Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Top Technology Trends 2005

Technology advances are almost taken for granted nowadays. One barely remembers the time when one had to reserve time on a workstation, and when one's first computer was a 48K machine that loaded from cassette and ran BASIC. The following list of technologies is proposed as being the most significant in 2005. Check back in 12 months to see how we did. Share your own

1. Dualcore chips: Multicore chips put two or more CPU cores on a single chip. This is very significant because it allows a partial escape from the constraints of Moore's Law, besides delivering more speed in less space without a marked increase in heat. The big players are AMD, Intel and Sun Microsystems, but IBM's new open licensed Power5 chipset is very innovative and could mark the turning point in dualcore adoption. The Dec 13 issue of InfoWorld magazine has an interesting review of Power5. Dualcore chips will translate to very powerful computing machines at a comparable cost to current systems. It will also deliver phenomenal ability to software designers to maximize performance from their software through better pipeline management.

2. Desktop Search: With the explosion in personal data and documents, users are demanding the convenience and efficiency of web-based search engines on their desktops. While products like the Google Desktop Search and Microsoft's Search offer significant promise, there is some resistance from enterprises due to privacy and security concerns. Policy-driven desktop search products, like Autonomy's IDOL Enterprise Desktop Search will be prominent in this space. Of course, these are stop-gap responses to the XML-based database-like file systems that are in the next generation of Operating Systems.

3. Swarming technologies: Once the furor over illegal applications of swarming technologies like bittorrent dies down, these methods of information transfer will be perceived as the killer apps they truly are. At very low costs per bit, these technologies enable rich content information dissemination easily to a large number of consumers. Swarming technologies also enables collective intelligence, and likely faster solutions to large-scale problems

4. The Blogosphere reaches critical mass: The growth of the blogosphere to mean more than quotidian journaling into a global medium of realtime information sharing is inevitable. The missing element is the translation of the ability to blog into non-technical areas. Phone-based blogging will drive user adoption and convenient, user-friendly spaces will create a new kind of space, almost post-web.

5. Spyware, collaborative viruses and all that good stuff: The next stage in the evolution of privacy intrusion & malware is collaborative spyware or viruses that work together to circumvent current defense mechanisms. Of course, the response from the defenders of technology is as effective - International law enforcement and numerous industry leaders have joined forces to fight the growing problem of "phishing" scams. Digital PhishNet is a collaborative enforcement program designed to forestall socially engineered attacks. The program catches phish by tracing the origins of deceptive e-mails and phony Web sites in real time, then by passing that information on to law enforcement

6. Voice over IP(v6?): The VOIP boom shows no signs of slowing. Everyone and his dog have started the switchover to internet-based telephony. The carriers are not sitting back, though. With promises of better QoS and packaged services, their response could mean they are still viable. The challenge will come in the shrinking Internet address space. With IPv6 around the horizon, and gaining significant ground in Asia, it is only a matter of time before the two technologies coverge and deliver true global addressing to any device, anywhere, not curently possible due to NAT

7. NextGen Gaming Consoles: 2005 will also see the launch of at least two of the three next gen gaming consoles, with ramped up computing and graphics power. At least the XBox Next will also serve as an extension of the PC into the living room. Gaming will also take a significant jump into further realism & immersive games. Also, hopefully(!), GTA San Andreas will be released for the XBox.

8. WiFi/WiMax: Last mile wireless access to networks will continue its' expansion. WiMax for short to medium range wireless access will provide greater mobility. WiMax is intended as a fixed wireless broadband technology for homes and businesses, capable of delivering speeds comparable to current wired broadband. The big challenges of WiFi security and management loom large as friction points in adoption.

9. Business Process Modeling: Business users' have a long running beef with IT's apparent inability to translate business requirements to technology solutions accurately and efficiently. While a large portion of this is due to poor requirements specs, and consulting vendors would assure that good consultants can work wonders, the reality of a disconnect between the implementation and definition of business rules cannot be denied. This gap will be bridged by real software products that allow business users to define rules in their own terms and then validating these themselves. Look for BPEL-based products to take off.

10. Global, low-cost, localized IT This pipedream is closer to fruition than ever before, thanks to sustained investments by companies to translate and provide low cost IT solutions. Microsoft products are now available in most languages, and cheap computer products, like the Simputer will see a boom this year as more and more people are IT-enabled.

Not in scope:
Service-oriented architectures replacing current models,
Zero-spam email systems,
Microsoft selling Linux solutions

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