It’s only October, but the predictions for 2013 are already coming in. Analyst firms love to lay out their expectations for the next year and beyond, hoping to show they have their fingers on the pulse of their industries. When dealing with technology the predictions can be especially provocative, as they relate to devices and systems that are constantly evolving and taking new forms.

Gartner recently released predictions for IT organizations and IT users for 2013 and beyond during the firm’s Gartner Symposium/ITxpo. Many of the predictions touch on M2M and connected technology, and while some are fairly obvious, some are also extremely interesting for the direction they see the market heading.

Gartner says one theme to the predictions is that IT departments are seeing a “reduction of control” over the forces that affect them. We have seen this in numerous ways, with trends such as BYOD (bring your own device) as well as social media. Today it’s harder than ever to control data, and companies need to work hard to make sure their security is top-notch. Breaches affect every size of company, as the recent payment information theft from Barnes & Noble stores shows.

While BYOD is growing, some companies may want to rethink the option. Gartner says through 2014, employee-owned devices will be compromised by malware at more than double the rate of corporate-owned devices. Because of this, the research firm says many enterprises will turn to a network-centric approach, focusing on protecting their networks by enforcing policies that govern network access.

The fact is, people like to use their own devices. But it’s important to have a system in place to make sure those devices aren’t a portal for leaking sensitive information.

Windows 8 has been making a splash lately, but Gartner predicts through 2015, 90% of enterprises will bypass broad-scale deployment of Windows 8. Gartner says most enterprises aren’t prepared for the change, and they will tend to wait for stability before making the commitment. It’s interesting to hear that enterprise is being so cautious, but it makes sense in a climate where any delays or setbacks can be costly to a business.

If you’re excited about wearable electronics, you’re not alone. Gartner says wearable smart electronics in devices like shoes, tattoos, and accessories will be a $10 billion industry in 2016. This is an area where we have seen so much growth and so many new products coming to market. The fitness market is huge here, and it’s still somewhat open. So far, no one fitness device has emerged as the be-all end-all of fitness monitoring. The entire wearable market is still open, and it will be interesting to see if a few companies can come to dominate here.

Finally, Gartner also says software spending resulting from the proliferation of smart operational technology will increase by 25% through 2014. Basically, we are talking about software for M2M. Devices like medical monitors and vending machines are getting smart, and software is needed to make sense of the data they produce. But Gartner cautions buyers to beware, as some people making purchasing decisions may not be experts in software procurement and may make expensive mistakes.

Whatever the specifics of the next few years, it seems certain connected solutions will dominate in the technology world. Enterprise IT departments have some research to do to make sure their organization is ready.

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