What to Expect in '06

Next year will bring increased debate over security and privacy issues, growing use of smartphones and a greater adoption of VoIP, according to the author of Happy About Knowing What to Expect in 2006.
Posted November 22, 2005

Sharon Gaudin

Next year will bring increased debate over security and privacy issues, growing usage of smartphones and a greater adoption of VoIP, according to the author of Happy About Knowing What to Expect in 2006.

Mitchell Levy, director of Silicon Valley Executive Business Program and the chairman and partner of CEOnetworking, has been making business and high-tech predictions for the past seven years, putting them into book form the last couple of years. And he says that 2006 will continue to see the Internet change the way people communicate and do business.

''Don't expect the next big thing,'' he says. ''The next big thing is something we already have, but it will be utilized more effectively... It will be a year of continued utilization of the Internet to conduct business.''

Levy makes a series of predictions in his book, with some specifically pointed at the high-tech arena.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, security issues were under the spotlight. However, as time passed, so did some of the security concerns and diligence. That will change again in the coming year, according to Levy.

''We'll see a significant increase in security and privacy issues yet again,'' says Levy. ''As we increasingly embrace the Internet, we'll see a growing concern with security and privacy. We're going to see more technology that will handle it better. We'll also see more laws -- some will be good and some will not be. And we haven't dealt with spam and we haven't secured email, but a number of technologies will come out in that realm.

''We'll also talk about blog and instant messaging security policies and procedures,'' he adds. ''Corporations need to all have IM and blogging policies. The actual use of IM and blogging should be encouraged, but, at the same time, they need to have a policy in place so employees know what can and can't be done.''

Levy also focuses specifically on blogging, predicting that it will become so popular so quickly that virtually everyone can be a reporter of sorts.

''What we're starting to see now is the average person able to become a journalist, creating blogs and podcasts, sharing photos, sharing stories,'' says Levy. ''We're talking about the CEO of a company having a blog or doing media blasts. We're talking about the average 14-year-old who makes his own movies. We'll also see a redefinition of the concept of a movie. It won't always be thought of as an hour-and-half to two hours. We'll see a movie that's two to six minutes that we can play on our cell phones or our iPods.''

Good Times for Project Managers

Some of Levy's predictions take on a larger scope.

The author says the backlash against offshoring will begin to dry up in the coming year and companies will start to plan an even larger offshoring push. This move will mean that few business sectors will be unaffected by outsourcing and offshoring. It also means that project managers will become even more critical to the business, driving up their salaries and status.

''There's nothing that will be left untapped. There will be no vertical that isn't touched by outsourcing,'' says Levy. ''This also will increase the usage of VoIP, video conferencing and instant messaging -- allowing us to stay in touch with outsourcing bases around the world.''

Levy also predicts that:

  • Advertising budgets will continue to move online. While newspapers and magazines experience a drop in ad revenue, online advertising will flourish;
  • VoIP adoption will accelerate;
  • Mobile commerce, already popular in Europe and Asia, will pick up steam in the U.S. For instance, chips in smartphones will act like digital wallets, allowing users to pay for a soda from a vending machine by simply waving your phone in front of a scanner.
  • Next year we'll begin to see the signs of an employee shortage. With baby boomers starting to retire, skilled, experienced workers will become harder to find. Levy says that within two years, the workforce will be a few million people shy of what's needed. And within 10 years, it will be a 10 million person shortage.

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