Last year, same time, the world economy was undergoing a crisis, and I'd written about how the slowdown could be treated as an opportunity in itself. The slowdown went from bad to worse over the course of the year, and it actually became the worst one we've seen in so many decades. Back then, I'd written that the slowdown was a way for the market to correct itself, and is a normal part of the economic cycle. My advice was to focus on using IT during the slowdown to improve efficiency, reduce costs and cut complacency, etc. We did see that happening, with organizations trimming their IT budget, and using IT to save cost, and automate business processes to improve efficiency.
But now, we're now seeing a gradual revival of the economy. The light at the end of the tunnel is visible, indicating signs of recovery. Consumer spending is back, the bell-weather of the economy-the sensex, is soaring again, hiring is back, and there's a general, positive sentiment every where. So the obvious question is, which technologies to look forward to for the future? Where to spend in IT, now that the market is starting to look up again?
On one side, I clearly see a paradigm shift in client computing. This includes smartphones, notebooks, netbooks, and high speed data cards, which are allowing people to work from anywhere. And with 3G around the corner, you'll have even more applications available while on the move. So mobile workforce management would definitely be something to be prepared for.
On the other side are technologies like virtualization, which are moving the basic desktop PC into the data center and improving the utilization of other hardware like servers, storage, and even the network. These are definitely here to stay, and are completely changing the data center architecture and how it's to be managed.
A logical extension of virtualization is Green IT, which is about energy efficiency. Virtualization reduces the amount of hardware in the data center, but at the same time, it increases equipment density. For instance, if you were using multiple rack servers spread across the data center earlier, with virtualization, you will end up using blade servers in a single rack. This would change the power and cooling requirements.
Between client computing and data center lie the binding technologies, which are bringing everything (and everyone) together--unified communication and collaboration, cloud computing, and the web, which includes exciting technologies for social networking, building Rich Internet Apps, etc. One thing that's clearly the way forward in communication is video, and you'll see more of it getting adopted everywhere, be it enterprises or consumers. Then of course, information security is becoming a key concern, with data moving beyond the PC to so many mobile devices, and in so many formats.
So lots of exciting times lie ahead of us in 2010. It's now time to come out of the shells we were forced to get into during the slowdown, and start exploring these hot new technologies.