Mobile, big data, social dominate Gartner's top tech trends for 2012

Gartner's list of top strategic technologies boils down to one word: Mobility. In a nutshell you have mobility on the front end and back end will keep companies busy for the next two years.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Media tablets, mobile apps, contextual and social interfaces are the top three strategic technologies for businesses in 2012, according to Gartner.

For anyone attending Gartner's IT Symposium in Orlando the fact that tablets and new client computing options are the top issue isn't all that surprising. Simply put, analysts and the CIOs in attendance here are a bit tablet happy.

There are numerous sessions about deploying tablets, coming up with content consumption strategies and securing the iPad and Android devices in the workplace. Apple's presence as a topic at this Gartner CIO powwow reminds me of how Google Apps became top of mind two years ago.

Here's the breakdown of Gartner's top 10 strategic technologies for 2012.


Not all of these things will be widely adopted in the next two years, but Gartner analyst David Cearly argued that they are near an inflection point. Tablets will be a key issue for tech execs largely because security and management issues abound. One exec told me that those issues are much larger for Android devices. With Apple, there's iOS and you know what it is and how to secure it. Android has various flavors to defend.

The deployment of tablets---largely via bring your own device policies---will create a mix of devices that will require investment elsewhere. For instance, Gartner is projecting that HTML5 and the browser will be the mainstream enterprise development platform by the end of 2014.

Tablets also will apparently drive app stores and marketplaces with most businesses delivering mobile tools through private stores by 2014. These private app stores are just now becoming a key focus area for companies like Airwatch, Appcentral, Apperian, Mobileiron, Nukona, Ondeego, and Partnerpedia.

However, these private app store vendors have immature offerings. These enterprise apps will focus on context, location and social interfaces.

As for location and contextual data, Gartner had a few planning assumptions that may be a bit scary. The key points:

  • By 2015, 40 percent of global smartphone users will opt in to being tracked daily.
  • In 2015, Google, Microsoft, Nokia and Apple will track daily trips and habits for 10 percent of the world's population.
  • Context brokers will emerge to help companies create good assumptions about user behavior.

Under the hood of these front-end systems will be a stream of data from things---Internet of Things is the No. 4 technology---analytics and big data. Toss in in-memory computing for fast data crunching and Gartner's list really boils down to one word: Mobility. The list makes distinctions between technologies, but in a nutshell you have mobility on the front end and back end will keep companies busy for the next two years.

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