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1Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2012

Media Tablets and Beyond. Users choose from various form factors, creating a diverse environment with two to four intelligent clients through 2015. IT leaders need a managed diversity program to address multiple form factors, as well as BYOD.

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Mobile-Centric Applications and Interfaces. UIs with windows, icons, menus, and pointers will be replaced by mobile-centric interfaces emphasizing touch, gesture, search, voice and video. Applications will shift to more focused and simple apps that can be assembled into more complex solutions.

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Contextual and Social User Experience. Context-aware computing, which uses information about an end-user or objects environment, activities, connections and preferences to improve the quality of interaction with that end-user, will create a environments that anticipate the user’s needs and proactively serves up the most appropriate and customized content, product or service.

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Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept that describes how the Internet will expand as sensors and intelligence are added to physical items such as consumer devices or physical assets and these objects are connected to the Internet, such as embedded sensors, image recognition, near field communication (NFC) payment.

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App Stores and Marketplaces. Application stores from Apple and Android will provide more than 70 billion mobile application downloads by 2014. This will grow from a consumer-only phenomena to an enterprise focus. With enterprise app stores, the role of IT shifts from that of a centralized planner to a market manager providing governance and brokerage services to users and potentially an ecosystem to support entrepreneurs. Gartner says enterprises should use a managed diversity approach to focus on app store efforts and segment apps by risk and value.

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Next-Generation Analytics. Analytics is moving from offline to in-line embedded analytics, from looking at historical data to real-time data that simulates and predicts the future, and from structured and simple data analyzed by individuals to multiple systems that support collaborative decision processes. These technologies are also moving to the cloud to take advantage of more resources there.

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Big Data. Many new technologies are emerging, with the potential to be disruptive such as in-memory DBMS. Plus, analytics has become a major driving application for data warehousing, with the use of MapReduce outside and inside the DBMS, and the use of self-service data marts. One major implication is that in the future users will not be able to put all useful information into a single data warehouse. Logical data warehouses bringing together information from multiple sources as needed will replace the single data warehouse model.

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In-Memory Computing. Gartner sees huge use of flash memory in consumer devices, entertainment equipment and other embedded IT systems. In addition, it offers a new layer of the memory hierarchy in servers that has key advantages – space, heat, performance and ruggedness among them.

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Extreme Low-Energy Servers. Built on low-power processors typically used in mobile devices these servers can potentially deliver 30 times or more processors in a particular server unit with lower power consumption vs. current server approaches. The approach is well suited for certain non-compute intensive tasks such as map/reduce workloads or delivery of static objects to a website.

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Cloud Computing. Cloud is a disruptive force and has the potential for broad long-term impact in most industries. While the market remains in its early stages in 2011 and 2012, it will see the full range of large enterprise providers fully engaged in delivering a range of offerings to build cloud environments and deliver cloud services. Oracle, IBM and SAP all have major initiatives to deliver a broader range of cloud services over the next two years.