According to NCU faculty member Dr. Pamela Carter, big data, cloud computing, social media, smart machines, and mobile computing are the five big technology trends of the moment.
“The impact of just these five trends is overwhelming,” notes Dr. Carter. “Businesses now really have to focus on how to leverage these technologies.”
• Big Data – We’re currently overwhelmed by the amount of data being produced. According to Eric Schmidt, Google’s former chief executive officer, the world creates five exabytes of data every two hours, which is roughly the same amount created between the dawn of civilization and 2003! Carter believes the secret is for companies to be able to know what data they need to pay attention to, analyze this massive amount of data, and then use it to their advantage according to business priorities.
• Cloud Computing – or the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet) entrusts remote services with a user’s data, software and computation. Carter notes that the trend has the potential to save companies money by increasing their computing power and reducing IT operational costs, but it also breeds a new generation of hackers trying to gain unauthorized access to the cloud provider’s server.
• Mobile Computing – Computers are on the move and our mobile devices give us the capability of workplace computing anytime, anywhere – and this huge trend seems to have the potential to get even bigger. And of course, with the proliferation of mobile computing, smart apps appear daily, helping companies manage and optimize their mobile workforce. Dr. Carter notes that manufacturing companies are analyzing supply chain data and risks with real-time insights via mobile technology.
• Smart Machines – We now speak into our iPhones and Siri reschedules appointments for us. While companies like GE Healthcare are using robotic modular manufacturing technologies to stay even more agile in the bioprocessing field and reduce research to market timeframes. Advanced applications of artificial intelligence and highly sophisticated machines, while replacing some jobs, are adding new knowledge-based jobs to the workforce. Finding people with the skills to take on these new jobs is already recognized as a growing problem.
• Social Media – People are becoming more connected through the use of social media. While large social media outlets such as LinkedIn and Twitter continue to evolve, more specialized social media are being used to create micro-networks that enable focused attention and interaction on specific topic areas. Businesses can create, follow, participate in, or analyze data from large and micro-networks to strengthen relationships with stakeholders and gain insights into important trends.