A 2014 wish list for producers

A 2014 wish list for producers | Insurance Business

A 2014 wish list for producers
We are surrounded by technology – but what shiny new devices should brokers spend their hard-earned dollars on? We have a few suggestions for your 2014 Wish List.

The market research firm International Data Corporation has taken a look at the tech trends that were big in 2013 – cloud computing, crowdsource, the Internet of Things and tablets – and offers a few suggestions as to what is poised to go big in the new year.

Toss the PC for a smartphone or tablet
Worldwide IT spending will grow 5 per cent next year to $2.1 trillion, IDC says.

People and companies will buy smartphones and tablets, a market expected to grow by 15 per cent over 2013, says IDC, and companies will also beef up their data centers with new hardware that works better with mobile devices. In addition, they’ll need servers, storage, networks, software, and services.

The only thing they won’t be buying more of is PCs. Worldwide revenues for PCs will be decline 6 per cent in 2014, IDC predicts.

The Internet of Things
In 2012, a new version of the Internet was turned on. Eventually it will allow billions of new devices to join the Internet creating what’s called the Internet of Things (IoT).

This year, big IT vendors like Cisco and Salesforce started to release their first IoT products. Next year will bring more from big vendors and startups alike.

By 2020, 30 billion inanimate objects will be made “smart” and added to the Internet, controlled by apps. By then, I0T will be generating $8.9 trillion in revenues, estimates IDC.

Embrace the cloud
2013 was the year that companies stopped kicking the tires on cloud computing and began buying into the technology. Next year, spending on the cloud will be sky high.

IDC predicts that the cloud will drive $100 billion worth of spending in 2014, up 25 per cent over 2013. That includes the hardware cloud service providers will need to buy to keep up with customer demand.

“Specialized” cloud computing coming
Cloud computing is also going to get increasingly specialized, with more cloud services for specific industries.

The IDC expects Amazon Web Services to lead the way with a flood of new services for developers and businesses in 2014, with Google expected to go toe-to-toe against Amazon.

All of the IT companies that did well in the pre-cloud era – Cisco, EMC, HP, IBM, Microsoft and VMware – will step up and chase Amazon and Google with their cloud offerings as well, says IDC.

Mobile devices will explode
The rise of mobile devices has been going on for years and shows no signs of stopping for 2014 Worldwide tablet sales are expected to grow by 18 per cent and smartphones will grow by 12 per cent next year, IDC predicts.

By the end of the year, more than $423 billion will be generated by smartphones and tablets that cost less than $350.

Device sales will continue to be dominated by Apple and Samsung, says IDC, but in 2014 Android developers will start making more money catching up, but not surpassing, the money that  iOS developers make.

IDC predicts 2014 will be a make-or-break year for Microsoft in mobile, so watch the app developers. Microsoft needs to “quickly double mobile developer interest in Windows,” warns IDC.

Big data to get even bigger
Spending on big data technologies and services will grow by a hefty 30 per cent in 2014, surpassing $14 billion, IDC predicts.

Big data is where companies tap into huge volumes of data stored in their own data centers and elsewhere on the Internet. They use computers to instantly sift through that data to predict business conditions and serve customers.

With big data so hot, companies will have a hard time hiring people to fill big data jobs. That means the coolest, most interesting new big data apps will come as cloud services. Enterprises will want to buy big data as a service instead of building it themselves.

Social networking will be absorbed
One trend that will ebb in 2014 is “social networking.”

 Enterprise social networking will become a feature in most enterprise software, says IDC. That means companies may be less interested in buying “Facebook for the enterprise” chat apps. They’ll get that as part of other apps they buy.

By mid-2015, virtually all enterprise software will have some sort of social feature built in, says IDC.

Crowdsource development emerges
2014 will see the rise of “communities of innovators,” IDC says. Instead of building a new product or service by itself, companies will increasingly use social tech to crowdsource development from many sources like customers, partners, startups.

Each industry will have its “innovation platform” where the crowd gathers. According to IDC, an early example is GE’s Predix, a cloud service that helps big industrial companies build products.

Industries will turn to cloud players like Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Salesforce, and others to host their industry-specific clouds.