Consultant Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu has predicted that 2005 will be the year of mesh networks and nanotechnology. Fuel cell batteries are also maturing as a technology.
The predictions are included in a series of free technology and telecoms technology reports. The consultant says wireless “mesh” (or grid) networks will appear in several of the world’s major urban centres, helping local authorities to track equipment and assets, and allowing transportation companies to streamline services, check traffic flows and update schedules in real time.
In addition, Nanotechnology - the set of technologies that enables manipulation of structures and processes at the atomic level - will become increasingly mainstream, leading to a wide range of new products.
Deloitte says users will also spend billions of pounds on flat panel screens for large format devices such as televisions and computer monitors.
Meanwhile, ethanol-based fuel cells will launch commercially, potentially transforming the way people use portable computer devices, by providing flexible power that lasts for days, weeks or even months.
And electronic forms of personal identification for security reasons will proliferate, but identify theft and other digital crimes will still continue to wreak havoc.
Deloitte says growth in connected devices will lead to corresponding growth in computer viruses, worms and other malware. This will frustrate users and cost companies billions of pounds in downtime and lost data.
Robots will start to become an accepted part of our daily lives too, said Deloitte, particularly for household chores and other practical tasks.
Quantum computers, which are expected to far outstrip today’s fastest supercomputers, will continue to move towards commercial reality.
And technology development for space exploration will continue its shift to the private sector, providing “a new era of advancement and discovery”.
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu based its four reports, which also cover areas such as broadband take-up and mobile handset technology, on input from 5,000 of its consultants worldwide, industry analysts, and interviews with its clients.
The reports are available for download here: