Crystal ball gazing is really for the foolish but we still can’t resist it. In that spirit I’m going to take a punt on what 2016 holds for us, safe in the knowledge that a record of any wild notions I had will always be around to taunt me.
This is an easy one but there are still many of us who just don’t trust what’s on offer. While online backup is in more common usage, the Amazon debacle of a few years ago is a reminder that it has a way to go yet. Nevertheless I expect the cloud to make much greater progress in 2016 and to hopefully learn that technology for its own sake leads to no solutions. Cloud technology is just one of many tools that we use to serve us.
Having been exposed to a number of thin client devices in 2015 I believe that there is now scope for them to move into the business market and take advantage of virtualisation technology. Given the limited range of tasks that most business IT actually performs, returning to the good old days of mainframes – these days known as servers, and a modern version of the dumb terminal is likely to gather pace in the coming months. Aside from the energy cost savings, improvements in reliability and minimising the nightmare of software upgrades, the idea of being forced to continually upgrade is not a model many of us would choose to follow in these difficult times.
Increased Social Media Usage
In simple terms this is really Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Sorting out my own Facebook page is a resolution for 2017. While both media have their downside in being very, very noisy and full of completely irrelevant rubbish, their success in bringing us instant news along with more interaction than we could ever imagine will bring them into our consciousness even more. The ability of businesses to create a presence and be exposed to potentially enormous audiences on both is enhanced by their simplicity of use. Even traditional printing companies such as Aberdeen printing are moving over to digital services
With Facebook’s somewhat nonchalant attitude to security fresh in our minds and the continuing rise in phishing and hacking attacks, I expect security to come to the attention of more businesses, particularly when it comes to data protection. We have long passed the point of just having the latest security software. This year there will be much more focus on making networks and websites more secure.
I don’t see a lot of difference in the coming 6 months and while there will be higher sales than conventional IT devices, from a business point of view they will still be seen as either having a very specific purpose or being an ad hoc quick access point. Mobile devices offer us an enormous array of methods by which we can enhance our knowledge but questions over security and the integration of such devices in the workplace remain. Of interest this year will be how the Windows Phones get along. Will it be a Windows 8(bad) or Windows 10(good) experience?
The Business World
Outside of technology the biggest issue will be economic. 2016 was a disaster on this front and the type of negative sentiment that it brought served to lower our morale even more. The key to everything this year is the EU/Eurozone crisis. As always the EU will stumble its way to a deal, bickering as it does. Whether the “markets” like it is another question but the EU are past masters at producing chaos out of order and solutions where none obviously exist.