The Ubiquity of Technology
The third force that is contributing to the impending IT storm is the sheer volume and ubiquity of technology that exists among both businesses and consumers. It's difficult to understate the scale at which the IT industry has transformed productivity, stimulated economic growth, and forever changed how people work and live.
It's hard to overlook the contributions of the information technology sector to the gross domestic product (GDP). Even with the natural expansion and contractions in the economy, the IT sector continues to be a growth engine. In 2007, U.S. businesses spent $264.2 billion on information and communication technology (ICT) equipment and computer software, representing a 4.4 percent increase over the year 2006.15
The next decade shows no signs of stopping. A February 2010 Internet and mobile growth forecast jointly developed by IT networking vendor Cisco and independent analysts said that global Internet traffic growth is expected to reach 56 exabytes (EB) per month. The various forms of video, including TV, video on demand (VOD), Internet video, and peer-to-peer (P2P), will exceed 90 percent of global consumer traffic. This will all happen by the year 2013. The same report forecast that the mobile industry will realize a compounded annual growth rate of 108 percent per year through the year 2014. Figure 1.2 shows Cisco's forecast for mobile data growth in terabytes (TB) and exabytes.16
Figure 1.2 Cisco VNI mobile growth
I often equate technology with fire: It can warm your hands on a cold night, or it can burn down your house. The innovations of the past few decades illustrate this point. They've resulted in a massive amount of software and devices that, if not properly developed and managed, can bring down a network and shut out those who rely on it.
The irony is that the technology industry has created and perpetuated the ubiquity of its products, which is leading to this potential perfect storm of sorts.
Does this mean that a technology Armageddon is under way? Well, that's a bit dramatic, but it's not too far from what could potentially happen if we continue to allow these technology glitches to fester in our infrastructures.