The Internet of Things, and everything that's part of its universe, including smart machines, pervasive analytics and 3D printing, are on Gartner's annual list of strategic technologies for the year ahead.
The list, presented by Garner analyst David Cearley at the firm's annual Symposium/ITxpo, is focused on merging the real world with the virtual one, what that means for analytics and the type of IT that has to emerge to deal with it.
Here's the Gartner list for 2015:
1: Computing Everywhere. To Gartner, this simply means ubiquitous access to computing capabilities. Intelligent screens and connected devices will proliferate, and will take many forms, sizes and interaction styles.
Cearley warned that IT departments are not well suited for the design challenges involved in ubiquitous availability, and said companies may need to acquire the expertise. (He may have been pointing to Capital One, which recently acquired Web design firm Adapative Path.)
2: The Internet of Things (IoT). Clearley's advice to IT managers is to experiment, get ideas going and empower individuals in IT organizations to develop uses for connected devices and sensors.
Cearley believes IoT has enormous potential to deliver value to businesses, and said even small sensors that can detect problems in equipment before failure occurs, can save a business thousands of dollars.
3: 3D printing. The technology has been around since 1984, but is now maturing and shipments are on the rise. While consumer 3D printing gets a lot of attention, it's really the enterprise use that can deliver value.
4: Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible Analytics. Every application is an analytical app today.
5: Context Rich Systems. Knowing the user, the location, what they have done in the past, their preferences, social connections and other attributes all become inputs into applications.
6: Smart Machines. As an example, Cearley pointed to global mining company Rio Tinto which operates autonomous trucks, to show the role smart machines will play.
7: Cloud and Client Computing. This highlights the central role of the cloud. An application will reside in a cloud, and it will be able to span multiple clients.
8: Software Defined Applications and Infrastructure. IT can't work on hard coded, pre-defined elements; it needs to be able to dynamically assemble infrastructure, said Cearley.
9: Web-Scale IT. This is akin to adopting some of the models used by large cloud providers, including their risk-embracing culture and collaborative alignments.
10: Security. In particular, Gartner envisions more attention to application self-protection.