The Next IT: A Preview of Tomorrows Innovations and Challenges

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This article discusses possible future Information Technology innovations based on current trends. We present three concepts that will likely shape future services and impact corporations, markets and …

This article discusses possible future Information Technology innovations based on current trends. We present three concepts that will likely shape future services and impact corporations, markets and societies: Hyper-Connectivity, Social/Semantic Web, Saas/Cloud computing and Micro-eEconomy.

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  • 1. The Next Information Technology: A Preview of Tomorrow’s Innovations and Challenges Nadir Belarbi, Sr Business & Innovation Manager http://www.linkedin.com/in/nadirbelarbi nbelarbi@chicagogsb.edu New York, USA Abstract-This article discusses possible future Information II. Media: Hyper-connectivity through wireless Technology innovations based on current trends. We present technologies three concepts that will likely shape future services and impact corporations, markets and societies: Hyper-Connectivity, White Space spectrum1 will intrinsically lead to a sharp Social/Semantic Web, Saas/Cloud computing and Micro- decrease of the wireless voice and data subscriptions. From eEconomy. this, we can expect current subscription rates of $80 per month to drop to $20-$30 per month in the next five years. I. Signs of Change As other wireless operators emerge (Google, Intel,...), phone Trying to predict the future of Information Technology is carriers won’t long be able to resist the pressure brought always an interesting exercise; a real attempt to imagine the about by voice over IP applications. A set of proprietary and next wave of services on the basis of current breakthroughs. open source applications, offering a combination of excellent voice and video quality, will likely end nearly a Tomorrow’s IT world will mostly be an aggregation of all century of long distance billed calls. the innovation and emerging technologies that the current players of the technosphere, are either envisioning or The move to high definition video transmissions will already experimenting. depend on available bandwidth and the deployment of 4G networks. New advanced compression techniques and the Predicting the future is nevertheless a difficult exercise as continual increase of processors computational power, will innovation’s pace can be influenced by multiple economic optimize bandwidth use. In the long term, Disruption- and technical factors. The impartial rule of “the time to Tolerant Networking (DTN2) will most certainly replace market” will designate which technology will move from pure TCP/IP transmissions, allowing a continuous simple prototypes to widely available industrialized connectivity, even in poorly covered areas. solutions. The result will be a dizzying array of people always IT technology has reached a maturity but only ten years connected, always on the move. With web access available after the first Internet boom, a second revolution is quietly from any location, the defining line between the worlds of preparing its coup. In the next 5 to 10 years, technology and work and play will effectively vanish, causing profound innovation will profoundly modify the way we interact with change in the work/office concept. computers and the way we deal with information. The consequences of being able to work from anywhere I foresee a breaking point in the short term, based on the with the same ease afforded by the traditional office will be continuous technological and innovation watch, I have held tangible and immediate. There will be a dramatic increase in for so many years now. the total number of information exchanges taking place in the form of emails, instant messages, approvals, and In parallel with important achievements in nano and meetings-on-the-go, all facilitated by the expedited decision biotechnologies, I believe that the following factors will be making enabled in this environment. possibly the greatest change enablers, leading to an upward shift in the trajectory of the information technology Humans will resist these changes but the "Blackberisation" evolution. of the collaboration will reach another level, using the human natural compulsion and inclination to use any intelligent device for feeling more secure. Nadir Belarbi - 1/5
  • 2. People will not only read emails or answer short and instant Google is already offering a voice search via the Android messages. They will also connect with others, see them and platform where future sound canceling systems will isolate show them their world, via recorded or streamed videos, callers’ from the surrounding noise. browse the web guided by customized recommendations based on their profile and actions, and in relation to their Hyper-connectivity will become the new standard by which location thanks to geo-localization. people stay connected. The real world will become too simple, too flat, too calm The consumer landscape of the future is already discernable; and ultimately unexciting. a consumer base continuously on the move, demanding increased responsiveness from corporations and merchants; New devices with flexible screens or e-screens3, (some an atmosphere of heightened competition as those same prototypes are already available), will gradually be corporations and merchants struggle to capture changing integrated into existing mobile devices. Eventually, these consumption patterns of users saturated with information foldable devices will completely replace today’s small but and sales offers. bulky devices. New polymers, nano-designed technologies and printable circuits will accelerate the change and the Operational Marketing, as we know it today, will vanish. industrialization of these innovations, which will sharply decrease prices. LCD and Plasma TVs are an example of The new generation of connectivity will accelerate users’ this trend, where prices have fallen inversely proportional to migration from the passive entrainment of broadcast time in the past decade while their quality has sharply television to the interactive and rich connected web services, increased. requiring changes in the delivery, frequency and content of marketing messages. 3D vision will likely first emerge from the TV world and later conquer the Web due to games and other virtual reality New trends will emerge daily, replacing the old, born just a environments. few weeks or days ago. Increasingly, outsiders will join the heretofore circle of phone/PDA/ photo and GPS devices. II. Content: A Social and Semantic Web It’s difficult to imagine any compact camera in the future Hyper-connectivity will likely spread faster than the new without a wireless connection or a GPS. Already photo wave of Hyper-Social and Semantic Web. However, the applications like the Apple’s iPhoto use geolocalization revolution won’t come from the swarm of mobile devices which can be combined and automated with WIFI continuously connected to the Web but from the Semantic localization using SD memory camera cards. The lines applications that will be gradually added to it. between these devices will continuously blur and tomorrow’s device will probably just be named Pods or The hackneyed and misunderstood Web 2.0 is currently Pads; marketers will decide. rapidly evolving and its wave of communities gatherings is expanding. Interactivity, information and feedback sharing In theory, any device will be able to connect wirelessly to will be mandatory components of any mercantile or the web, update its configuration and even send or receive informational web site. requests and commands. Cars, mediacenters and TVs, alarm systems, home heating and cooling systems, etc, will Hyper-connected users will no longer just type their inputs become active members of the Web. but will increasingly express themselves with snapshots and recorded or streamed videos, an easy way to quickly share The next Semantic Web4, which we will cover in the next their thoughts and opinions, or to simply ask and answer section, will be extended to non-computer devices allowing questions. them to interact intelligently with web services, other devices and ultimately people. Real time video use will increase; causing a plethora of spontaneous feeds to continuously challenge the bandwidth The autonomy of these devices will be greatly improved as of Internet routers, as events both significant and mundane a result of solid disks, new processors, nano-technologies are documented as they unfold. and fuel cells. A decade from now, most of the devices’ power sources will require no more than a monthly. As with Twitter today, anyone will be able to have his Mobility will be freed from its energy constraints. fifteen minutes of fame as a reporter. Journalists will begin to emerge from the users of the Hyper-Web and information Voice recognition will be the perfect complement to a will no longer be the exclusive domain of major mobile, visual and flexible web on the go. international information agencies. An important shift in the Nadir Belarbi - 2/5
  • 3. way information is shaped today and how the “truth du learn and respond to certain commands and stimuli but they jour” is managed. won't very likely be able to design new devices from scratch. The first victims of this trend are professional photographers who are already targeted in layoffs and compressions as And though enabling a device or application to perform lately at the Gamma photo agency. Journalists, TV actions according to a predefined set of rules, may tempt us reporters, writers will follow. Quality will be increasingly to label it as intelligence, it’s but a very rudimentary available and reachable through the Web. intelligence, at that. As any and all events are covered and commented upon, the That being said, in five years, we will probably see the Wikipidisation of the news will begin. emergence of a new type of autonomic services, able to learn simple tasks and execute simple actions on behalf of The increasing flow of information will challenge servers the user. Execution times will be reduced and repetitive and networks capacities, pushing them to their limits and actions will be taken over by a swarm of connected virtual transforming Datacenters in gigantic energy devourers. machines comprising a basic intelligence. More than ever, delivering an uninterrupted service will be a critical factor in the user retention. From a large perspective, the questions arises “will this distribution of basic intelligence, give birth to a form of The expanding mass of information will require enhanced multi-agent, neuronal intelligence?” search engines capable of indexing the new and hidden information, the web dark matter. Search engines will need In some ways yes, the web will act independently of its to combine indexing techniques with semantic to provide users interactions, continuously searching for the best deals pertinent search results. Searching audio and video and most efficient parameters, while simultaneously information will be a challenge but social meta-tagging will exchanging information and beating to the tempo of its precede the emergence of a more intelligent content tagging hyper-connected users but the Singularity5 will remain a that will take probably a decade to become operational. long term objective. But the revolution won't really be there. Without a global set of rules enforced by distributed controllers, the Semantic web will be difficult to regulate, The Semantic web will bring to the Internet what oriented- leading to overflows, denials of service, unwanted object has brought to programming; structure and pre- disclosure of private information and increasing intelligence. vulnerability to hacking. The Semantic web will attempt to self-regulate, creating unexpected states of information and The wave of meta-languages, like XML, that shaped web behavior, and fast moving concentrations of information and page design and structure has already morphed into new interactions with virtual nodes among computers, mobile ontological languages able to structure any exchange devices, servers and applications. between compatible applications. But despite these risks, the semantic web will rule and Any device with a connected and programmable framework, conquer the social web arena and business to consumer will be able to participate in Semantic web hyper-activity; services, taking by surprise an old and unprepared corporate including cars, TVs, mediacenters, photoframes, refrigators, world dealing in antiquated managements methods. etc. I am astonished by how most graduate schools of business The structuralization of the information exchanges will programs are not addressing these future trends in order to foster the emergence of autonomous applications, using prepare managers for this new age of hyper-connectivity simple intelligent agents able to negotiate prices, book and hyper-Information. It’s actually not a really surprise; the airline tickets or simply activate other remote wirelessly strategic role of IT in corporations is not even addressed connected Semantic devices. today. A real Artificial Intelligence is not for the next decade, The corporation paradigm will be torn a part and profoundly neither for the next several. Increasing the computational affected by the IT and technological changes to come in the power of microprocessors with hundreds of cores will next years. As the Industrial revolution forever changed the reduce the computation time but certainly not create an artisanal manufacturing world, the Hyper-Web will upend intelligent from a cognitive point of view. today’s corporations. Some form of intelligent behavior will, of course be From a geopolitical standpoint, these IT, bio, nano- achieved as computers and devices will become able to technology changes will completely redefine the world’s Nadir Belarbi - 3/5
  • 4. distribution of powers. Any nation not currently investing in Quick adaptation and responsiveness will be a benefit these trends, will fail. Several decades from now, the offered by specialized outsourcers as today's Sales.com for innovations brought by these technologies, will have the corporate sales force. By then, enterprise resource minimized the importance of cheap labor force. Margins planning (ERP) software such as SAP will be cast of the will increase as a result of innovative products and corporate temples. Difficult to maintain and upgrade, with processes and not because of outsourcing. an ever-increasing competition from specialized on-line services from the cloud, this dinosaur will slowly disappear Specialization will be essential to master these technologies from the IT scene. and nations who haven’t prioritized strong scientific education will fail. Corporations unable to flow the pace of these rapid changes will fail. There's a price to pay to stay ahead; the price of learning cutting edge technologies. Quick adaptability to change will become “the next big thing“ in marketing with a permanent requirement for new These innovations will create value and establish the next products, new messages, new ideas, new applications and financial centers, the rewards of which will pay dividends new trends to be competitive and increase market shares. far greater their costs. The school of hyper-connected and highly-saturated consumers will continuously seek novelty. The "flipping III. SaaS: Clouds on the Corporate IT phenomenon" originally triggered by TV remote controls, will be a web behavioral pattern, fostered by social The Software As A Service (SaaS6) paradigm will takeover bookmarking and tweeting. small, medium and large businesses in the same way free trade forced a thousands of corporations to outsource their In the next twenty years, IT internal services will morph into activities to Asia. out-of the box, customized software as application services (SaaS) hosted by outsourced datacenters immersed in the Even the most reluctant corporations will be forced to cloud. follow the trend, sacrificing some data confidentiality and security for acceptable risk, just to keep up with a rapid and As it evolves, technology intrinsically seeks to provide rich changing software environment. functions through user-friendly interfaces masking its complexity. As for today’s computers, new SaaS services Users have already fallen prey to the appeals of the Google will be easy to use and customizable with defined costs, Gmail, Facebook and LinkedIn services. They are willing to features and level of services, a dream of any Chief accept exposing part of their personal information in Financial Officer. exchange for free services they perceive as having value. Corporations will certainly be the next to fall. By 2050, IT departments will vanish into the Cloud and the SaaS service manager will contact the CFO or CIO, once a Reality is cruel. Today, no corporate IT department is quick month to check that services are rendered as expected. to setup and deploy new services according to their business needs. The intrinsic complexity of the financial and In the long term, corporations will subscribe to new services organizational structures of modern corporations hinders in the cloud, without worrying about or how long a new any attempt to go faster. Even new fancy project service requires to be running. management methodology recipes won’t be able to manage a growing active market catalyzed by a Semantic Web with IV. Micro-eEconomy: A Hyper-Connected and Hyper- a continuously changing set of services and users. Active Web Twenty years from now, markets will be extremely Combine all these factors and cast them into the real world competitive. to reveal a new Web economy. Globalization will lead to the equalization the income levels Extremely active, fostered by hyper-connectivity and of the Chinese and India economies with their Western consumers able to connect from almost any place, semantic counterparts. applications continuously negotiating prices, consumer constantly solicited to buy goods bases on their profiles and Selling to this saturated sphere of ever-connected and under acceptable price sustained by continuous sales and moving users will be a challenge. promotions. Traditional IT organizations won’t be able to keep up with the quick-change requirements. Nadir Belarbi - 4/5
  • 5. The Web on the rise will definitely foster the pay per use Nadir Belarbi received an Engineering degree from the University of Science and Technology of Oran, Algeria (1993), a Master Degree in services. The first goods impacted by the change were Networks and Telecommunications from Paris V University & Sup digital but the trend will expand to other traditional goods. Telecom Paris, France (1994), studied 3 years of studies and research on The music industry will mostly sell songs rather than Intelligent Networks during a PhD program (1997) and received an albums. This set of micro-services will dynamize and Executive MBA from the Chicago University, Booth Graduate School of Business, USA (2008). He has worked for IBM, Air France, Groupe fluidify sales on the Net. Danone. He currently leads Business & Innovation projects at Dannon. The emerging services of this micro-economy won’t be the Nadir Belarbi’s research has spanned a large number of disciplines, only ones to take advantage of the plethora of wandering emphasizing information technology and telecommunications with a focus consumers. With geo-localization, restaurants, shops, hotels, on emerging technologies. As a manager with multi-cultural skills speaking five languages, he worked in an international environment where taxicabs and others will be able to jump into an augmented he specialized in the coordination and lobbying of global organizations. reality virtual web and offer promotions to connected users, as they pass by their premises. His political and social experience ranges from heading the corporate work council to participating in political and geopolitical organizations and think tanks. With a major interest in Intelligence, Technology & Energy roles in In the near future, not existing on the Web, will really mean Geopolitical, Military & Security issues, he is now managing a LinkedIn to be dead. group on Business, Innovation & Geopolitics. References [1] White Space Spectrum, "IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee 802.22 WG on WRANs (Wireless Regional Area Networks)". IEEE. http://www.ieee802.org/22/. Retrieved 2009-01-18. [2] A Delay-Tolerant Network Architecture for Challenged Internets, K. Fall, SIGCOMM, August 2003. [3] Flexible Screens Get Touchy-Feely, MIT Technology Review, February 27, 2009. http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/22232/ [4] Grigoris Antoniou, Frank van Harmelen (2008-03-31). A Semantic Web Primer, 2nd Edition. The MIT Press. ISBN 0262012421. http://www.amazon.com/Semantic-Primer-Cooperative-Information- Systems/dp/0262012421/. [5] The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, Ray Kurzweil, Viking Adult, 2005. [6] Traudt, Erin; Amy Konary (June 2005). "2005 Software as a Service Taxonomy and Research Guide". IDC. pp. 7. Nadir Belarbi - 5/5