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    Categories Industry Insights

Weekly Packet: Predictions, Patriots and Phone Addiction

We’re nearing late October, which means it’s time for… IT conferences and industry predictions! During Gartner’s ITExpo and Symposium this week, analysts forecasted a nearly 3% rise in global IT spending for 2017. That will bring spending to $3.5 trillion, with software and IT services expected to grow the most. That makes sense, as IT organizations grow more distributed and depend more on hosting providers and cloud services.

Another prediction from Forrester lists the 15 technologies to watch over the next four years, from the perspective of businesses that are customer-centric (which should be all of them, right?) Hybrid wireless and augmented reality caught my eye as a few areas that should develop in interesting ways for businesses.

In network speed news, Facebook is testing a high-speed wireless network that it hopes to deploy as an easier alternative to fiber networks, and eventually make available globally. It’s interesting to see where networking innovation is coming from—modern hyperscale companies like Facebook and Google, using emerging technologies and protocols.

Here in Boston, we’re attuned to Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick’s every move. This week, Belichick complained about the technology used for, essentially, workplace collaboration during football. We’d never blame the High Priest of New England Football for user error, so it must be that age-old question rearing its ugly head: Is it the app or the network? As of press time, both were listed as “questionable.”

And last: no need to feel bad any more about your phone and/or tablet and/or Netflix addiction—they’re all designed to make you feel good. Behavior design is a whole field that brings computer science and psychology together, and it’s getting more sophisticated all the time. Our brains have been trained to respond to notifications and keep using products and apps that make us feel good. Luckily, there are people working on using these instincts for doing real good, not just for consumerism. And one startup founder is trying to help people disengage from their devices.

We’re going to try a few minutes away from devices this weekend for leaf-peeping. What about you? Enjoy the weekend.

Christine Cignoli: Christine Cignoli is a technology writer based in Boston. She's written about storage, data center infrastructure, virtualization and enterprise apps for more than ten years, and has a master's in publishing and writing from Emerson College.