POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 19, 2010
As the year winds down, we pull out our crystal ball (yes, there is an app for that) and try to predict what we'll see with respect to technology in 2011. A couple of hot topics come to mind.
First, while we have talked at length here about the various flavors of cloud computing, only one has really taken hold and we expect that to continue throughout 2011. This is Software as a Service, or SaaS. Under a SaaS model, businesses and government agencies basically rent software and use it over the Internet.
The most popular SaaS applications include e-mail, customer relationship management and travel and expense management. In 2011, we expect the use of SaaS to continue to increase. As organizations become more comfortable with this model, it will include more sensitive data, such as financial and human resource management.
Other cloud computing services will continue to lag in adoption. This includes PaaS, or Platform-as-a-Service, where you pay for operating system and hardware, but run your own software, or its close relative, Infrastructure-as-a-Service or IaaS, where you pay for use of hardware only. These offerings are in low demand, and not as well understood in the marketplace as SaaS. It will be at least another year before the general business community even attempts to adopt such offerings.
Another area where we expect to see large growth in 2011 is in software for mobile devices, including smart phones and tablet computers. There will, however, be pains associated with such growth. Typically when new computing platforms are introduced, the associated software takes a while to really mature.
Think about it: When the World Wide Web was initially introduced to the general public, its first software application, if that is even an accurate term, was extremely rudimentary. Folks raved about it because of the medium more so than any type of advanced functionality. After the initial buzz, there was a period where software developers tried to implement advanced features that were not quite ready for prime time. It really wasn't until at least the early 2000s that web-based software became as reliable as what we were used to on earlier platforms such as personal computers or mainframes.
We expect to see this same pattern with mobile software applications. Most mobile software is more rudimentary than their Web-, Wintel-, or Unix-based counterparts. The popularity of such applications is based largely on form rather than function. Software developers are now trying to cram in additional features. As such, we predict that mobile software introduced in 2011 will be more feature laden, but buggier than what has been experienced in the past. By the end of 2011, however, the platform will stabilize and mobile based software use will greatly increase.
Our last prediction for 2011 is actually one for 2010: UH 38, Tulsa 17.