Michael Pincher gazes into his crystal ball and offers up his predictions as to what's in store for us in the year ahead - and some suggestions of alternative career paths just in case the downturn does its worst to the world of tech!
If you could see things coming, would you want to look? Fortunately, as we know so little about the future, prediction is neither an art nor a science. However, in an attempt to seek order from chaos, here are my insights into the technology trends to watch in 2009.
Following a radical consolidation in the communicatons industry the number of vendors will halve. Check out your supplier and develop a Plan B - you might need it.
As online video streaming and mass downloading increase with more people finding themselves 'at home' during the day, we will inch towards a network crunch, with less bandwidth available than is required to meet demand.
Anti-social networking technologies will take off as people 1) realise they don't know how to make use of personal connections forged online and 2) a silo mentality starts to develop between those with jobs and money and those without.
Business Intelligence, a technology intended to improve decision making from strategy to operations, fall into disrepute as its take-up by the banking industry is no longer seen as the endorsement it once was.
Demand for IT projects will drop off the cliff in January, raising an early warning flag for service providers looking to book new projects in 2009. IT contractors will bear the brunt of cuts in a cost-constrained world as CIOs look to cut their costs on application-related development and maintenance work.
Return on investment
ROI is the name of the game for 2009. CIOs will be buying on a need versus want basis and will be downsizing deals to fit within current constraints and searching for solutions with a high and fast ROI. The greatest potential for cost reduction is in the area of networking equipment and the purchases of personal computer systems, servers and storage - so expect demand for these to fall.
What’s hot - not!
Hot-button technologies such as as cloud computing, grid computing and open-source software deployments will see a slowing down of interest as CIOs rely on tested, well-understood technologies that result in savings or increased business efficiencies, the support of which can be more easily argued from a financial point of view. IT will come under the firm control of the financial director.
RFID tagging, however, will heat up, particularly when applied to paper to safeguard confidential information and intellectual property. Expect Her Majesty's Government to realise its benefits and to initiate a project to install RFID chips on every ID card, with a link to the DNA database.
Invasive technology is with us. Your 'embedded mouse'will monitor productivity, competence and stress levels and alert HR if you are in need of a service. Very soon they’ll be able to track you on Google based internet wireless video.
Video conferencing may not be sexy but with organisations under huge pressure to reduce their environmental damage footprint and to cut costs internally, the time and expense taken by travel will start to look wasteful. Forget the chance for a coffee with colleagues - video and telephone conferencing is the way ahead.
Environmental regulations will multiply and constrain companies in the building of data centres as the effect of power grids, carbon emissions and other environmental impacts comes under scrutiny.
As most readers are addicts, eBooks will see a boom in demand as people seek escapism and the mobile device comes of age.
End of the line - all change!
Finally, if working in the IT industry has finally become too much, here is a list of some careers likely to do well in a downturn, in case you fancy making the switch!
- Riot controller
- Genetic counsellor
- Security system technician
- Occupational therapist
Here's to 2009!