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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

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
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progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
2/25/2015 | 6:17:47 AM
Re: Biometrics seems to make the most sense to me...
That's an early implementation of a fingerprint scanner though.  I think once the mechanics of the biometrics is ironed out it would still end up being vastly more secure than passwords.  Password hacking is one of the biggest vulnerabilites most systems have.  I kind of think there will be a day in the not too distant future when we will remember the 'old' days of using passwords and how medieval it all was (changing every 30 days?  using random sets of characters?  some people still using 'password'?).
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
2/25/2015 | 12:15:19 AM
Re: Biometrics seems to make the most sense to me...
@Aroper: Clouds and Fogs would be a lot secure than it is today. We would have different encryption and different levels of biometrics to bypass and yes even the lowest level biometric takes a lot of time to break because nobody is born with the same fingerprint pattern. Overall we would have a more secure access to the things we want to secure.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
2/25/2015 | 12:11:29 AM
Re: Biometrics seems to make the most sense to me...
@Pedro: Biometrics aren't the best way to go because remember what happened to the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone? It got hacked only 5 days after it was revealed. This shows how poorly we are prepared to fend of an onslaught from hackers.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
2/24/2015 | 9:54:50 PM
Re: Biometrics seems to make the most sense to me...
@progman 2000.  I agree. I really have a lot problems being able to keep up with huge amounts of passwords I need for all the accounts I have.  If biometrics could be implemented it would really help companies to manage their security much better. Robot collaborating with human is an area I would really interested.  I listen to an article on npr how nurses are become disabled because of problems with their backs due to the heavy lifting.  If robots could support their job it could result on healthier nurses.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
2/24/2015 | 2:48:14 PM
Re: Fog Computing?
Well, some of us have gotten over "cloud", not sure that applies to me.  :-) It's all about perspective. I work for Mfg company with shop floor. I give the guys Term Server published desktops on Thin Clients. Trying to convince them "their" desktop doesn't have an issue is always a battle, they can't seem to fathom they are just passing keystrokes and getting screen images. Even funnier is they access the LoB system here (an IBM i5 server) from these server published desktops, which is two hops from the dumb Thin Client hardware. To them, it is all local.

I guess in my context I don't get the P2P stuff. TCP certainly is not a problem in world I live in. But I guess I could see situations that might be preferable. I just still struggling to understand the "edge". To me, that is my router in each plant which talks to WAN and my routers at other plants over point-to-point circuits. If this is all about just converging my router and switches into the same hardware that runs my SAN, virtual routers and virtual switches, I can get my head around that. The less hardware that can fail, the less different o/s you need to support, can only be a good thing. Assuming you avoid the single point of failure trap.

And if this came from Cisco, I'm probably right what this is about. But seeing as how Cisco would cannibalize it's own routers and switches to software in these converged systems, makes me wonder what is motivating them? Or is answer as simple as cloud service, vendors do much better getting lifetime rent than selling you hardware?

Excuse me if I trust all these guys about the same as airline industry. That's worked out so well for all of us consumers.
JimB865
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JimB865,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/24/2015 | 2:38:00 PM
Wireless Fog computing
You gotta love the computer industry.  In alot of cases it's just like block buster movies, they just keep recycling old ideas under new titles.

One of the areas that kind of traverses wireless and fog, is how do you cross the mobile boundary between "apps" and enterprise software applications.

Because at the end of the day, none of the new technology matters if it doesn't bring value added capabilities to the "user" and in the case of most mobile/wireless end point devices, that means software applcations.

Historically enterprise software applications don't run very well of mobile devices and "apps" are limited to entertaining me (angry birds) or lifestyle; personal calendar, organizers, calorie intake, local restaurants.

Technology that's really going to be a game changer, is something that will make enterprise applications as usable as local apps.

Kendo UI and others are taking HTML5 enterrpise software solutions and making them available on mobile devices, but in the guise of a local iOS, Android or Blackberry "app".

The security technology is starting to catch up to the BYOD world, so "device independent" access to any software application, that's actually usable on a mobile device, is getting closer every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Andrew Froehlich
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Andrew Froehlich,
User Rank: Moderator
2/24/2015 | 2:05:05 PM
Re: Fog Computing?
As mak63 pointed out below, we're also talking about edge-to-edge or P2P communication which adds a whole new complexity to data flows -- and how to secure them. 

It's interesting that the term fog computing rubs people the wrong way. I suppose it's just to close to the term cloud computing? I do remember a bit of a backlash when the "cloud" buzzword came out. But we seemingly have gotten over it and use it regularly as opposed to accessing VM's in a service provider data center or colocation. I wonder if fog computing will be the same?
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
2/24/2015 | 1:57:23 PM
Re: Fog Computing?
>>closer to the edge.

You'll have to define that better, Andrew. If it's across a WAN connection, it's in the cloud. If it's inside the WAN connection, it's an on premise VM. Let's cut to the chase here what we are talking about. In the end, it's hardware and software and networking. Why it needs these fancy names to describe where these resources are located is beyond my understanding?
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
2/24/2015 | 12:47:12 PM
Re: Fog Computing?
"...Sounds like a method for adding complexity for complexity's sake. Or, just another marketing term like "cloud" computing"

Sounds like P2P network to me
Andrew Froehlich
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Andrew Froehlich,
User Rank: Moderator
2/24/2015 | 12:14:32 PM
Re: Fog Computing?
@Thomas - I think that the term Fog Computing is actually a good one. If you understand the concept of cloud computing, fog computing is nothing more than taking the cloud computing concept and pushing it down to the edge where it surrounds us.  Communications and computing will happen closer to the edge device as opposed to inside a data center way up in the clouds.
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