Ed Albro, editor, PC World
: I think the biggest technology story of 2011 was the use of social media to organize and report on the Arab Spring uprisings. Obviously, this revolution wasn't built on tweets alone. But when the embattled government of Egypt felt it needed to shut down the country's access to the Internet to maintain control, that shows the power of social media to organize the revolutionaries and inspire their supporters around the world.
2012 crystal ball: I believe 2012 might be the year that privacy finally comes to the forefront of our discussions of technology. The courts will rule on whether the federal government can, without a warrant, put a GPS tracker on your car. But that surveillance is almost insignificant compared to the vast amounts of data that companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple gather about us. And those companies are governed by few of the restrictions the Constitution imposes on the government. The time seems ripe for the public to really start considering whether they're comfortable with Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page as Big Brother.
Marcelo Lozano, director, CIO Latin America
Most significant story of 2011: Better management of unstructured data: Oracle's recent acquisition of Endeca for more than $1 billion dollars is an indicator of great change in the management of large databases. Structured databases seem to have reached a limit, showing difficulties in efficient real-time response to the challenge of managing large amounts of information from different sources. With vital business data distributed across a myriad of applications that organizations must take into account (social networks, Web 2.0 platforms, email, CRM tools, and so forth), next year we will undoubtedly see a higher degree of interoperability between solutions that aim at gathering, analyzing and interweaving the information coming from this great variety of sources. Through the acquisition of Endeca, Oracle extends beyond its comfort zone for the first time but is also adding to its current functionalities the possibility of getting information from new sources to provide more precise tools for analysis.
Line Ørskov, editor-in-chief, IDG Denmark
: The most significant event of 2011 was the death of Steve Jobs. He was a power brand in his own right and, of course, stood as the head of an organization whose products really did change the game in a profound way. Jobs reached people on a personal level well beyond the borders of the IT industry.
The most significant trend was the consumerization of IT. We are seeing the ultimate merging of the professional and private. No longer are employees just bringing work into the private sphere, they have started to bring their private sphere -- most notably their digital consumption patterns -- into the workplace. And, of course, this isn't just a device-centric trend but extends to applications as well. In 2011, we saw the tip of the iceberg.
2012 crystal ball: The continued consumerization of IT. For IT departments this really is a massive paradigm shift. At the same time IT heralds the demise of an IT culture based on centralized standardization and introduces a significant loss of power within the IT organization. Power goes to the end user, however, the responsibility for effective, optimized, cost effective and, above all, secure IT operations remains with them.
Antti Oksanen, publishing partner, Talentum
: Steve Jobs's passing away was the biggest IT-related story of the year. He led the biggest business comeback in history and now his absence casts a shadow on the future of the iEmpire.
2012 crystal ball: In terms of 2012, we expect that the rise of "the third ecosystem” in the mobile space will be the biggest trend to follow. Both Apple and Android camps have lost some momentum recently. So Microsoft and Nokia together may just be able to seize the opportunity with the new Windows Phone platform.
Jack Loo, editor, Computerworld Singapore
: The telecom operators in Singapore have made significant inroads into the enterprise IT space through cloud computing. They have launched a variety of cloud-based offerings that are based on partnerships with vendors like VMware and Symantec. Their target customers are small to mid-size companies. These organizations tend to have minimal IT departments. In terms of spending power, their technology budgets are dynamic. They prefer dealing with one to five vendors that can offer multiple services or products. The operators started off from simple offerings like data center hosting and data connectivity. It has been a starting point for them to place more services and products like cloud-based applications. With money from mobile phone, broadband Internet and cable television markets starting to even off, these operators see the enterprise IT space as their new revenue-generating playground.