2012 tech predictions: From IDG's editors worldwide

Consumerization of IT is the consensus choice of the new year's major technology force, one that will manifest itself in several forms

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Georgina Swan, editor, CIO Australia

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Most significant story of 2011 : Without doubt, it was the death of Steve Jobs. His impact on the IT landscape was profound and incomparable, and the industry is richer for it. It may seem strange -- and perhaps a bit macabre -- that the biggest IT story of 2011 was of somebody's death. But it wasn't just about the death of an IT visionary -- it was about Jobs's life, his achievements, his drive, and ultimately his legacy. If you want a poster child for the consumerization of IT, it's the iPad. Enough said.

: Without doubt, it was the death of Steve Jobs. His impact on the IT landscape was profound and incomparable, and the industry is richer for it. It may seem strange -- and perhaps a bit macabre -- that the biggest IT story of 2011 was of somebody's death. But it wasn't just about the death of an IT visionary -- it was about Jobs's life, his achievements, his drive, and ultimately his legacy. If you want a poster child for the consumerization of IT, it's the iPad. Enough said.

2012 crystal ball: I believe the trend toward mobile technologies still has some way to play out in the enterprise; organizations are, at this stage, just beginning to understand the implications these technologies will have on the workforce in terms of productivity. The undercurrent of the mobile trend is the consumerization of IT, and once CIOs understand how best to enable their organizations in this regard, we will begin to see some very innovative business implementations.

Matt Egan, editor, PC Advisor, IDG U.K.

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Most significant story of 2011 : From PC Advisor's consumer tech perspective, 2011 has been the year when the shift from desktop to mobile went from theory to reality for our readers. Head and shoulders above all other products in this space is, of course, the iPad, but the really significant product that launched in 2011 was Android 3 "Honeycomb." Why? To be selfish for a moment, writing about something as diverse, buggy, infuriating, malleable, and fun as Android makes an editor's life a lot more interesting than talking about plain old Windows for the desktop and iOS on tablets. Much more important, for the first time since the original iPad launched, Apple now has genuine rivals in the third-device space, as manufacturers such as Sony and -- in particular -- Samsung have twisted Android and created great products in sizes ranging from 2 inches to 12 inches.

: From PC Advisor's consumer tech perspective, 2011 has been the year when the shift from desktop to mobile went from theory to reality for our readers. Head and shoulders above all other products in this space is, of course, the iPad, but the really significant product that launched in 2011 was Android 3 "Honeycomb." Why? To be selfish for a moment, writing about something as diverse, buggy, infuriating, malleable, and fun as Android makes an editor's life a lot more interesting than talking about plain old Windows for the desktop and iOS on tablets. Much more important, for the first time since the original iPad launched, Apple now has genuine rivals in the third-device space, as manufacturers such as Sony and -- in particular -- Samsung have twisted Android and created great products in sizes ranging from 2 inches to 12 inches.

2012 crystal ball: Next year is all about Windows 8: a point upgrade for the desktop, perhaps, in that it merely adds an app store and the Metro interface to Windows 7. But in the mobile and tablet space, we should have a three-way shootout among iOS, Android, and Windows. It will rationalize in time, but it makes next year look like a lot of fun for us.

Eric Knorr, editor-in-chief, InfoWorld

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Most significant story of 2011 : I'd have to choose the consumerization of IT -- that is, using commercial mobile apps, cloud applications, and social networks for business purposes. It's similar to the 1980s' PC revolution: "The IT department can't give me what I need, so I'm going to go out and buy technology with or without IT's approval." It will take a while for IT to hammer out workable policy frameworks around consumerization to reduce security/compliance risks and avoid redundancy and fragmentation.

: I'd have to choose the consumerization of IT -- that is, using commercial mobile apps, cloud applications, and social networks for business purposes. It's similar to the 1980s' PC revolution: "The IT department can't give me what I need, so I'm going to go out and buy technology with or without IT's approval." It will take a while for IT to hammer out workable policy frameworks around consumerization to reduce security/compliance risks and avoid redundancy and fragmentation.

2012 crystal ball: I believe the private cloud is going to pick up momentum. Basically, IT is under enormous pressure to increase agility and effectiveness -- by adopting technologies and techniques pioneered by public cloud service providers. On the one hand, we have VMware creating a huge stack of solutions to manage everything from virtual servers to storage to enterprise applications; on the other we have OpenStack, an open source effort for handling much the same stuff, with backing from Cisco, Citrix, Dell, HP, and others. The bottom line is that IT managers need to boost efficiency dramatically or risk losing chunks of their operations to public cloud providers. It will be fascinating to watch that play out.

Elizabeth Heichler, editor-in-chief, IDG News Service

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Most significant story of 2011 : 2011 was the year social media really came into its own as an effective tool for political activism. Nothing underscores that more than the day in late January when Egypt's embattled government realized technology was a weapon, and in an unprecedented move pulled the plug on the country's connections to the Internet and took down mobile phone service. Egyptians regained access to technology and used it as a powerful organizing tool in the Arab Spring that ultimately ended the Mubarak regime. Even in the U.S., would the phrase "the 99 percent” have entered our lexicon so quickly without Twitter and the #ows hashtag?

: 2011 was the year social media really came into its own as an effective tool for political activism. Nothing underscores that more than the day in late January when Egypt's embattled government realized technology was a weapon, and in an unprecedented move pulled the plug on the country's connections to the Internet and took down mobile phone service. Egyptians regained access to technology and used it as a powerful organizing tool in the Arab Spring that ultimately ended the Mubarak regime. Even in the U.S., would the phrase "the 99 percent” have entered our lexicon so quickly without Twitter and the #ows hashtag?

2012 crystal ball: Many unresolved fights over intellectual property in the technology industry will play out in the coming year. The most closely watched lawsuits target Google's Android operating system and devices that use it, but they do not appear to be slowing Android's momentum in the mobile space going into 2012.

T.C. Seow, editor, CIO Asia

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Most significant story of 2011 : The tsunami in Japan. Aside from numerous lives lost, various businesses were either destroyed or so adversely affected that global supplies of products and materials took months to restore. A timely reminder for CIOs to look beyond the obvious when implementing business continuity and disaster recovery plans.

: The tsunami in Japan. Aside from numerous lives lost, various businesses were either destroyed or so adversely affected that global supplies of products and materials took months to restore. A timely reminder for CIOs to look beyond the obvious when implementing business continuity and disaster recovery plans.

2012 crystal ball: Tablets will go mainstream. More powerful tablet devices will replace desktops and laptops for email, social computing, communications, and knowledge sharing.

Pedro Fonseca, editor-in-chief, and João Nóbrega, editor, Computerworld Portugal

Most significant story of 2011: Cloud computing. As it evolved from theory to lots of products and services, it created new companies (and jobs). And it will not stop there, consolidating as a market reality for the coming years.

2012 crystal ball: BYOS (bring your own security). We see the convergence of virtualization, mobile devices, cloud services, unified communications (voice and data), and a mix of new devices (smartphones, tablets) that are moving from the personal side to the corporate environment. In this context, the IT/security team will have to deal with big challenges in 2012: to allow and choose in which circumstances these devices can go into the company. They have to cope with how to manage smartphones, tablets, etc. that have corporate apps in a device also used for personal needs. The security of devices and networks will be a great challenge next year.

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