The Problems Facing Tech in 2015

Security, Windows 10, BYOD, thin clients and disintermediation could be big issues next year.
Posted December 9, 2014
By

Rob Enderle


As we approach the end of the year I tend to start looking forward to what we will have to deal with next. For 2015, it will be an impressive mess.

If you thought Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) was bad this year, just wait, security isn’t getting any better—as the Sony hack recently demonstrated. In addition, disintermediation is actually going vertical, and many companies may suddenly find they no longer have either product or customers. Finally, we are looking at a power change in the U.S. Congress, suggesting green efforts and subsidies will take a nose dive but defense spending should be up sharply as the world continues to become a more dangerous place.

The Fiction and Problem of BYOD

BYOD was a huge thing in 2014, but it was seldom about employees bringing their own laptops. It was far more about employees bringing their own tablets and smartphones. Companies were increasingly penetrated with devices that could record sound and video on the fly. This trend will accelerate next year, largely due to both the massive drop in tablet pricing (thanks to a price war between Google and Microsoft) and the massive uptick in wearable devices, many of which will also have cameras and/or microphones.

According to one of the recent surveys I’ve been told about, nearly 30 percent of IT shops are considering going into full technology lockdown (locked down PCs and hard limitations on personal devices), but I doubt it will work given that power has shifted sharply to the users.

But if you thought this year was bad, wait until next year, you’ll likely look back on this year as a comparative walk in the park when what’s coming hits.

Windows 10

I’m not seeing any bad buzz on Windows 10, which is a sharp contrast to Windows 8. Microsoft has the OEMs lined up behind the platform and chomping at the bit to sell it. I’ve been using it myself, and it is a far easier update from Windows 7 and corrects the most annoying issues with Windows 8, suggesting this operating system is going to get substantial user support when it launches.

Remember Windows 95, when users brought in the product over the screams of IT? Well, this has the same potential. You’re going to need to wrap your arms around this puppy before your people wrap the product around the company—and then whine about the fact that IT has been no help with it whatsoever.

One interesting observation is that as I’m briefed on 2015 product lines, I haven’t seen a single Windows 10 flagship product yet, making me wonder if Microsoft might corner the hardware market with their next Surface Tablet.

Thin Clients

Thin clients are reaching a "perfect storm" moment. With HP’s separation into two companies, their thin client effort is effectively dead (you have to have both sides of HP to execute). And that makes Dell the winner by default.

In addition, the technology has advanced to a point where it actually works competitively with PCs, and it offers significant cost savings over them. But users are still not excited about the platform. That’s the part I’m expecting to change next year, largely because services like Netflix, Amazon Web Services, Steam and Office365 are convincing them that they like their stuff in the cloud just fine.

Amazon, Microsoft, Dell, a VCE partner or IBM could offer a solution that users find compelling enough at home that they bring it into work, and IT will likely be faced with the choice of embracing it or becoming redundant.

Security: Governments Hate Us

Sony is discovering this week that hackers in other countries can do some rather nasty things if you irritate them. Releasing a movie about killing the leader of North Korea was never going to end well.

The culprits in the incident haven't been conclusively identified (editor's note: a North Korean government spokesperson denied involvement in the attack on Sony). Attacks like these seem to be having a significant impact, which suggests these things are likely to become increasingly common, making no one—except the security companies—happy.

You may finally want to consider implementing a security information and event management (SIEM) product and tying it into whatever automated patch delivery solution you have. You’ll either have to be on top of this or it is likely to be on top of you.

Disintermediation

When the Web first launched in the 1990s, a lot of us forecast that it would cause massive disintermediation as manufacturers moved to connect directly with customers. About 20 years later, it now seems to be happing in mass, and it is rendering a lot of businesses that used to connect buyers to makers redundant.

In addition, crowdsourcing of companies makes VCs increasingly redundant, and crowdsourcing loans is starting to put a bit of pressure on banks. Services like Amazon let writers touch their readers directly, and YouTube is doing similar things for video.

If your job is being a middle man, you may find that that job is no longer needed in 2015.

Wrapping Up

2015 will mean a lot of big changes in the market, from security incidents that make what we see today look like it was created by three-year-olds to disintermediation which will make entire sections of business redundant.

It won’t get any easier as we shift to the second half of the decade either, with robots ready to do ugly things to the job market and advances in artificial intelligence potentially causing large swaths of executives and data scientists to become suddenly either redundant or obsolete.

Better get used to change. You’re going to be seeing a lot of it.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.






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