Thursday, 26 December 2013

2014 Tech and Data Predictions

What a year 2013 has been. The smartphone culture is fully mature in the first world, with this year being the advent of the stripped down versions for developing countries and budget markets. Edward Snowden has sensationally brought privacy into the public spotlight, and it turns out that the conspiracy theorists were right!! It is at this time - between Christmas and New Year when I like to think about what will happen in 2014. Hold onto your hats, it's going to be a bumpy ride !!!!!

1. The mobile revolution continues
Although mobile telephone usage is peaking, 2014 will be the year when the wearable device becomes mainstream.  Google's glass (Smart glasses) and Samsung Galaxy Gear (smart watch) have been the innovators, but Apple is bound to be breaking into this with a brand new smart watch. With this new device (and Apple's brilliant N.L.P. marketing), I expect an explosion in wearable devices.

2. The internet of everything - not yet
While there have been some cars with internet connections, smart ovens, smart fridges and other ubiquitous devices in the home are still a long way off becoming mainstream. This is largely due to the old devices having a long operational life before they need replacing. 

3. The year of the personal cloud
As mobile and wearable devices become smaller and more personal, expect network hard drives and the building of personal clouds at home to be a central repository for all of your data. People will then be able to access their data via the internet, connecting to a VPN based in their home. Cloud service providers will suffer as the Snowden revelations in 2013 have driven cynicism about other people managing data for you.

4. In business, the analytics explosion continues
Business leaders will want to integrate more and more disparate data sources. This will drive the need for big data solutions. Wearable and mobile devices will transmit more and more useful location data. Visualisation techniques to overlay location data (and location movement information) with other metrics and measurements will need to be developed.

5. Big data moving out of IT and into business areas (almost)
Analysts will be able to utilise their SQL skills to analyse "big data" using arrays of computers. However, the preparation of the data so that it can be used in this environment will still have to be done by IT. Expect teething problems and delays with this approach. 

6. Analytic skills become even higher premium
As the demand for data analysis continued to expand beyond the job market's ability to deliver qualified people, 2013 saw a feeding frenzy with recruitment consultants poaching experienced staff across industries. With more and more analysts deciding to call themselves "Data Scientists", expect businesses to pay high prices for analysts in 2014, and even higher prices for the genuinely talented ones. As a result, 2015 will see solution providers receiving extreme pressure from business owners to simplify their solutions, and therefore drive down the future wage cost. 

7. Data management principles will continue to be ignored
Business owners will continue to ignore the fact that large proportions of their data is incorrect, and blame the data consumers and analysts for deriving 'incorrect' results. They will expect management information analysts to 'code around' data errors, rather than managing and fixing the data as an asset that is separate from the systems. In the end, this will cause problems when migrating over to newer and better technology (i.e. big data).

8. Governments - new privacy laws and more internet censorship (Addendum)
2014 predictions would not be complete without the fallout from the Snowden revelations. Governments will rush in draconian privacy regulations. Their security services will largely ignore these regulations and continue their surveillance programmes. However, private corporations will have to comply, choosing to pass any cost onto their customers. Expect more 'internet' related scare stories as governments seek more excuses to further restrict the flow of information between people, now that they have filter technology in place with all of the internet service providers.

Best wishes for peaceful, prosperous 2014. 

The Data Geek

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