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2/23/2015
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7 Emerging Technologies IT Should Study Now

Staying on top of current technologies means anticipating future ones. Here, we look at seven technologies IT should be studying right now. One (or more) of these may well be the next big trend in the industry.
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(Image: Benjamin Nelan via Pixabay)

(Image: Benjamin Nelan via Pixabay)

Staying on top of technology trends is serious business for those of us in the field. Skill sets come and go at a breakneck pace, and it's important to stay ahead of the curve in an attempt to anticipate the next hot trend to keep oneself relevant in an ever-changing world.

Here's a look at seven trending technologies that IT professionals should be studying right now. Where these technologies lead us, IT jobs are certain to follow in order to help design, implement, and support each one.

Our goal for this list was to identify not only hardware and software technologies, but also ideologies and legislative movements that can dramatically influence how and when a particular technology will reach a critical mass in terms of impact on our lives. You'll find that our list contains not only technologies that are attempting to solve problems we see today, but also ways to move beyond what we have today and push us into uncharted territories.

To help understand the importance of studying emerging technologies, simply look back at the past decade and contemplate the disruptive technologies that have revolutionized the way IT infrastructure works today. Topics such as server virtualization, big data, and cloud computing were once merely high-level concepts and ideas. Yet, those of us who investigated and learned about these technologies early on had a dramatic advantage over our peers in the workplace, once these technologies came to fruition.

As our technologies increase in complexity, it takes more and more time for technologists to start to comprehend new technologies, let alone learn how to implement and support them. So it's in our best interest to start our education as early as possible by first identifying the technology trends likely to shake up the IT landscape in the years ahead.

The proliferation of mobile computing around the world clearly indicates that a focus on future wireless technologies would make our list. The same goes for IT's hottest topic of the past few years -- IT security. Other technologies, such as three-dimensional imagery and robotics, will advance many areas of our lives that have remained stagnant for years.

Click on the following pages to see our top seven picks for technologies IT needs to watch and study now. Then, let us know what you think about the list and tell us about the technologies you think we're missing out on. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio

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PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2015 | 9:01:32 PM
Re: Biometrics seems to make the most sense to me...
@ SachinEE.  I'm aware of this.  But as an emergent technology is has a huge potential.  It has bugs and flaws. But, imagine one day going to work and using your fingerprint to check to the building, login to the computer, logging to the various websites we need for work without having to create a crazy password every 75 days. It is something I hope we aspire to participate someday.
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2015 | 5:03:45 PM
Re: Fog Computing?
@shamika,

Forgot to mention the frustration factor. I worked in a place where certain people needed fingerprint scanners to get work done. I can't tell you the amount of cursing & screaming I heard b/c the scanners either took 3-4 swipes to work or just flat out didn't work at all. I know biometric scanners have improved since then but it's still a possibility.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/28/2015 | 12:15:09 AM
Biometrics
Seems like just a few months ago biometrics were getitng discarded as a not a very useful security measure. If your retina file gets compromised, for instance, you have no replacement. What's changed that we're back on biometrics?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/28/2015 | 12:14:05 AM
3-D Displays
So in the all the discussion of Fog computing, some of the other interesting technologies are getting lost here. I have a simple quesiton about 3-D displays. How much does the IT department really need to learn about that? Will implementing them be mostly about installing them and just letting them go? What kind of new skill sets will they need?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/28/2015 | 12:11:13 AM
Re: 7 Emerging Technologies IT Should Study Now
@zerox203- I have to say, I hate fog computing, too. But you're right. It is funny how the wording matters to people. If we called it mesh computing or point to point computing would it really change our attitude, or are we just unhappy to have to learn something new?
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2015 | 7:39:39 AM
Re: 7 Emerging Technologies IT Should Study Now
I'm definitely getting a laugh out of all the hatred for 'fog computing' here in the comments. Now, it's no secret that our industry is bloated with unnecessary buzzwords and impenetrable jargon, but it's often surprising and hilarious which straws break the camels back and which ones we're willing to tolerate. I think I get the idea here; We're talking about environments where access to a traditional cloud would either be unavailable, prohibitively slow, or just not well-suited to the task at hand. This could be someone's home, or also in all kinds of field-operations type environments - think on a boat. Instead, an ad-hoc network is created between local devices to process most of the data and communications between themselves and, if possible, only send what's absolutely necessary back to the/a data center.

This has big implications for IoT and the standards coming up there, Like Charlie is saying, and we had a similar interesting discussion in the comments of Curt Franklin's article about IoT building blocks from the other day, which also ties it back to lots of the other technologies on this list. That data needs to be encrypted in transit without the need for human intervention, especially for, say, a biometrics scanner. The battery life also plays a big role when all the devices are relying on one another to get the job done. All of this can help ease the burden on wireless broadband networks - because, no matter what innovations we come up with, we're talking about a limited amount of spectrum. Robots in the workplace (as described here) are obviously still a little more hypothetical at this point, but there's nothing wrong with having a little fun with a list like this.
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2015 | 4:25:35 AM
Re: Fog Computing?
@pcharles09 I agree with you. But it will much easy to use. However as you said there will be huge cost.
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2015 | 8:06:09 AM
Re: Fog Computing?
@shamika,

The risks are less but there's still a huge expenditure. So only the most sensitive of environments will invest in them.
Nemos
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Nemos,
User Rank: Strategist
2/25/2015 | 6:44:57 PM
Robi
Apart from the first two (that I didn't know to be honest) I don't think all the other is emerging technology, more as "old" can one characterize those.
MWmDenis
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MWmDenis,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/25/2015 | 11:18:48 AM
Re: Fog Computing?
Ah the fog of war - what a wonderful term for adding value to people's lives. Halo computing would be more appropriate. Fog surrounds everything in its environment - it is common around many "things". But many edge things in any specific environment may have different intents / purposes, inputs, connections, controls, optimizations, ... at the edge level without and with need for cloud interaction. IoT Halos are defined as the combination of environment + intent + things + connections + smarts. For instance #SmartHome #SmartHealth #SmartCar #SmartOffice #SmartFactory #SmartPlay. .. Within each you can have sub-halos such as within #SmartHome there is smart-Security, smart-Energy, smart-Entertainment. .. And within some of these there are additional indentured combinations for instance under smart-Energy is smart-heatingandair and smart-lighting
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