Technology predictions for 2014

| January 3, 2014

Technology in the business environment keeps evolving rapidly. Brad Little looks at some of the trends of the coming year.

IT will continue to be an enabler for businesses of all sizes as we move into 2014. We will be introduced to new and improved technology and solutions that have the capabilities of solving an array of business related problems but can also cause challenges themselves if not harnessed correctly.

Choose your own device (CYOD) – The evolution of BYOD

The ‘Post-PC’ era is almost upon us as tablet devices and smart phones are shipping at far greater rates than desktop computers. The BYOD trend is not new and neither is awareness of the advantages and disadvantages offered by allowing employees to connect their own devices to the network. But what if there was a middle ground that still gave choice to the employee whilst simultaneously giving control back to IT?

This is why in 2014 we will see a move towards a ‘choose your own device (CYOD)’ strategy.

Businesses will offer a menu of approved devices that can safely access the company network. IT can reclaim control and ensure the security of the management of information. Employees will have more control over the types of device they wish to use under the guidance of IT departments.

For CYOD to be successful, the company’s network infrastructure needs to be tailored to suit this policy approach. Network connectivity must allow for the selected devices, no longer limited to desk based PCs, to have secure, sufficient and seamless access.

2014 will continue to see businesses rethink their mobility strategies, with more companies choosing the CYOD option. To ensure the success of this policy, strong consideration must first be given to the entire network, to ensure data can be easily moved and stored in a cost-effective manner.

Data rich content such as HD video and complex applications will become more apparent across networks as the number of mobile devices increase. Through implementing a CYOD policy, IT managers can control and prioritise the types of content that can be accessed by mobile devices, in turn improving productivity and security across the network.

Business IT solutions will come from the classroom as we welcome Generation WiFi to employment

Throughout 2014, a new breed of workers, dubbed Generation WiFi, will begin to enter the workforce. This generation has been raised in an internet enabled world and will expect heavily on technology in order to efficiently do their jobs.

The use of outdated IT will frustrate this younger generation not used to being confined by IT. This is why the implementation of the right technologies will become more of a business priority throughout 2014 to ensure productivity is kept high amongst this group.

By taking the lead in building robust networks that support mobility and providing access to online tools, the education sector has been able to advance learning and interaction for this generation. Businesses should look to replicate the model adopted by educational facilities in order to stay competitive and to service the evolving needs of future employees.

Growing security concerns towards the cloud

The cloud is and will continue to be a valuable tool for businesses looking to simplify asset management, reduce expenses and develop greater flexibility. Service providers will continue to create and deliver appealing packages for businesses to take advantage of which will further fuel this trend.

However, much publicised breaches in privacy that occurred throughout 2013 have brought the vulnerabilities of cloud based storage to the surface. Through these globally recognised events, businesses have been forced to re-evaluate the quantity and type of data that is stored online.

Throughout 2014, businesses will increasingly cite security as one of their key concerns and will be looking to deploy smart data backup and disaster recovery solutions that include local storage infrastructure that consider the vulnerabilities of cloud-based options in order to mitigate risk.

Businesses will look to turnkey solutions as data continues to grow

With Australian SMBs’ data doubling year on year, they are now in a position where they are outgrowing their often outdated storage methods.

This is why in 2014 we will see SMBs moving increasingly toward turnkey solutions that feature advanced storage efficiency technology built into the box.

Such solutions are becoming more appealing to businesses, especially those that may not have a dedicated or large IT team, due to the minimal configuration needed to deploy. Furthermore, businesses will only need to deal with one party for customer support and payment, eliminating stress that was present when several technology providers were delivering services.

More and more businesses will look to turnkey solutions that combine hardware and innovative software to create an all-in-one package that can solve growing storage concerns. Smart SMB storage solutions will include enterprise features such as unlimited snapshots, thin provisioning and deduplication as well as the software required to facilitate backup and disaster recovery. These solutions are easy to deploy, easy to manage and more importantly, easy to expand upon when needed, something that is essential in this digital age when the creation of data is growing and often unpredictable.

Brad Little is the managing director of NETGEAR Australia and New Zealand. Having joined NETGEAR in 2005 as national retail manager for Australia, he has since held several senior positions, including most recently director of consumer channels where he was responsible for uncovering potential growth opportunities for NETGEAR and its partners.Since joining the company, Brad has been instrumental in positioning NETGEAR as the market leader, achieving the number one position in wireless home networking. Now with online, mobility and connected devices a huge consumer focus both for NETGEAR and the market as a whole, Brad is committed to driving NETGEAR’S vision of a connected world throughout Australia and New Zealand.