High-IQ Networks and the Enterprise Cloud Among Forces That Will Foster Business Innovation and a Borderless Workstyle in 2012

More than ever during 2012, global connections between people, machines and their environments will shape the global business landscape and drive the future of work.  In its annual review of top business-technology trends for the year ahead, Verizon sees enterprise technology helping business leaders re-engineer the workplace, power more effective customer service models, and create opportunities for broad societal benefit.

"The future has never looked brighter for business and governments to employ technology to generate growth, solve industry challenges, and enrich lives and our global society," said Mike Palmer, vice president of enterprise strategy and marketing for Verizon's global enterprise unit.  "Next year will be pivotal in applying technology solutions in such areas as health care and smart energy management, while keeping pace with the borderless lifestyle we've come to embrace at work, at home and everywhere in between."

(NOTE: See related Verizon press release on what's trending for consumers for 2012.  To join the conversation on Twitter, follow us at #VZTechTrends.)

Here's Verizon's list of the top 10 technology trends that will impact businesses and their workers in 2012:

  1. The High-IQ Network Effect -- With each new smart device or software application added to a network, all endpoints and devices will become inherently smarter -- each benefitting exponentially from additional connections.  Whether the connections are people-to-people, machine-to-people or machine-to-machine, new opportunities will be created to solve societal challenges such as employing IT to address the rising cost of health care or deliver smart energy solutions. Because of the network's importance, any interruption of service will have a profound impact. As a result, there will be an even greater demand for carefully designed and well-managed services at the core of the global IP backbone and high-speed wireless networks.
  2. To the Enterprise Cloud and Back -- The enterprise cloud will finally come of age and deliver substantial benefits - dramatically reducing capital expenditures and creating business efficiencies and better economics.  Cloud services will give companies powerful new options to move workloads easily between the corporate data center and the cloud of a company's choice.  Whether a public, private or hybrid cloud model, the enterprise cloud will play an essential role in mobilizing enterprise apps that enable both workforce mobility and new business paradigms.
  3. Big Data Equals Big Insights -- Big data - large data sets that can now be managed with the right tools - will drive innovation, helping to evolve the role of Chief Information Officer to Chief Innovation Officer. These new "thinkers" will be responsible for determining the quality of data and strategic applications used to create new business opportunities while empowering evidence-based decision making for greater success.  Predictive Analytics, based on vast amounts of synthesized data, will become an increasingly important tool for the enterprise.  Companies that harness the intelligence inherent in their data, secure it and act on it accordingly can expect to gain a significant competitive edge.
  4. The Social Enterprise -- The already Web-centric enterprise will become even more social, and the ability to tap intelligence at all levels of the organization will become the new norm.  With the right tools -- such as high-definition video for richer collaboration and intelligent "crowdsourcing," (large-scale collaboration) -- enterprises can produce, find and convey information with much less effort and greater velocity and efficacy than ever before. This will foster innovation and enhance productivity with exponential benefits.  A multigenerational workforce will employ technology to truly embrace a borderless workstyle, where work is an activity not a location.
  5. Video is The New Black -- Video is on its way to becoming this year's "fashionable black," given its popularity with users and the ease in which it can be accessed on today's tablets, mobile phones and laptops.  Now, thanks to ultra-high-bandwidth capabilities and the combination of global IP networks and 4G LTE wireless, video is fast becoming the pervasive and preferred communication vehicle for many enterprise activities, from team meetings to quarterly employee communications to on-demand information about key projects.  And with video-enabled contact centers being the latest business-to-consumer application, this business trend is here to stay.
  6. Service Your Way -- Personalization will continue to be an inspiration for innovation, driving companies to reengineer their processes and business models. Increasingly, businesses will look for new opportunities and channels to meet customers on their terms.  Multifunction kiosks located outside of traditional retail venues, contact center routing and "click to chat" windows will help companies better serve customers.  In addition, the enterprise cloud will enable more application intelligence and the ability to integrate applications and physical environments, helping businesses personalize the customer service experience and enhance customer satisfaction.
  7. The Consumerization of IT-- Just as personalization is driving a new approach to customer service, IT departments are increasingly being influenced by their users.  Many companies are now trying to improve the user experience and enhance productivity by tailoring their enterprise IT policies to support employees who bring their own productivity tools - such as smartphones and tablets -- to the workplace.  Companies are looking to experts to help equip today's mobile worker with cloud-based applications that work just as securely and reliably on portable devices and are integrated with traditional desktop applications. Enterprise apps also will become more widely available via enterprise app storefronts, just as they are in the consumer space.
  8. M2M2P - Machine-to-Machine-to-People -- Machine-to-machine communications will change the way people manage their world, whether in terms of energy consumption, product inventory or critical business-asset and fleet management.  But the human factor - - people - will play an important role in harnessing digital intelligence, inspiring innovation and creating the next big thing. For example, while portable monitors may keep round-the-clock tabs on a patient's vital signs, health care providers will ultimately use that information to assess patients and provide treatment.
  9. Compliance Gets Increasingly Commercial -- With increasing evidence that companies are less likely to be data breach victims if they comply with security standards, such as those promoted by the Payment Card Industry (PCI), compliance will become a pre-requisite for good business practice in 2012. In a difficult economic environment and with increasingly more stringent government regulations, the need for taking full advantage of business opportunities will increase interest in prudent, holistic security approaches. Companies and governments will change how they interact with their extended network of partners, increasingly choosing to do business with those that can demonstrate a comprehensive multiyear and standards-based approach to security.
  10. Energy Savings Power Better Business and the Greater Good - Energy efficiency, especially a reduction in CO2 emissions reductions, will be a key imperative for many companies - and just in time. In 2012, companies will take advantage of public-private partnerships to invest in everything from more efficient lighting to energy-efficient heating ventilation and air conditioning systems to installing energy-efficient technologies. And they will investigate flexible computing models that leverage on-demand capacity for peak loads, while powering down during periods of lesser demand.

About Verizon
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with more than 107 million total connections nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500.  A Dow 30 company with $106.6 billion in 2010 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 195,000.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.