New Trends in Information and Communication Technologyby Oneil Williams
As the world pushes full speed ahead into the digital era, IT and communication technologies continue to push the boundaries of what people once considered possible. Devices are getting smaller and yet more feature-rich, and individuals and companies large and small are finding smarter ways to streamline operations by enhancing their IT infrastructure.
Cloud computing is being hailed by industry analysts as the next big trend in information technology. Companies want to ensure employees have the ability to access and synchronize data both inside and outside their company walls in a safe, effective and timely manner. Technology firms like Microsoft, Dell and HP all offer resources that companies can use to reduce IT costs and give employees greater accessibility to proprietary company applications no matter where they are. Google extends cloud computing resources like Google Docs to personal computer users who can also take advantage of this IT shift. International Data Corporation says that revenues for enterprise cloud applications reached $22.9 billion in 2011 and are on track to hit $67.3 billion in 2016.
Smartphones and Tablets
Whoever believes that mobile phones are just for talking probably doesn't own a smartphone or is not taking full advantage of its many features. ABI Research, a market intelligence company, predicts that 1.2 billion smartphones will enter the market from 2012 to 2017. As the years progress, smartphones have been getting noticeably smaller and thinner. In the tablet market space, Apple's iPad continues to showcase incredible demand with 15 million iPads shipped in the first quarter of 2012 alone. Users want mobile devices that can not only entertain them but also perform the many functions that were once only possible on a PC.
In conjunction with the rise of mobile technologies, companies like Google, Visa and MasterCard are bracing for a rise in mobile payment technologies or mobile wallets. Juniper Research, a U.K. based research firm, predicts that payments using near field communication-enabled technology will be at $180 billion by 2017. Smartphone manufacturers are ensuring newer phones that hit the market will have NFC capabilities so that consumers can happily swipe their phones to make a payment instead of using cash or credit cards.
The demise of your work PC may wreak enough havoc with your personal or business data to cause you to burst into tears. In many instances, the documents, applications and files stored on that PC can never be recovered. Many companies have transitioned to a server-centric -- or '"thin client" -- environment to prevent these types of scenarios from occurring. In a server-centric IT environment, all files, applications and programs reside on the server instead of your PC, allowing your workstation to serve more as a display terminal rather than a storage unit. While this technology is not essentially new, the proliferation of employee mobile devices connecting to a company's network has caused IT departments to revisit this technology to more effectively secure and manage company applications.
- Forbes: Cloud Computing and Enterprise Software Forecast Update, 2012
- ABI Research: Smartphone Technologies and Markets
- Forbes: The Latest Infographics: Mobile Business Statistics For 2012
- Entrepreneur.com: How 'NFC' and Mobile Wallets Will Change the Way Retailers Do Business
- TechRepublic: The Five Hottest IT Trends of 2012, So Far
- Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images