CIOs have striven to make their IT functions flexible in nature as they constantly adapt to new operating environments and new business models. This is not enough.
If you consider the development of technology as a natural progression, then IT needs to become more predictive in nature. It must have the ability to inform the business it serves and be 100% data driven.
But it’s not quite there yet. With data capture from an increasingly diverse range of sensor-driven devices on the rise and a plethora of data sources available, the opportunity to derive insight from relevant data needs to be seized more widely by businesses.
The benefits of a more predictable future based on data are clear, primarily because it will enable more long-term thinking in terms of investment and risk-taking.
Remote connection to devices
Collecting data from devices and ‘remoting-in’ is a key foundation for this move. The concept of ‘remoting into’ another device has existed for the last 20 years or more. However, the future of remoting-in will not be limited to the typical use cases of remote support and remote access we see and read about now.
Instead, it is set to become a ‘connected state’ in which any smart device can connect to another smart device in a seamless and secure way, providing access and data exchange at the click of a button.
Indeed, as more and more devices become smart and IP-enabled, the world of connections opens up exponentially but also becomes increasingly complex.
Keeping track and control in a secure way will be essential. As such, the goal for IT in general over the next few years will be to make it as easy to ‘remote into’ a refrigerator, car, MRI scanner, parking meter, industrial sewing machine or fish-feeding controller as it is to a colleague’s iPhone or Android phone today. The collection of vital data will be a key building block for more predictive computing in future.
Remotely connecting people to people
Beyond the devices, businesses also need to ensure their people are better connected as well. Collaborative technologies are enabling ways of working which we were unable to conceive of a generation ago.
However, there is still room for significant improvements in connectivity, reliability and enterprise scalability.
In the coming years, there will be dramatic improvements in collaborative technologies, leading to more effective meetings and sessions across increasingly dispersed and remote teams, with hassle-free access from any smart device.
Regardless of sector or application, predictability of connection, quality of video and immediacy of chat are just some of the capabilities that will be key to these technologies. No less than total reliability is acceptable.
This will not just be the preserve of mid-sized and large-scale organisations, but will actually enable new consumption-based cost models to emerge and be the key to mass adoption.
The internet of consumption
The increasing importance of remote connections and data-driven IoT devices could be seen clearly at the latest Consumer Electronics Show, where the most advanced IoT devices were being showcased.
There was a particular focus on smart homes, the fitness industry and connected automobiles. This lends credence to the fact that the consumer space is where most of the hype is.
However, while this is pretty interesting and will begin to affect us all in one way or another over the next few years, the consumer hype doesn’t gives the complete story. For B2B companies, the opportunity is equally significant, if a little more pragmatic.
For businesses, IoT opens up the possibility for new business models and ways to make money. Being able to connect, monitor and control remote devices will allow organisations to rethink their pricing strategies and take advantage of new revenue streams.
For example, an industrial sewing machine manufacturer now has the capability of selling smart machines to clothing manufacturers that can be monitored, upgraded and analysed on a real-time basis.
This opens up the potential to charge customers in a different way, such as by needle use, idling time and total usage time. This is effectively a more consumption-based pricing model, as exemplified by so many software vendors these days.
There are many examples where IoT can be practically implemented in such “heavy metal” industries that will provide new revenue streams for manufacturers.
The transition from the current legacy devices or machines to the new smart devices will require expertise and help from vendors that understand how devices are connected to each other over a secure transport layer. We will see rapid adoption within this B2B area over the next few years.
Virtual and augmented reality
A final consideration is virtual and augmented reality technology. Both are entering the maturation stage and will become increasingly relevant in the business world in the coming year.
The concept of remoting-in will be very relevant here. Virtual reality (VR) has been gaining serious traction over the past year and the increasing availability of VR apps and VR headsets is popularising it as a concept. VR’s importance is ramping up in the gaming sector but also in sports and other branches of entertainment.
VR’s work-related sibling, augmented reality (AR), is just beginning to see traction in the market. Over the next few years, more and more enterprises will look to enable their ‘deskless’ professionals with a new compute paradigm that helps them become more productive and solve issues on the ground, at the front line.
Indeed, mainstream manufacturers such as Microsoft and Google have committed to producing devices that deliver a new user experience, and specialists like Atheer Labs are well on the way to getting adoption of AR devices in the workplace.
An increasing number of B2B companies will look to implement AR-based support for their workers and will require sophisticated software to maintain and deliver an advanced user experience leading to greater productivity and more accurate operations. In essence, more predictive outcomes.
IT is on a rapid and exciting journey at the moment. As endpoints generate an increasing amount of data that needs to be remotely managed and monitored, businesses are waking up to the fact that it needs to be accessible and aggregated.
Data analytics needs to bring insight and from that allow decision-making to be more predictive and less based on intuition, gut or some view of the past.
Sourced from Andreas Koenig, CEO, TeamViewer