HorizonWatch: Top IT Technology Trends To Watch In 2008

Horizon pic earthviewYesterday, I posted a list of important General Trends impacting the IT industry in 2008.  Today’s post contains a list of important IT Technology Trends for 2008 as developed by the HorizonWatch team I am on.  These represent IT industry related technology trends that we feel are significant to warrant increased attention during the 2008 calendar year.  We will be watching these from our role in HorizonWatch and thought you would be interested in seeing them. 

Top Technology Trends Impacting The IT Industry

1.  Green Data Center:  This trend is all about helping companies reduce thei overall power consumption of IT systems.  In addition, the increased use of IT for business processes, the consolidation of workloads and increasing availability of bandwidth have driven the size of data centers and driven the power density in these data centers exponentially.  There is an emerging market need to design, construct and manage new data centers with higher energy efficiencies as well as improve the energy efficiency of existing data centers.  From the CIO’s perspective, they might not see it as a ‘Green Initiative’…they just know they need to optimize space, power, cooling and resiliency while improving operational management and reducing costs.

2.  Virtualization 2.0:  Virtualization technologies can improve IT resource utilization and increase the flexibility needed to adapt to changing requirements and workloads.  The next phase in virtualization technologies will be efforts that enable broader improvements in infrastructure cost reduction, flexibility and resiliency.  Virtualization is a technique for hiding the physical characteristics of computing resources from the way in which other systems, applications, or end-users interact with those resources. This includes making a single physical resource (such as a server, an operating system, an application, or storage device) appear to function as multiple logical resources; or it can include making multiple physical resources (such as storage devices or servers) appear as a single logical resource.

3.  Cloud Computing:  Cloud computing is an emerging approach to shared infrastructure in which large pools of systems are linked together to provide IT services.  The need for such environments is fueled by dramatic growth in connected devices, real-time data streams, and the adoption of service oriented architectures and Web 2.0 applications, such as mashups, open collaboration, social networking and mobile commerce.  Continuing advances in the performance of digital components has resulted in a massive increase in the scale of IT environments, driving the need to manage them as a unified cloud.  Cloud computing refers in general to software applications that are delivered over the Internet.  With cloud computing, organizations, such as companies or government agencies, can have access to massive amounts of computing power without having to expand their own data centers. In essence, computing is offered in the same way a utility offers water or electricity – on demand.  Examples of cloud computing range from Google’s Web services for consumers to Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud for businesses. 

4.  Software as a Service: Software as a service (SaaS) is a software application delivery model where a software vendor develops a web-native software application and hosts and operates (either independently or through a third-party) the application for use by its customers over the Internet. Customers do not pay for owning the software itself but rather for using it. They use the software through an API accessible over the Web and often written using Web Services or REST. The term SaaS has become the industry preferred term, generally replacing the earlier terms Application Service Provider (ASP) and On-Demand.

5.  Enterprise Web2.0 Mashups:  An enterprise mashup typically adds collaborative functionality, making the end result suitable for use as a business application.  Web “mashups” will drive many activities here. that combine data from more than one source into one integrated tool will be the dominant model for the creation of composite enterprise applications and will peak around 2012.  Mashup technologies will evolve significantly over the next five years, and application leaders must take this evolution into account when evaluating the impact of mashups and in formulating an enterprise mashup strategy.

6.  Information Management:  Information management is the collection and management of information from one or more sources and the distribution of that information to one or more audiences.  Information Management is a critical part of a company’s information infrastructure.  It enables optimization, abstraction and semantic reconciliation of metadata to support reuse, consistency, integrity and shareability.  One of the implications of this trend is that advanced analytics, rules/optimization engines, BPM, and information infrastructure will increasingly converge.

7.  Semantic Web:  The semantic 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).  As the semantic web takes hold, search engines will become more effective than they are now, and users can find the precise information they are hunting.  This could have a huge impact as mobile search begins to take off.

8.  SOA:  There’s been a lot of hype and buzz around SOA and it is all justified.  Companies are moving toward SOA to increase flexibility & agility by organizing business tasks as a set of reusable services or elements.  Increasingly business design requirements demand applications and technology silos be integrated with each other and SOA is a tool that helps IT achieve this required result.  Using SOA, IT applications that support business processes are restructured into reusable building blocks or ‘services’, which can be combined, configured, and reused to rapidly meet changing business needs in innovative, cost-effective ways.  

9.  The Security Imperative:  Security has shifted from technology discussion to a business imperative and has become a boardroom topic as the costs of ignoring it have become too apparent.   Being responsible for protecting people, property, and/or information is a formidable challenge that seems to change with the blink of an eye.  There are many threats that businesses and governments have to consider, including identity fraud, cyber attacks, suicide bombers. natural disasters. and pandemic threats.  Staying on top of the latest Security issues, strategies, and technologies is essential in preventing or mitigating emerging threats and in enhancing security for any organization.  Some of the emerging trends in 2008 will be a shift towards appliances, the emergence of multi-function security appliances, embedded security
, and advanced biometric solutions. 

10.  Emerging Country Provisioning Platform:  Provisioning configures required systems, provides users with access to data and technology resources, and refers to all enterprise-level information resource management involved (server, services, user, mobile subscriber, & mobile content).  There are a number of emerging economies that are making the leap to the Internet Age.  The Internet, along with mobile devices, can serve as a platform for citizens to access basic services, such as banking, healthcare and insurance.   There is a window of opportunity to establish a provisioning platform within these emerging economies. 

11.  Embedded Data Intelligence:  In the past 5 years businesses have been buying and installing all sorts of Networked Devices, including sensors, actuators, and controllers.  These devices are designed to deliver new data & act upon insights.   Clients are increasingly interested in to using these networked devices to help them establish a sense and respond framework that integrates both operational and business information to achieve the benefits of the real-time enterprise.   Embedded Data Intelligence solutions are designed to analyze the data collected from sensor networks that are monitoring physical objects and environments. By extracting useful events and insights from this data, organizations can now respond to new opportunities and threats and use this information to unleash new found business value and create innovative business models.

12.  Unified Communications:  The whole objective here is to move towards an integrated, single environment that offers the user a more complete and simpler experience. Gone are the days when voice and paper drove business communications.  Today, there are many tools that drive business communications and decisions.  So expect in 2008 that the march toward digital convergence and unified communications will pick up steam.  In the business enterprise, IP telephony has reached about 25 percent of the global market, with most organizations testing the waters for wider deployment.  The movement of Microsoft and others into this space will enhance its uptake.

13.  Speech Technology:  In 2008 advanced speech recognition and translation technology will continue to find its way into more applications, both enterprise and consumer.  Two areas to watch are

  • Real Time Language Translation…Moving to an on demand environment for the translation of the spoken and written word, including Speech to Speech, Speech to Text, and Text to Speech, and
  • Contact Center…Reducing labor costs by integrating speech technology into the Contact Center of the Future.

14.  Surface Computing:  A surface computer is a computer that interacts with the user through the surface of an ordinary object, rather than through a monitor and keyboard.  The category was created by Microsoft with Surface (codenamed Milan), the surface computer from Microsoft which was based entirely on a Multi-Touch interface and using a coffee-table like design, and was unveiled on 30 May 2007.  Users can interact with the machine by touching or dragging their fingertips and objects such as paintbrushes across the screen, or by setting real-world items tagged with special bar-code labels on top of it.  Watch for continued buzz around surface computing in 2008. 

As always…if you have any feedback or comments on this post, please let us know below…or via email if you wish.  Thanks!