The sound of people typing away on laptops and keyboards, tapping the familiar, mechanical buttons fills offices around the world with a cacophony of click-click-clicks. The clock ticks rhythmically; accountants bang away on calculators; phones ring constantly. But offices just might get much quieter as virtual keyboard, clock, phone and calculator counterparts improve mobility, portability, reliability and even functionality. Just look at your smartphone — it has already combined these (and more) once separate physical devices. The trend is growing and it just might change the way we currently do business.
In an increasingly mobile world, smart mobile devices perform duties of an entire office full of devices, especially the desktop telephone. According to a survey by eVoice, Only 33 percent of survey respondents still listen to voicemail from business contacts and only 18 percent of respondents listen to voicemail from an unknown number. Even more interesting, 40 percent of respondents prefer doing business on an iDevice.
If Gartner’s predictions are correct, one of the top technology trends for 2013 is the growth of virtual appliances. Although they won’t replace physical devices and their security advantages, virtual appliances will gain importance in IT operations for things like Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), which allows engineers to replace traditional network devices with software to perform the network functions previously provided by dedicated hardware. And according to Frost & Sullivan, there is tremendous growth opportunity for virtual appliances within the Unified Threat Management (UTM) market — growing to 9.2 percent of the UTM market by 2016.
Technology is helping to shape a more mobile, virtual and powerful business landscape, freeing us from devices that tether us to physical locations. With IT and business communication systems leading the way and virtualization of calculators, keyboards and clocks supporting the push, we’re freer to imagine what’s next for our core businesses. And with increasing software sophistication to replace tasks once performed by hardware devices, it is easy to imagine where this trend might lead.
Could this same trend improve healthcare, energy distribution and industrial communications? Is software replacing hardware in your industry? We’d love to hear how virtualization is affecting your business.