The proliferation of consumer devices and machine-to-machine sensors is ushering in a new era for IT: a cloud-computing age that enables services to be deployed more rapidly thereby attracting an ever-increasing number of users and devices.
Intel has coined a name for this epoch, the "Virtuous Cycle of Computing," referring to a system of events that reinforces itself in a continuous loop. The driver of this cycle: big data.
In her Monday keynote at Intel's "Reimagine the Datacenter" event in San Francisco, Diane Bryant, senior VP and general manager of Intel's Datacenter and Connected Systems Group, said the dramatic upsurge in end-user and machine-to-machine devices -- two areas commonly associated with big data -- is good news for the IT industry.
"We're going through a significant transformation in the way that IT is fundamentally used," said Bryant. Two factors are making this happen, she added: Cloud computing and the "massive build-out" of devices. "We're going into a whole new era where we look at IT as a service," she said. "IT is no longer supporting the business, but IT is actually the business."
[ In one possible future, everything will have a sensor. Read The Internet Of Things Gold Rush. ]
IT continues to evolve to meet changing business needs. The 1990s marked the "computer-centric era," one where manual systems were automated to increase efficiency. The 2000s brought pervasive Internet connections and the growth of wireless, developments that expanded IT's role in a burgeoning "network-centric" era.
"You could change the way businesses communicate with businesses -- do things like B2B supply chain management systems -- or change the way businesses communicate with their customers through online marketing," said Bryant.