Top Technology Trends for 2014

Future TechnologiesIEEE Computer Society journals, magazines, and conferences are continually at the forefront of current technology trends. That's just one of the reasons that IEEE Computer Society is the community for technology leaders. As a technology professional, keeping on top of trends is crucial. Below are a list of technology topics that Computer Society magazines, journals, and conferences will be focusing on next year:

 

1. Emergence of the Mobile Cloud

Mobile distributed computing paradigm will lead to explosion of new services.

Mobile and cloud computing are converging to create a new platform—one that has the potential to provide unlimited computing resources. Mobile devices are constrained by their memory, processing power, and battery life. But combined with cloud computing, data processing and storage can happen outside of mobile devices. What IDC calls the "Third Platform" will allow for better synchronization of data, improved reliability and scalability, increased ease of integration, anytime-anywhere access to business applications and collaborative services, rich user experiences, and an explosion of new services.

IEEE Computer Society resources: Rock Stars of Mobile Cloud, scheduled for 6 May in Boston, will cover insights into this emerging paradigm shift from leaders in the field.

2. From Internet of Things to Web of Things

Need connectivity, internetworking to link physical and digital.

Going beyond the Internet of Things, where identifiable objects are seamlessly integrated into the information network, the Web of Things takes advantage of mobile devices' and sensors' ability to observe and monitor their environments, increasing the coordination between things in the real world and their counterparts on the Web. The Web of Things will produce large volumes of data related to the physical world, and intelligent solutions are required to enable connectivity, inter-networking, and relevance between the physical world and the corresponding digital world resources.

IEEE Computer Society resources: A special issue of IEEE Intelligent Systems explores adaptive solutions to assist in efficient utilization of the Web of Things. For more information, see the special issue on Web of Things.

3. From Big Data to Extreme Data

Simpler analytics tools needed to leverage the data deluge.

It's more than the three Vs—volume, velocity, and variety—that make big data such a difficult tiger to tame. It's that the technology world hasn't quite caught up with the need for trained data scientists and the demand for easy-to-use tools that can give industries—from financial and insurance companies to marketing, healthcare, and scientific research organization—the ability to put the data they gather into meaningful perspective. The current era of extreme data requires new paradigms and practices in data management and analytics, and in 2014 the race will be on to establish leaders in the space.

IEEE Computer Society resources: Rock Stars of Big Data will return to the Silicon Valley in fall 2014 to hear from the experts who are unleashing big data's potential. A special issue of Computing in Science and Engineering will explore the challenges of extreme data, and the solutions for accelerating insights and a July/August issue of IEEE Micro will discuss big data's burden on the compute infrastructure.

4. The Revolution Will Be 3D

New tools, techniques bring 3D printing power to masses.

New 3D printing tools and techniques are empowering everyone from global corporations to do-it-yourselfers to create new devices and realize new concepts more quickly, cheaply, and easily than ever—from car parts, batteries, prosthetics, and computer chips to jewelry, clothing, firearms, and even pizza. A future where digital functionality can be "printed into" a physical object will continue to be built on in 2014, driven by new toolkits, services, and platforms and innovative business models and processes, such as online 3D printing bureaus and crowdfunding sites. Digital fabrication is revolutionizing the way that hardware is designed, prototyped, and produced. Advances in additive processes like 3D printing, and subtractive processes like laser cutting have increased the quality, speed, and ease of physical prototyping while simultaneously bringing down costs.

IEEE Computer Society resources: In recognition of 3D printing's growing importance, IEEE Pervasive Computing magazine in July will sponsor a special issue to explore technologies related to all aspects of pervasive printing and fabrication.

5. Supporting New Learning Styles

Online courses demand seamless, ubiquitous approach.

These days, students from all corners of the world can sign up for online classes to study everything from computer science, digital signal processing, and machine learning to European history, psychology, and astronomy–and all for free. As interest in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continues to explode, there will be a corresponding need for technology to support these new learning systems and styles. Platforms such as Coursera, with more than 3 million users and 107 partners; and edX, a partnership between Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University with 1.7 million users; are hosting classes with thousands of online enrollees each. And although lectures are still the mainstay of MOOCs, the classes require web forums, online meetups, and keystroke loggers to check identities, as well as powerful servers to handle the volumes. MOOCs and other new online classes are creating a demand for learning that is seamless—happening continuously via different technologies; ubiquitous—drawing from pervasive and embedded technologies; and contextual—drawing awareness from location-based and other sensor-based technologies.

IEEE Computer Society resources: In 2014, IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies will be sponsoring a special issue on the topic because, as editors say, the possibilities for developing new learning technologies is now "greater than at any other point in human history."

6. Next-generation mobile networks

Mobile infrastructure must catch up with user needs.

Ubiquitous mobile computing is all around us, not only when we use smartphones to connect with friends and family across states and countries, but also when we use ticketing systems on buses and trains, purchase food from mobile vendors, watch videos, and listen to music on our phones and portable music playing devices. As a result, mobile computing systems must rise to the demand. The Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update projects that global mobile data traffic will increase 18-fold between 2011 and 2016. Many systems in urban areas take advantage of robust networking infrastructure, gigabit-bandwidth backbones, high-speed relays, and unlimited power and recharging capabilities. However, many operate within degraded network, power, or computing environments, such as for first-responders in a catastrophe, mobile phone users in remote regions or countries with degraded communication infrastructure, or when millions of people watch fireworks and overwhelm the local networking infrastructure. In these scenarios, the needs of mobile customers can outstrip the infrastructure's capacities and result in degraded performance. Researchers must develop tools, middleware, and applications that can help with these quality-of-service issues.

IEEE Computer Society resources: IEEE Software magazine in 2014 will publish a special issue exploring the next generation of mobile computing. IEEE Internet Computing magazine will cover the services, architectures, policies, and performance of mobile data networks in its January/February issue. Also in 2014, IEEE Computer Society will host Rock Stars of Mobile Cloud May 6 in Boston to explore how mobile and cloud computing are converging to solve some of these major challenges.

7. Balancing Identity and Privacy

Growing risks and concerns about social networks.

Social networks have quickly become the key organizing principle of Internet communication and collaboration. Although Internet-enabled social networks offer tremendous opportunities, widespread interest in and growth of these systems raises new risks and growing concerns. For instance, social network users can be bullied, their pictures can be stolen, or their status posts can reach unwanted audiences. Even when profiles don't list any information, social graphs can be analyzed to infer personal information. Risks are also related to identity management because, in these social scenarios, an individual's online identity, which is strictly related to reputation and trust, is less and less virtual and has more and more impact on real, offline life. A battle now exists between individual privacy and the interests of the system at large.

IEEE Computer Society resources: IEEE Internet Computing plans a special issue on protecting privacy in social networks.

8. Smart and Connected Healthcare

Intelligent systems, assistive devices will improve health.

Computing plays an important role in many facets of our lives, increasingly so in aspects of individual and social well-being. Individual health is encouraged with the development of intelligent systems, apps, gadgets, and mobile systems that focus on diet, exercise, and information provision. Medication, surgery, and assistive devices rely on intelligent systems to analyze data and human responses, guiding the implementation and management of therapies and interventions. In addition to work that focuses on individuals, there is a proliferation in use of intelligent systems for large-scale analysis of biomedical data, socially relevant data, and metadata, such as the spread of disease or certain health-habits in populations.

IEEE Computer Society resources: The July/August special issue of IEEE Intelligent Systems will discuss a variety of alternatives for using systems to support health and well-being.

9. E-Government

Interoperability a big challenge to delivering information.

Electronic government, e-government, or digital government refers to the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to provide and improve government services, transactions, and interactions with citizens, businesses, and other arms of government. Interoperability is essential to broad success in e-government. Challenges emerging in this area focus on e-government interoperability in cloud computing, open government, and smart city initiatives.

IEEE Computer Society resources: An October 2014 special issue of Computer will focus on e-government interoperability and challenges ahead.

10. Scientific Cloud Computing

Key to solving grand challenges, pursuing breakthroughs.

Scientific computing has already begun to change how science is done, enabling scientific breakthroughs through new kinds of experiments that would have been impossible only a decade ago. It is the key to solving "grand challenges" in many domains and providing breakthroughs in new knowledge, and it comes in many shapes and forms: high-performance computing (HPC), high-throughput computing (HTC), many-task computing (MTC), and data-intensive computing. Big data is generating datasets that are increasing exponentially in both complexity and volume, making their analysis, archival, and sharing one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. Not surprisingly, it becomes increasingly difficult to design and operate large scale systems capable of addressing these grand challenges.

IEEE Computer Society resources: A special issue of IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing will focus on the use of cloud-based technologies to meet new challenges.

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