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Expect the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to have a bigger impact on the workplace in the next few years than 3D printers and virtual reality solutions.
After quizzing 566 IT professionals Spiceworks today released its latest study today, Future of IT: Hype vs. Reality. Many expect IoT devices (80 percent) and AI (60 percent) to have a beneficial effect on their business processes.
Meanwhile, VR technologies are used by 7 percent of organizations and only 13 percent or survey respondents signaled that they intend to adopt it. 3D printers fare a bit better in terms of both current usage (11 percent) and future adoption (22 plans).
"IT professionals are rightly concerned with the practicality of integrating emerging technology in the workplace, particularly when it comes to VR and 3D printing," said Peter Tsai, IT analyst at Spiceworks, in a statement. "Many organizations are struggling to find viable use cases for VR and 3D printers that will justify the costs.
IT pros may be bullish about IoT, but concerns linger.
"With IoT and AI, while many understand the potential benefits for businesses, IT professionals are more concerned about potential security risks over costs, especially in light of recent DDoS [distributed denial-of-service attacks] attacks originating from vulnerable IoT systems," Tsai added.
In October, a series of massive DDoS attacks hit Dyn's managed DNS services. Attackers enlisted an army of compromised IoT devices to impede access to major websites and online services, including CNN, Spotify and Reddit, to name a few. Security experts warn that botnet operators are increasingly turning to IoT devices as their DDoS weapon of choice.
In terms of AI, Spiceworks found that 60 percent plan to employ machine learning technologies and 72 percent expect to use AI-enabled business analytics. Although security and privacy issues (48 percent) remain top concerns, most IT professionals believe these technologies will help free up time that they can then devote to their strategic IT initiatives. Few believe that AI will put them out of a job (14 percent).
Nearly half of all organizations (46 percent) said they plan to use virtual assistants. Currently, Apple Siri leads the pack (52 percent). Microsoft Cortana (45 percent) takes second place, followed by Google Now (34 percent).
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.