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It's the New Year, so we decided to give it a go and write our very own list of the biggest trends that
(we think) will mark 2016.
Business might have driven technology adoption in the past, but today it's often consumers who are in the lead. In 2015, more than half of all households in the UK now own a tablet, according to the Ofcom Communications Market Report. And 42 per cent of smartphone users state that their smartphone is their most important device for connecting to the internet.
Offices are now following this trend, with the number of devices managed by an enterprise increasing by 72 per cent between 2014 and 2015 as companies reacted quickly to employees' new working practices.
Mobile devices are kind of a big deal; ignore their meteoric rise at your peril.
Whether IT departments like it or not, both consumer and business mobile devices are finding their way into the workplace. Tech Pro Research found that in early 2015, 74 per cent of organisations were either already using or planning to allow their employees to use their own devices - a massive increase on the 44 per cent who were allowing BYOD in the 2013 report.
Cost benefits and increased flexibility and productivity are attractive benefits of BYOD but companies cited security as a major concern with BYOD and it's true that careful planning needs to be put in place to avoid any problems with sensitive data further down the line.
Check out options like disk encryption, mobile device management and secure central company data storage in conjunction with password access so that employees can access data from their own device but the information itself is remains on company-controlled hardware.
High data volumes are, quite literally, a BIG trend at the moment – and a big problem for unprepared IT professionals.
Research from Neustar Inc found that data volumes are actually the top concern among IT departments in the UK, with security particularly high in everyone's minds.
But while it presents challenges, big data is primarily an incredible opportunity for businesses to mine the information they hold and use it to target sales strategies, streamline operations and explore new markets.
Slowly but surely, we're seeing the flexibility of software reduce dependence on physical hardware. On the server side, software like VMware vSphere is enabling companies to consolidate their server apps onto fewer machines.
Meanwhile, employee access to phone systems is being transformed by VoIP, enabling employees to use almost any internet-connected device to make calls.
You might have caught our last blog on the speedy growth rate of SaaS. If not, you can read more about how SaaS is affecting the business software landscape here.
But while businesses are shifting away from native apps and towards SaaS, the consumer landscape is behaving quite differently, with consumers downloading more and more native apps.
Quite where this trend will go, or if the two will converge in the future, remains to be seen.
As businesses shift to the web for their software needs, their data is going with them. Businesses are increasingly pursuing central storage solutions, either as part of a 'private cloud' set-up in which servers and appliances are moved into a purpose-built external data centre, or as part of the public cloud – for example through Office 365 or Google Apps for Work.
The shift is being driven – as always – by cost factors, as well as improved connectivity options and the potential for a much faster and more flexible service.
As technology develops exponentially, prices are falling. Companies across the board are now able to access the best technology, whether that is bigger monitors and desktop equipment to help employee productivity, or mobile devices like tablets to increase flexibility.
The cost of the connectivity that supports these extra internet-enabled devices is also falling. Leased lines, for example, have shown a gradual drop in price thanks to cheaper equipment as technology evolves; an increase in market competition and economies of scale created by network providers' investment in backhaul capacity.