In Pictures: 2014 by the numbers - Predictions and projections

Cloud, mobility, Big Data, SDN, wearables -- see what’s in store for 2014

  • NEW YEAR’S OPTIMISM Tech spending is expected to rise in 2014, say industry watchers. Find out how enterprises will spend their time and money in the coming year, according to forecasts from Gartner, IDC and the like.

  • IT SPENDING DRIVEN BY CLOUD, MOBILE, BIG DATA IDC is forecasting worldwide IT spending to grow 5% year over year to $2.1 trillion in 2014. The biggest drivers of that growth will be: cloud spending (IDC says it will surge by 25% in 2014, reaching over $100 billion); big data (projected to grow by 30%, surpassing $14 billion); mobile computing (sales of tablets will be up by 18% and smartphones by 12%); and social technologies (set to become increasingly integrated into enterprise applications).

  • IT SPENDING BY INDUSTRY Which industries spend the most on IT? The Software Publishing and Internet Services sector spends 8.1% of revenue on IT and took the top spot in a tally by research firm Gartner. Next is Banking and Financial Services (6.6%), followed by Education (4.7%), Media and Entertainment (4.6%), and Professional Services (4.5%). At the bottom of the ranking are Energy (1.0%), Construction, Materials and Natural Resources (1.0%), and Chemicals (1.1%).

  • OPEX LOOKS HEALTHIER THAN CAPEX According to data from Computer Economics, 69% of organizations plan to increase IT operational spending in the year ahead; 17% plan no change; and 14% expect a decrease. IT capital spending plans are less optimistic: 47% of IT organizations plan to increase their IT capital budgets; 31% anticipate no change; and 22% of anticipate capital spending reductions. “Large companies seem to be investing in operations and hiring. That’s the positive takeaway,” says John Longwell, vice president of research at Computer Economics. “They still seem to be restrained on the capital spending side.”

  • SDN STARTS TO GEL What’s expected of software-defined networking in 2014? More implementations by end users, more work on standardizing SDN APIs, more deployments of leading vendors’ products, more vendor customization, more industry consolidation and more killer applications. All of this activity will help drive the SDN market beyond $3 billion in the next two or three years, according to research from IDC and Infonetics Research. IDC believes it will reach $3.7 billion by 2016, while Infonetics is a little more conservative, with a forecast of $3.1 billion by 2017.

  • HYBRID CLOUDS BLOW IN 2013 was the year vendors got their hybrid cloud strategies out in the open, and 2014 will be the year when customers start using them. By 2017, Gartner predicts that half of mainstream enterprises will have a hybrid cloud, which it defines as a policy-based service provisioning platform that spans internal and external cloud resources.

  • BIG DATA: MAKING SENSE OF EVENT STREAMS By 2017, more than 50% of analytics implementations will make use of event data streams generated by machines, apps or individuals, Gartner predicts. Enterprise demand will give rise to a slew of multipurpose sensors “for temperature, humidity, vibration, pressure, sound, light/color, electrical or other utility flows, motion, facial expressions, voice inflection, health monitoring and other systems,” the research firm says.

  • GIGABIT WI-FI LANDS Enterprise WLAN vendors are introducing aggressively priced 802.11ac access points, and more and more dongles and mobile devices have this newest version of Wi-Fi. IDC says about 249,000 11ac enterprise-class access points shipped in 2013, with revenues of about $130 million. “That’s barely a dent in the market,” says Nolan Greene, IDC research analyst. The dent will be much bigger in 2014: IDC forecasts 1.6 million units, and about $700 million in revenues.

  • IT HIRING GAINS STRENGTH IT hiring is gaining momentum, says research firm Computer Economics: 49% of organizations plan to augment IT staff headcount compared with only 9% that plan to reduce staff.

  • IoT EXPANDS The Internet of Things (which excludes PCs, tablets and smartphones) will grow to 26 billion units installed in 2020 -- an almost 30-fold increase from 0.9 billion units in 2009, Gartner reports. "The growth in IoT will far exceed that of other connected devices. By 2020, the number of smartphones tablets and PCs in use will reach about 7.3 billion units," said Peter Middleton, research director at Gartner. "In contrast, the IoT will have expanded at a much faster rate, resulting in a population of about 26 billion units at that time."

  • NET MANAGEMENT NEEDED On the networking front, “next year will be a big year for network management,” says Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. IT managers are looking for tools that can help them monitor application performance through the lens of the end user, and old-school management platforms from the client-server era aren’t going to cut it. “Eighty percent of customers are now looking for alternative solutions for network management,” Kerravala says.

  • SaaS TO SURGE While the bulk of enterprise software is still deployed on-premises, SaaS (software as a service) continues to undergo rapid growth. Gartner says the total market will top $22 billion through 2015, up from more than $14 billion in 2012.

  • WEARABLE ELECTRONICS HIT THE STREETS Consumers -- particularly fitness enthusiasts -- are driving the market for wearable electronics. Worldwide revenue from wearable electronic devices, apps and services for fitness and personal health is expected to top $1.6 billion this year, increasing to $5 billion by 2016, reports Gartner.

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