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Seven Shapers Of Technology in 2013


future-of-internet What will our collective technological future be like in 2013? The answer, of course, depends a great deal on what actions we take to make our future.

But the answer also depends on many other factors, including mega trends that are transforming entire industries.

We recently reviewed and updated our assessments on all the IT megatrends we track at, and dove deep into the hot topics of our reporting over the last year, including our research into Big Data, Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, Analytical Tools (especially Model Enabled Analysis) and issues of Mobility (especially Mobile Risk Management).  The result has led to some interesting conclusions.

In short, we assess the year will see a continuation of a fast pace of technology delivery. We look forward to writing about disruptive technologies for the entire year.

As for the trends in 2013, we believe:

1) Big Data solutions will show a decided shift towards user-focused solutions. There is plenty of room for continued innovation on the infrastructure too, but in 2013 expect very positive developments in user facing solutions, enabling self-service analytics in degrees not seen before.

2) Enterprises will expect analytical tools that enable users to create and iterate over their own models. The state of the art of analytical tools has evolved significantly over the last 2 years but most enterprises have not kept up. Capabilities that let analysts create, modify, share and iterate over their own models, without involving developers or the IT department, will explode into enterprises today. Users will access these enterprise capabilities through a piece of software they already have on their computer– a web browser.

3) Cloud computing security will see significant enhancements due to new distributed storage solutions that disrupt old security models. There are many other factors at play in cybersecurity, and we are keenly aware that for decades every improvement in a technological approach to security has been met with counters from adversaries. But the virtues of new distributed storage methods (like those here) are powerful and can significantly improve how data is defended and backed up and accessed.

4) The “Internet of Things” will accelerate networking technologies into more household devices than most of us imagine. This will drive great functionality, but will come with security risks. You can now buy Internet connected garage door openers, front door locks and entire home automation suites, all of which can be controlled from any Internet device (and many of which can be connected to the popular Internet connector IFTTT). All also come with mobile apps. In each case we have seen that security has been given at least some consideration in these devices, but in no case have we seen what we believe to be acceptable risk. This is important for enterprise technologists since the same technologies will infiltrate the workspace.

5) Mobile Risk Management solutions aimed at mobile devices will expand their functionality and utility and will reduce risk in the world of the “Internet of Things.” As cases of unauthorized access lead to physical break-ins we believe new risk management tools and increased security will be added to these systems and 2013 will probably be the year this happens.

6) Technologists in developed countries will be expected to be experts on technological ethics. Citizens will increasingly expect us to help them think through the ethical dimensions of their choices, and businesses that want to survive will consider how their technology serves the community. This trend will be seen everywhere where policy has not kept up with technology, so this is especially important in government.

7) In 2013 software will begin to”eat” the federal contractor industry, with more cuts to contractor workforce from this factor than through budget cuts. This concept of software “eating” industries was highlighted by Marc Andreessen in an August 2011 essay titled “Why Software Is Eating The World.”  As he noted in that essay, there has been dramatic positive change in the national security world because of software. But to fed watchers it is pretty clear that this shift is about to accelerate. The accelerants of the shift in the federal space include significant downward pressure on budgets and the impact this is having on concepts the government is putting in place.  The combination of budget pressures and incredibly compelling capabilities will definitely make this a year of change in the government contracting space.  As software eats our world we will all have some decisions to make. If you want to stay mission focused, do you want to be on the side of the eater or the eaten? And if you are a technologist in the workforce do you want to align yourself with a company that has a forward thinking strategic approach to the market or one that tries to stay with old models? These are all important questions to think through.

Bottom line of all the above: Disruptive IT will disrupt this space. Brace yourself!  And stay connected to us here at as we track the technologies that will be changing our world in 2013.

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

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