Whilst we are well into the New Year, it’s still earlier enough to consider the trends that will drive our marketing campaigns for the next year. We’ve looked at some of the key IT publications to see which trends they are all forecasting, as well as those that are only highlighted by a couple of publications. Which ones do you think will really happen?

Emphasis on Security

In 2013 various major security breaches hit the headlines, with NSA leaks and several cases of privacy disasters. CRN says renewed emphasis on security in 2014 looks probable and pushes us to ask the question, what’s next for security?

Computing expect the trend of more and higher penalties to continue, with regulators now proposing fines up to five per cent of global corporate turnover, thus, giving businesses an even bigger incentive to up their data protection strategies in 2014.

In order to combat the various security threats, Gartner discusses the increased adoption of cloud data storage and the use of encryption technologies. Tech Week Europe emphasises the benefits of cloud security explaining that the use of encryption is a driving factor behind its popularity. In addition to this, ITPro says the volume of threats and breaches is such that security teams are struggling to keep up, there is simply too much information for the human brain to process. They also suggest that spending on automating security systems in 2014 will be a key area for IT investment in order to effectively monitor and detect threats.

A more worrying trend that PCPro highlights in 2014 is a potential malware explosion that ‘looks set to go nuclear’. The ‘bad buys’ are said to be one step ahead, through infiltrating the normal human weaknesses, whilst exploiting the many difficulties technical defences have in spotting change. They aim to fool both the victim and the network they attempt to infiltrate, thus putting the ‘bad guys’ a ‘long stride ahead’ in 2014.

Something that has been agreed upon by Forbes and PCPro is the need to develop trust from stakeholders with full disclosure of any breaches being at the forefront in order to retain custom.

The Emergence of the Internet of Things

It’s back and looks here to stay. Informationweek say that the hot new data of 2013 was ‘exhaust data’ powered by the Internet of Things and this trend looks to continue with various publications touting it as an area of investment for 2014.

Gartner highlights that the problem is that most enterprises and technology vendors have yet to fully explore the capabilities of the expanded internet. Forbes suggest that the use of Internet of Things will go from niche use to a broader reach with ubiquity of connectivity and proliferation of devices, and wearable computing expanding. ITPro support this claim highlighting that growth in low-cost sensors, and more applications that make use of them, suggest that the Internet of Things could be much closer to reality.

Informationweek goes further to say that Human Data produced by the Internet of Things will be the hot new data in 2014. They suggest that employee data has been shown to do everything from help manage organizational health to be a leading indicator of quarterly consumer demand.

Tech Radar is less convinced by this, with a questioning view of the platform that the Internet of Things will run on. They say that ‘platforms are beginning to appear that will integrate them’ although a suggestion that Ofcom is currently investigating using ‘white space’ from the outdated analogue TV channels to support the idea was not supported.

The Year of The Cloud?

According to Gartner analysts, more than half of IT budgets will be spent on cloud computing in the upcoming years. CIO emphasises this, suggesting that IBM are dispelling any lingering doubt that they see cloud computing as the way of the future. The company announced that it will invest $1.2 billion this year in expanding its global cloud infrastructure.

Information-management.com and Gartner both highlight a potential new era of personal cloud in 2014. Gartner identifies that users will use a collection of devices, with the PC remaining one of many options, but no one device will be the primary hub. Rather, the personal cloud will take on that role.

Although the private cloud is highlighted as being a strong trend in 2014, CRN also highlights that the Hybrid cloud conveys “the best of both worlds” by providing the security and function of private clouds, and the flexibility and scalability of public clouds. Information Management and Gartner also agree with the possible expansion of Hybrid Cloud in 2014, describing it as ‘the future of IT’.

3D Printing

Computer.org says that a future where digital functionality can be “printed into” a physical object will continue to be built on in 2014. Gartner support this with forecasts that worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 75 percent in 2014 followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015. Gartner also highlights that the consumer market hype has help make 3D printing a real and viable prospect in 2014.

Tech Target explains that with growing numbers of companies devoting resources to investigate the technology’s potential, and with prices of 3-D printers dropping as mass interest builds, this year could bring significant advancements not only in the technology itself, but in the way it’s used. In addition to this, Tech Target also suggests that the daunting complexity of using 3D printers may soon be a thing of the past being with ‘Microsoft word equivalent’ getting close to a possibility, thus increasing its reach.

With regards to implications for IT, Information Week highlights that the expansion of 3D printing becomes particularly significant for IT as the use of computer-aided design/manufacturing for 3D printing is guided by IT. There will be new data types, data models, and content types to evaluate and organize. Additionally, the IT department will be involved in printer buying decisions in some form based on the software platform in use. IT department expertise will also be required to connect printers to the network and allow staff to interface with them.

Big Data to Extreme Data

Data Centre Knowledge explains that Big Data is currently finding its footing as the initial hype has settled and its commercial applicability has been demonstrated across all major industries. They highlight that we should expect to see many of the world’s largest organizations looking to consolidate their many discrete data stores into one logical Big Data structure and then innovatively look for ways to interpret the knowledge into new business drivers.

Computer.org highlights that in 2014, big data may move to ‘extreme data’ and requires new simpler practices in data management and analytics. This is because the technology world hasn’t quite caught up with the need for trained data scientists and the demand for easy-to-use tools that can give industries ability to put the data they gather into meaningful perspectives.

Information Week adds to this point, explaining that there needs to be the right balance between agile analysis and trusted data. It has to be a user-driven experience but with IT control over the data.

Other trends

Some of the other trends include visual data discovery – the use of data visualisation is becoming more and more important as more data becomes available and insight is more difficult. Another possible trend is the move from native apps to HTML5 browser-based apps: Gartner predicts that developers will take advantage of better JavaScript performance to focus on creating expanded user interface models including richer voice and video that can connect people in new and different ways.