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January 2, 2014

Lack of human knowledge halted tech trends in 2013, says Rackspace

Nigel Beighton says despite significant advancements in Big Data and wearable tech, lack of human knowledge prevents progression.

By Claire Vanner

A lack in human knowledge of Big Data, wearable tech and cloud is preventing businesses from progressing, according to Rackspace’s Nigel Beighton.

2013 saw a great advancement in these core tech areas, including the release of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch and plenty of updates and upgrades from numerous cloud providers to utilise Big Data.

But Nigel Beighton, VP of Technology, Rackspace, says that if UK and EU businesses do not embrace training their workforce in knowledge of the new world, they risk falling behind their competitors.

He said: "Companies are simply not investing in the knowledge to allow their staff to learn, play and understand the products and services available. When we compare this to the US, their impressive training and level of knowledge is much higher, giving them a huge competitive advantage.

Beighton also acknowledged Big Data as the biggest technology trend of 2013, but is keen to see it married with wearable technology to see exponential consumer adoption.

"In theory, Big Data has only just landed but the increasing use of it to support wearable technology will be the catalyst for its huge adoption in 2014. When the two eventually marry up, we can expect to see massive growth," he said.

"There is still a long way to go until we will see exponential consumer adoption [of Google Glass and the Samsung smart watch]. One of the reasons for this is that the real value lies not in the design of the glasses or watch, but the information we get from these devices. Only when it adds context-sensitive data like recognising a person or knowing locations will it truly take off."

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He added: "In 2014 we will see the conversation move from trying to define Big Data, to talking about how businesses can actually integrate it into their processes and start to see real commercial value from it.

"The end result will be that 2014 will usher in new ecosystems of Big Data applications that will deliver clear business value and ROI. Further, we’re already seeing a shake-up and new technologies from the data warehousing and analytics companies like Informatica, IBM, Terradata, Oracle etc and this will become even more heightened as the clamour for Big Data insight to deliver ROI grows."

In the same vein, looking forward to 2014, Beighton predicts that existing technology will drive new software development, processes and tools. He said: "The conversation will move from what new devices there are to how do we use them, translating to more innovation with software.

"Platform-as-a-Service is currently much over-hyped, and I see this continuing as industry continues to look to PaaS to aid better development. However, this is where DevOps will come in as a much better way to aid development, rather than resorting to the hype of PaaS."

While wearable tech and Big Data did not fare so well in 2013, cloud computing continued to experience exponential growth and has become increasingly mainstream.

Beighton commented: "Most companies are using cloud as part of their online strategy and businesses now know who are the winners and losers of the cloud space.

"For example, earlier this year, we saw a company go to the wall unexpectedly, leaving its customers empty handed. This was a huge lesson for the whole industry. Where they couldn’t previously, customers now understand what companies can provide the right services and capacity they need."

He added: "Until now cloud computing generally fell into two buckets: public and private. In 2014, we will see specialist cloud providers start to emerge, targeting specific markets such as local governments, military and vertical markets like finance, telecoms and retail. We’ll also see application-specific cloud-based models, for example, cloud-computing for CPU performance, for high I/O needs, graphic processing etc."

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