The Middle East and Africa is set to post the world’s strongest mobile data traffic growth for at 77 percent CAGR to 2017, Cisco said in its first ever “Technology Radar” study, highlighting the key trends set to redefine businesses and life across the Middle East in 2014.
Based on intelligence gathered by over 70 global technology “scouts,” Cisco’s pioneering study focuses on trends independent of current product roadmaps or business unit priorities.
According to Cisco, the key trends set to make a mark in 2014 include context aware computing, machine-to-machine connections, browser based video & collaboration, video mega trends, building the next internet with new architectures, security and mobile device management.
Driving all of these is the Internet of Everything (IoE) - the interconnections of people, processes, data, and things - which Cisco believes represents a $19 trillion opportunity, globally, over the next decade ($14.4 trillion in the private sector and $4.6 trillion in the public sector). By 2020, Cisco reports that the growth of connected “things” will reach 212 billion.
“IT organizations across the Middle East need to prepare for the Internet of Everything (IoE), and what we are now seeing is the emergence of an Application Economy where the focus will no longer be simply on the hardware, but also on supporting a larger number of applications on all connected devices,” said Tarek Ghoul, General Manager, Cisco Gulf, Levant and Pakistan.
“Big changes now need to take place to make sense of exponentially increasing and varied types of data coming in from devices ranging from smartphone applications to information generated a city’s infrastructure.”
One of the key findings of the report is the potential of context aware computing to fundamentally change how we interact with our devices. In the future, devices will learn about you, your day, where you are and where you’re going.
“Context is a disruption because it completely redefines the users’ experience and the way an IT system is built. We’re seeing a change from any content for any people at anytime and anywhere, to the right information to the right person at the right time, at the right place and in the right way,” said Ghoul.
Another notable observation from the study states that, in the Application Economy, practically everything – roads, jet-engine parts, shoes, refrigerators, soil, and supermarket shelves – will have cheap, tiny sensors that generate terabytes of data that can be sifted for key insights. By 2022, Cisco predicts that person-to-machine and person-to-person combined connections will constitute 55 per cent of the total IoE value at stake, whereas machine-to-machine connections make up the remaining 45 per cent.
One of the major benefits of imminent new Internet architectures is the power of browser-based video and collaboration, where a new common standard can enhance employee productivity by integrating audio-visual conferences, text notepads, and whiteboards into a real-time Web-based multimedia space.
“If we want to change the way people communicate and take it to the next level, we are going to need the simple, ubiquitous and rapid deployment that the web platform can provide,” Ghoul said.
“We need the browsers to use new standards, open source strategies and partnerships. At Cisco we changed the communication by driving the evolution of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and we are now changing the web to include interactive collaboration.”
Video Mega Trends will similarly transform digital imaging, with ultra HD video enhancing the viewing experience on televisions, smartphones, augmented reality glasses, tablets, and camera-equipped devices.
Both trends are set to have a significant impact on everything from healthcare and education to office connectivity and security.
In order to cope with the explosion of connections, the Cisco Technology Radar concludes that technology labs are now developing new Internet architectures to replace the current IP-based Internet. Named Data Networking (NDN) has the most potential to disrupt, and would allow information to be communicated by names rather than host addresses. This represents a radical departure from the way the Internet works today.
Early stage software-defined networking (SDN) models, meanwhile, have attempted to address the challenge by focusing on network virtualization and overlay scenarios, but without true integration across physical and virtual dimensions, they have so far been handicapped by lack of transparency and visibility.
Unsurprisingly, security will be critical for business growth and adaption to the new Internet, with companies likely to ramp up the deployment of scalable, cloud-based mobile device management solutions to protect personal and corporate information. Gartner Inc. predicts half of global companies will enact Bring Your Own Device programs by 2017.
“2014 and beyond will bring a hugely influential and constructive technology explosion throughout the Middle East region,” Ghoul noted.
“Driven by the online growth and convergence of processes, data and things, we can now explore unprecedented opportunities that benefit both business and society as a whole.”
The Middle East is already well-poised to reap the benefits of this shift, with the region’s IT spend projected to grow 7.3 percent from 2013 to $32 billion in 2014, according to IT research firm the IDC.
This article was first published by the Saudi Gazette on Feb. 3, 2014.SHOW MORE