The tech landscape has been one of the most dynamic fronts of science in the recent past. There has been a constant shift in the lingua used to communicate specific new trends in the industry. The real challenge has remained adapting to the new way of saying things and incorporating it in daily business activity. Below are some of the most popular technology buzzwords circa 2015.
Responsive Web Design
If you are constantly engaged by web & design professionals, this is one concepts you must wrap your head around. Fortunately responsive web design is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It is basically designing and building a site that displays differently based on the device that you are viewing the site with. Responsive has also gained a lot of interest as of late because Google now recommends it, which would suggest – go responsive, or risk losing search traffic! Want to check how your site measures up; try these cool tools from the Google Developers site.
Another common buzzword in the cyberspace and IT circles is cloud. Apart from the woolly stuff blotting the sun on a beautiful day, cloud-based systems typically have two differentiating characteristics: Redundancy and Elasticity. By redundancy we mean that cloud-based systems usually have a bunch of backup or fail-safe components, so one single failure does not typically bring down a cloud-based system. By elasticity we mean that in most cloud-based systems you can add and remove resources when needed (like RAM, Processors, Virtual Server, etc.). Very handy when you need to scale an application up quickly. For most of us, the redundancy is really the most attractive part. Oh and of course the fact that by moving to a cloud-based system, you no longer have to maintain hardware!
The most basic definition of an API is an interface that allows software to interact with other pieces of software. Behind the scenes, an API is a set of rules and process that control data coming in to, and out of software. It allows flexibility in software design, in that a program can have additional features in the future by plugging additional pieces of software in to its API. For a closer examination of a particular API you will undoubtedly here more about in the coming years, check out this post on REST API’s.
Big data is a generic term that basically refers to colossal amounts of data being generated and stored. The exponential growth is a result of the ubiquity of technology; as we integrate more technology into our society, more and more data is generated and recorded. It is the challenge of executives to determine what data might be valuable, and what to do with it. Word to the wise, collecting data is a dangerous game. Too much can create analysis paralysis and confusing correlations, not enough will have you feeling like you are making decisions blind. When evaluating the data you want to collect, try and tie it to specific business objectives.
Internet of Things
The term Internet of things refers to the interconnection and interaction of non-human components over the Internet. A good example is a human heart implant communicating remotely with a server. Or your Fitbit communicating with your phone. Other examples include car trackers, gas level detectors, biochip transponders, or that cool NEST thermostat we all want (Seriously, check this thing out.)
Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX) refer to all aspects of an end-user’s experience with a company. CX is a box that includes everything, including non-direct interactions like people reading a blog, or a website, or someone reading that direct mail piece you sent out. UX, on the other hand, is a subset of CX, and only refers to items where there is direct interactions with you and your customers, like an email correspondence, a phone call, an engagement on a website or online application. We like to think of CX as items where we can make promises to our customers, and UX as interaction points that we can prove those promises. For a more thorough explanation check out the difference between CX, UX and UI.
Gamification is a recent business term that refers to applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate users to accomplish specific goals. By using elements like points, badges, leaderboards, and other game elements, gamification capitalizes on peoples desire for fun, status, competition and achievement. Frequent flyer programs are one of the oldest examples of gamification, though similar techniques have been used in marketing efforts for as long as there has been marketing.
As technology continues to change, new terms are coined; they become popular and are then formally adopted as everyday lingua. While not all buzzwords may finally make their way to modern dictionaries, executives should stay abreast with incoming terms and acronyms in tandem with morphing technology. For the mid of 2015 though, understanding these 7 terms will keep you on top of the current trends.