7 most important tech trends of 2012

By John Brandon, CIO |  IT Management, 3D printing, biometrics

You might call this a troubling development, but the reality for most enterprises these days is that employees are bringing their consumer devices to work and using them for work. This can include mainstream devices such as the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, which is mostly intended for reading books and watching movies but has a lightning fast Web browser that works perfectly fine for corporate Webmail.

Analysis: IT, Employees See BYOD Security (Much) DifferentlyHow-To: For BYOD Best Practices, Secure Data, Not Devices

Most IT executives have responded in kind, using services such as the Cisco Systems BYOD Smart Solution to control how employees can use device son corporate networks without restricting them entirely.

7. 3-D Printing

Rapid prototyping has helped large companies for the past decade. When General Motors needs a new part for an electric car prototype, it spins one in its own prototyping lab. Now, though, 3-D printing is now a viable option for companies of any size. For example, the MakerBot Replicator costs $1,749 but can easily generate a part for a new bicycle or a protective smartphone case. Another barrier to entry smashed this year: You don't need a degree in engineering or 3-D design skills. You can download part designs from Thingiverse.com in the morning and start printing by the afternoon.

John Brandon is a former IT manager at a Fortune 100 company who now writes about technology. He has written more than 2,500 articles in the past 10 years. You can follow him on Twitter @jmbrandonbb. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, on Facebook, and on Google +.

Read more about data management in CIO's Data Management Drilldown.

Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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