3D printing turns strategic in 2015, says Gartner

3D printing goes mainstream in the enterprise as the returns are too promising. Gartner's top strategic technologies in 2015 revolve around cloud, Internet of everything and computing everywhere.

ORLANDO — Gartner on Tuesday rolled out its top 10 strategic technologies for 2015 and the big takeaway is that 3D printing has gone mainstream in the enterprise. Meanwhile, smart machines, computing everywhere and the Internet of Things are staples for 2015.

The top 10 list when compared with 2014's list doesn't offer a lot of surprises, but does highlight a few key flameouts. For instance, mobile device management was a strategic technology in 2014, but didn't make the cut this year. Why? Mobile device management became a commodity technology and CIOs at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo are being pitched by a bevy of enterprise mobility management companies facing near certain consolidation.

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3D printing cracked Gartner's top 10 in 2014, but has worked its way up to the No. 3 spot. Why? 3D printing is now strategic as a bevy of enterprises have acquired systems for prototyping and other use cases. On Gartner's hype curve, 3D printing has reached the phase where it'll deliver real returns.

Gartner analyst David Cearley said that enterprises pondering 3D printing need to view investment through a lens of better agility, cost savings as well as innovation for future products.

Here's a look at the takeaways from other items on Gartner's strategic technology list.

  • Computing everywhere: In many ways, computing everywhere refers to mobility, multiple screens and sensors. Enterprises will need to focus on the user experience and hire talent accordingly.

  • The Internet of Things isn't exactly a news flash on the strategic front, but Cearley argued that enterprises will need new architectures to really harness the data and analytics that can come from the day where everything is networked.

  • Invisible analytics, context rich systems and smart machines. The general theme for these three technologies is that machines will become more human, note context and ultimately could take your job. An enterprise that misses these tech curves could go kaput in a hurry.

  • The bottom four technologies — cloud, software defined everything, Web-scale IT and risk-based security — really revolve around creating the infrastructure that enables the more futuristic developments at the top of the list. The big theme is that applications will all be in the cloud and development will have to be native to it. The cloud becomes the system of record and defined by software and will ultimately need the intelligence to defend against attacks.

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