Top 10 emerging technologies

This November, InfoWorld will pick the 10 new technologies we think will have the most impact on business in the years to come. Now's your chance to weigh in

At InfoWorld, we cater to IT pros who -- either out of inspiration or desperation -- have their head up and their eyes on the latest technology, looking a little further out on the horizon than everyone else. That's why, this November, we'll debut a new annual feature story: InfoWorld's Top 10 Emerging Technologies.

Right now, we're pooling the collective wisdom of the InfoWorld staff and our extended family of contributors to pick winners for 2009. Planning for the long haul and wondering how to take things to the next level? Desperate for a technology solution to a problem that keeps ruining your sleep? With luck, we may have a solution.

[ InfoWorld's new Top 10 Emerging Technologies will provide you with a short list of tech to keep your eye on. For the best shipping products, check out the Technology of the Year Awards, courtesy of the hardworking reviewers in the InfoWorld Test Center. ]

The reason I bring this up two months in advance of publication, of course, is that I want to hear your suggestions. But first, be aware that we're talking about technologies, not individual products -- we cover the latter in our Technology of the Year Awards, which we post every January. For our emerging tech picks, the intent is to say: Here's what you should keep your eye on, if not to deploy this year, then maybe the next. Think, say, server virtualization, circa 2004.

As I mentioned, our staff and contributors are weighing in as we speak. In our selections, we will give the most consideration to prospects from IT pros who have a hands-on understanding of how new technology does -- or does not -- fit into the fabric of existing infrastructure. Cool for coolness's sake you will not find here. Rather, we aim to highlight hardware and software advances that are both innovative and practical -- and that solve pressing problems or break business bottlenecks.

Otherwise, our criteria are pretty liberal. We're talking about business (not consumer) technologies on the left side of the adoption curve that we believe will have significant impact on IT along with real market potential. We may mention products or vendors, but the point is the potential of the technology.

The time range for emerging tech will be broad. At one extreme, there must be a working prototype or an alpha/beta; at the other, we will also consider technologies that may have been shipping in one form or another for years but are just now beginning to look like a great idea.

So now that you're aware of the ground rules, it's your turn: Let me know what you think should make it on InfoWorld's Top 10 Emerging Technologies list. Feel free to e-mail me or, better yet, discuss your nomination(s) in the comments section for this blog post. Alternatively, join the discussion group Top 10 emerging technologies of 2009.

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