Reconnix predicts the 2014 technology landscape

2013 has been a monumental year in the world of technology. Few could have predicted some of the major issues that made headlines over the last 12 months, but at, technology services firm, Reconnix we like a challenge. From the emergence of a new breed of wearable technology, to the heating up of the battle between Amazon Web Services and the OpenStack ecosystem, we expect 2014 to throw up some new topics, as well as a continuing dialogue around some of the stories that have already seen quite a bit of play in the media over the last number of years.

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Below, we outline nine storylines that we think will make waves in 2014 and beyond. Only time (the next twelve months to be precise) will tell how close to the mark we were. In the meantime, feel free to call on us for comment or call us out at the end of 2014 if some, or even none, of these hit the headlines over the course of the year.

The trends that Reconnix believes will shape the Open Source and IT industry in 2014….
+Linux makes real inroads to the enterprise user market
+Open Source Software sees off threat
+Big Data Vs. Valuable Data
+The interoperable security challenge
+The rise of the technology at your side
+A new Boardroom breed
+From quiet geek to powerhouse chic
+An era of digital disruption
+The IaaS hybrid theory

1. Linux makes inroads to the enterprise user market

2014 will finally see Linux cracking the enterprise user space, but by stealth. This is because the Linux kernel will be on tablet devices running Android.

The ever increasing drive to reduce high maintenance costs, expensive licences and the decline of the PC market in combination with the consumerisation of IT and the BYOx trend will drive this breakthrough. As end users will continue to want better self-service, mobility and user experience, IT will need to identify new and better ways to manage devices – all while trying to come to grips with mass Linux adoption.

2. Open Source Software sees off threat

Despiterecent research that revealed that more than half of UK private and public sector organisations will spend at least 20 per cent of their IT budget on Open Source applications and software within the next five years, two of the biggest Open Source projects from recent years are now effectively dead – MySQL and Java. In 2014, contributors will have to decide whether they are still motivated to produce code that will ultimately end up being owned by a multi-national. However, as we have seen with the rise of Maria DB, forked from MySQL, a strong community backing can ensure continued development and innovation.

3. Big Data Vs. Valuable Data

Big Data is not about to go away. But the old adage 'garbage in, garbage out' will certainly start to apply to this field during the next twelve months.

Increased computing power and the falling costs of storage, in combination with the fact that many of today’s data capture solutions start with a 'select all' default, which is easier to run than a lengthy customisation process, has meant that huge amounts of data have been captured – irrespective of whether or not it is of real value to the business. 2014 will reveal that without a clear and well understood strategy in place, and unless intelligence is applied to this Big Data to gain context and add value to the overall business strategy, that little benefit will be gained from it. At the same time, there will be a move to refine and reduce the type of data captured so that it can be analysed in real-time. This is sure to be on the agenda of a great many CIOs during the next twelve to twenty- four months.

4. The interoperable security challenge

Starting in 2014, the increasing adoption of Open Source into the enterprise will inevitably ensure that interoperability between platforms will cease to be the big issue it is today within the next two to five years.

But with interoperability will come a greater need for security consciousness in order to protect data. In the next few years CEOs will start putting increasing pressure on CIOs for assurances that corporate data is protected at all times – on all devices and in any location. CIOs will therefore need to start allocating greater resources in order to ensure business data security is cutting edge and will need to start to skill up in the field of future securities or they will need to start seeking external services to de-risk the task.

5. The rise of the technology at your side

Wearable technology will flood the market within the next few years. Gadgets, such as Jawbone’s UP which monitors everything from steps to sleeping, and others that measure athletic training,

pulse rate, movement, and enable GPS tracking of young and old will continue to gain popularity. However, where we will see this make the biggest real-world impact is in the healthcare sector where it will be used in hospitals to aid the delivery of better and more connected patient care and drive benefits and innovation in industry.

This trend in turn will give further rise to application development opportunities. And it will also have big implications in the Big Data field as there will be huge opportunities for IT companies to provide the solutions and services that sit alongside gadgets which are taken up in the enterprise and public sector.

Wearable technologies are also likely create a whole new dimension of interaction between consumers and brands – if data is used intelligently. We are also sure to see the down side to this trend play out in the coming months and years, as huge rushes to file patents around wearable technology items may well lead onto many lawsuits – all of which could potentially hinder the speed of innovation. To offset any negative aspects of this trend the market will have to implement a whole new set of open standards and APIs in order to maintain a vibrant and innovative ecosystem.

6. A new Boardroom breed

During the next twelve months there will be a realisation at Board level that technology has moved centre stage and that in order for a Board to be truly effective, all directors and non-executive directors will need to have an understanding of technology. It will be key for Boards to understand how technology is being applied within, or how it should be adopted into, their organisations, in order to perform their duties with the required diligence.

At the same time, we are going to start seeing the rise of a new breed of CIOs in the next five years. As recent research has shown, it is adapt or die for these technology leaders. CIOs will increasingly be required to become more business savvy, while at the same time more technically skilled and able to predict trends to ensure that their companies are technologically future proof.

7. From quiet geek to powerhouse chic

Gone will be the days that the techies are locked in the backroom. This will not only be because this group of people are being elevated in social stature to the level of pop-culture icons but rather because they will become increasingly integral to a company’s ability to deliver on its overall strategy. Being able to pinpoint the next level of technical innovations and highlight how these will affect a business will be just as important as having an overview of how technology fits into the overall company strategy. This will become increasingly important as technology continues to develop at lightning speed.

But in order for these technically proficient people to add real value to their businesses, and become tomorrow’s technology leaders, they will have to learn how to speak plainly to the business in a language that it can understand. They will need to learn to leave the tech talk at IT department door and talk instead about the benefits that the latest technology will deliver and how it can be leveraged to gain competitive advantage.

8. A continued era of digital disruption

The future is undoubtedly digital. Over the last decade we have seen numerous industries being digitally disrupted from retail to banking and finance. This disruption shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it will be accelerating in the next twenty-four months.

Digital disruption will affect almost every industry from automotive to printing. Digital platforms will become fundamental to the success of numerous businesses and technology leaders will have to focus on being able to deliver innovation in this area. They will have to enable the building of digital relationships with consumers and or clients, develop a passion for measuring the results of their innovation and will have to become fond of rapid innovation cycles – in which failing fast will be viewed as a good measure of feedback.

The incumbent leaders of industry sectors will face the biggest challenges from where they least expected, and only the most forward thinking and innovative organisations will maintain dominant positions. The music industry is still reeling from how filesharing, downloads and streaming services changed the game, and the penny will soon drop for a financial sector facing new challenges from digital currencies such as Bitcoin and also from peer-to-peer lending and payment technology.

9. The IaaS hybrid theory

Open Source IaaS will mature in the next twelve months and OpenStack will emerge as the main challenger to AWS’s dominant position. The main battle ground for this will be the Hybrid Cloud IaaS market. As the OpenStack product becomes more refined, and as the amount of vendors and service providers offering the platform increase, it will start to become an attractive option for those wishing to run Hybrid Cloud environments. And Hybrid Cloud is where the market is heading – especially for the security conscious.

In addition, over the coming months, as more companies experiment further and become more comfortable with IaaS, there will be a steady increase in the deployment of it in new business environments. These implementations will have a heavy focus on ease of deployment and use. At the same time, the industry will realise that legacy applications are not plug and play in IaaS. The adoption of IaaS will require re-architecting of some systems in order to take advantage of the service. Business will also learn that cost savings expected from IaaS deployments will not be as big as they would expect and that cost reductions should not be the driver, but rather flexibility, speed of deployment and increased innovation.

About Reconnix

Reconnix is a UK technology services company specialising in providing Open Source Eco-Systems, Digital Delivery, Cloud and Managed Hosting solutions to Public and Private sector Enterprises. It has worked with 100's of leading UK businesses on improving operational efficiency, and increasing real world Return on Investment of IT spend. Its consultancy, development and management services are characterised by an inherent drive to manage operational complexity for commercial competitive advantage and service improvement. Taking a practical approach to real data and service challenges, Reconnix provides its clients with IT solutions that deliver against stringent targets. For more information, please visit