6. The Internet of Things: This is a concept that describes how the Internet will expand as physical items such as consumer devices and physical assets are connected to the Internet. The vision and concept have existed for years; however, there has been acceleration in the number and types of things that are being connected and in the technologies for identifying, sensing and communicating. Key advances include:
Embedded sensors: Sensors that detect and communicate changes (e.g., accelerometers, GPS, compasses, cameras) are being embedded not just in mobile devices but in an increasing number of places and objects.
Image recognition: Image recognition technologies strive to identify objects, people, buildings, places, logos and anything else that has value to consumers and enterprises. Smartphones and tablets equipped with cameras have pushed this technology from mainly industrial applications to broad consumer and enterprise applications.
NFC payment: NFC allows users to make payments by waving their mobile phone in front of a compatible reader. Once NFC is embedded in a critical mass of phones for payment, industries such as public transportation, airlines, retail and healthcare can explore other areas in which NFC technology can improve efficiency and customer service.
7. Appliance madness: Organizations are generally attracted to appliances when they offer hands-off solutions to application and functional requirements, but organizations are also repelled by appliances when they require additional investments (time or software) for management functions. Thus, successful appliance products must not only provide a cost-effective application solution, they must require minimum management overhead.
Despite the historical mixed bag of successes and failures, vendors continue to introduce appliances to the market because the appliance model represents a unique opportunity for a vendor to have more control of the solution stack and obtain greater margin in the sale. In short, appliances aren't going away any time soon. But what's new in appliances is the introduction of virtual appliances. A virtual appliance enables a server vendor to offer a complete solution stack in a controlled environment, but without the need to provide any actual hardware. We see virtual appliances gaining popularity and fully expect to see a broad array of virtual appliance offerings emerge during the next five years. However, the growth in virtual appliances will not kill physical appliances; issues such as physical security, specialized hardware requirements and ecosystem relations will continue to drive physical requirements.