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Tech Trends for 2015, by Anand Deshpande, Shridhar Shukla, Monish Darda

On Monday, I participated in a Panel Discussion “Technology Trends” organized by CSI Pune at MIT college. The panelists were Anand Deshpande, CEO of Persistent Systems, Shridhar Shukla, MD of GS Lab, Monish Darda, GM of BladeLogic India (which is now a part of BMC Software), and me.

Anand asked each of us to prepare a list of 5 technology trends that we felt would be important in the year 2015, and then we would compare and contrast our lists. I’ve already published my own list of 5 things for students to focus on last week. Basically I cheated by listing a just a couple of technology trends, and filled out the list with one technology non-trend, and a couple of non-technology non-trends.

Here are my quick-n-dirty notes of the other panelists tech trends, and other points that came up during the discussion.

Here is Shridhar’s list:

  • Shridhar’s trend #1: Immersive environments for consumers – from games to education. Partial virtual reality. We will have more audio, video, multi-media, and more interactivity. Use of keyboards and menu driven interfaces will reduce. Tip for students based on trend #1: don’t look down on GUIs. On a related note, sadly, none of the students had heard of TED. Shridhar asked them all to go and google it and to checking out “The Sixth Sense” TED video.
  • Shridhar’s trend #2: totally integrated communication and information dissemination.
  • Shridhar’s trend #3: Cloud computing, elastic computing. Computing on demand.
  • Shridhar’s trend #4: Analytics. Analytics for business, for government, for corporates. Analyzing data, trends. Mining databases.
  • Shridhar’s trend #5: Sophisticated design and test environments. As clouds gain prominence, large server farms with hundreds of thousands of servers will become common. As analytics become necessary, really complicated, distributed processes will run to do the complex computations. All of this will require very sophisticated environments, management tools and testing infrastructure. Hardcore computer science students are the ones who will be required to design, build and maintain this.

Monish’s list:

  • Monish’s trend #1: Infrastructure will be commoditized, and interface to the final user will assume increasing importance
  • Monish’s trend #2: Coming up with ideas – for things people use, will be most important. Actually developing the software will be trivial. Already, things like AWS makes a very sophisticated server farm available to anybody. And lots of open source software makes really complex software easy to put together. Hence, building the software is no longer the challenge. Thinking of what to build will be the more difficult task.
  • Monish’s trend #3: Ideas combining multiple fields will rule. Use of technology in other areas (e.g. music) will increase. So far, software industry was driven by the needs of the software industry first, and then other “enterprise” industries (like banking, finance). But software will cross over into more and more mainstream uses. Be ready for the convergence, and meeting of the domains.
  • Monish’s trend #4: Sophisticated management of centralized, huge infrastructure setups.

Anand’s list:

  • Anand’s trend #1: Sensors. Ubiquitous tiny computing devices that don’t even look like computers. All networked. And
  • Anand trend #2: The next billion users. Mobile. New devices. New interfaces. Non-English interfaces. In fact, non-text interfaces.
  • Anand’s trend #3: Analytics. Sophisticated processing of large amounts of data, and making sense out of the mess.
  • Anand’s trend #4: User interface design. New interfaces, non-text, non-keyboard interfaces. For the next billion users.
  • Anand’s trend #5: Multi-disciplinary products. Many different sciences intersecting with technology to produce interesting new products.

These lists of 5 trends had been prepared independently, without any collaboration. So it is interesting to note the commonalities. Usability. Sophisticated data analysis. Sophisticated management of huge infrastructure setups. The next billion users. And combining different disciplines. Thinking about these commonalities and then wondering about how to position ourselves to take advantage of these trends will form the topic of another post, another day.

Until then, here are some random observations. (Note: one of the speakers before the panel discussion was Deepak Shikarpur, and some of these observations are by him)

  • “In the world of Google, memory has no value” – Deepak
  • “Our students are in the 21st century. Teachers are from 20th century. And governance is 19th century” -Deepak
  • “Earning crores of rupees is your birthright, and you can have it.” – Deepak
  • Sad. Monish asked how many students had read Isaac Asimov. There were just a couple
  • Monish encouraged students to go and read about string theory.
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Comments

4 responses to Tech Trends for 2015, by Anand Deshpande, Shridhar Shukla, Monish Darda

  1. A good list of trends.

    My observations – Some of these are regulars (repeats). That’s not necessarily a bad thing. ‘Analytics’ for example has been a ‘trend’ for the past nearly 2 decades. The negative – it hasn’t fully delivered on its promise. the positive – we are still scratching the surface: there’s a lot to be done here.

    Partially agree with the observation around ‘The world of Google – memory has no value’. I think until we can fully create a ‘thinking’ android (no – not the google mobile o/s..:) ) – there’s always a need for good old fashioned ‘brain’ memory.

    Think of it this way – fast, accurate, rich and efficient decision making in the human brain needs rapid and efficient access to data – that should ideally be provided from within the brain. This is the fastest approach – kinda like RAM memory.

    On the other hand, ‘googling’ something up is like reading information from external sources – like a disc. It will also be slower and less efficient.

    So until an android brain is created or a human brain – external computer interface is created – human memory will always have some value.

    My 2 cents.

    Thanks
    Amit

  2. Yogesh Pathak says:

    I suspect that some of these trends have made here also because the trends have been hyped to no end, by Western tech media. We all tend to believe hype to a varying degree.

    In any case, here’s my list of trends (BTW trends don’t always have to be good or positive. If you are neutral enough, you tend to observe the bad stuff too).

    * Traditional packaged enterprise sw companies going thru consolidation phase (M&A). Many bigger companies will try to copy what Oracle did over last few years to just stay big and not shrink. More classy expensive enterprise sw will be given for free. Consumer sw to stay and become more of free-land.

    * SaaS/cloud/PaaS, Web 2.0, social networking, app stores, all going thru a rationalization phase including shutdowns (Gartner hype cycle’s delerating phase). Skype’s selloff at a loss is jsut a start. Questions over Yahoo/Ebay’s sustainable future as well.

    * Technology services companies growing way slower than before and not hiring people anywhere close to they used to. This, combined with the # tech graduates being churned out in India, will result in major glut and lots of temp employment / salary pressure. Many Indian smaller companies would barely scrape thru.

    * (Globally) Smartphones being commoditized, prices dropping, lots of Internet use happening over smart phones. Apple making even more money if they get the products right.

    * (Only in West) Lots of new stuff combining virtual reality, gaming, Internet based streaming video, and animation becoming mainstream — not all necessarily monetized well. Today (regular) people are spending say 30% of their day on the likes of Google/Yahoo/W2.0 for business/personal stuff. Imagine people spending 10+% of their day also on the likes of next gens of Second Life.

    If I was a comp science grad, I would JUMP into computer graphics, gaming, and virtual reality buidling products like Second Life.

  3. Internet Marketing (online marketing or e-marketing) and brand building is also coming up.

    It is not be an area where software services companies get the business. So people may want to keep it out of the trends list.

    Another reason to keep online marketing out may be that most of the techies do not consider it as a tech-product-worthy area.

    However, many entrepreneurs are finding both service as well as product opportunities in the field of online marketing.

  4. Yogesh Pathak says:

    Today’s BusinessLine newspaper:

    Patni CEO interview: IT services players “getting used” to grow at 6%, future growth at 3%

    Adobe acquires Overture for $1 B+

    => Validates my trends #3, #1 resp.

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