Thursday, April 3, 2008

Top ten disruptive technologies

Market researcher Gartner Inc. has forecast the top ten disruptive technologies for the next five years. Included in the list are multicore processors, social networking, web mashups, cloud computing, augmented reality, and more.

“Multicore processors are expanding the horizons of what’s possible with software, but single-threaded applications won’t be able to take advantage of their power,” according to Gartner Fellow David Cearley.

The research firm predicts that by 2010 web mashups, “which mix content from publicly available sources,” will be wend their way into around 80 percent of enterprise applications. “Because mashups can be created quickly and easily, they create possibilities for a new class of short-term or disposable applications that would not normally attract development dollars,” Cearley explains. “The ability to combine information into a common dashboard or visualise it using geo-location or mapping software is extremely powerful.”

Gartner believes that over the next five years, UIs (user interfaces) will evolve significantly from a hardware perspective. New and emerging UI hardware technologies cited by Gartner include OLEDs (organic light-emitting displays), digital paper and billboards, holographic and 3D imaging, and smart fabric.

A variety of innovations are expected to come from the incorporation of accelerometers into devices, especially with the cost of accelerometer chips falling to around $1. For example, “Acceleration and attitude (tilt) can be combined with technologies such as wireless to perform functions such as ‘touch to exchange business cards,’” suggests Cearley.

Regarding the potential impact of social networking on enterprise applications, Cearley notes that “Social software provides a platform that encourages participation and feedback from employees and customers alike. The added value for businesses is being able to collect this feedback into a single point that reflects collective attitudes, which can help shape a business strategy.”

Here’s Gartner’s complete list of what it expects to be the top ten disruptive technologies over the coming five years:
  • Multicore and hybrid processors
  • Virtualization and fabric computing
  • Social networks and social software
  • Cloud computing and cloud/Web platforms
  • Web mashups
  • User Interface
  • Ubiquitous computing
  • Contextual computing
  • Augmented reality
  • Semantics

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