It’s the beginning of a new era, “The Digital Industrial Economy,” according to research firm Gartner Inc., and mobile technology is playing a major role along with the cloud and social media.

“The Digital Industrial Economy will be built on the foundations of the Nexus of Forces — which includes a confluence and integration of cloud, social collaboration, mobile and information — and the Internet of Everything by combining the physical world and the virtual,” Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president and global head of research at Gartner, said at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo.

“Digitalization exposes every part of your business and its operations to these forces,” Sondergaard said. “It is how you reach customers and constituents; how you run your physical plant; and how you generate revenue or deliver services. Enterprises doing this today are setting themselves apart and will collectively lead the new Digital Industrial Economy.”

Mobile smart devices have taken over the technology world, Gartner says. By 2017, device categories such as mobile phones, tablets and ultra-mobile PCs will represent more than 80 percent of device spending, the firm says. Gartner also forecasts that by 2017, nearly half of first-time computer purchases will be a tablet. Mobile is the destination platform for all applications, Sondergaard said.

Big data is another key trend driving this new era. In 2009, there were 2.5 billion connected devices with unique IP addresses to the Internet, and most of these were devices people carry such as cell phones and PCs, Gartner says. In 2020, there will be up to 30 billion devices connected with unique IP addresses, most of which will be products, and all of which will generate data.

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