Archive for January 15th, 2008

Three predictions for 2008

January 15, 2008
As the year turns it is traditional to offer a few predictions for the future. Part of my work with JISC involves thinking about the future of technology and commissioning reports about the direction that computing will take. So I’ve dusted down the office crystal ball and here are three thoughts for the year ahead:

1. Energy will become a major issue within the computer technology industry. Widespread public concern about climate change, particularly following the UK’s Stern report, is working in tandem with real business worries about the rapidly rising costs of electricity. This twin effect is forcing the computer industry to seriously review its technologies and processes in order to reduce energy consumption. JISC TechWatch plans a report on this subject later in the year.
2. Social networking will narrow but deepen. There is a certain amount of faddishness about a lot of the fuss around social networking. Given the amount of time it takes to keep your network up-to-date and handle the ‘pokings’, wall postings and other social network paraphernalia, along with the recent worries about privacy, I suspect that some of this activity will start to die off in 2008. Those who remain, however, are likely to develop deeper relationships with the technology, making use of more services and features.

3. The use of touch and gesture to interact with computers (‘haptics’ in the jargon) will take off. I noted in a previous post that Bill Gates has been talking about this for some time, and he was at it again in his final speech to the Consumer Electronics Show last week. Gates’s ability to drive the future of the industry may be fading as he heads into charity work and retirement, but I think he’s got it right on this one, mainly because the iPhone has firmly implanted the idea of haptics in the minds of the general public. Using your fingers and hands as much as, or instead of, a mouse is just so intuitive it will take off.