It is in that spirit that we revisit last year's level-headed look at crackpot technologies that could transform the enterprise, putting the screws to a new rack of could-be enterprise contenders. But before you write off nanotech or direct brain interfaces as the next big enterprise thing, consider this:
[ For an in-depth look at last year's crackpot tech assessments, see: 12 crackpot tech ideas that could transform the enterprise ]
Of the dozen technologies we examined last year, several made significant enterprise-minded strides since we first assessed their IT prospects. Desktop Web apps, for one, lent credence to the conjecture that fat productivity suites might just have a shorter future than previously thought; solid-state drives popped up everywhere, from ultramobile laptops to the datacenter; and Sun's datacenter-in-a-box proved compelling enough for Google to move first to patent it. Even quantum cryptography received a vote of confidence, with Switzerland tapping the technology to protect parliamentary election transmissions.
Sure, some of this year's out-there technologies may prove fruit for future high-profile tech flops lists, but without forward-thinking, there would be no worthwhile enterprise advancement.
So raise your eyebrows or your suspicions as you deem fit, and join us in assessing the potential each of the following technologies has to earn IT's respect or derision.
• Optical computing
• Pervasive computing
• Wireless power
• The $100 laptop
• Direct brain interfaces
• Enterprise supercomputing
• Virtual worlds