These tech trends will rule your life in 2014, says IEEE

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FierceCIO publishes its last newsletter for the 2013 calendar year today. So it seemed only fitting to wrap up the year with the final set of predictions on what 2014 will hold in store for IT. FierceCIO newsletters will resume daily publication on Jan. 2, 2014.

In the meantime, the IEEE Computer Society has released its top 10 list of what the New Year will bring, from cloud computing trends, to mobile technology, to 3D printing.

Emergence of the Mobile Cloud

"Mobile distributed computing paradigm will lead to explosion of new services," the IEEE writes. "Mobile and cloud computing are converging to create a new platform--one that has the potential to provide unlimited computing resources." The IEEE notes that mobile devices have traditionally been constrained by issues related to memory, processing power, and battery life. The cloud will enable those features to happen outside of the device.

From Internet of Things to Web of Things

"The need is for connectivity, internetworking to link physical and digital," IEEE says. Beyond the unlimited Internet of Things is the Web of Things, which takes advantage of mobile devices' and sensors' ability to observe and monitor their environments. The association says this will produce large volumes of data related to the physical world, in turn requiring intelligent solutions to enable connectivity, inter-networking, and relevance between the physical world and the corresponding digital world resources.

From Big Data to Extreme Data

"Simpler analytics tools are needed to leverage the data deluge," IEEE notes. The challenges go beyond the three Vs--volume, velocity and variety. There is an urgent need for trained data scientists and for easy-to-use tools that can give organizations the ability to put the data they gather into meaningful perspective.

The Revolution Will Be 3D

"New tools, techniques will bring 3D printing power to masses," IEEE predicts. Following the cloud, big data and mobile technology, all the attention in 2013 seemed to be around 3D printing. IEEE says new 3D printing tools and techniques will enable everyone--from global corporations to do-it-yourselfers--to create new devices and realize new concepts more quickly, cheaply and easily than ever. Look for "A future where digital functionality can be 'printed into' a physical object."

Supporting New Learning Styles

"Online courses demand seamless, ubiquitous approach," IEEE says. Today, students throughout the world can sign up for online classes to study virtually anything, and everything. This is fueling growing interest in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). In turn, there will be a corresponding need for technology to support these new learning systems and styles. "Platforms such as Coursera, with more than 3 million users and 107 partners; and edX, a partnership between Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University with 1.7 million users; are hosting classes with thousands of online enrollees each," the association writes.

Next-generation mobile networks

"Mobile infrastructure must catch up with user needs," says IEEE. Ubiquitous mobile computing is all around us, "not only when we use smartphones to connect with friends and family across states and countries, but also when we use ticketing systems on buses and trains, purchase food from mobile vendors, watch videos, and listen to music on our phones and portable music playing devices." The result will be a rise to the demand by mobile computing systems.

Balancing Identity and Privacy

"There will be growing risks and concerns about social networks," the association says. Although Internet-enabled social networks offer tremendous opportunities, IEEE believes the growing popularity of these systems makes them equally popular targets. "For instance, social network users can be bullied, their pictures can be stolen, or their status posts can reach unwanted audiences. Even when profiles don't list any information, social graphs can be analyzed to infer personal information."

Smart and Connected Healthcare

"Intelligent systems, assistive devices will improve health," IEEE writes. The quality of healthcare services and of patient well-being will be improved with the development of intelligent systems, apps, gadgets, and mobile systems that focus on diet, exercise, and wellness information. More importantly, "medication, surgery, and assistive devices rely on intelligent systems to analyze data, and there is a proliferation in use of intelligent systems for large-scale analysis of biomedical data, socially relevant data, and metadata, such as the spread of disease or certain health-habits in populations."

E-Government

"Interoperability is a big challenge to delivering information," the IEEE says of the government and technology. The current year has been somewhat of a public relations nightmare, especially with regard to the healthcare.gov site. In 2014 the government needs to up its game. "Interoperability is essential to broad success in e-government. Challenges emerging in this area focus on e-government interoperability in cloud computing, open government, and smart city initiatives," IEEE notes.

Scientific Cloud Computing

"This is the key to solving grand challenges, and pursuing breakthroughs," IEEE concludes. Scientific computing has already begun to change the face of science and enabled breakthroughs through the use of new types of experiments that were previously not possible. IEEE predicts new breakthroughs in high-performance computing (HPC), high-throughput computing (HTC), many-task computing (MTC) and data-intensive computing. "Big data is generating datasets that are increasing exponentially in both complexity and volume, making their analysis, archival, and sharing one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. Not surprisingly, it becomes increasingly difficult to design and operate large scale systems capable of addressing these grand challenges," the association says.

Read more
- The IEEE top tech trends report

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