10 Mega-Trends for IT in 2008: Page 2

Posted December 12, 2007

James Maguire

James Maguire

(Page 2 of 3)

5) A Flood of Web gadgets extends the mobile Internet

2008 will be the year of the small mobile device whose function falls in the gap between notebook PCs and smartphones. Think “alternative to the iPhone.” Web connected, consumer priced, simple to use, long battery life.

“The iPod Touch and the Kindle are just the beginning,” Gens says, predicting that dozens of these units will be launched in 2008.

A key driver: prices of PCs have now fallen so low that these gadgets are in the same ballpark, price-wise. Consumer will be able to get a mobile “pocket PC” for about the same as a low-end desktop. “285 million PCs will be shipped in 2008,” Gens says. Simultaneously, “We’re going to see 200 million portable media players, and about 150 million or more smartphones.”

6) All mobile network operators will join the Open Internet

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In the bad old days of AOL vs. the Web (in the mid ‘90s), America Online kept its users corralled in a narrow online space – yes, you were online, but you don’t want to look at non-AOL pages, do you? In a similar dynamic, in 2008 many players in the telecom industry will (reluctantly) follow Verizon’s lead by opening up their network to an array of devices and applications.

Google’s effort to liberate the mobile handset with the Open Handset Alliance – and the avalanche of online services – will create market pressure that’s hard to fight, in IDC’s view. “Walled gardens imprison the gardener,” Gens says. The only way for the mobile operators to grow is to open up and invite a community of others.

The Kindle, for example, simplifies access for the mobile book reader because Amazon inked a deal to provide wide-ranging content. “That’s the kind of model that mobile operators will need to do,” he says.

7) Social networking will drive “Eureka 2.0” software and sites

Unless you live in a Tibetian monastery, you’ve noticed the exponential rise of social networking sites, from MySpace to YouTube to Digg to Wikipedia. This phenomenon “is going to drive an avalanche of digital information to almost 400 billion gigabytes,” Gens says. (Up from 255 billion gigabytes in 2007.)

However, “Rather than helping people and companies discover the wisdom of crowds, we think the explosion of unstructured information from these systems is going to more often create a cacophony of crowds,” he says.

To help make sense of this info-deluge, a vibrant new crop of software will spring up in 2008. IDC dubs these new applications “Eureka 2.0” software. These apps will leverage text analytics, sentiment extraction and – one of today’s hot buzzwords – semantic search. This software will help companies by monitoring brand perception, customer satisfaction levels, and new product ideas.

As a related development, content distribution networks will blossom by at least 30 percent in 2008, attracting a crowd of new players – most probably telecom concerns like AT&T, in IDC’s forecast. Leaders like Akamai and Limelight Networks will see additional competition.

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