Cliff, Cliff on the Hill: Which Emerging Computing Technologies (ECT) to Watch in 2013?

Published by: Srini Chari

Our best wishes to you, your families and friends for a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year. Much of 2012 was a stimulating hike through the emerging computing technology (ECT) landscape; with the last month or so being an exciting steep ascent culminating at the ECT Cliff. Our year-end climb started with our participation at the exciting annual <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Supercomputing 2012</a> event (#SC12) in Salt Lake City in Utah. Then, we attended the annual #IBM Software Analyst Insights conference in Stamford, CT. And finally, we attended the monthly Connecticut Chief Technology Officers (CTO) club in mid-December before winding down for our annual holiday in 2012.

Already, 2013 is shaping to be an exciting year here in Connecticut. Fortunately, we did not fall over the cliff – fiscal or otherwise. It is refreshingly cold and crisp here. And after this morning’s stimulating hike, I pause and reflect on what the hike through ECT landscape in 2013 may look like from the edge of this ECT cliff while relishing a breathtaking view that is truly amazing – gazing at the horizon taking in the first rays emanating from the rising sun. Reflections on what the ECT landscape may look like 2013 are almost as wondrous and awesome as the rising sun. But unlike the sunrise that can be predicted with great accuracy, ECT predictions even for a relatively near-term horizon i.e. only 2013 could be far off-target!
But rather than just provide my undoubtedly biased individual view, I thought, it may be valuable to share what a small group of Southern Connecticut CTOs viewed as key ECT items to watch in 2013.

December 2012 Connecticut CTO Club Meeting Informal Survey – 2013 will be the Year for Analytics!

At our last CTO club meeting for 2012, we had a vigorous and stimulating discussion on what the group assembled there considered were the key emerging computing technologies to watch in 2013. We put up a list and then this group of about 18 individuals representing technical leaders across various companies – large and small – in southern Connecticut and New York – voted on whether they thought these technologies were Over-Hyped, Under-Hyped, or Just Right.

Some items in the list were broad areas i.e. Storage and Analytics. While others were very specific technologies i.e. Automatic Identification Technologies, Personalized Genomic Testing, and In-Memory Computing. So, there was considerable variance in this list. Nevertheless, being an informal list, it covered considerable ground in the ECT landscape. We even listed broad mature categories like Storage as they have emerging technologies to watch i.e. Solid State Disks, Flash Memory, etc. Clearly, Extreme Low-energy Servers are just emerging as a category. Here are the informal survey results.
Some key observations from the above chart: The topics most thought were over-hyped were Cloud Computing and Tablets. The ones they thought were most under-hyped was Software-Defined Networks, followed by Dynamic Simulation Models and Automatic Identification Technology, along with Non-Traditional Hardware Architectures (GPU computing and ARM) , Extreme Low-Energy Servers, In-Memory Computing, and the Internet of Things.
When asked what were the technologies that would have the most impact in 2013, Analytics won in a landslide (58% mentioned it). Cloud Computing (35%), Big Data (29%) and BYOD (also 29%) also did well. So perhaps, 2013 will be the year of Analytics!

Greater the Impacts When Several ECT Trends Combine …..

We are always awed by the potential impact of any one ECT trend, but we become ecstatic when several ECT trends combine together to significantly improve our personal and professional lives….each ray of the rising sun is lovely, but when these rays coalesce and illuminate the vast gorgeous valley below the cliff, that view is breathtakingly stunning!

First, let’s just consider four larger ECT category trends: mobile, cloud, analytics, and social. When mobile and cloud combine, we get the CloudMobile! With Software Everyware and in the CloudMobile we can leverage the power of SocialAnalytics. Next, with a High Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure, which someone aptly said is constantly emerging, we can support mankind’s ECT journey. And with Storage, Personalized Genomics Testing, and Non-Traditional Hardware Architectures capable of large In-Memory Computing, we could develop Novel Next Generation Genetic Sequencing solutions that could significantly change the Economics of Healthcare!

….. Under the Leadership of Enterprising Individuals

But we need enterprising doers, managers, and leaders to invent, develop, nurture, evangelize, adopt, and use these Emerging Computing Technologies. In 2012, we have been very fortunate to interact with several enterprising individuals. Clearly, the members of the Connecticut CTO club and the Faculty, Staff and Industry Members of the Wharton Emerging Technology Center are enterprising individuals with a passion for ECT. But I wanted to specifically call out others who we recently met or interacted with at #SC12 or the IBM Software Analyst Insights event. These individuals (doers, managers, and leaders all in one) have enriched our lives with their passion for ECT.

Combining the promise of Big Data with the power of High Performance Computing and Analytics is Gord Sissons, Sr. Marketing Manager at IBM Platform Computing for the IBM Platform Symphony offering. Joe Landman, CEO of Scalable Informatics is pushing the envelope in very high performance storage. Gord and Joe are classic examples of entrepreneurs and technical innovators. Chad Harrington, VP of Marketing at Adaptive Computing – a HPC and Cloud Software Company is a top-notch evangelizer of the business value of ECT as is Karl Freund, VP of Marketing at Calxeda, a company building extreme low-energy servers. Last but not the least is Jim Corgel, General Manager of IBM’s Developer Relations organization. At the IBM Analyst Insights event, I had the unique opportunity to listen to Jim talking about how he plans to expand the very successful IBM Global Entrepreneur Program. While I was definitely in agreement with the content and strategy of Jim’s presentation, I was even more impressed with Jim’s passion and zeal to drive innovation in the partner ecosystem with targeted initiatives around four ECT areas: cloud, social, mobile and analytics. Jim’s body language and presentation exuded the passion and optimism of a doer typically found in technology entrepreneurs and innovators. This, in my opinion, is rare especially given Jim’s immense responsibilities of managing a partner ecosystem worth over tens of billions of dollars to IBM.

2013: The Best Year for Emerging Computing Technologies Yet – Let’s All Smile.

Despite Connecticut’s (and the entire Tristate area’s) travails with the recent devastation caused by hurricane Sandy and the absolutely horrific shooting in Newtown, CT (this is just a few miles away from my home), 2013 will be good a year. This is almost as definite as tomorrow’s magnificent sunrise – I remember vividly sitting at the deck of my friend’s (Bob DeLuccia – a Biotech entrepreneur himself and now co-founder of DiPexium Pharmaceuticals ) home on the shore at Long Beach Island in New Jersey this past summer discussing how delightful it is to witness the splendor of the rising sun. Fortunately, Bob’s house suffered minimal damage from hurricane Sandy.

Entrepreneurs and the enterprising individuals involved with ECT are, by nature, optimistic. One of the greatest compliments I received, in a prior life as CEO of a startup software company, from our lead investor – just as he was pushing us towards a Chapter 11 bankruptcy – was that I remained optimistic about the immense market potential of our startup’s software technology. That is probably a manifestation of the Karmic values and the Gandhian outlook that were part of my upbringing. Gandhi was clearly a rare transformational leader in a millennium. But almost every day for an hour or so, he as a doer, sat silently and intensely concentrated on his manual task of making cloth with a Spinning Wheel.
Our job, as IT analysts, is to similarly concentrate and meticulously observe with awe and analyze and catalog the wonderful impacts of these marvelous emerging computing technologies in 2013. But nothing makes me more euphoric than to witness one of my twin boy’s mischievous smiles. And when both twin boys smile mischievously together, that euphoria more than doubles!

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