One of my responsibilities as the Director of IT Innovations at PwC is to spend a good deal of time researching and developing insights on the impact of emerging technologies. This year, for the first time, I thought it might be fun and, frankly, quite useful to share with you my thoughts on what I believe may be the big IT trends in 2010. While I was somewhat tempted to be bold and creative in my forecast, I decided to ground the Top 10 in areas that have some real momentum. If you agree with the predictions, what might that mean for your work and your industry? In what area do you think I got it completely wrong? I’d love to know what you think.
1. Software as a Service
2010 will be a big year for providers of software as a service (SaaS). The obvious big names in this space will release new offerings to compete with popular desktop applications. New and existing operating systems that are built primarily to support the SaaS model will begin to be more widely accepted and adopted.
This popular form-factor will have outstanding sales and may even surpass laptop sales by year-end. Given its remarkable low-cost, we will likely see more offerings that make available free Netbooks. In addition, the ubiquity of embedded Web-cams will drive further use of personal video in both non-work and work environments.
3. Cloud Services
An obvious growth area in 2010; we will see new and expanded services from all the usual suspects. Expect major announcements from large businesses and government agencies choosing to move some of their core applications and data to the cloud.
4. Mobile Money
By late 2010, paying for products and services via a mobile device such as a cellphone will begin to emerge in the mainstream US. Multiple flavors will be available including custom applications and text messaging. More likely in 2011-12 will be the emergence of banking services from the big Telco’s. Rather than simply being a middleman, the telecommunication companies may announce banking divisions.
5. Free Software
If current trends continue, it’s quite possible that all software will be available in a form of free, but 2010 will be the first year that this trend reaches a point of inflection. A combination of enterprise-class open source, freemium, freeware, ad-supported, and alternate revenue-model software will have lasting and destructive impact on the notion of license-paid software.
6. Harvesting the Social Graph and Web-Squared
2010 will see the introduction of the first widely available and easily usable products for better understanding the mass of unstructured data being accumulated across public and private clouds. The emergence of intelligent solutions to interpret massive related and un-related data in order to create forecasts and identify trends will help people make more sense of the world and see previously hidden signals.
7. More Video
Continued investment in video infrastructures will see greater use in work and non-work environments. It will be more common (but still not ubiquitous) to have video conversations with colleagues and external parties such as customers and suppliers. Rigorous competition in this space between the major players and many start-ups will continue to push the price down for high-quality video. Greater use of PCs and Netbooks with Web-cams will continue towards critical mass. In addition, content creation will continue its profound migration from text to video, further consuming bandwidth and forcing more enterprise investment in network infrastructure.
8. Green IT
This may be a inconsistent area of investment as continued tight budgets and more immediate costs (e.g. migration to updated operating system) distract from major green initiatives. However, going into 2011 and beyond, broad adoption of virtualization and further movement towards hosting in the cloud may help organizations lower their data center carbon footprint.
9. Mobile Location-based Services (LBS) and Augmented Reality
Expect to see an extraordinary number of start-ups and existing technology companies offering mobile LBS-related services. Proximity-based solutions will become more common. Mobile devices will begin to offer compelling overlay data for the real world that help people with existing and new activities. Lots of noise and confusion will ensue as both consumers and providers try to figure out acceptable services. For example: how will people respond when they stroll through a mall and are bombarded with text messages from different retail stores?
10. Social Spaghetti Integration
More social features will begin to show up in ERP apps. New and increased support for ERP solutions that, for example: integrate social networking will see a further blurring of the lines between work and non-work applications and activities.
Do you agree or disagree with any of my predictions? I’d love to know what you think.