle. For example, I participated in a consulting project for a large customer based on this assumption 8 years ago. We classified the Security threats according to Risk Severity and Risk occurrence Probability and the customer decided which Risks to take care of and when.

Web Scale IT (second year)
Nothing new. The trend is obvious. The degree of its implementation is less obvious.  

Interesting

Computing everywhere (first year)
"Mobile device proliferation is obvious". What makes this trend interesting is that it is about "a shift of focus from devices to how the user and device interact in different environments and contexts". 

Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible Analytics (first year)
It is not just Analytics and Big Data. it is related to other interesting trends: Context-rich Systems (first year), Computing everywhere and Smart machines (second year).

Smart Machines (second year)
A vision of machines which are context aware and are able to learn. It is closely related to Context-rich Systems and Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible Analytics

Interesting or Over Estimated

3D Printing (second year)
It looks like 3D Printing technology will be important in the future. I am not sure that in 2015 it will be matured enough to be labeled as Interesting and not as Over Estimated. 

Over Estimated
Software-defined applications and infrastructure (second year)
It is very ambitious: "Agile Programming of everything from applications to basic infrastructure is essential to enable organizations to deliver the flexibility required to make the digital business work". The vision of controlling every infrastructure  by software, instead of a mix of Software, Microcode and Hardware, is far from being realized in 2015.
Will it be a reality in 3 years or 4 years? in my opinion probably not.    




Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Digital Human Beings: Vision or Risk?

Artificial cardiac pacemaker

Source: Wikipedia
Wearable Computing is a new Buz and/or new Technology. The vision of human beings with permanent Computing device is beyond wearing it. The vision is of a an electronic chip implanted in our body i.e. Computing device inside every one or a Digital Human Being. Each Digital Human Being will have an IP address. An Internet of Human Beings beyond The Internet of Things.

The device can record and transmit body measurements and control and regulate them. Unlike Wearables, e.g. Apple Watch, which you can get rid of, you are not able to get rid of a chip easily: you will probably need a medical operation in order to take it out from your body.

Actually a limited version of that vision is already a reality. For example, the Artificial cardiac pacemaker, which maintains an adequate heart rate. Wearable cardiac pacemakers are available since 1958. Modern cardiac pacemakers are implantable and are externally programmable. 

Some people see the bright side of this feature.
I would like to discuss less bright non-technological aspects and one technological issue.

Privacy
Lack of Privacy is a major problem in an Internet driven world. You can read a post I wrote in 2010 titled: Your private data is Unforgettable. That was the motto of Prof. Victor Mayer-Schönberger's keynote presentation in Israeli Wikimedia Academy 2010 conference. Once your private data is in the Web it will be there forever. 

The Privacy issues of a Digital Human Being (this is the term I will use for someone with implanted computing device connected to the Web) is more sever than the Web Privacy issues. 

For example, his location is always known. If you are a lost child, it is good to know were you are, but if some authorities in a totalitarian country or some criminals do not like you, you have no place to hide.

Control
"He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past." George Orwell, 1984

This issue is closely related to Privacy.
Big Brother will be watching you all the time.

Health
Is the radiation a risk to the health of a Digital Human Being? I do not know, but the risk of damage to health condition should be checked systematically.
For example, Would there be sleep disorders due to implanted devices? I do not know but it should be checked.  


Risk of Dying
I am not joking. I am discussing Security issues. Nobody is happy when somebody gains remote control over his PC and can do what ever he likes in his PC. 

Controlling you PC is nothing in comparison to controlling your body via the device implanted in your body. 

If he will manipulate the body measurements data, it could even cause death. This could happen if the device regulates body activity based on data, same as Artificial heart pacer is regulating the heart pulse rate. 

If the risk is similar to the risk of distorting heart pacer patterns, why is not the risk similar to the risk of distorting heart pacer patterns? 
Artificial heart pacer are implanted if and only if the heart does not function properly. Probably the people carrying it have no other choice. 

The vision is about device implanted in everybody including many healthy people. Healthy people should have a choice.  





Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wearable Computing: New Buzz or new Technology?

Holter monitor
Inventor: Norman Holter
Source: Wikipedia

About 15 years ago I fainted. It was the only time in my life that I fainted. 
The reasons were probably, blood donation a day before, Work from 7:00 until 19:00 and participation in the the thirty-third day of the Omer period ceremonies of my children (I stood for a long time beside the traditional fire). 

No problem found during The Medical Check up, I performed. 
The Medical Check up included wearing an Holter Monitor recording my heart activity for 24 hours.
The Holter was a Wearable computing device, however nobody used the word Wearable.

If we exclude the enhanced computing power of current Wearables in comparison to the old Holter monitor, we can find two factor differentiating current Wearables from the Holter Monitor.

Size
The size of current Wearables is smaller than old wearables.  
This differentiating factor is not important.

Connectivity
This is a significant difference. If a device is connected via Internet it is part of Internet of Things.
The Data collected by a wearable medical device could be loaded to a server in a Data center or in a Public Cloud. 

The data could be analyzed in Near Real Time. If  an immediate action is required, as a result of the analysis, e.g. finding dangerous patterns of variables recorded, the system could notify the one who wears the device immediately. 

Operational Business Intelligence
Operational BI is used for Near real Time events analysis. For example, Fraud Detection in Banking. Every Bank has a Data Center (or is using a Data Center of a larger bank or is using another Company's Data Center). 
A back Hand Server software is usually responsible for data analysis and actions required as result of the analysis.

A human being is not connected to a Data Center. A Wearable device which is connected to the Internet and sends the measurements frequently, is enabler of Operational BI of human measurements. 

In many cases the measurements are Health Care related. The Back End Server is capable of analysing the data and alerting events, similarly to a fraud detection events in a bank.

Rethinking my previous posts
In my previous post titled: Technology predictions for 2015: Trivial, Over Estimated and Interesting, I was sceptic about IDC's Wearable Computing prediction and classified it as Over Estimated. 

Unlike Wearables, I classified Internet of Things as revolutionary and interesting. 

Be sure that I noticed that Wearables connected to the Internet are sub-class of Internet of Things, because I mentioned it in the post.

It seems that I think that Wearables are less important sub-class of Internet of Things and many of them are doomed. 

During the days between writing the previous post and the current post, I read few articles that made me change my mind slightly. 

The most important of them is: Wearable technology is breakthrough for Parkinson's.
The article is about Intel's advanced analytics team in Israel's new device for collecting, analyzing and transmiting a wealth of symptoms data.  

My Take
So it seems that Health Care related Wearables, which are Internet Connected are not doomed. They can provide useful Operational Business Analysis functionality together with Analytic Engines placed in a Back End Server.

I do not know if a Pavlet could provide or will be capable of providing similar information.

If a Pavlet will not be capable of providing that type of information, Health Care related Wearables are useful and even life saving devices.

That does not mean that Wearable devices like Apple Watch or Google Glass, which do not provide any Value, will not fail.



Sunday, December 7, 2014

Technology Predictions for 2015: Trivial, Over Estimated and Interesting

Picture source: Wikipedia
It is an annual ritual: predictions for next year. After a year, two years or 5 years you discover that some of the predictions were right, some were wrong and nobody is sure if other predictions were right or wrong. 2015 is not an exception. 

Recently I read two article  about IDC's predictions. The two articles describe the same predictions. The articles phrase differently the same predictions. 
I will refer to the first article titled: IDC's top ten predictions for 2015.  

However, the first article omitted an interesting point about Internet of Things Vendors. I will refer to what was written in the second article titled: IDC: top 10 technology predictions for 2015

No one, including me, could be sure to which category (right, wrong, unknown) a prediction will fail.

I divide IDC's predictions to three groups:

1. trivial
I am not going to discuss trivial predictions such as "Wireless data growth", "Pablets will rise", "Clod Services", "Big Data and Analytics", "Security and 3d printing", "Cloud services will become the new data center". Many others write about them. You can read what they write. All of them will probably belong to the category of right predictions. The only exception is the last prediction in the list: "Cloud services will become the new data center", which probably will belong to the unknown category.

2. Over Estimated
The list of trivial predictions includes only the first half of the prediction "Pablets will rise"

I think that the second half ("wearable will underwhelm") is over estimated. It is more a buzzword than mature Technology. I agree with IDC that "wearables will seen an explosion in innovation that will not translate to market value yet". But will it ever translate to market value or will it end like Virtual Worlds

will Google Glass be another Second Life?

As far as Apple Watch and similar initiatives are concerned, I am skeptic. 

The new world is full of multi-function devices instead of single function devices. Not all of them will be successful devices. The Pablets are multi-function devices whose success is almost guaranteed. 

The young generation usage of watches is limited. Many of them do not wear a watch at all. Almost All of them carry Smart phones anyway. 

It is possible to divide wearables to two categories: stand alone and connected (via Internet). 

The connected are more promising. But aren't they a case of broader category: Internet of Things?

3. Interesting
IDC's predictions not mentioned in previous sections could be classified as Interesting.

I will not discuss "The 3rd platform will become industry specialized" prediction.

"New Technology will take over the market"
"Nearly all the spending growth will be focused on 3rd platform technologies. 2nd platform technologies (PCs) will continue to see decline spending". 

Most of the new development is for Smart Phones and Tablets. It is trivial and well known. These devices gradually will replace many of the Personal Computers. 

What is less trivial is the fact that Information Technology is far from  being Mature. Expect a lot of changes in future years. Phil Morphy's Winchester Mystery House analogy is still relevant as it was more than 10 years ago.

The Internet of Things
The illustration in the beginning of this post depicts the Internet of Things (IOT). You can guess (correctly) that I think that this technology is significant and important.

In my opinion it is a revolution. I do not know if IDC's Internet of Things prediction is right for 2015, but I am sure that if it is not, it will be right prediction for 2016 or 2017 or 2020.

In my opinion IOT is a fascinating new technologies based on Hardware (not limited to traditional Information Technology Hardware) , Software and Artificial Intelligence. 

It could change our life in the future and it will be a very large market. Successful vendors' revenues could be high. 
Google Car is not Google Glasses. It could turn into a significant growth engine.

IOT vendors 
IDC predicts that some of the traditional IT vendors will form "an IOT solutions company". Possible candidates for forming an IOT solutions company are IBM, Intel and Cisco.

It is not surprising that these vendors are not pure Software vendors. They have significant Hardware Business Lines. 

Those three vendors are not significant players in the Pablet Hardware market.

Intel (Intel inside PCs) missed the promise of Intel inside mobile devices.
It could miss the IOT opportunity if it will focus in wearable devices.

I do not know much about Cisco's IOT efforts. 
I think that IBM could be successful in the IOT market.


"massive Growth in China"
According to this prediction "China Will experience skyrocketing influence on the global market in 2015".

Expect to buy more Chinese products. Expect new or local Chinese companies as major Global Market players.

Will the Chinese influence change the Global IT Culture if the prediction will be realized? 
I do not know. But if it will change the IT Culture, it will be a fundamental change in Consumers practices. 






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