Since the beginning of time, individuals have always been looking to streamline and progress. Every industry goes through a transformation. Although most industries do not experience this change like the Computer Systems Design Industry. Everything humans do today revolves around technology. From apps to smart TVs, daily life is consumed by technology. Within the industry today there are three trends that are being pushed by all the top companies. This paper will introduce the trends and an important emerging trend of Computer Systems Design industry. The NAICS code for this industry is 541512. The NAICS code is important as it identifies the industry and the companies within that industry. In addition, it is a reliable way to identify relevant data. Throughout this document, details will be provided about trends with cloud computing, the beginning of the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and how privacy within big data is still an underlying issue. These trends are pushing the industry to be competitive and robust.
The findings from the research for this paper was that the trends within the industry are unified. Advancement in one of the trends could lead to multiple advancements in another trend. The development and growth of cloud computing opened the door for the Internet of Things (IoT), allowing devices and applications to seamlessly connect and communicate. With the rise in cloud computing and IoT, in addition to other applications (e.g. Instagram), the World is facing an influx of data. Almost everything produces data today, and big data is helping companies in the industry drive strategic decisions.
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Each one of these trends will experience substantial growth in the coming years. Technology will evolve. Although, throughout all the research, it is still unclear how the industry will go about protecting data. Manyika et al. (2015) indicated, “To realize the full potential from IoT applications, technology will need to continue to evolve, providing lower costs and more robust data analytics. In almost all settings, IoT systems raise questions about data security and privacy.” This statement can be utilized when talking about any of these trends. Research provided unclear results on how the industry will ensure their data privacy.
Trend One: Cloud Computing
In 2006, Google pushed the boundaries in the industry and introduced Google Docs. Google Docs is a web-based software that allows real-time updates such as editing or saving. This technology is known as cloud computing. Cloud computing refers to the availability of web-based applications, resources, and services with nearly instant access to information and resources without all the overhead. While this advancement astounded the industry, most companies did not begin pushing the “cloud” until 2010. Companies within the industry were not equipped to make the shift, nor were companies ready to embrace the shift. Since then the industry has seen a rise in everything cloud-based.
Companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle are top companies within the industry. These companies are trying to stay on top of the emerging trend by positioning themselves with the best products and partnerships. Cloud computing provides a better experience for the end-user. Users’ availability to an application is almost 100%, as they are able to access applications within the cloud at any time from almost any location. Users and organizations experience a lower cost when switching to cloud computing. No more need to hire staff to monitor and maintain servers, as now the infrastructure management can be outsourced. Lozano and Marks (2010) believe that, “The necessary initial expenditures, the ongoing operating expenses (energy, labor, etc.), the ability to vary expenses to precisely match varying needs, and the ability to entirely avoid initial expenditures when desired—all this adds up to a compelling proposition in favor of the transition to cloud” (p. 255). The industry realized it was too costly for organizations to buy and install all the equipment. By introducing cloud computing, the industry implemented an overhaul that provided its users with a better experience at a lower cost.
Also, the cloud computing market is lucrative throughout the industry. McKinnon (2019) recently reported, “The Pentagon has identified Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. as finalists for its massive cloud-computing contract.” This contract is roughly worth $10 billion over the next decade (McKinnon, 2019). From a small startup to a global empire, partnerships are happening often. These partnerships enable companies within the industry to broaden their product and service offerings, allowing companies to offer a full stack of products to any size organization. By offering a wide range of products, companies within the industry are expanding their market coverage into any sector or geographical location. This opens the door for large contracts such as the one McKinnon discusses.
Overall, cloud computing is here to stay. Large companies within the industry are pushing cloud computing in every way possible, from data centers to analytics and even web-based applications. With cloud computing, the industry introduced a lucrative service that provides a better user experience.
Trend Two: Internet of Things (IoT)
With everything moving to the cloud, another trend has emerged within the industry, the Internet of Things (IoT). Tavan describes IoT as, “where devices and machines can communicate with each other, interpret information, and make autonomous decisions.” Currently, with the shift to all things “smart,” users are connected at all times. IoT allows these devices to send data to another device or person. For example, IoT allows an individual to watch his/her home while on vacation. IoT facillitates constant connectivity, such as turning on or off lights and closing a garage door.
The Computer Design Systems industry is helping to lead the way for IoT. Oracle is just one of the many companies which is at the center of the IoT trend. Oracle, along with its cloud offering, is currently pushing five IoT applications within different markets such as healthcare, manufacturing, and environmental. Its IoT applications allow users better decision making and real-time information. There is no longer a delay in gathering data from devices to try to make a decision.
Along with making timely decisions, it allows for key data collection. Manyika et al. (2015) explained, “the value of improved health of chronic disease patients through remote monitoring could be as much as $1.1 trillion per year in 2025” (2015). Before, reviewing and analyzing data could take hours or even weeks. With the world constantly connected, companies like Oracle realized the benefit of creating a fully connected environment, enabling devices to seamlessly pass data to provide users with instant access.
Although the industry is forging the way with IoT, it does face a challenge with the overall cost of IoT. Sensors, devices, and hardware for IoT still seem to be relatively high. For larger projects, IoT costs could be within the millions. This limits the number of consumers and organizations who may be able to implement and grow with IoT. The industry is working on adjusting and utilizing technology to limit costs. The costs have decreased (Manjoo, 2018), yet the costs are still not where they need to be.
As all devices are connected today, the demand for instant connectivity and access is there. IoT is estimated to reach 50 billion connected devices by 2020 and the potential economic impact will be from $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion per year by 2025 (Manyika, 2015). The IoT trend has just started and the industry will continue to evolve.
Trend Three: Big Data
Each day the world produces a massive amount of data, also known as big data. Big data refers to a large data set that can be used or formatted for business analytics, decision making, etc. The industry focused on a solution to enble its users to utilize all the data being created.
For instance, a sector like the food and agriculture industry is analyzing data to help farmers get the most out of their land. Ruen (2014) interviewed farmer Steve Pitstick about data and the results were incredible:
“In 2013 we put a sensor on every row, giving us a picture of planting depths across an entire field,” he says. “We found that 6% of the field was not planted at the intended depth, and those areas correlated with low yield areas that were previously attributed to low fertility. I planted corn for 40 years and never realized that underneath the surface was a washboard of seed placement.”
Throughout this one example, there were hundreds of data elements collected. All these elements could not be analyzed by a human without it taking weeks. Utilizing software to capture and analyze the data, Pitstick was able to identify and adjust to an underlying issue.
One of the well-known companies in the industry that is on the forefront of big data is IBM. IBM introduced IBM Watson which first appeared on “Jeopardy!”. IBM saw a need to leverage the volume of data created each day. Thus the creation of Watson, an artificial intelligence application that can store and analyze massive amounts of data within seconds. Since the glory days of “Jeopardy!,” IBM has continued to make enhancements with big data. They created services directly related to big data. This has also led to partnerships with companies to continue to adapt and grow into the big data marketplace. IBM is not the only company focusing on big data. Companies such as Oracle and Fujitsu all have strategically aligned on big data, creating services and products to help their customers leverage the massive amount of data.
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With the amount of data created each day, it is almost inevitable to not focus on big data. The industry continues to see a demand for big data. Marshall et al. (2015) stated, “Leading organizations are investing in innovation that leverages the ever-growing opportunities to collect new data, combine external and internal data and apply big data and analytics to outperform competitors” (p. 32). With unprecedented demand, the Computer Systems Design industry will continue to focus on big data.
Important Emerging Trend: Privacy of Big Data
Based on the current pace that the world generates data, one of the most talked-about aspects regarding big data is privacy. The data that is being pushed around the world is quite valuable, with all of it that is accumulated from personal data to buying habits. The privacy of big data seems to be a topic of conversation.
When it comes to privacy, many individuals may be quick to think that their data is secure with companies. When creating an account, most companies ask a user to agree to a privacy agreement. This agreement seems simple as it allows that company to view and access your information within their service. Yet, it could be much more than simply accessing data. Ryoo (2016) states, “Big data makes this tracking easier to do, less expensive and more easily analyzed. A service like IBM’s Personality Insights can build a detailed profile of you, moving well beyond basic demographics or location information.” Each time an app is downloaded or a user shops online, companies are capturing data. Solutions like IBM’s Personality Insight can use that data to create a better picture of who we are. The industry has nearly unprecedented access to information as everything is connected.
In most cases, these companies are thought of as the “good guys.” They are not using the data to steal credit card information or to harm lifestyles. They use the data to create profiles of users to enable predictive buying patterns or additional analytics. Recently one of the larger companies that came under fire for aspects like this was Facebook. The information was, in theory, handed out to a third-party company. In a case like this, privacy and the agreement between the end-user and Facebook was the issue. It was believed that Facebook had lax privacy agreements that allowed a third-party company access to a vast amount of data. The entire industry watched closely at the outcome of this, as it truly showed how privacy with data is an issue.
Having access to a vast amount of data and agreements that authorize companies to access information can be dangerous. The industry seems to be adapting by implementing new policies and agreements that better protect its customers. It seems like the right steps are being made to ensure privacy. Although, with what seems like an endless amount of data, the industry will always be looking for a way to utilize it. Companies like IBM and Oracle are all trying to compete with each other in some way. Having access to data that can help edge out competitors is immeasurable. Although with that access, the industry must ensure privacy to its users. A breach of privacy can be as bad as having cyber attackers gain access to your information.
The Computer Systems Designs industry will continue to thrive over the years. Clearly, the industry should look into privacy protection and lowering the cost for IoT.
Cloud computing and IoT allow devices from anywhere at any time to be connected. These devices are sharing user information between each other. Policies need to be created on how data will be used within cloud computing and shared within the IoT. Policies should be simple to allow users to know how their information is being utilized. The industry must provide a clearer picture of the data use and policies surrounding data.
The industry must also look into lowing the cost of IoT. IoT requires high-quality hardware and increased security. With both of these being factors, the cost of IoT is relatively high. IoT is the future and the industry needs to provide its consumers an affordable solution. The recommendation would be for the industry to determine a path to decrease cost, although enhance security for protection.
Overall, the industry should be looking into a way to provide a clearer picture of data use and policies. Users need to understand how their data is being used to feel comfortable using the device or application. In addition, the industry needs to provide a way to decrease the cost of IoT to expand the market. Currently, the cost is slightly too high which could limit the market.
These trends are leading the way in the Computer Systems Design industry presently. The industry is extremely competitive as companies are always looking to be the pioneer. Companies within the industry are strategically pushing to approach full-stack offerings of services and products. Advancements within the industry seem to be happening on a daily basis. With the rapid growth and development, there will be issues these trends face in the future. One of those issues currently is that of privacy surrounding data. The industry will continue to develop, but it will need to ensure the privacy of its user’s data. Personal data is very important and without strict privacy and security measures, it could fall into the wrong hands. Nevertheless, the industry is evolving and these trends are surely shaping the world we live in.
- Lozano, B., & Marks, E. (2010). Executive’s Guide to Cloud Computing. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. doi:https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8477/08b8c8583f5709016878ae4a22f512bc5a56.pdf
- Manjoo, F. (2018, October 10). A Future Where Everything Becomes a Computer Is as Creepy as You Feared. The New York Times. Retrieved July 14, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/10/technology/future-internet-of-things.html
- Manyika, J., Chui, M., Bisson, P., Woetzel, J., Dobbs, R., Bughin, J., & Aharon, D. (2015, June). The Internet of Things: Mapping the Value beyond the Hype. Retrieved July 12, 2019, from https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Business Functions/McKinsey Digital/Our Insights/The Internet of Things The value of digitizing the physical world/The-Internet-of-things-Mapping-the-value-beyond-the-hype.ashx
- Marshall, A., Mueck, S., & Shockley, R. (2015). How leading organizations use big data and analytics to innovate. Strategy & Leadership, 43(5), 32-39. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.umuc.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/docview/1713481750?accountid=14580
- McKinnon, J. (2019, April 11). Pentagon Moves Forward with JEDI Contract Despite Ethics Issues. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 13, 2019, from https://www.wsj.com/articles/pentagon-moves-forward-with-jedi-contract-despite-ethics-issues-11555010151
- Ruen, J. (2014). Farm smarter with big data. Corn and Soybean Digest, Retrieved from http://ezproxy.umuc.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/docview/1583568495?accountid=14580
- Ryoo, J. (2016, March 23). Big data security problems threaten consumers’ privacy. Retrieved July 12, 2019, from http://theconversation.com/big-data-security-problems-threaten-consumers-privacy-54798
- Tavan, D. (2013). Cover story: The internet of things – internet takes control. The Banker, Retrieved from http://ezproxy.umuc.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/docview/1323405263?accountid=14580
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