By Rick Delgado, Contributor

It’s been a big year in the enterprise technology space. From the continuingcloud wars, to the expansion of machine learning and big data adoption. Where is enterprise technology headed in 2016? CEOs are weighing in on some of the biggest changes and advances they expect to see in the coming year.

Acceleration of IoT and Big Data Integration

2015 was a big year for big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) with businesses capitalizing on expanded connectivity to create new business models and yield new insights. Nav Dhunay, CEO at Ambyint, an IoT and analytics company, expects the integration of IoT and big data applications to gain momentum in 2016.

“I believe that we will see a lean toward the creation of more end-to-end IoT & big data solutions for industry, able to not only extract data from machines, but analyze it intelligently and initiate autonomous action to onsite processes in order to seamlessly increase efficiencies and preempt and mitigate future issues.”

He expects certain industries, including oil and gas, will accelerate at a higher rate, “due to the current market conditions necessitating rapid efficiency solutions.”

Dr. Ernest Earon, PrecisionHawk Founder and CTO agrees, stating, “There is already a tremendous amount of connectivity across many devices. I believe in the coming year we are going to see that more and more in the commercial world. The amount of data that is being collected, made available and useful from all of these devices is staggering, and the ability to process and manage this data is going to be the key to unlocking it all.

Real-time analytics goes mainstream

Talend CEO, Mike Tuchen, predicts 2016 will be the first time real-time data analysis tools will be affordable and available to mainstream organizations.

“Real time will move from a very narrow focus — high speed trading in financial services — to broad applicability across broad swathes of the economy,” Tuchen said. “It will create a new sub-sector economy with purpose built deep data analytics for offer recommendations, predicting patient risk in healthcare, and other uses.”

Consumer-facing companies in particular, he says, will turn to machine learning and predictive analytics to offer hyper-personalized offers and experiences.

Data snapshot alternatives

Jacob Cherian, VP of Product Management and Strategy at Reduxio, an enterprise storage startup, predicts that snapshots will be on the way out in 2016.

“Enterprises are seeking alternatives to snapshots that are simpler and easier to manage. They need a new innovation that will allow data and application recovery to a second before the data error or logical corruption occurred, and one that can be used to quickly create chains to independent clones for DevOps teams,” Cherian said.

Cherian pointed to the time IT departments spend scheduling and managing snapshots and consistency groups, and the increasing need to create clones of entire IT environments to support more agile application development as main drivers for a snapshots alternative.

Reduction of consolidation and acquisition

Mark Lewis, CEO of Formation Data Systems, a hyper scale enterprise storage startup, predicts major IT players will slow new mergers and acquisitions moving into 2016.

“Looking into next year, I predict we will see a dramatic lowering of consolidation and acquisition activity as the big IT players focus on restructuring their organizations,” Lewis said. “Particularly for startups, exit opportunities will be more competitive than ever before as investors will be more critical of the technology they choose to back. Startups offering point solutions based on legacy hardware will struggle to capture investor attention, as they will shift their focus to finding companies that offer high, long term growth potential through revolutionary platforms.”

Big Data in security and fraud protection

Bart Mroz, the CEO of SUMO Heavy, a digital commerce consulting and strategy firm predicts organizations will begin to use big data to protect consumer information.

“Today, most companies utilize customer data primarily to sell products or services with personalized campaigns, targeted emails and in-depth customer analytics,” Mroz said. “However, as both personal and retail online activity continues to skyrocket, we will start seeing more of the data being used for security and fraud protection. There will become a clear distinction between data that’s used to sell, and data that works to protect the consumer. As part of this trend, we predict that more personal data, like social security numbers and credit card information, will be stored with specialized providers to create an added level of security.”

Consolidation of green tech

Mistbox CEO, Josh Teekell, predicts green technology companies will begin to consolidate in 2016.

“Expect larger players in this space such as Nest to acquire growing companies to add to their portfolios; leveraging their brand and offering customers more bundled solutions to save energy,” Teekell said. “For example, Nest could pair their thermostat with Mistbox to advertise energy savings of 40% or more. These technologies are not mutually exclusive and companies that can effectively market them as a package will have an advantage. Bundling IoT green tech will enhance growth and will be leveraged in new eco-friendly buildings.”