2014 is right around the corner.
Most of us can look into our crystal balls and see that a handful of tech trends which became big in 2013 will probably get bigger next year: cloud computing, big data, the rise of tablets, the Internet of Things.
But market research firm IDC has gone one better by predicting how these trends will unfold next year — and generate billions of dollars.
Worldwide IT spending will grow 5% next year to $US2.1 trillion, IDC says.
People and companies will buy smartphones and tablets, a market expected to grow by 15% over 2013. Companies will also beef up their data centres with new hardware that works better with mobile devices. They'll need servers, storage, networks, software, and services.
The only thing they won't be buying more of is PCs. Worldwide revenues for PCs will be decline 6% in 2014, IDC predicts.
People and companies in emerging countries will buy new tech at a blinding rate in 2014.
The four hottest emerging markets, Brazil, Russia, India And China (often called BRIC), will up their spending by 13%, IDC predicts, with China leading the way.
IDC also predicts that, for the first time, other emerging countries will collectively start spending big on tech. This includes other countries in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.
All told, tech spending outside of the U.S. and Europe will rise 10% to nearly $US740 billion and make up more than 1/3 of all worldwide IT spending. This will be where big IT vendors get most of -- over 60% -- of their growth.
2013 was the year that companies stopped kicking the tires on cloud computing, and started buying it big time. In 2014 spending on the cloud will be mind boggling.
IDC predicts that the cloud will drive $US100 billion worth of spending in 2014, up 25% over 2013. That includes the hardware cloud service providers will need buy to keep up with customer demand.
Cloud computing is also going to get increasingly specialised, with more cloud services for specific industries.
IDC expects Amazon Web Services to lead the way with 'an avalanche' of new services for developers and businesses in 2014. Google will step up and give Amazon a run for its money.
Then all of the IT companies that did well in the pre-cloud era (like Cisco, EMC, HP, IBM, Microsoft, VMware) will step up and chase Amazon and Google with their clouds, too.
Spending on big data technologies and services will grow by a hefty 30% in 2014, surpassing $US14 billion, IDC predicts.
Big data is where companies tap into huge volumes of data stored in their own data centres and elsewhere on the Internet. They use computers to instantly sift through that data to predict business conditions and serve customers.
With big data so hot, companies will have a hard time hiring people to fill big data jobs.
That means the coolest, most interesting new big data apps will come as cloud services. Enterprises will want to buy big data as a service instead of building it themselves.
One trend that will ebb in 2014 is 'social networking.'
Enterprise social networking will become a feature in most enterprise software, IDC predicts.
That means companies may be less interested in buying 'Facebook for the enterprise' chat apps. They'll get that as part of other apps they buy.
By mid-2015, virtually all enterprise software will have some sort of social feature built in, IDC says.
2014 will see the rise of 'communities of innovators,' IDC says. Instead of building a new product or service by itself, companies will increasingly use social tech to crowdsource development from many sources like customers, partners, startups.
Each industry will have its 'innovation platform' where the crowd gathers, IDC describes. An early example is GE's Predix, a cloud service that helps big industrial companies build products, it says.
Industries will turn to cloud players like Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Salesforce, and others to host their industry-specific clouds.
In 2012, a new version of the Internet was turned on. It will allow billions of new devices to join the Internet creating what's called the Internet of Things (IoT).
In 2013, big IT vendors like Cisco and Salesforce started to released their first IoT products. Next year will bring more from big vendors and startups alike.
IDC didn't predict how much revenue IoT will generate in 2014. But it will quickly ramp.
By 2020, 30 billion inanimate objects will be made 'smart,' and added to the Internet, controlled by apps.
By 2020, IoT will generate an astounding $US8.9 trillion in revenues, IDC says.