As computer and telecommunication technologies advance, they have a huge impact on companies and their IT departments. Those with an information systems degree will find themselves with new tools to address age old business problems — and new demands that accompany the use of those tools. Here are some of the top trends as well as how they will affect IT professionals.
Smartphones and Tablets Get Even More Attention
Smartphones have run apps for a few years. Now things get serious. Manufacturers have already begun to incorporate dual-core chips in phones, and semiconductor vendors are already moving to quad-core chips. Handsets are becoming far more powerful, further enabling mobile computing and the need to tie smartphones into corporate back ends. In fact, another trend is the growth of data-centric cell phone plans, where voice communications become an afterthought at best. The pressure to integrate smartphones into IT systems will only grow. New lower-end tablets will crank up the popularity of those devices, as well. Mobile is a big reason why HTML5 coding will also take off this year. Apple’s major position in mobile computing and the company’s aversion to all things Flash mean that developers will need a cross-platform alternative as well as a way to write apps only once and have them run on all relevant devices.
Optical Drives Disappear
As PC manufacturers adopt Intel’s Ultrabook reference design, itself an attempt to compete with Apple’s MacBook Air, they drop the optical drives that have long been standard equipment in laptops and notebooks. But the effect doesn’t stop there. Both Apple and Microsoft are incorporating software stores into their operating systems, which will significantly change the way people obtain applications. IT shops that haven’t yet implemented automated software distribution will have to adopt the technology, especially if it becomes more difficult to directly install software onto client machines. That means not only having the proper automation in place, but ensuring that network, Internet, and cellular communications have the necessary bandwidth.
Facebook Becomes a Gate Keeper
For the sake of security and keeping employees focused on work, not play, many companies have restricted Facebook access at work. However, the social networking giant has implemented a clever strategy to become necessary to the rest of the Web. Increasingly, sites that include major media and other destinations that have a business interest are using a Facebook ID as a form of authentication. Simply walling off the service will become an untenable choice. Corporations will need to find ways to make peace with Facebook and give employees the access they need while keeping them productive and computing infrastructures safe.
These trends are all gaining power and all have practical implications for how IT departments operate and execute their mandates. The sooner managers and workers address the changes, the more effective their actions can be.