Susan Hauser, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Enterprise and Partner Group, has shared her business predictions for 2015, citing internet of things (IoT), cyber security and machine learning as the key drivers of change over the coming year.
According to Hauser, 2015 is the year that IoT will go mainstream. “IoT continues to mature across a range of industry sectors, and companies are focused on the actionable potential IoT holds for businesses today,” she said in a post on The Official Microsoft Blog. “People are eager to understand and implement IoT in their businesses, a trend that’s reinforced by a 430% increase in searches for IoT on Bing in the last 12 months.”
Hauser has highlighted Rockwell Automation as a prime example of the transformative power of IoT. “Rockwell is building new forms of intelligence to transform the petroleum supply chain by providing managed monitoring and support for its products across the globe,” she said. “This includes cloud-based solutions that use software, sensors and devices to predict equipment failures along the vast oil and gas supply chain, track performance in real time, and help refine designs and processes to prevent failures in the future – all to ensure your local gas station has fuel when you need it.”
In 2014, businesses are also expected to strengthen their cyber security efforts.
“It’s clear that businesses need to do more to fight the increasing threat of hackers, do more to protect their businesses and prevent huge losses,” said Hauser. “We’re seeing policy and technology developments that will help businesses beef up security on premises, in the cloud and across mobile devices.”
Hauser mentioned a recent survey by the Ponemon Institute, which showed that the average cost of cybercrime for US retail stores more than doubled in the last year, reaching an annual average of US$8.6 million per company in 2014. She added that the migration to Europay MasterCard and Visa (EMV) in the US, will “drive a massive move to modern card technology and modern points-of-sale devices. That translates to better security for banks, merchants and consumers.”
Next year, the impact of machine learning is expected to grow exponentially too. “This growth will be driven by three factors: broader access to machine learning, massive computing power connecting systems and services, and the explosion of online data,” said Hauser.
Companies such as Pier 1 Imports are already using machine learning for data-driven decision making. For example, the US retailers is taking advantage of Azure Machine Learning to determine – with 56% accuracy – what category of product a customer is most likely to purchase next.
“While we’ve engaged with our customers about IoT, security and machine learning in the past, we’re predicting 2015 will see a dramatic uptick in the maturation and adoption of these technologies, offering businesses of all sizes unique growth opportunities and competitive edge,” said Hauser.
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