The IT industry is transitioning into the IoT industry.
Only a relatively small amount of people saw the true potential of the internet back in the early 1990’s and those people were able to bet BIG on stocks of companies that would become global giants.
The good news is that if you missed out last time, then you’re about to get a second bite at the cherry.
The internet in its current form has just about reached its potential. The adoption curve is near the top and there’s not much more that we can do with it. IPv4 is at breaking point and can’t support the future uses of the Internet. Evolution is inevitable because the universe has a tendency towards complexity. We are living proof of this theory.
So what’s next…
The IoT (Internet of Things) is where I’m willing to bet the next stage of my career, (Wikipedia definition of IoT here) and that’s why IPv6 exists. We’re going to need a whole load more address space and the industry knows this, which is why they are quietly preparing for IPv6 adoption.
The IoT has been around since the late 1990’s but it’s about to explode in exactly the same way that the Internet did 15 years ago because everything is now in place to make it possible.
In my previous two posts I’ve talked about the end of the IT industry and being left The IT crowd – out in the cold and obsolete.
It’s all well and good that I prophecise doom and gloom like; wage reductions, mass unemployment and the end of an age of existence for a global industry, but what’s going to take it’s place?
I keep going back to Microsoft because they are a great example of a tier 1 organisation that we all know and love (to hate). I’m fully aware that there are other tier 1 organisations that exist and provide a huge support network to the IT industry. The simple and plain fact of the matter is though, that if you run a business and you want to use technology, you are almost certainly going to be running some form of Windows. The contradiction to that is if you work in specialist areas that required Macs or other more bespoke devices, but as a general rule, the world runs Microsoft and because of that, like it or not, Microsoft kind of runs the world.
I don’t think many people or organisations in IT really understand what Microsoft are currently doing strategy wise and why Windows 10, Office 365 and Azure are such game changers. Windows 10 is more complex than you think. Microsoft are providing a free version of Windows 10 for IoT devices. In my mind this means that they are also making a play for all the types of devices that run Java. The IoT market is about to explode and they want to control it.
Let me just bullet point why IoT and Microsoft are going to end the traditional IT industry:
Lumia Surface 4 and the Apple iPad Pro
PC’s are dead and laptops are dying. Mobile devices such as next generation phones and tablets are about to take over and that means wireless connection will be key.
Windows 10 Apps will run on your PC, laptop, tablet and mobile. Existing ‘fat’ Apps can’t do that without VPN (virtual private networking) and/or some form of remote desktop or AppV (application hyper-visor) service. Why would ISVs (independent software vendors) continue to make ‘fat’ clients when they can reach every device using ‘thin’ cloud Apps?
If I need to answer that then maybe you shouldn’t be reading this post.
Hmm… so why would Microsoft give Windows 10 away for free then..? Again, please don’t make me answer that one, it should be jumping out at you by now.
WiFi is great but 4G is often quicker than broadband and 5G is almost here. So why faf about with WiFi when mobile carriers can remove that headache for you? Don’t be surprised if we’re all on permanently connected devices in 5 years time and the idea of a traditional network infrastructure no longer exists.
Permanently connected devices means new life for IoT. If our devices can now sense and alter our user experience and environment then why wouldn’t they? Let’s remember that money makes the world go round and if companies can tailor and personalise our user experience to make you more likely to do business with them, then it will happen.
All of a sudden Minority Report doesn’t seem so far fetched does it…
Bigger is better
If our users are now on permanently connected devices, why do we need to connect them to our corporate network? Simple answer is, we don’t. Corporate data centres are soon to become a thing of the past.
As the likes of Microsoft, Google and Amazon build more and more global data centre and fill them with bigger and better servers, companies such as Intel and AMD will move away from micro processors to whacking, great, HUGE processors.
My phone today is now more powerful than my laptop was 10 years ago, so micro processors have got pretty good and will just keep getting better and smaller.
Image though, if size is no longer an issue. Why would Intel continue to make tiny chips that fit into small servers? Blade servers for example, exist because companies want to save money (there it is again, making the world go round) on physical data centre footprints. If they no longer need servers because the tier 1 operators of this world are providing all the cloud services they need, then all the data centre processing moves to the cloud and these tier 1 customers become the dominant market force for the likes of Intel and AMD.
When global cloud operators demand more and more processing power, chip manufacturers will start to build bigger and BIGGER multi-core, multi-processor processors. Rack space for global cloud operators isn’t an issue like it is for SME (small and medium enterprises) customers, so the technology can and will get bigger.
The Internet is dying, kind of
Most of us know that Internet Explorer has been dying a slow painful dead for many years. I mean I love Microsoft but I’m using Worpress because SharePoint is rubbish (I’m a SharePoint Architect and have owned and run my own SharePoint consultancy business for the last 5 years). I edit my post in Chrome because basically IE sucks!
Sadly there are organisations that just haven’t heard the news. As the owner of an IT consultancy business I am regularly shocked by how many businesses I talk to are still stuck on IE 6, 7 and 8.
About a year ago Microsoft released an update to its support policy, whereby they stated that they would only support the current major version of IE on their supported list of operating systems. If you’re not on IE 10 or 11 soon, then you’re basically buggered. Now you’ve been told, so do something about it!
The next generation of Internet has been around for a while, but companies are still dragging their heals and not adopting the new standards. As the cloud takes over and mobile devices become more dominant, so the need to build new Apps and responsive websites will increase. Google has already updated its search engine algorithms to prioritise responsive websites over non-responsive sites. (Thanks WordPress for doing all that hard work for me. Microsoft, SharePoint still sucks!)
As users demand more connected access, the Internet services will have to change. Microsoft know this, which is why they have changed their support policy and effectively killed off IE. They don’t expect everyone to move to the cloud and the ‘thin’ App model straight away, so they are gently going to force businesses and ISVs to ditch old web technologies and ‘fat’ client apps in favour of web services and their new Edge browser or Chrome or Firefox. They don’t actually care, they just want you to stop using Windows XP!. It is 2015 after all.
Big ideas that start small
Office 365 is currently aimed at SMB (small and medium businesses) customers. Microsoft don’t care about Enterprise customer right now because they’ve got all of them tired up in EA’s (enterprise agreements) and volume license agreements already.
If they can get the market share of SMBs onto the cloud, and the data says that they are, then they have effectively won the cloud war already. Google did get their first, but in true Microsoft fashion they then showed up to the party late and smashed everything else to pieces.
Satya Nadella is on a genius par with Bill Gates. The guys knows what he’s doing and he’s executing his strategy perfectly.
SME customers will, overtime, update their IT infrastructure and start to adopt the things that I’ve talked about above and in previous posts. When that happens the bean counters (FDs) will work out that services like Azure (or IMB or SUN or whoever’s equivalent) offers a much better value proposition than in house.
Because IT have spent the last 10 years happily P2V’ing (physical to virtual) servers, all that will be required is the simple export from the corporate data centre and import in the tier 1 cloud data centre. IT have already done all the hard work getting everything running on VMware and Hyper-V. The next step is a piece of cake by comparison. A few networking changes and a lot of data transfer and voila, everything that used to run in your corporate data centre, almost overnight, now runs in ‘the cloud’.
This is why I’m standing by my prediction that IT departments and thus traditional IT careers only have approximately 5 years of life remaining. The hard work has been done. Now the FD can take over and implement efficiency savings that don’t actually need IT to do very much whatsoever. You’ve already given the FD the keys and you’re not going to get them back. Sorry.