My Personal Top 10 IT Predictions for 2010

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.

2. Netbooks
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.

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12 Responses to My Personal Top 10 IT Predictions for 2010

  1. James Thomas says:

    I don’t see mobile money really taking off atleast not next year. This is just my opinion, but I dont think there is a “need” for using my cell phone to pay for groceries. The credit card in my wallet (which I’m going to need anyway) is just not that big of a burden.

    Maybe one phone OS like Android will take adavantage of this technology, but with all the different mobile OS’s I dont see this becoming a standard anytime soon.

  2. Sarah Firisen says:

    James, I think Jonathan is spot on with the mobile money prediction, take a look at this article http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/technology/start-ups/16wallet.html

  3. Trine says:

    What about the future of e-mail? Between them, I think Wave, communication through social networks and Messenger spell death for e-mail as we know it. Not next year, but not as far away as we might think.

  4. James Thomas says:

    Sara, that was a great article. The article was still up and down as to when and how this will be implemented to the masses. One point that was made is the cost of retailers installing the terminals to except the payments from cell phones. I just don’t see companies forking over that cost unless consumers are requesting this service and will spend more because of it. Then standards becomes an issue as well like I said with the different operating systems. The Iphone may have an app for that, but what about us with BlackBerry’s and WinMo devices. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s coming within a few years, that was just one out of the top ten I didn’t see coming in 2010. Atleast I don’t see my mom and dad using it, as they are my indicators when a certian technology has gone mainstream.

  5. Saker Ghani says:

    Trine, I don’t see email going away anytime soon. A great article bolstering this point of view can be found at http://db.tidbits.com/article/10700. In summary, openness and ubiquity are among the greatest strengths of traditional email, neither of which can be wholly claimed by the Facebooks, Twitters, and Waves of our time. I think there is a lot of commercial pressure to supplant traditional email in favor of a closed, proprietary system; and even with open APIs, the proprietary systems have a very long way to go before they can be considered open on par with traditional email.

  6. Alexander Zuver says:

    I would love to see some numbers/references to the statement…

    “…content creation will continue its profound migration from text to video, further consuming bandwidth and forcing more enterprise investment in network infrastructure.”

    …so I can be prepared!

  7. Zate says:

    The major hurdle for all of these technologies is security. We can’t even solve the problems we currently have adequately, without releasing new and ever connected new technologies.

    I love new tech but I see an alarming trend of security being someone elses responsibility, or something we add afterwards.

    Wave is a classic example of this.

    http://theharmonyguy.com/category/google-wave/

    These things are security 101, OWASP Top 10, 100% avoidable, known type issues.

    As we continue to expand the amount of things we join together, we have to expand our sphere of trust, that is very dangerous.

    Just because we can do something cool, doesn’t mean me should. It does mean that someone smarter will use that against us.

  8. mary-catherine wright says:

    Jonathon- Well Done.
    However, and sadly, it will take a decade for most to appreciate your insights. And then it will be too late. Tragic.

  9. Gail Garvey says:

    Already the airlines are allowing you to have an e boarding pass on your cell phone, but what if your battery is dead or you have some other malfunction on your cell phone? It seems like a big problem is making it secure and attractive (easy/free) to use without attracting a lot of annoying applications and advertising. Is a cell phone any more convenient than your credit/debit card? If it does not offer some advantages I do not see it being widely used.

  10. Jonathan, these aren’t really predictions but more of what’s to follow from what’s been worked upon in 2009 and at least a decade before it. As informative as your article is, it does not produce a vision of something that hasn’t been talked about already.

    Mobile money is something paypal initially wanted to do back in 1999, if my memory serves me correctly. Netbooks, green IT and video on a variety of platforms have been rampant throughout 2009. Augmented reality is already in its infancy and thanks to expensive low-diffusion smart phones and telco sales tactics it’ll remain in that stage for a while. Enterprise social media and social media integration are already being worked upon and cross-functionalities are available. Web-squared is the next recycle of the web and the term was coined by O’Reilly folks I think. This is unlikely to hit off in 2010, 2011-2012 is perhaps a more likely period.

    Again, it’s only my humble opinion on your expression, your article still does have information aplenty.

  11. Thanks for all the comments which I read and consider with great interest. Please keep them coming.

  12. jeremyfitch says:

    Netbooks/mobile money could have been more inclusive to cover ipods and mobile surfing technology as that is also going to grow significantly this coming year.

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