• United States
by Network World Staff and Lab Alliance

Ten predictions for the new year

Jan 09, 20063 mins
MobileNetworkingSmall and Medium Business

Last month we reviewed our 2005 predictions; now it’s time to turn our gaze on the new year.

Regulations are driving the corporate adoption of identity technology, so look for consolidation on standards, especially around federation (SAML 2.0 and WS-Federation) driven by user demand. In 2006 the concept of digital identity is likely to be the knot that will tie together IT decisions about privacy, access and security.

Endpoint security will get bigger in 2006, as industry players such as Cisco, Microsoft and Symantec try to convince the market to adopt their approaches. Although it is unclear whether large customers will buy in, our bet is this becomes a must-have.

On the wireless and mobility front, leading laptop vendors will build in support for EV-DO, the cellular CDMA technology used by Verizon and Sprint Nextel to support data rates of 400K to 700Kbps. Interest in WiMAX will abate until ’07 when the technology will gain support for mobility. Wi-Fi, on the other hand, will continue to gain steam in hotspots (approaching 100,000) and citywide and corporate deployments. Enterprises will focus on existing 802.11 products while the industry hashes out a compromise on the 100Mbps-plus 802.11n standard.

The big-four management vendors – BMC, CA, HP and IBM – will continue to acquire smaller players to add tools such as application-dependency mapping, network- and application-configuration management, operational automation tools and IT service-management capabilities. And expect the top companies, led by IBM, to move further into business-process management and optimization.

VoIP will move from bleeding-edge deployments to widespread displacement of traditional telephony and see continual introduction of new and innovative products.

Server technologies introduced last year, such as dual-core and multicore chips, will become mainstream as buyers climb onboard. Watch for server virtualization to become more widespread, especially with Intel and AMD rolling out hardware-based technology in the coming months. Also, 64-bit computing on x86 systems will become more widely used, with 64-bit Windows gaining steam.

On the software front, enterprises will continue to build out service-oriented architectures and embrace open source options, but the big news will be the barrage of new software Microsoft will let loose. Vista, expected in the second half, will be the answer for buyers still using Windows 2000.

Despite rumors that the new AT&T will buy BellSouth, the telecom landscape will actually calm down in ’06 as the big players struggle to digest their ’05 prey.

Compliance won’t get any less expensive, but it will get easier as companies shift monies from payroll to technology.

Goofs that walk around with Bluetooth cell phone accessories cemented in their ears as if they’re expecting a critical call will give up the practice after realizing they look silly.