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As we approach the dawning of a new year I wanted to step back and reflect on what happened this past year in the industry and think through where the technology industry is headed in the coming year. The past year held many great technological advancements made by us humans, and while we now have some flying cars and our first space port - these advancements are still a ways off and this list is a bit closer to home. Make sure to check out the futuristic concept video at the end!!
1. Terabyte, Petabyte, Exabyte, Zettabyte, Yottabyte (which is unfortunately not spelled after my favorite Jedi Master)
The human race is generating data at an alarming rate. We are expected to have over 988 Exabytes of information stored by the end of 2010 - which is equivalent to a stack of books reaching to Pluto and back! Increasing adoption of social networks as well as continued engineering and scientific research will continue to push that number up by nearly 15 petabytes per day....that's more information than is contained in all the U.S. Libraries - times 8! All this data must be stored, sorted, queried, and searched - working for a company all about data seems to be a good idea; we're going to be busy for years...
2. Mobile will dominate.
Mobile development is growing at a breakneck pace and won't slow down in 2011 - it will only get faster. Devices continue to get smaller, faster, and more functional; adding value to our lives and integrating in new and exciting ways we never thought possible (augmented reality is one area I'm particularly excited in). However, this growth is just now starting to be really useful to the enterprise user. Tablets like the iPad continue to give birth to enterprise applications which leads to real value for business leaders who need to view critical business data on the go. By tying these mobile devices to the enterprise cloud, this trend is only going to accelerate in 2011.
3. The cloud is changing software forever.
We've been trying to get real time collaboration in the enterprise for many years, and the cloud is starting to make that possible. The more data that is securely in the cloud means that the laptops and other devices can access critical business data wherever they are (think about the new database.com!). Add to this the ability to chat, text message, chatter, skype, and share the creation of documents and data in the cloud and you can see that this is enabling us to be free from our desks and colloborate with anyone...anywhere.
4. Cost Saving is now a way of life.
The recession has made a significant impact on the spending of millions of indivituals and families - and has done the same for large companies. Resources will be added as IT shops loosen the purse strings a bit in '11, but the return on the investment must be high. Smaller staffs and shorter timelines means that the software and systems need to earn their living and making purchases will require that business cases and value be discussed at a level of detail way beyond what we saw before the recession.
5. Video Conferencing will explode.
With the need for real face to face interactions, applications that allow you to do more than just voice chat on the go will explode this year (think FaceTime and Skype Video). Increasingly faster wireless networks will give rise to engaging business applications centered on face to face interaction using video instead of just vocal conversations.
6. Biomedical Engineering will continue to prolong human longevity.
As technology gets better and more portable, we will continue to see new advancements in the area of biomedical engineering. Doctors will increasingly be seen with tablet computers and devices that integrate with these tablets - measuring, montioring, and displaying critical patient vitals in real-time. Faster network access will allow real-time collaboration between hospitals, and research in robotic surgery will continue to make strides (although we're a few years from mainstream).
7. Companies will show increasing care for Mother Earth.
Being labeled as "green" is a big deal. Our new offices have motion sensors for the lights, floor to celining glass walls to let in natural light and heat, and our headquarters have installed plugs for electric cars. Our network admins have been virtualizing to save power and we are really starting to see great results in terms of space and power. All these technologies are not only saving our company money, they make us feel better as we continue to ensure that we do the right things to take care of our home as we float through space. Now where is that Carbon footprint calculator....
That's it for the list! I continue to be an eternal optimist and love seeing the difference we can make in the lives of others by advancing technology. To help imagine some of the possibilities, check out this video from Microsoft on what the future may look like.....live long and prosper!
As Senior Director of Research & Development, Jesse is responsible for the daily operations, product development initiatives and forward looking research for Progress DataDirect. Jesse has spent nearly 20 years creating enterprise data products and has served as an expert on several industry standards including JDBC, J2EE, DRDA and OData. Jesse holds a bachelor of science degree in Computer Engineering from North Carolina State university.
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