As both an author and as a technical consultant, I am fairly opinionated in terms of what I expect for next year (tomorrow!). Here are my predictions:
  • There will be pressure to reduce IT expenditures. Increasing trend to favor outsourcing deployment platform (e.g., Google AppEngine and Heroku), infrastructure (e.g., Amazon AWS, RackSpace, both relational and NoSLQ data stores), and software as a service (e.g., CRM, etc.). Cloud computing gets more real.
  • Research will be concentrated on shorter term profits rather than long strategy. China might be an exception to this: a friend reports that he has seen willingness in China to fund very long term Artificial Intelligence research.
  • More people will spend more time using web based information and recreational resources using portable devices. There will be a shortage of wireless bandwidth in some areas.
  • Use of the Java platform will stay strong, but with more emphasis on alternative languages like JRuby, Scala, and Clojure.
  • Skills and education in data analysis, all types of modeling, text mining, and analytics will continue to be in increasing demand.
  • There will be well publicized sporadic failures by cloud service providers but customers will be tolerant because of cost savings.
  • The importance of the hugely increasing availability of all types of data will encourage development of new business areas like knowledge processing as a service.
  • Although the Semantic Web has seen slow adoption in the last decade, Linked Data, a new and more popular subset of the Semantic Web, will see wide adoption in the next few years.
  • The wide support for Linked Data will help make computer to computer interactions easier and more profitable.
  • Geo location will become increasing important. We are likely to see many interesting smaller scale systems using technology like PostGIS and Spatial Lucene that will be able to compete in local markets with Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.
  • I think that the next decade will be a time of micro web businesses: a huge number of small scale web portals that offer very specific services to a relatively small number of customers who are willing to pay a use fee. Most of these will be deployed on very low cost cloud hosting. Many of these will be tightly integrated with the Facebook platform, the Wave platform, etc.
  • In the next 10 years: the USA and Europe will become much less important in technical inovation because their large debt liabilities will create business and research unfriendly environments.
  • In the next 20 years: educated, creative, and/or generally productive people will identify more with similar people around the world than with people in their own countries who may get bogged down in what looks to be a crushing world wide economic collapse (but not quite as bad in developing countries). There will be more of a feeling of world wide citizenship, the world will evolve first into a safer place (a trend over the the last 20 years has seen more safety, less civilian deaths - something that most people don't realize) and then eventually into greater prosperity.
Next year looks like an exciting time in our industry!

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year