Pundits on parade: What’s next in tech

InfoWorld bloggers shrug off the heat, look into the future

You’ve heard of Christmas in July, that classic advertising gimmick designed to lure shoppers into stores despite the oppressive heat and humidity. We’ll, we’ve got New Year’s in August, which invites you to stay indoors and read “The next big things in IT” -- 15 predictions about the future of technology.

If you’re wondering what this has to do with New Year’s Day, let me refer you to a hoary old publishing practice: Every January 1, writers gaze into their crystal balls and crank out several thousand well-chosen words on what the coming year will bring. That convention seems a tad formulaic. So we’re decoupling our predictions from the calendar and jumping the gun by four and a half months.

Even better, we’re going straight to the domain experts -- InfoWorld’s bloggers and columnists -- who are most in touch with what’s really happening on the ground. That means we’ve tapped folks such as Sustainable IT blogger Ted Samson to identify the “NBT” in green tech, Database Underground firebrand Sean McCown to tackle the databases of tomorrow, and Real World SOA guru David Linthicum to ponder the future of middleware.

Though our pundits all practiced their punditry in the privacy of their own word processors (no sharing of notes allowed), several common themes emerged. Application virtualization appears twice, and various incarnations of outsourcing show up repeatedly, as does the notion of anything delivered as a service. Viva convergence!

Mobility innovation bubbles up

Mobile computing has had more than its share of potential Next Big Things. The field is a veritable hotbed of cutting-edge development. With the IP telephony show VoiceCon starting today, some of the brightest mobile innovations (many of them contenders for the NBT crown) will be on display. Perhaps most intriguing are femtocells -- base stations that work with existing phones to greatly boost cell performance indoors. We’ve got a look at this promising technology, as well as a Test Center review of the Spotwave Z1900 repeater, which does an exceptional job of pushing your indoor cell reception all the way up to five bars. And that’s a pretty big thing right there.