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2011 Outlook: Better than 2010 and really wild

Backspin By , Network World
January 03, 2011 06:07 AM ET
Gibbs

Network World - Well my friends, 2010 was quite a year and as is our want, in this, the first issue of the New Year, we throw caution to the winds, dust off our crystal balls and, seeing as we're all consenting adults, indulge in a little hardcore prognostication. But before we head off into the wild blue yonder, let's take a look at my forecasting for last year.

I began with generalities (always a safe way to go), opining that 2010 would be "the year of recovery, the year of realigning that which needs aligning, along with cleaning up what's dirty, polishing up what's tarnished, primping up what's, er, unprimped, and pimping up that which is unpimped. In short, generally getting ourselves out of the morass of negativity and gloom that was 2009."

In a broad sense I think I was right on this (I get one point) but the recovery has definitely been softer than expected and my thought that "confidence is going to be erratic" was pretty much spot on (I get another point).

Read about what can be expected in 2011 in the tech industry as well

As a "re-digression" (if such a thing there be) of the digression in last year's column, I'm pleased to note that the prediction by Igor Panarin that the U.S. would split into six parts starting in June 2010 as a result of "a civil war triggered by mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation", didn't come to fruition. We may have had the economic collapse and we certainly have the moral degradation, but no civil war, so, Igor, it looks like you lost that bet.

As for the rest: I predicted user experience engineering becoming more important and I was right, sort of (score a half point); data warehouse analytics, huge but not as talked about as I expected (another half point); enterprises forging ahead with server virtualization (check, one point); large scale enterprise adoption of cloud computing despite the risks and the gotchas (check, one point); Windows 7 a success (check, one point); Android-based cell phones taking the gloss off the iPhone market (check, one point); netbook market exploding in 2010 ... well, if you include the Apple iPad I was spot on and even without the iPad, I was generally right (one point).

Net neutrality? Unfortunately I was right about this being a big issue and the FCC's recent announcement that it will sort of regulate the ISPs for wired access but not wireless (thanks a lot Eric Schmidt) is going to lead us into a frenzy of legal wrangling over 2011 and quite possibly on into the future ad nauseum (big check, one point).

Social networking in the enterprise, both inbound and internal, was a huge issue so, check again (one point) although y'all still haven't really got to grips with this trend. And finally government monitoring and data collection of civilians continues at an unashamedly rapid pace. Check again (one point).

I make that a total of 11 out of 12; not at all bad I'd say.

So, that leads us to 2011 and what we might have in store for us. This year instead of shouldering the mantle myself, I threw out the question to everyone and their brothers to see what they are expecting and the responses have been interesting. In the following I've cited the first person to raise the topic, so if your name is missing, sorry, you were pipped to the post.

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