Here's some technologies that will impact us in the future that I am keeping my eye on. Some of these are around today but just haven’t hit prime time, others are in the works.
Internet 3.0 The web will transform into a personal agent that basically tells us what we want to to know and when we want to know it. Important enabling technologies will be wireless technology, sensors, location and semantic technologies.
Enterprise Social Networks: We are already seeing the impact of social networks on our personal lives, but they are just starting to make inroads into enterprises. Social networking technology will have profound impacts on management systems within enterprises. Corporations will turn to new innovative business models based off of crowdsourcing, social network analysis, prediction markets and user ratings.
Virtual Worlds: There is no doubt that virtual worlds need to get easier before they become more mainstream. It has to be integrated with social software platforms and instant messaging. Ease of use, visible presence, unified communications and personalization will make virtual worlds a reality.
Nanotechnology….Already having an impact in a number of industries, nanotechnology will enable unprecedented levels of control with incredibly small parts…having all sorts of implications for future materials, hardware components, and devices.
User Interfaces: We are so used to using the mouse and the keyboard as an input device. I think we are in the early stages of totally new ways to interact with our electronic devices. The short term focus will be on touch technologies. After that, I expect advancements in gesture computing and speech technology. Regarding display technology, I'll be looking for new displays that will offer 3D, be flexible and project over large areas.
3D printers: 3D printers will provide a way for businesses to rapidly prototype potential products. The technique involves "printing" three-dimensional objects with plaster or resin. Some are even predicting a mass market for 3D printers for consumers.
Robots: Robots will increasingly make their way into the business and consumer markets. The Roomba vacuum robot we have in our house does a great job. Expect robots to be increasingly used for applications like military operations, lifting and rescue operations, security, healthcare delivery, human companionship and other mundane chores.
Mobile Applications & Services. There can be no question that mobile devices are important to the future of business. The gold rush is on to develop enterprise-based mobile applications, services and cloud infrastructures, both public and private. I expect a flood of new application services designed specifically for the business mobile user, including those incorporating location awareness, video, and social technologies. In the future, your mobile device will contain your profile information and will mediate relationships across social networks, commercial transactions, security clearances, and any device with embedded intelligence.
Human augmentation: Technology is increasingly playing an important part in healthcare. My eyesight is just great thanks to that Lasik surgery I had 9 years ago. On the horizon are advancements in implants, brain interfaces, genetic selection and nerve to prosthesis applications. If you saw the movie IronMan last year, you have an idea of where all this is heading.
Telepresence/Video Conferencing. Telepresence and 3D video conferencing capability will eventually be common for enterprises, having a huge impact on corporate travel, workforce collaboration and productivity. It will allow enterprises to form closer relationships with clients, partners, and clients.
Quantum Computing….Perhaps a little further out than a 15 year planning horizon, quantum computing will allow computers to perform calculations in seconds versus the hours it takes today.
Embedded Intelligence…Embedded intelligence will enable an increasing amount of communication with mobile devices, appliances, store shelves, vehicles, bridges, buildings, people, animals, and even plants. Embedded technologies and solutions will allow enterprises to create a true sense and respond framework. By extracting useful events and insights from this data, organizations can quickly respond to new opportunities and / or threats.
Cloud Computing… The rise of data-intensive applications, virtualization, and mobile and networking technologies is driving adoption of cloud computing. As sensors proliferate and the world becomes 'smarter', more computing power will be needed to keep up with all the transactions.
Cleantech… There is a growing focus on products and services that improve the efficiency of assets while reducing energy usage, waste, or pollution. There are a number of emerging technologies in this area, including water management, solar energy, wind energy, biofuel green buildings, green IT, intelligent transportation systems, smart grid, and fuel cells.
There's more than just fourteen on my radar list, but these come to front of mind right now.
The 2009 Horizon Report was recently released at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. The annual Horizon Report is a collaborative effort between the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the ELI. Each year, the report identifies six emerging technologies that are likely to have a significant impact on higher education in the next one to five years. In addition, the report presents an overview accompanied by examples and suggested readings for each technology.
The areas of emerging technology cited for 2009 are:
Timeframe: The Next 12 months…
Mobiles (i.e., mobile devices). New interfaces, the ability to run third-party applications, and location-awareness have all come to the mobile device in the past year, making it an ever more versatile tool that can be easily adapted to a host of tasks for learning, productivity, and social networking.
Cloud computing. Inexpensive, simple solutions to offsite storage, multi-user application scaling, hosting, and multi-processor computing are opening the door to wholly different ways of thinking about computers, software, and files.
Timeframe: Next 1-3 years….
Geo-everything (i.e., geo-tagging). Many devices can automatically determine and record their own precise location and can save that data along with captured media (like photographs) or can transmit it to web-based applications for a host of uses. The full implications of geo-tagging are still unfolding.
The personal web. Using a growing set of free and simple tools and applications, it is easy to create a customized, personal web-based environment — a personal web — that explicitly supports one’s social, professional, learning, and other activities.
Timeframe: 4-5 years…
Semantic-aware applications. New applications are emerging that are bringing the promise of the semantic web into practice without the need to add additional layers of tags, identifiers, or other top-down methods of defining context.
Smart objects. While the underlying technologies that make this possible — RFID, QR codes, smartcards, touch and motion sensors, and the like — are not new, we are now seeing new forms of sensors, identifiers, and applications with a much more generalizable set of functionalities.
You can read the press release for detail, but here is a summary of Verizon Business' list of 10 hot trends for 2009:
Enterprise 2.0: Web 2.0 is quickly evolving into Enterprise 2.0 as these rich capabilities are creating new business models for some companies and empowering new strategies for others. Look for Enterprise 2.0 to help organizations take their game to the next level through enhanced collaboration, communications and sharing ideas.
Work as Activity Versus Place: Companies will continue to recognize the productivity-boosting benefits of enabling mobile teleworkers or at-home teleworkers. Telework, including new high-definition virtual meetings, will create an increased focus on work as an activity versus a physical location.
Doing More with Less: Businesses and governments everywhere are looking for ways to do more with less. In 2009, it's all about productivity. Companies can choose which functions to keep in-house and which to hand off to a third party.
Visual Communications: Video will continue to play a starring role, as companies make the most of their IP connections to create a culture of collaboration. From the boardroom to the desktop to the laptop to the mobile phone, more collaboration will take place, as companies increasingly embrace the cost-savings, productivity and environmental benefits of virtual meetings versus business travel.
Unified Communications Integrated Into Business Processes: With UC now at the forefront of business communications strategies, companies are making decisions about voice telephony that will help them achieve greater collaboration and productivity. What's next: UC integrated into automated business processes, where human and machine intelligence commingle in an IP world to drive even greater business growth.
Ready, Set Go IPv6: IPv6 will be a necessity for companies to achieve mobility and scalability with increased efficiency and ultimately move their businesses forward.
Getting SaaSy: Buying computing resources a la carte will help companies control costs while attaining the security, performance, scalability and reliability required for the enterprise.
360 Security: Three hundred sixty-degree security, mandatory on any IT checklist, requires that the flow of data be protected in and out of the corporate network and through the extended enterprise of widespread and mobile customers, partners, suppliers and employees.
Eco-Responsibility as Sound Business Strategy: Companies will evaluate eco-responsibility along with their technology investments as part of an overall business strategy. Corporate social responsibility is becoming increasingly important in how companies are viewed by their employees, customers and investors.
Cutting Through the Compliance Clutter: In 2009, expect more, not less, with IT in the hot seat for ensuring IT systems are fully compliant and all the right controls are in place. "Smart" tools will allow an organization to quickly review whether its partners, customers and suppliers, which form an extended network, are complying with relevant standards and regulations, a critical consideration in today's increasingly connected world.
Number 2 and 4 seems to be potential big trends as business travel is expected to be cut big time in 2009. I am also interested in seeing how #5 develops this year.
As this is from Verizon, of course it is slanted towards communications technology. But that is okay as I think it is best to cast a wide net when trying to understand trends. This list from Verizon can help us understand some of the issues going on in mobile communications. We can use this list to dive deeper into any of these trends identified above and make our own assessments.
Another article from CIO.com titled 10 Websites That Will Matter in 2009 also caught my eye. I am always interested in articles like this as they almost always have a few new websites that I have never heard of before, but are pushing the envelope of Web 2.0 and web services. This article did just that.
Take a look at this list of ten web sites. They all have the potential to generate lots of buzz in 2009. A few of them might become among your most favorite sites.
TV.com:TV.com (http://www.tv.com/). owned by CBS, has been relaunched with full-length programs (movies and prime-time TV shows). In addition you can find promo clips, cast profiles, interviews, and discussions. The big question in 2009 is will tv.com mount a big enough challenge to Hulu? Right now Hulu (owned in part by NBC) has momentum and video quality on their side.
Qik: Qik (http://www.qik.com/) provides a platform where you can easily stream and share live video from your mobile or cell phone cameral. You can even set it up to send the video straight to YouTube, your blog, or to your page on Facebook.
Boxee: Boxee (http://www.boxee.tv/) is designed to collect video from all over the web (Hulu, YouTube, CNN.com, and many others) and put it in a very neat and easy-to-use interface that you can access via a PC or on your TV. Currently available only on Apple / Linux machines, the company says it is working on a Windows version.
Blackberry Application Storefront: Research in Motion (RIM), learning a lesson from the Iphone playbook, is opening up a store for independently developed BlackBerry apps, called the BlackBerry Application Storefront. This page is not open, but you can check for it at BlackBerry signup page on the Storefront
Loopt: Finding friends and then things to do with those friends has never been easier. Loopt (http://www.loopt.com/) shows you a map, and your position on it, and also the positions of your mobile friends who are in the vicinity. Then Loopt detects businesses in the area and makes suggestions based on your interests or specific queries ("beer, pizza, bowling").
Blip.fm: Blip.fm (http://www.blip.fm/) really is like Twitter for music. A social networking place for people who enjoy music. What you see at the site is a scrolling list of people's song choices with their short comments about them. These are called Blips. You can listen to the "blipped" songs as they come up, or skip up and down the list to songs you like. And that is just the start of all the fun you can have on this site.
Power.com: Power.com (http://www.power.com/) operates on the premise that many of us now belong to several social networking sites and that it is a hassle to log in and post to each site separately. Power.com lets you log in once, then view (and post to) any of a long list of social networking sites that you sync the service up with–all from one place. One thing to watch in 2009 is their stormy relationship with Facebook.
Tweetag: Designed to feed off the Twitter buzz, Tweetag (http://www.tweetag.com/) is a sort of search engine for "tweets." It allows you to look for trends in what is being publicly discussed on Twitter, and, more importantly, find discussions of things that matter to you.
Hi5: Hi5 (http://www.hi5.com/) is the third largest social network in the world, with 40 percent of the members coming from Spanish-speaking countries. It has been growing rapidly and has some great features not found on other sites.
Tripit: Tripit (http://www.tripit.com/) wants to be your travel assistant. Tripit aggregates all of your travel reservation details and based on those details, automatically pulls in key information for you like maps, local attractions, dinner reservations, and weather reports, and wraps it up in an easy-to-use master itinerary.
I've seen Tripit hyped before, so that sounds like a winner. If you have not checked out Hulu (mentioned above in the tv.com entry, you should check that one out.
I think in 2009 and 2010 we will see a ton of new sites like these that launch new and exciting services. Can't wait to see them…
I've been interested in understanding what the future of the Internet will look like for sometime. The current term for it is Web 3.0. Once element of Web 3.0 will be a better architecture for the Internet called the Semantic Web.
The Semantic web movement is all about making it easy for software agents to find, share and integrate information more easily. This is a complex job as there there has been a huge increase in non-structured data (blogs, wikis, videos, podcasts, and other web 2.0 tools). The idea is to create conceptual relationships between things found on the Internet.
In a recent article on ReadWrite Web, the author provided a list of the top semantic products of 2008.
Yahoo! SearchMonkey.SearchMonkey allows developers to build applications on top of Yahoo! search, including allowing site owners to share structured data with Yahoo!, using semantic markup, standardized XML feeds, APIs, and page extraction.
Powerset (acquired by Microsoft in '08) Powerset is a natural language search engine.
Open Calais.Calais is a toolkit of products that enable users to incorporate semantic functionality within their blog, content management system, website or application.
Dapper MashupAds.Dapper MashupAds delivers ads based on the content of a webpage. For example, web publishers tell Dapper the place on their web page where the title of a movie will appear, and Dapper delivers a banner ad that's related to whatever movie this page happens to be about.
Hakia.Hakia is a search engine focusing on natural language processing methods to try and deliver 'meaningful' search results. Hakia attempts to analyze the concept of a search query, in particular by doing sentence analysis.
Tripit.Tripit is an app that manages your travel planning. With TripIt, you forward incoming bookings to email@example.com and the system manages the rest.
BooRah.BooRah, a restaurant review site, can recognize praise and criticism in reviews and then rate restaurants accordingly.
BlueOrganizer (AdaptiveBlue).BlueOrganizer gives you added information about webpages you visit and offers useful links based on the subject matter. A new product, called Glue. connects you to your friends based around things like books, music, movies, stars, artists, stocks, wine, restaurants, and more.
Zemanta.Zemanta is a blogging tool which harnesses semantic technologies to add relevant content to your posts. Users can now incorporate their own social networks, RSS feeds, and photos into their blog posts.
UpTake. Semantic search startup UpTake (formerly Kango) aims to make the process of booking travel online easier. UpTake is a vertical search engine that has assembled what it says is the largest database of US hotels and activities – over 400,000 of them – from more than 1,000 different travel sites.
As semantic technology adoption takes off, expect search engines to become much more effective than they are now. Users will find the precise information they are looking for and in much faster time than today. This could have a huge impact as mobile search begins to take off.