Matthew Foxton, Executive Vice-President Strategy and Marketing, Bull
We’ve just lived through an eventful year in IT. So what does 2011 have in store for us? One thing is for sure: innovation will speed up even further; it took ten years for mobile phones to be invented and widely established, five years for RFID and three for MP3 players. And now the market for tablet computers is already overtaking netbooks, which have hardly been around for two years themselves. What key trends will mark the coming year? I believe three major trends will characterize 2011 and beyond.
The ‘Internet of things’ will become a tangible reality
It would be easy just to focus on the symptom, the explosion in the market for devices. But the reality goes much deeper than this: the mobile Internet is becoming more and more widespread, with the ‘commoditization’ not just of smartphones and tablets, but also embedded computing. Geo-location, remote live interaction and enhanced reality applications are becoming more popular. 4G is not far off. Tomorrow’s applications will be mobile, personalized, and ubiquitous. They will feature more and more integrated social components. They will have to adapt to the ‘digital natives’ that are now driving the consumer market with their demands for new kinds of interfaces and new personalized, context-specific services. ‘Ambient computing’ and the ‘Internet of things’ are looming on the horizon. This is a real revolution. It’s opening up new fields in everything from experimentation to applications, but also business services and business models. Digital technologies are clearly entering a new era. Businesses must be prepared for it.
The Cloud will have to choose between no-man’s land and sovereign territory
The digital universe is still expanding: the amount of data will grow again this year by 47% to 1.8 Zettabytes… and by 2015 there could be 7 Zettabytes! At the same time as mobility is growing, the recentralization of Data Centers and moves towards Cloud computing become the necessary corollary that will enable this enormous mass of data and the complexity of the huge numbers of transactions involved to be efficiently managed. The challenges? Greater simplification, agility, and ‘pay-as-you-go’ usage for individuals and companies alike. According to Gartner, by 2012 almost 20% of businesses will no longer have their own IT resources. Soon, up to 80% of applications will be available under SaaS (Software as a Service) arrangements. But all this is to displace the complexities involved. The challenge is not just about creating the large-scale ‘computing power plants’ of the future, but also about sovereignty and interoperability. Just where within ‘digital space’ are my data and my processes being held? Are they really secure? Can I get them back any time I like? This will be one of the biggest talking points this year. And it’s also why the initial applications of Cloud computing will remain in the Private Cloud sphere.
Security will be a major issue in the coming years
Ultimately, innovation requires a world of trust. Recent events like the Wikileaks affair and Stuxnet only serve to remind us that digital development has to be accompanied by security. Identity, privacy, cyber security… in a world marked by numerous geo-strategic tensions, digital risks are taking on a whole new dimension. These are major challenges we still have to face. The French government’s Center for Strategic Analysis (Centre d’Analyse Stratégique) highlights this in its outlook for 2025: loss of trust is a major risks for the digital future. Gartner, for its part, predicts that the vital infrastructures of one of the G20 nations will probably come under attack this year. No doubt about it, security will be back under the spotlight. If 2009 was the year of open innovation and social networking, and 2011 will very probably be the year of the Cloud, then we can already ask ourselves whether 2012 will not be the year of security.
So many big challenges for the coming years and beyond. So many questions shaping the major issues that will arise this year, like the emergence of the Internet of the future. IT already accounts for nearly 40% of global growth. That’s where tomorrow’s revolutions are being formed: ‘real-time’ Business Intelligence, the long-tail economy, computerization of business processes… in every sector from healthcare (tele-medicine) and transport (intelligent vehicles and routes), to energy (SmartGrids). As Forrester highlights, 30% of future IT investments will be made on a purely sector-specific basis, compared with just 5% today. This will be highly formative.
So many challenges to which Bull – as a major player in Europe’s digital economy and a specialist in mission-critical systems – brought innovative answers in 2010: like the industrialization of new computerized applications, as in the Digital Business Process Factory we developed for the French State Modernization Agency (the DGME); like the design of Europe’s most powerful supercomputer, Tera 100, for the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (the CEA); like the launch of the first Cloud computing-based computer simulation offering in Europe, extreme factory; and like the advent of highly innovative cyber-security solutions such as Amesys DLP, the first real-time Data Leak Prevention solution. And many more.
Our aim is be a trusted partner that supports its customers in developing their mission-critical information systems. With a body of expertise that is unique in Europe and high-performance, ultra-secure and made-to-measure solutions. The on-going roll-out of our strategic plan for 2011-2013, BullWay, will clearly demonstrate this. No doubt 2011 will be just as exciting as 2010 was.
 Zettabytes = 1021 bytes