by July 23, 2013 0 comments

The computer industry is always evolving with newer software, faster hardware, better protocols for communication, and niftier algorithms for accomplishing tasks. This evolution leads to constantly improving experiences for the user. Every now and then, however, a significant transformation occurs that propels the industry forward.

We saw this with mainframes, with the PC revolution, with the introduction of the graphical user interface, with the web, with mobile devices and with social computing. Interestingly, if we look around at the transformations and trends happening today, the impact they are having is equal to if not greater than any that have come before them. Here are eight trends in IT world that are doing their rounds.

Devices gaining the ability to sense the world
One of the most obvious changes that we see today is the explosion of connected devices. Sometimes termed “the internet of things,” we’re seeing masses of gadgets, from mobile phones to cars to refrigerators to home security systems, all gaining the ability to sense the world, through
cameras and microphones and ambient light sensors and accelerometers and more. These devices are ever connected, sharing the information they collect and making it available to a particular individual or to the world.
Many of these devices are virtually invisible to us, powering the world in which we live but out of sight.

Others  are much more obvious, the one or more devices we carry with us wherever we go: our phone, or our tablet, or our laptop. We thrive on being connected to the world-at-large through these devices. This ability to be connected through devices is evident here in India, where we now have close to 900 million mobile subscribers, and where the number of internet users is expected to grow from 120 million in 2012 to over 400 million in 2016.

Social computing is a destination on Internet
The connectivity is revolutionizing how people stay in touch and  communicate. Social computing is finding its way into all crevices of daily computing life. Over the past few years, social computing has largely been about a destination on the Internet, such as Facebook. But more
and more, our connections with others are being imported as social graphs into all of the applications we build. These applications then become much more user-centric, with these social graphs of our family, friends, and coworkers serving as a source of decision making, of entertainment,
and of real-world change.[image_library_tag 829/81829, style=”float: left;” alt=”social-media1″ width=”270″ height=”205″ ,default]

 

We want intuitive interaction with our devices
In addition to being user-centric via social graphs on which the applications rely, the apps these devices run are also user-centric in that they place the user at the center of an interactive experience. While keyboards and
mice remain ever-present modes of input, natural user interfaces are becoming much more prevalent. As human beings, our intuitive interaction with others is through vision, speech and touch. Multi-touch displays allow users to interact through their hands, voice recognition and speech capabilities that allow users to converse with their devices, cameras and sophisticated instruments that allow applications to see and comprehend the motions and even emotions of its users, and other modern sensors, the machines that once were merely naive tools are now an integral helpers in our daily lives, able to incorporate the context in which we operate.

Continuous services ensures our data roaming with us
This growth of connected devices is spurring on other revolutionary changes in the computer world. With these personal, smart devices we carry around with us, we expect our data to roam just as we do. We expect our apps to provide us with consistent experiences, regardless of which device we’re using, and regardless of whether we’re at home or at work. To make such experiences work, these devices need to be connected to something on the backend – “the cloud.” Clouds services provide both agility and economics for individuals and businesses that choose
to use the continuous services they want.

We’re seeing a massive explosion in the amount of data being generated

Cloud computing is of course not the only transformation influenced by connected devices. With all of these devices and servers gathering and sharing data, we’re seeing a massive explosion in the amount of data being generated and collected.[image_library_tag 831/81831, style=”float: right;” alt=”bigdata” ,default] These massive quantities of data (often
referred to as “big data”) and systems geared towards processing and gaining insights from this data are changing the way we’re able to see and comprehend the world around us. This is true at the micro level (a store owner better understanding the buying habits of her customers)
and at the macro level (scientists learning more about the nature of the universe).

IT deptts need to shift from absolute control to a world of control and governance
The impact of consumerfocused experiences is also extending into enterprises and businesses everywhere. It used to be that employees  light have devices at home, separate from whatever computer systems were available at work and controlled by the IT department. But  with the proliferation of these smart digital devices, more and more employees are bringing their personal devices in with them to work. This is causing IT departments to need to shift from a world of absolute control to a world of
both control and governance, where they have authority over not what devices are used but over what access those devices have to corporate infrastructure.

 

Web standards are no longer relegated to the browser
All of these trends are having a significant impact on software  development. Most consumer-focused applications today are being built or will be built with front ends for multiple consumer devices. These front
ends are either coded to run natively on each device, with the specific capabilities of each device in mind, or they’re coded with some common lingua franca across all of the devices, such as HTML5. In this manner, we’re seeing a resurgence of HTML and JavaScript in the development community, as web standards are no longer relegated to the browser, but rather emerge as full-fledged development tools.

Almost anyone is empowered to build apps and sell it
It’s also impacting the kinds of applications these businesses build for their own use. Whereas previously such internal applications  might have been functional but boring, these applications are gaining the same flashy natural user interfaces we’ve come to expect at home, replete with multi-touch, gestures, voice and vision support, and more. And just as with consumer experiences, more and more these applications are being powered by a cloud on the backend. [image_library_tag 832/81832, style=”float: left;” alt=”play” ,default]These trends are influencing not only what’s being built, but also who’s doing the building. With the advent of marketplaces, with the simplicity of today’s development environments for building software, and with the choice available to developers for how they code their applications, almost anyone is empowered to build applications, upload them for the world to acquire, and make money via sales or advertising.

 

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