Rather than restrict myself to one particular technology or industry, I’m going to make my predictions across the different parts of the IT industry that I see from my particular vantage point. I have predictions about:
- Hyperconverged Infrastructure
- Social Media
[NOTE: Since in a field as varied as IT, the word “prediction” means nothing more certain than “well thought-out guess”, the only thing I can guarantee about my 2016 predictions is that they’ll be worth at least as much as you’re paying for them. In clearer terms, I am not responsible for any losses you suffer due to investments, job changes, or other actions you take based upon these predictions. (If, however, you bet big on them and win, I will happily accept a “consulting fee”…) ]
Storage Consolidation Will Continue
There will be a large — perhaps even surprising — storage acquisition in 2016.
What do I mean by that? Maybe some company will do something unexpected, like acquire three different All-Flash start-ups at once. Maybe one of the bigger players like NetApp will be acquired. (Every time I read an interview with one of their executives where they go on about NetApp not being an acquisition target, I always think, “Methinks they doth protesteth too much…”) Maybe one of the big players who isn’t currently in the storage business will make a big play. (Cisco already tried entering the storage industry — maybe they’re ready to try again, or maybe one of the other big network or server companies will decide it’s time for them to take a try.)
I’m not sure what exactly it will be, but it will be something that causes most folks to go “Wait… What?”, and will cause several analysts (who never published a single word about it in advance) to come forward and say that they’ve been expecting and predicting this all along.
Hyperconverged Infrastructure Convergance
Speaking of acquisitions, I predict that 2016 will be the year that Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) becomes hot — so hot that we’ll see an acquisition.
Now, I’m not clear if that will be someone making a play for one of the HCI appliance vendors like SimpliVity or Nutanix. It could be a server company like Dell, IBM, or HP acquiring one of the software HCI companies like Maxta or SpringPath.
I’m not certain exactly how it will play out, but I do believe that HCI will become hot enough that vendors who don’t have an HCI solution of their own to offer will decide that they need to get one fast.
Security Breaches Will Continue to Make Headlines
OK, again, that’s sort of a no-brainer of a prediction, so I’ll go stronger here.
There will be a data security breach in 2016 that is so huge, so shocking, so costly, and/or so frightening that people will actually stop accepting that “these things just happen” and people will (finally) start taking security seriously.
Now, I can hear you thinking something like:
Wait a minute, Dave. You mean to say that in a world where — just Monday — it was revealed that a database containing records of 191 Million US voters was discovered WIDE OPEN and PASSWORDLESS on the Internet, that you think there are data breaches that can still shock and frighten people?
Yes. Yes, I do.
What would it take in a world where people have become numb to this sort of thing to get people to actually stand up, take notice, and demand action?
Well, first, if you’re asking that, then my imagination is stronger than yours. Or possibly just scarier than yours.
Examples of the types of breaches that could cause people to start taking security seriously — which is getting even more important in the age of the “Internet of Things”:
- The entire IRS database is hacked and all contents leaked in a massive data dump.
- A bank — not just a branch — an entire bank — has all of its assets stolen electronically.
- A Predator drone is hi-jacked and used to attack either a civilian or US military target.
- Every self-driving car in the US is hi-jacked simultaneously and starts driving up onto sidewalks trying to run down pedestrians.
- Groups like Anonymous produce a DDOS attack so massive that it shuts down the New York Stock Exchange for a week.
- The checking, savings, and investment accounts of every US Senator are emptied overnight.
Any of these might do it.
It’s worth noting that — to my knowledge anyway — to date there have only been two confirmed incidents of hacking causing actual physical damage. That’s worldwide, and ever.
I predict Number Three will happen in 2016.
Social Media Normalization
What do I mean by “normalization”?
I mean that Social Media will become a more-accepted, everyday part of people’s work and lives.
My younger readers may not remember when receiving a Long Distance phone call from the next state over was a Big Deal(tm). Now, no one thinks anything about getting on a conference call with people from multiple different countries.
It’s going to start becoming the same for Social Media.
What does this mean, in a practical sense? It means fewer job titles that have the words “Social Media” in them. There will be fewer “Social Media Marketers” — they’ll be replaced with Marketing folks who are simply expected to use Social Media as one of the ways to get the message out.
Just like no one lists “typing” or “email” as job skills on resumes any more, yet all of us use both skills daily as part of our jobs, social media use will eventually become the same — just something expected.
With an acquisition-happy mood hitting us at a time when security is low and new technologies are being developed, 2016 is bound to be a very interesting year in the IT industry, regardless of how accurate my predictions turn out to be.
I will follow up at the end of 2016 with a “GeekFluent Scorecard” post of some sort.
Think I’m right about my predictions? Think I’m way off? Share your thoughts on what 2016 is going to be like in the comments below.