InformationWeek – List of 5 Disruptive Technologies

InformationWeek published their list of 5 Disruptive Technologies To Watch In 2008 a few days ago.  According to InformationWeek, these made their top five list because they all have the ability to change the course of current IT plans for the year.   The trends will cause companies to rethink how to rework their network infrastructure, manage  desktops, and alter the way they build and deploy applications.   The five trends on InformationWeek’s list are:

  1. Virtualization Now   While the overall concept isn’t new, it is expanding into just about every nook and cranny of the data center, and is proving to be a very useful tool for a wider array of situations, including virtual desktops running virtual applications from virtual storage across virtual networks, and even using virtual security. 
  2. Apple And Cross-Platform Shops.  The Web browser marketplace is now a three-way race among Apple’s Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox, and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Having three Web browsers to support can be cumbersome for many corporations that rely on Web-based Intranets and internal applications. ”
  3. Video Over IP Networks.  Expect more and more video running across corporate networks.  Planning for the appropriate infrastructure will be critical, especially in the coming year as more video-aware applications are developed.
  4. Outsourced Data Centers.  In 2008, there will be increasing numbers of managed service providers (MSPs) who will take care of housing your servers for you.  This brings an added degree of complexity to managing the fleet of servers and the accompanying applications.
  5. Presence-Aware SIP Applications.  There is a growing number of applications and vendors delivering products that figure out what the user is doing in any given moment and make it easier to communicate or route work flows.   Adding presence awareness will change the way that companies will communicate in 2008.

You can read the full article at 5 Disruptive Technologies To Watch In 2008

Top Eight Health Industry Issues according to PricewaterhouseCoopers

This post features PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute’s predictions for the top eight health industry issues of the coming year.

  1. New Medicare Reimbursement System.   Hospital coffers will feel the impact of a new Medicare reimbursement system that’s designed to better recognize the severity of patient illnesses.  Specialty hospitals and others that see less acutely ill patients could see their revenues decline, while urban hospitals that treat sicker patients could benefit.
  2. Focus on Drug Safety. Increased oversight and authority by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may boost the public’s trust in drug safety, but also could add to the regulatory burdens on pharmaceutical companies.  The FDA now may require drug companies to conduct additional clinical trials to assess risks associated with a drug after it has been released to the public.
  3. Retail Clinics Cause Changes:  A surge in the number of retail health clinics, such as those in drug stores, will force states, payers and policymakers to think about the best ways to deliver primary care.  Hospitals could benefit from retail clinics if they draw uninsured patients, while pharmaceutical companies may need to market more to the nurse practitioners who run the clinics.
  4. Individual Health Insurance.  The market for individual health insurance could get much broader if other states and the federal government follow the lead of Massachusetts, which requires that all residents have coverage.  Individual coverage also could get a boost from Republican proposals for tax incentives to help consumers buy individual policies.
  5. Health-Care Coverage for Retirees.  Retirees are playing a greater role in funding their health-care coverage, whether they like it or not.  As the population ages and health-care costs increase, employers are shifting more responsibility for retiree coverage to the retirees.  In a PricewatehouseCoopers survey of multinational company executives, 73 percent said they needed to reduce contributions to retiree health coverage and cap benefits.
  6. Large Pharmas Feel Pressure:  Big pharmaceutical companies, groaning under the high price of drug development, will keep buying and collaborating with life-science companies to stock their product pipelines.  But biogenerics — generic copies of biological drugs — could crimp drug company revenues.
  7. Regulatory Compliance:  New IRS rules will mandate that nonprofit hospitals uniformly disclose more details about the community benefits they provide, such as charity care.  Hospitals also will have to be more forthcoming about executive salaries and benefits, because of pressure to justify their tax-exempt status.
  8. Emerging Asia Pharma Industry:  Asia is poised to become the world’s largest pharmaceutical consumer and producer.  American drug companies have increased their marketing and clinical trials in Asia because of the market’s size, increasing wealth and growing awareness of health-related issues.  On the production side, much of Asia provides high-quality, inexpensive labor.  But watch out: Several Asian drug companies aim to become worldwide pharmaceutical powerhouses, not just contract manufacturers.

For more information, I encourage you to download the full report Top Eight Health Industry Issues in 2008 .   The report reminds us all that with this year being an election year in the US, there is more debate among the politicians on how the federal government could or should change the current system.  Meanwhile, consumers are taking more responsibility for decisions about their health insurance, drugs, and providers, and more government regulations are requiring public disclosure of quality, safety and costs.  The report says that 2008 will be a pivotal one for the health industry, with new market competitors, financial pressures, and regulatory requirements.

2008 Horizon Report: Emerging Trends in Education

The 2008 Horizon Report (not associated with HorizonWatching) from Educause and the New Media Consortium is now available. 

I’ve  come to anticipate the annual Horizon Report each year.  The report describes the continuing work of New Media Consortium‘s (NMC) qualitative research effort that seeks to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, or creative expression within learning-focused organizations.  Each year the report seems to ‘hit the nail on the head’ when it comes to identifying key trends of importance.

All links listed in the report are clickable in the pdf version, which can be downloaded from  

In a stroke of brilliance, they are using the social bookmarking tool to easily share resources related to these six (6) key emerging trends.image

Near Horizon (Less Than 1 Year)

Mid Horizon (2-3 Years)

Far Horizon (4-5 Years)

    There is also a wiki available that was used to manage the research and discussion process involved in the development of this report.  The wiki is at

    I think these trends are all very significant not only to those involved in Education.  These trends will impact all industries, so we all need to be aware of these trends.  I know I will be referring to the report…and following the above links this year.

    Eleven Skills Your Kids Should Focus On

    The MacArthur Foundation launched a five-year, $50 million digital media and learning initiative in 2006 to help determine how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life.  Understanding how young people do this is critical to developing the educational content and processes that can meet the needs of this and future generations.  

    What caught my eye was an interim report, released in 2006, titled titled “Confronting the Challenge of Participatory imageCulture:  Media Education for the 21st Century“.  The report is available via a 72 page pdf file here.

    One of the main insights discussed in that report is that our young people are growing up in a much more participatory culture than those of us in the current workforce.  According to the report, “participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement”.  I see this enabled, in part, by the power of Computers, Instant messaging, Online and Console Games, Cell Phones, etc., but also in the explosion of all sorts of activities our kids are involved with today.

    The report says that young people must learn a whole new a set of cultural competencies and social skills that they will need in the new media landscape.  These skills build on the foundation of traditional literacy, research skills, technical skills, and critical analysis skills taught in the classroom.  The new skills include:

    1. Play — the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem-solving.
    2. Performance — the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery.
    3. Simulation — the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes.
    4. Appropriation — the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content.
    5. Multitasking — the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details.
    6. Distributed Cognition — the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities.
    7. Collective Intelligence — the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal.
    8. Judgment — the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources.
    9. Transmedia Navigation — the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities.
    10. Networking — the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information.
    11. Negotiation — the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.

    Much more detail on each of these skills can be found in the 2006 report here.   Note…In December of 2007, the Foundation  released a series of six documents that those of you really interested in this  topic might want to go take a look at.  For more information, go here.

    For more information

    For more information, visit  To engage in conversations about these projects and the field of digital learning, visit the Spotlight blog at    For general information about the foundation or to sign up for a monthly electronic newsletter, visit