We are in the Q4 of 2011. It is a traditional time start thinking about what is going to happen in 2012. I was reading Gartner’s Top 10 strategic technologies for 2012 published after Gartner’s ITxpo 2011 Symposium last week in Orlando. What is strategic technology according to Gartner:
What’s a "strategic technology"? The short version is that a strategic technology is one that has the potential for "significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years." That means either an existing technology that’s matured or become suitable for wider use, or it’s an emerging technology that could provide a strategic business advantage for early adopters. If it’s new(ish) and going to impact your organization’s long-term plans or initiatives.
I expected (and hope you too) to see "cloud" in the list. However, the rest of the list looks interesting. Here is the list:
- Cloud computing
- Big Data
- Extreme Low-Energy Servers
- Next-Generation Analytics
- App Stores and Marketplaces
- In-Memory Computing
- Mobile-Centric Applications and Interfaces
- Contextual and Social User Experience
- Internet of Things
- Media Tablets
Read about Gartner perspective in details here. Some of the things are resonating with my thoughts about what PLM technologies will emerge and how CAD/PLM vendors can leverage them. Please take a look below on my take about what technologies will be important for the future development of software for manufacturing and engineering.
Well.. this topic is everywhere. I think "cloud" is about shifting paradigms. People, by mistake, see the cloud as a renaissance of mainframe computers connected via the internet. However, it is wrong, in my view. There two things where cloud will provide a shift – cost of services and availability. Take a look on one of my latest posts about the cloud- 3 Key Cloud principles: will CAD/PLM follow?
The stories about Big Data are fascinating. The importance of big data related technologies in manufacturing is obvious. The amount of data gathered by enterprise organization is huge. Most of this data is "invisible" today. A fraction of this data is controlled by enterprise software. Rest lives between workstations, databases, Excels, portals and personal USB drives. A significant portion of data now is on the web, but it is not connected to information inside of companies. To have the ability to connect information Design-Engineering-Manufacturing-Support-Service-Marketing (sounds PLMish) is where big data technologies can help.
Next generation analytics
Business in general and manufacturing company specifically is all about a decision. You cannot manage anything if you cannot measure and analyze data. How efficient is your design, energy consumption, customer adoption rate, customer complains, supplier’s efficiency – all this information needs to be analyzed? The ability to embed analytics in the decision process is the key issue and top priority for most of the companies.
App Stores and Market Places
This is part of what called "consumerization". We finally got it with iPhone, iTunes, etc. Now we expect the same magic to happen in business. In my presentation earlier this month on Dassault PLM forum, I mentioned Enterprise App Store as something that will have a huge potential in the future. However, many questions are still not answered – who will decide about the purchase, how apps will be selected, how integration will happen, etc.
The impact of how products can leverage new memory technologies (i.e. Flash drives) is incredible. Especially when it comes to calculation, simulation and analyzes. So, I expect it to be part of technologies, CAD companies will use the most.
Mobile centric application and interfaces
I hope you are taking mobile seriously. The revolution here is under go, and we will see lots of improvements in this space. However, the main point – you don’t need to be at your desktop to decide is probably the key. The amount of time, people will use mobile device and not laptop/workstation is growing. It will help to develop fields like – marketing, support, technical operation and many others. Since I published. Who can generate 3D/PLM content for Apple iPad two years ago, we can see a huge progress. You can see mobile/ iPad apps in the portfolios of almost every CAD/PLM company. Future here will be just amazing, in my view.
Contextual and Social Experience
Well, this is another "new kid". I think, everybody these days experienced "social addiction" of Facebook and other social networks. The "aha" moment these days is to understand how it will impact our business life and business decisions. Social technologies are running fast, but to find really workable stuff is hard. One of my last write ups about that is -PLM and Social Enterprise: Files vs. People? can give you some ideas where social can go.
Internet of things
Another "fascinating topic" in my eyes. I’m following "internet of things" trend for some times now. Here is my short note about that almost 2.5 years ago – PLM and Internet of Things. Some technologies in this space are really interesting for manufacturing / engineering – sensors, image recognition, 2D to 3D conversions.
This technology is kind of extension to "mobile" story. However, it is all about experience and information consumption. My favorite example – Flipboard for iPad. You can take another "almost 2 years ago post" – Things are getting touchy (PLM Tablet user experience) and compare it with your experience today. Another aspect of tablet technologies is the development of API for information access.
What is my conclusion? Prediction is a tough job. Talking about technologies in the context of the future is twice though. In general, customers don’t care about technologies. They care about "getting job done". However, speaking about engineering, manufacturing and enterprise, I can see a "momentum for new technologies", because this place was too long unchanged. Just my thoughts…