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The Year of the Horse rides in on mobility

Computerworld Hong Kong staff | Dec. 10, 2013
Our tradition of inviting local IT leaders to share their thoughts of the tech trends continues. Our trio of questions reviews last year's overrated tech, forecasts next year's tech trend, and explores different tech wishes.."

"There was much discussion about NFC in the last three to five years, but so far, no significant implementation," said Lee, the former IT executive at Hon Kong Jockey Club. "Google tried with Google Pay. Samsung and some banks also trialed the technology, but so far, NFC has no critical mass."

In Hong Kong, the development of this touch-based radio communications via smartphones for transactions has emerged in the past six months. Several banks, including Hang Seng Bank, Bank of China, and Citibank Hong Kong, also launched local NFC payment services in tandem with local mobile operators like CSL, PCCW Mobile and 3 Hong Kong. Yet adoption among consumers remains limited.

"NFC could become a significant technology," said Lee. "It could enable many secure e-transactions like e-cash on smart devices. It could also replace today's Octopus cards and enabling large amounts of data to be transmitted more securely and with greater performance."

Another of 2013's confusing and disappointing acronyms is SDN (software-defined networks).

"Despite all the noise, SDN just wasn't ready in 2013," said Michael Leung, president, Hong Kong Computer Society (HKCS).

What will be the top IT trend in 2014?
Looking at the year of the horse, IT leaders are all expecting local enterprises to ride on mobility.

"The adoption of mobility will increase at a faster pace," said Suen from MTR. "Nowadays, both external customers and internal staff expect more timely and direct engagement through mobility technology."

Enterprises are being pushed by tech-savvy customers to bring real-time and personalized services through mobile devices. Meanwhile internal staff expects more direct engagement with employers through mobility technologies.

Apart from businesses, the government can also take advantage of mobility to better understand their citizens and enhance public services in 2014.

"Mobility will take itself to new heights with more apps for building a 'smart city'," said Lee. "The Hong Kong Government is surely working in this direction."

He said these apps will generate more location-specific data, empowering a city to deal with public issues like environment and traffic.

Following mobility, the second most anticipated tech trend in 2014 is cloud computing.

"(Cloud computing) technologies and adoption may make some real progress in 2014," said LegCo's Mok.

"There will be more SMEs adopting cloud services," said Suen. "That will extend to enterprises as the standards of cloud technologies and services mature."

Mok from Hopewell said adoption by enterprises is already underway, as reflected by the recruitment market. "There is a greater number of new headcounts for cloud computing expertise," he said.

Wearable tech and IoT
On the consumer level, smartphones will increasingly integrate with wearable technologies. "Mobile and wearable devices will transform user experience in 2014," said Leung from the HKCS, also CIO and deputy chief executive, China Construction Bank.


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