On Monday during the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of research, told an audience of more than 8,000 CIOs and IT leaders that worldwide IT spending is expected to reach $3.8 trillion in 2014, up 3.6 percent from 2013. However what's getting IT leaders excited is the opportunities that await in the new, emerging era of the Digital Industrial Economy.
"The Digital Industrial Economy will be built on the foundations of the Nexus of Forces -- which includes a confluence and integration of cloud, social collaboration, mobile and information -- and the Internet of Everything by combining the physical world and the virtual," he said.
"Digitalization exposes every part of your business and its operations to these forces. It is how you reach customers and constituents; how you run your physical plant; and how you generate revenue or deliver services. Enterprises doing this today are setting themselves apart and will collectively lead the new Digital Industrial Economy," Sondergaard added.
By 2009, 2.5 billion devices with unique MAC and IP addresses were connected to the Internet, most of which were portable devices such as smartphones and laptops. By 2020, the number is expected to grow to 30 billion devices. This creates a new economy, Sondergaard said, one that will add a valued $1.9 trillion dollars by 2020 that will benefit industries like transportation, healthcare and retail.
By 2017, mobile phones, tablets and ultra-mobile PCs are expected to represent more than 80 percent of device spending. What's more, nearly half of first-time computer purchases will be tablets by the same year. This ultimately means developers will need to focus on mobile applications first.
Sondergaard said that all of these Internet-connected devices generate valuable data, thus cyber security should be an ongoing concern both inside and outside the enterprise. IT leaders will need to anticipate events and keep a close eye on headlines that continuously raise public awareness or create fear, such as the Edward Snowden leaks in 2013.
"The security of embedded technologies that your organization has right now may be the most important operational responsibility you will have in 2020," Sondergaard said. "Digitalization will create new infrastructures and new vulnerabilities in our infrastructures."
Gartner recommends that companies build a portfolio of security vendors because no single vendor addresses "more than a fraction" of the problems. Everyone will need to establish more agile security processes, he said.
During his presentation, Sondergaard said that computing power will eventually be cheap and covert. Computing devices will become part of our jewelry and clothing (like smartwatches and Google Glass). We'll eventually throw more computers into the laundry in a week than we've used in our lifetimes so far.
Sondergaard said that in the technology and telecom sectors, revenue associated with the Internet of Things will likely exceed $309 billion per year by 2020.
Kevin Parrish is a contributing editor and writer for Tom's Hardware, Tom's Games, Tom's Guide and Tom’s IT Pro. He's also a graphic artist, CAD operator and network administrator.
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