The expansion of cloud-based computing, streamlining productivity
and cutting costs are among the technology themes for business
leaders in the suburbs as we head into the new year.
Companies of all sizes point to the cloud as a dominating trend. Cloud computing is where software applications, processing power, data and potentially even artificial intelligence are accessed over the Internet.
The online cloud is made up of multiple storage and data networks that seamlessly converge and talk to each other.
"I would say 2013 will be the year of the cloud," CompTIA President and CEO Todd Thibodeaux said.
More specifically, he looks at how the small- to medium-sized enterprise will use the technology that many of the bigger firms have already tackled. "The impact of cloud computing on small- and medium-sized businesses will be big," said Thibodeaux, who oversees the leading nonprofit association for the IT industry based in Downers Grove.
Tom Crowley, CEO of Libertyville-based technology manufacturer MBX, agreed that in 2013, migration by consumers and enterprises to store data in the cloud will continue its rapid growth, and the companies that provide cloud storage will look for better ways to store more data with less hardware.
"Memory is expanding rapidly and measured in terabytes and petabytes. Today a single cloud storage server configured with 192 terabytes of raw storage can store more data than 302,700 CD-ROMs," he said.
Some smaller businesses say they see the need for the cloud. Benjamin Olson, founder of 3 Monkeys & Aardvark Studios in Schaumburg, thinks cloud-based apps will continue to explode. "Streamlined productivity is why I use them (cloud-based apps)," he said. "When I am with a client, prospect, or in a creative session with colleagues, I use apps on my iPad for notes, concepting and project management. By the time I make it back to my studio, I have the updates on my iMac without having to spend extra time re- entering," he said.
And saving time is saving money when it comes to technology trends.
Wynright Corp. in Elk Grove Village is launching Visual Sort in early 2013, which will enable publishers and manufacturers to better trace returns as they come into distribution centers and then more efficiently track and restock the returned products, said Joe O'Connor, director of marketing.
Visual Sort is a customized software solution that helps companies more quickly restock and redistribute products.
The software is operated in the distribution center through a touch screen, scanner and network connection. Once the product is scanned into the system, Visual Sort illuminates on the screen what bin the returned inventory should be put into, which accelerates the current labor-intensive return inventory restocking processes.
The enhanced traceability provided can also be automatically fed back to any warehouse management system, O'Connor said.
John Samborski, CEO of Ace Computers in Arlington Heights, echoed the sentiment that business will be looking at getting leaner in the coming year. Samborski, whose company develops computer and server systems, said companies are looking at containing costs by getting more out of fewer pieces of equipment.
"Everybody is trying to be more energy-efficient and work with
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