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Editor's note: Prognosticating on IT, technology trends and future developments is an annual event with the turning of the year. In a December 2015 opinion piece, contributor and president of Fluid Designs Stanley Louissaint shared his views on the state of technology. He updates his views in the following column.
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It is that time of the year again when we look at the year in review and make predictions for the coming year. Last year, I took the contrarian view on IT technology trends that could lose ground in 2016. Let's see how my predictions panned out.
Tablets: Still declining
The tablet market is an interesting one. I projected the continuing decline of the tablet market in my December 2015 article and that has held true. According to IDC, tablet shipments for the third quarter of 2016 were down 14.7% year over year. In 2015, that drop was 12.6%. Analysts are predicting further declines in the tablet market. I can tell you from my own experience, clients have let me know that tablets are still not ready for "prime time" -- even though they have come pretty far in terms of development and user adoption.
IoT: A mixed bag
The internet of things, better known as IoT, seems to have gotten traction in the enterprise arena more than in the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market. Companies are using devices in this space to gather more data about their environments, infrastructure and clients. This allows them to deliver better products and experiences. We are still waiting for it to properly make its way into the SMB space.
Unfortunately, IoT has been a pain point as it comes to security. One of the major outages that we experienced this past year was, in fact, due to IoT devices that were just connected to the internet without changing their default passwords. Connected devices, when installed improperly, can be turned into weapons. And the more such devices are installed improperly, the greater the risk. Managed service providers (MSPs) need to focus on providing this insight to their clients.
Cloud: A business decision
Marketing campaigns by major companies promoting their cloud offerings have caught on. This year there was definitely a noticeable uptick in clients asking about cloud-based solutions. Some love it and embrace it, while others changed their minds after being exposed to it.
Last year, I wrote that we will have to know why it is best for businesses to migrate applications or services to the cloud, rather than just throwing things into the cloud as the default solution. That continues to be the case. We are making better decisions and those decisions are centered on the businesses that we deal with. The choices that MSPs make have to ultimately serve the needs of the business.
NFC: Still waiting
Last year, we were waiting for the expected growth of near field communication (NFC) to occur. That wait continues. The anticipated "great expansion" has been lackluster at best. Even though a healthy chunk of retailers accept these methods, consumers are just not doing it. For whatever reason, we prefer to dig into our physical wallets and pull out cash or credit. The lack of uptake may be attributed more to habit than anything else. The technology exists, it works, but we aren't adopting it.
What's next for IT technology trends?
In 2017, there will be many things to look out for and one of them is an increase in cybersecurity threats. Although the worrisome threat landscape is not a subject that makes anyone happy, it is real and we have to prepare our clients for the attacks of the future. Ransomware has become commonplace and there is no reason to think that attacks will cease. Instead, they will only become more sophisticated.
IoT and the data that is provided through its use will start to edge into the SMB market. As technology improves, its costs naturally come down. Once that takes place we will see adoption start to happen.
I'm looking forward to the new year to see what technologies take off.
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