On December 17th, I am participating in a teleconference discussion about new technologies for The Concours Group. The idea is to ask “Which technologies do CIOs need to pay attention to – the next year, two years, five years or ten years out?
I won’t go into the timing details here – but here is a list of technology evolutions that I think will happen in the near future. Anyone with other solutions?
Wireless make cables obsolete, at least for the personal connection. New standards such as WIMAX, 802.11n (gigabit wireless Ethernet) and perhaps Zigbee or (finally) Bluetooth will make a serious dent in the demand for cables.
Telephones will run on the Internet rather than the other way around. VoIP will marginalize the incumbent telecommunications providers, as a classic disruptive technology.
DRM will have modest success in the corporate market but not in consumer space: DRM – which only will work for identifiable and small customer sets – will be used by companies who want to limit access to their corporate information, especially in an era when employees can blog and extranets are the norm. In the consumer space, however, copy protection schemes will be broken and confirmation-based algorithms – the digital equivalent of calling the CD manufacturer and ask permission everytime you play a song – will not work this time either. In fact, never.
Multimedia content delivery over the net will take off. With broadband connections, cheaper digitizing technology, and content companies gradually beginning to understand that going to war on your customers is marketing myopia, delivery of content over the Internet will move from fringe to mainstream. TV stations (especially the public ones in Europe) have already started to delivering more and more of their content over the Internet. iTunes will get new competitors, and podcasting will become a serious alternative to truck-based music delivery.
Webservices will disappear as buzzword and appear as common practice. Enough said.
RFID will be implemented anywhere the privacy advocates can’t see it. After the outburst against RFID. it will be relegated to implementation at the case and pallet level, improving logistics further for the big retail chains. The in-store theft problem – which, incidentally, is mainly perpetrated by employees – will be solved by off-line solutions such as the Vensafe dispensing machines for small, expensive items, activated via plastic cards at the cash register.
The Ipod will move from music platform to information tool. With a 60 Gb hard disk and a small screen, the iPod will be able to store not only music, but also pictures and video snippets – and will become the basic item in a portable personal architecture – connected to cellphone, camera, PDA or combinations thereof.
China just might have the year of Penguin – in two years. Linux on the desktop is, I am sorry to say, a non-starter. Except, perhaps, in vertical markets (grade schools) or in China. Linux will continue to attack Microsoft from above (in servers) and below (as “device frosting” and operating system for the emerging OEM cellphone industry), but will not make much headway against the desktop for at least 3 more years.
Blogs and wikis will go mainstream and corporate. Blogs and wikis and other forms of loosely coupled collaborative software will be integrated into web browsers and email clients (using RSS) and will become the new, relatively spam-free way to distribute medium-intensity information streams.
An IT market for older people will open up, where companies compete on componentization and usability. Marketers will finally realize where the money is, and develop technology for the grey masses – as well as for their grandchildren, and the financial and informational interaction between the two.
Countries will invest in countering digital amnesia. Fueled by continued rapid growth in search engine technology speed and functionality, microfilm- and paper-based libraries will increasingly be put online. We will have the paperless library (and perhaps the paperless toilet) long before the paperless office.
The home office will become the new standard for office technology. Actually, this has already happened. Computers, printers and screens will increasingly be designed for the home office environment – and the corporate office will be designed as a bigger version of the home. This means more plug and play, more miniaturization, maintencance-free wireless and really quiet, inexpensive printers.
10 years from now, IBM will issue a press release saying that voice recognition is the technology of the future, that the next release of ViaVoice is showing real promise, and that the time to ditch the keyboard is Real Soon Now…..
Well, so far, so good – I am sure I missed a lot, any suggestions?