Looking through the techno-crystal ball

The 2011 economy is looking better, so I am on the lookout for trends lists. And on this note of optimism, a peek into the crystal ball reveals eight technology trends that are set to take centre stage in the year ahead. My focus here is on what Forrester interestingly has termed ‘empowered’ technology in conjunction with what I feel is here to boom. Well, there are several things worth watching out for:

1. The web will allow SaaS providers to compete worldwide against established players.

2. Open Source is here to stay. Well, I wonder if even a single day goes by without news on this front. However, open source providers need to be wary as SaaS providers may be taking away some of their business. Moving to a services model requires less IT skills for an enterprise, while moving to open source often demands the opposite.

3. Eco-friendly businesses will win more and more contracts. By 2011, suppliers to large global enterprises are expected to prove their green credentials via an audited process to retain preferred supplier status. Those organizations with strong brands are helping to forge the first wave of green sourcing policies and initiatives. For example, Timberland has launched a “Green Index” environmental rating for its shoes and boots.

4. The iPhone will definitely change the way we think about the web and mobility. Technology can be used to cut costs, boost process productivity and achieve a spectacular return on investment. And that’s a message that should resonate well with any company.

5. Whatever happens after Web 2.0 will involve 3d. Through 2011, the number of 3-D printers in homes and businesses are expected to grow 100-fold over 2006 levels. The technology will let users send a file of a 3-D design to a printer-like device that will carve the design out of a block of resin. A manufacturer can make scale models of new product designs without the expense of model makers. Ultimately, manufacturers can consider making some components on demand without having an inventory of replacement parts.

6. The Next-Gen NBN (Next-Generation National Broadband Network) that will zip voice, video and data at up to gigabit speed will be ready to roll in 2011.

7. The tsunami called Social Networking, which is after all a major technology trend now, will get bigger.



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