The new year will see greater adoption of advanced technology to meet changing demands of enterprises while increasing productivity and creating new experiences for customers, according to Verizon’s top business-tech trends for 2013.
"As companies look to transform their businesses in the year ahead, Verizon is zeroing in on the most meaningful opportunities for our enterprise and government clients worldwide," comments David Small, senior vice president and chief platform officer at Verizon Enterprise Solutions. "Next year, we are continuing to sharpen our focus on harnessing the power of our advanced technology platforms to deliver industry-specific solutions that unlock productivity and value for our clients, their customers and society."
Here are Verizon Enterprise Solutions’ five top business-tech trends:
1. The Forecast Is Bright For Hybrid Clouds
Distributed data centers and the intelligent wired and mobile networks that connect them now represent a viable alternative to traditional virtual private network (VPN) methods that long have formed the backbone of distributed enterprise communications for a generation. Next year, there will be a significant shift from VPNs to public, private and, importantly, hybrid clouds.
"To keep up with the changing demands of today’s enterprise, the ideal platform needs to be secure and easy to use and configure," adds Small. "In 2013, if you can’t switch workloads between public and private clouds, you won’t be competitive. This next year will require a bold approach to embracing change and re-engineering networks in support of cloud-based applications."
Examples of recent cloud advancements include health care clouds that help the healthcare industry address the privacy requirements under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); clouds that help retail and other business transactions comply with Payment Card Industry standards; and clouds that help the public sector comply with the Federal Information Security Management Act.
2. The Mobile Majority Is Taking Charge
"Employees – and the customers they serve – have less and less separation between their work and private lives," notes Small. "Enterprises in 2013 must accommodate and prioritize this new demand for efficiency and productivity, and information technology departments will play a key role in meeting the growing appetite for professional mobility on a personal level."
As a result, companies increasingly will adopt cloud-based enterprise mobility strategies – creating "personal clouds" where employees can use enterprise applications to do their jobs more effectively. In addition, companies will be more proactive in tackling the challenges associated with dealing with the division of employees’ personal and professional lives by using mobile-device management and private-application storefronts to create a more secure, mobile work environment.
3. Connected Machines Drive New Insights
The "Internet of Things" has arrived, and it will continue to grow to meet specific industry requirements. Machine-to-machine (M2M) connections now cover much more than smart energy delivery and smart cars. "Verizon’s acquisition of Hughes Telematics will help fuel this evolution," Small points out. "In 2013, this dramatic growth will extend to retail, finance and manufacturing."
The ability to collect, store and analyze volumes of data will define which enterprises extract the best insights and make the most agile decisions, to their competitive advantage. As a result, all enterprises – both business and government – will need to work with vendors having strong and global ecosystems. For example, in Charlotte, N.C., Envision Charlotte Smart Energy Now and Smart Water Now projects, a private-public initiative in which Verizon is participating, illustrates the potential of connected machines to better manage critical resources. Verizon is gathering energy and water-usage data from a network of machine-to-machine devices and is transporting near real-time information to kiosks using Verizon’s high-speed 4G LTE network.
4. Networks Will Be Smarter Than You…And Invisible
An intelligent fabric that connects everything and everyone will render underlying networks invisible to end users, even as overall IP traffic grows at a compound annual growth rate of 29 percent through 2016, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index.
"Improvements in network reliability and resiliency, coupled with intelligent end points, serve as the foundation for connecting smart machines and smarter people," Small says. "We will see a shift in 2013 to more dynamic networks, pervasive IP connections, and purpose-built networks that serve businesses, consumers and society.”
5. Security Is The New Arms Race
In 2013, security will move out of the specialist realm and become a mainstream IT must-have. Security breaches span access, infrastructure and apps. They happen on fixed and mobile networks. They impact physical, intellectual and financial capital. And the scope is global, according to the "Verizon 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report."
Concludes Small, "We expect identity security to be a much more prevalent issue in 2013. Two-factor authentication is already gaining adherents, but it won’t be enough to counteract the increasing amount and intensity of criminal activity pursuing both intellectual property and financial gain. The race is on to protect every endpoint, every device and everything connected to the Internet. While the Internet affords us countless opportunity, it also comes with a price. No longer is strong security an option; it’s a mandatory requirement for all organizations to protect their intellectual and physical capital, customer identities and society at large.”
— Verizon Enterprise Solutions