Gartner’s Nexus: the next age in computing?

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The future of computing is here and it’s called Nexus. No, I’m not talking about Google’s seven-inch tablet, although that’s pretty amazing.

It’s actually the area where social media, cloud computing, information, mobile meet and according to tech research company Gartner it will form the “basis of the technology platform of the future”.

The company reckons that although these forces “are innovative and disruptive on their own, together they are revolutionizing business and society, disrupting old business models and creating new leaders”.

Each specific part of the nexus feeds into the other. Take information for instance.

“Information is the oil of the 21st century and with that analytics is the combustion engine,” says Gartner vice president of research Peter Sondergaard.

The thing is, it’s everywhere. Unless you know how to mine social and mobile, and the cloud, you won’t be able to get hold of that information.

According to Gartner:

Knowing how to capture the power of the ubiquity of information and utilize the smaller subsets applicable to a company, a product and customers, at a specific point in time, will be critical to new opportunities and for avoiding risks.

There are massive opportunities for using that information too. Gartner’s Neil Rickard points to the example of malls in the States that have booths that scan 20 000 points on your body to fit you for a suit. From there, you can share the measurements, allowing designers to bid to make the suit.

From there, you could get a notification on any of your mobile devices letting you know that it’s ready.

Everything that allows this to happen is, of course, stored in the cloud. That’s why it’s the glue holding together all the forces in the Nexus. In fact, Gartner thinks it’s as important for business today as the production line was at the turn of the 20th Century.

This isn’t just the vision of early adopters either. Increasingly it will become the reality for most people on the planet. Gartner reckons that by 2016, one in eight people on the planet will have a tablet. By 2014, the installed base of mobile OS’s such as Android and iOS will have outstripped those of desktop operating systems. Facebook is about to hit the one-million user mark any day now. That’s one-seventh of the world’s population.

And that’s just the tech we have available to us today. Think about what Google Glass is about to do for mobile technology. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2017, 20% of mobile devices will be worn and not held.

A neat side effect of all the opportunities made available by using all of this very big data is that jobs are constantly being created. Gartner reckons that by 2015 there will be a demand for a million new online jobs. Tech is creating jobs and magnifying jobs, it says. Hardly coincidental then that 350 of the world’s biggest companies are expected to spend

That said, Gartner doesn’t think it’ll be all daisies and green meadows for the big tech players either. Sondergaard reckons 90% of businesses will bypass broad deployment of Windows 8, in favour of the products built by more disruptive companies such as Apple and Google.

That’s a big call, especially given the flak the company got when one if its analysts called Windows 8 for the desktop “Bad”.

It won’t be plain sailing for the companies that do benefit from these rapid changes in technology either. While making the most of the Nexus might make them more efficient, they will have to cope with increasingly large demands from their consumers and suppliers.

Keeping up with those changes means having to climb hill after hill without ever expecting a plateau, says Gartner vice president Andy Kyte.

Some of these hills could easily turn into mountains. Especially if, as Sondergaard reckons it will, technology changes as much in the next five years as it has in the past 20.

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