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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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.

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.

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

Most significant story of 2011: I'd have to choose the consumerization of IT -- that is, using commercial mobile apps, cloud applications, andcial 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

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?

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

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.

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 Joo Nbrega, 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.

Ed Albro, editor, PC World

Most significant story of 2011: 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 rskov, editor-in-chief, IDG Denmark

Most significant story of 2011: 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

Most significant story of 2011: 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

Most significant story of 2011: 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.

This story, "2012 tech predictions: From IDG's editors worldwide" was originally published by InfoWorld.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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