By Lance Fanaroff, joint CEO, Integr8

If soothsayers focused on the global ICT sector prove right, 2014 will be a year to separate the realists from the dreamers and the achievers from the aspirers. In a market dominated by the ‘internet of things’, unified communications, the cloud and mobility, there are a number of thought-provoking take-aways from publicised market predications.

One of the more mesmerising ‘prediction pieces’ has been that sourced from Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014. It paints a rather poignant picture of the direction the international technology market is expected to take next year – and offers decision makers food for thought about how to best position their businesses to take advantage of the opportunities and avoid the pitfalls.

Lance Fanaroff  Joint CEO Integr8 IT
Lance Fanaroff
Joint CEO Integr8 IT

As expected mobility was emphasised. The interesting thing, however, is that, according to the global research and analysis firm, trends like BYOD will actually have an adverse affect on the mobile workforce and place pressure on strategic resources, like IT, in businesses. This will force an entirely different approach to mobile management and, if their analysis is accurate, will stymie approaches based on the ‘everything everywhere’ principle.

By ‘different approach’, one of the main aspects will be a more defined scenario as far as employee-owned hardware is concerned.

Another very important trend, and it is one growing in significance on a daily basis, is the impact of apps and app development. Gartner has gone into some depth with research and suggests that next year JavaScript will grow in stature and begin to emphasis the relevance of HTML 5 and the browser within the enterprise application development environment.

Researches believe the market will remain diverse and sporadic and that user experience will still lie at the heart of change/ innovation. It has been on the cards for some time now that apps will increase in significance and continue to drive markets forwards, particularly within the development space targeting the mass consumer mobile market.

Service providers and operators are well-advised to bear in mind one of the fastest growing and most influential trends – the internet of things, which, again if Gartner has it right, will evolve quickly into the internet of everything. Analysts specify four usage models within markets defined by expanded internet, namely manage, monetize, operate and extend. There is certainly opportunity behind linking up ‘everything’ and monetizing the result of this expanded connectivity – whether businesses and vendors are truly positioned to take advantage or not is a question only time can answer.

Another very significant trend – arguably the most significant in 2013 – is that of cloud computing and services. There is no doubt that this trend will grow through 2014 and businesses that do not embrace the cloud, even on some level, will find it tough going to remain relevant and continue to compete.

Gartner specifies the increased relevance of the personal cloud and technologies that will reposition focus away from the device and more toward services.

Taking all trends into consideration, 2014 will be a year of opportunity for those who can are bold and have aligned their businesses with the game-changers.