Compiling our list of the top technology trends for 2011 was enjoyable. We got to review our 2010 predictions and look ahead with optimism. Unfortunately, economic woes continued through 2010 delaying the expected IT expenditures and slowing growth. Again, the trends haven’t changed much year-over-year as technology is a quiet revolution. But don’t be disappointed, those same trends are driving new models that will revolutionize the way we do business. As technology advances, the numbers continue to drive IT investments. Businesses will implement common sense infrastructure improvements and avoid the glitz. The glitz will come from consumer electronics this year as mobile devices become better, cheaper and faster.
Cloud Computing – The Application Server Provider (ASP) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model is Cloud Computing. More than ever, this is a technology in search of a moniker that will catch on and become a household name. We all cloud compute even if we don’t quite grasp the concept. From our social media sites to our online backup to our online applications, each monthly subscription is a testament that cloud computing solutions work. This way of computing through the Internet will continue to grow offering more and improved services at competitive prices.
Mobile Devices and Applications – SmartPhones are considered one of the hottest items for consumers. The use of mobile applications has gained such acceptance that an explosion of development, hoping to cash in on commercial success, will bring even more mobile apps to our handhelds. Context-aware computing which has been around for over a decade may see 2011 as its breakthrough year.
Business Analytics – The amount of electronic data is now over a zettabyte (that’s a one with twenty-one zeroes) and there is no end in sight. But data has a shelf life and it has to be processed before expiration to make sense of or profit from the analysis. With increased computing power, a terabyte of data can be processed, measured and interpreted in real-time allowing for quick business decisions. Computer programs, algorithms and models will take advantage of the processing speed to give timely information. Business strategies and marketing tactics will be altered immediately to reflect patterns revealed by the numbers. Business acumen is essential as the numbers will continue to be governed by GIGO (Garbage In – Garbage Out).
Work from Anywhere – Fueled by the growth and availability of bandwidth and Cloud Computing, we will be able to conduct real business from anywhere. Files and documents will be migrated into the cloud so that workers will have anytime, anywhere access. Productivity tools will aid the worker while providing efficiency measures to the employer. Communications from just about anywhere will allow us to buy, sell and converse seamlessly. Tasks considered too complicated to be mobile will be done routinely on-the-go. Speech recognition will provide the necessary hands free environment.
Social Media – The transformation of the way we communicate, personally and professionally, will continue unabated. Social Media continues to be the darling of marketing. Certainly, the players will change as Fortuna spins her fickle wheel, but online social interaction is the future of human communications. We will find ways to make it more significant and efficient, but there will continue to be spam, scams and information overload, just like it was in the old way of communicating – remember junk mail! Demand for social media consulting will continue and the best opportunities are likely to be for small companies providing services to the Fortune 500.
Absent from the list is Green IT and Smart Grid Computing. Green IT certainly has its place but economics have taken precedent over stewardship. Smart Grid initiatives are quickly developing but the crystal ball is too cloudy to see if it will take root this year. We will continue to watch Smart Grid as it is a promising technology trend.
Disclaimer: Like horoscopes, our predictions for the Top IT Trends of 2011 are general in nature and for entertainment purposes only.
If you have your own trends, send to me firstname.lastname@example.org.