The experts have looked at the fastest-growing segments of the technology sector - and those that are faltering - to try to anticipate what might shape technology's growth in the New Year. Of all the prevailing forces, the impact of cloud computing on software and web services is perhaps the single most dynamic catalyst for change in the technology world. Here are some predictions from the experts for 2010:
- The cloud computing revolution will continue. Cloud computing is the Internet-based development and use of computer technology that allows providers to deliver business applications online to their customers. Many observers consider it a paradigm shift comparable in impact to the innovations that created the Industrial Revolution. Typically, clients access the applications they want from a web browser. The software and data are stored on servers. Cloud computing customers don't have to fund and own the physical infrastructure or have top-notch expertise in technology infrastructure to participate. This provides small- and medium-sized businesses with high-tech access and the ability to pay only for what they use. Users pay either for resources consumed (similar to paying a utility company for electricity usage) or on a subscription basis. In addition to access to new technology these businesses couldnÂÂ’t otherwise afford, they also have immediate access to a variety of applications and the ability to terminate the contract without major return-on-investment risks.
- IT spending is expected to increase slightly in 2010, with budgets directed primarily to manufacturers who offer products that enhance Customer Relations Management, Enterprise Resource Planning - used to integrate data and processes in a single system - and Product Lifecycle Management. The forecasters also expect to see a moderate rate of conversion to the new Windows 7.
- The use of smartphones and netbooks and an increasingly mobile workforce will require developers of interface applications to create business-related products better suited to these devices.
- Multilingual applications and web content will increase. In an effort to compete with overseas enterprises and find new markets, technology companies are making real moves to adapt content and applications to suit different geographical markets with varied cultural and language requirements.
- Records management will attract scrutiny from business owners and executives. More stringent legal and regulatory requirements have kept records management in the spotlight for almost a decade, but the software and services have failed to respond to the challenge of electronic communications and email and lag behind in effectiveness.
- In the interest of promoting increased productivity, companies will attempt to restrict employeesÂÂ’ access to social networking sites. Some experts predict that Twitter will run out of gas, while others think that professional networking sites such as LinkedIn will thrive.
Whatever 2010 brings, we can be sure of one thing: the rapid rate of change and our increasing reliance on the Internet mean we can expect another year of innovation and excitement from the technology sector.