Dell has identified disruptive trends that will affect technology development over the next few years.  Dr.  Jai Menon, chief research officer and vice-president at Dell Research, says these trends can be classified under four major themes.

Transforming the efficiency of IT

Dell believes that next-generation, non-volatile memory will be with us by 2017, and by 2020 specialization via software will beat customer hardware, with servers becoming more powerful and less expensive.  “This will change the dynamics of using specific hardware to industry standard servers,” says Dr.  Menon. “This will have an effect on the cost and agility of doing things.”

In fact, he believes the data center will largely be simplified to one piece – the server.

By 2020, he says servers will continue to advance in performance, memory capacity and bandwidth. This means that SPECint will improve by a factor of 5,29; server performance or Teraflops will increase by more than 20-times; total memory will increase by 16-times; and total network bandwidth will go up by a factor of 15.

The software-defined data center has been well-used in the industry, Dr.  Menon says – but the data center of 2020 will be software-based, offering true agility, unified infrastructure, portability to cloud, lower capital expenditure and operational expenditure, applications moved to a virtual model; and specialization shifting to the software.

Connecting your people for more productivity

Dell predicts that by 2020, an explosion of Internet-connected devices will create new challenges and opportunities. User interfaces will evolve to understand more about user intent and the BYOD (bring your own device) focus will shift from addressing security only to addressing security with usability. This will help mobile workforces face fewer interruptions or limitations.

Dell is running a research project that will allow users access to enterprise applications regardless of where they are – with the same security and connectivity. “You will not even notice if we change the network for you,” Dr.  Menon says. “We think this is the kind of direction that mobility is going in, and will be important for enterprises.”

This seamless BYOD will offer secure internetworking, seamless mobility, live data algorithmic quality control, and seamless select, handover and aggregating real-time multi-networks.  The trend to user interfaces evolving to understand more about user intent will also allow personal devices to become smarter and more sensitive to user needs. The connection between device and user will become much more natural.

Dr.  Menon says this will extend the premise that knowing more about the user will help the device do a better job of helping them. In the same way that knowing a user’s location has been able to help the system find location-specific services, having insight into other factors will help improve other services.

This will be achieved by making devices more sensitive to user’s needs, and Dell is working on mood sensing, demographics detection, eye tracking and user history. Use cases include gaming, education, workplace and assembly line analytics.

Informing by turning data into insights

By 2020, the majority of real-time data analytics will be seamlessly integrated into business processes. In this way, analytics will become democratized, instantly applicable and easy to consume.

“We know this not something that is easy for enterprises to get into,” he says. “We are on a journey here.”

Currently, organizations are using descriptive analytics, where they identify what is going on today. “The next phase is predictive analytics where companies can figure out what might happen tomorrow.  Then there is prescriptive analytics which goes beyond telling me what’s going to happen tomorrow but advises me what I should do about it.”

The journey, then will be moving from simple to complex analytics, and closing the loop between analytics and action with a need for speed to improve as well, with continual adjustments to current and projected conditions.

Increasingly, Dr.  Menon says, apps will be better integrated into the business process, based on the analytics. Apps are currently standalone, but will move first o inline and then infused where they will be embedded in the workflow.

Dell is working on a project that does automated document classification, which will intuitively determine appropriate security controls for a document based on content and meta-data.

Protecting Everything, Everywhere

Dell Research believes that by by 2017, there will be a paradigm shift in Data Loss Prevention (DLP) to self-protecting data.  By 2018, security will shift from reactive to predictive and become context aware.  And by 2019, cloud security will be strengthened by homomorphic encryption

“A lot of security today is carried out after an attack,” he says. “We see technologies that will let you become much more predictive,” seeing threats and deploying counter-measures before or during an attack.  It will also engage with employees if their behavior indicates a potential exploit, and will vary its protection depending on the context.

Continuous authentication will work on protecting the company from potential weaknesses opened up by mobile devices.  Dell is working on a project that is collecting swipe and test data for analysis. “So if you take my tablet, the system will throw you out because it will recognize that the way you swipe and tap is different from the way I do,” Dr. Menon says.  “Time will tell how accurate we can be with this, or if we will need to combine it with other algorithms like facial recognition or other biometrics.”

From IT-Online posting by Kathy Gibson