What’s hot in tech: 9 terms to know (and use) in 2015

2014-11-12, by

Taking a closer look at meaning of latest technology trends Intetics founder @BorisKontsevoi was recently asked to “translate” some of the latest tech buzzwords (his definition of big data and others can be found in this list).

While that list is a great intro to the current world of trendy tech terms, there are many more transformations ahead in the tech world. So here is a list of terms – and concepts – not to miss.

1. SMAC. An abbreviation of “Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud”. Currently these are the 4 main technology trends combined into one phrase (which coincidentally means “taste” in Belarusian). For those who are tired of hearing it, just imagine all the cool new businesses we have seen in the past few years because of these technologies.

Social refers to rise of technologies that are accessible (and popular) with huge crowds of people. Social does not refer only to social platforms like Facebook and Linkedin, but rather to social economies that are giving rise to companies like Uber, where social platforms are successfully combined with mobile (and cloud and analytics) to create disruptive models.

Mobile is the idea that technologies can now be taken anywhere, something that was hardly possible with clunky desktop computers. Analytics refers to predictive analytics, or an ability to analyze data and predict what to change in the future to improve your offering, service etc. (In fact analytics is exactly what makes “big data” a useful term in the first place.) Finally, cloud gives us an ability to store more data and transfer documents quicker than before.

2. Location Based Services (LBS). We’ve written about LBS technologies before. The term is exactly what it sounds like – services that deliver prompt information based on users’ location. With the advance of social and mobile, users want apps that provide them with accurate information in regard to their location. But that’s not all – businesses can also benefit from LBS as they can analyze trends in certain locations, and optimize their services and messages based on their findings.

3. Robotic Automation. This is the hottest term in European tech right now. It describes software products that can automate clerical services and other industrial processes. Examples of these technologies include the chat-bot technology or IVR voice recognition replacing tasks previously done by a human. Companies are currently heavily investing in robotic automation – for example Amazon is trying to apply automation in their warehouses and Tesla reported to implement this automation strategy in their factories (according to IT Business Edge).

4. Crowdsourcing. We have all seen what crowdsourcing can do: from raising money to create brand new products, to collecting data more efficiently. Allowing users to report and help collect data is one of the most effective ways to collect information (or money). This is exactly the case with the current gamification trend, which relies on crowdsourcing – sourcing time, engagement and information from the ‘crowd’ itself. The formal definition of gamification is to use game-like concepts and mechanics in non-game contexts. In practice it means that developers can build apps that can be tremendously useful but also maintain user attention (for example a gamified medical app can help maintain user engagement with the app, and help healthcare professionals collect patient data to uncover potential health hazards – like when the flu will go around).

5. Omni systems. Most obviously implemented in retail (as omni-channel retailing), omni systems are the next generation way of engaging with customers. It creates large infrastructure systems that allow companies to be present everywhere their customers are – whether in-store, online, or mobile. In that way companies can better engage and deepen their relationship with customers. Omni systems can be made possible with Web-scale IT, a term coined by Gartner, where companies can create huge and functional infrastructure for extreme service delivery – for example to provide services for the always connected omni-channel retailer.

6. Internet of Things (IoT). Internet of Things refers to the trend of equipping objects with sensors to allow them to connect to a network. These things can be virtually any object – from a lightbulb uploading data about energy consumption to a sensor on manufacturing machines telling managers when parts need to be replaced. Still got questions about IoT? Perhaps some of them get answered in our two-part question-answer series on IoT: first 5 questions, next 5 questions.

7. Wearables & Biometrics. This can technically be a sub-term of Internet of Things. Wearables and biometrics are apps and objects designed to interact with the real world – such as helping collect or analyze data. Exciting new things are happening with wearables and biometrics, such as cognitive computing apps. For example, these applications and objects can make it possible for your smartphone to use a traffic app to interact with your calendar – and if there’s a traffic jam, perhaps change the time of your alarm. Sounds far out there, but we’re on a brink of being able to do that.

8. Software-defined everything (SDE). SDE denotes systems that are not run with hardware but instead are governed by advanced software applications. It denotes a collection of technologies, such as Software-Defined networking (SDN), Software-defined data center (SDDC) and Software-defined storage (SDS). With the help of virtual machines, software-defined everything is becoming a viable possibility that will allow more efficiency in system infrastructure.

9. 3D Printing. While the word “printing” immediately recalls printing press, and no doubt the printing press revolutionized how ideas and information were transmitted (in fact a Belarusian had some influence in that sphere), 3D printing takes “printing” to a whole new level. It’s not printing 2D pictures on paper, with 3D printing it is possible to create entire objects much more quickly and with less labor – from plastic toys, to metal objects, to whole houses. 3D printing is already transforming how things are made, and is only going to become more important in the future.

Let’s make it ten! What do you think is the 10th hottest trend?

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