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Trends in 2005: Vlogs, SOA and IP Everything

There's no question, tech got cool again in 2004 thanks in part to the rise of blogs, open source, IP telephony, big power in small gadgets and Google's IPO, along with the the decline of the desktop computer that we knew only a decade ago. But these are just a few blinks of an eye along tech's continuum. There is so much more to the story of tech and the IT industry.

Given how closely internetnews.com follows the IT industry, you could call this trend roundup the continuing story of tech, rather than any "guarantee this might happen"-type safe prediction. In no particular order, here's our list:

IP Telephony Heading Into Fast Lane

A number of blue-chip companies -- including Bank of America and Ford -- turned to Voice over Internet Protocol in 2004 to cut costs and improve efficiency.

Provided none of those installments become a cautionary tale, expect more corporations to plug into the technology in 2005.

That's good news for makers of telecom and network equipment, including Cisco , Lucent and Nortel , to name a just a few.

Residential VoIP should also continue to rise due to increased broadband adoption (a requirement for the service), improved call quality and aggressive competition among upstarts like Vonage and larger telecoms like AT&T and Verizon .

Regulators and industry officials will continue to grind out issues, such as 911 service and law enforcement wiretapping rights, but the major issue of whether Washington or the states had jurisdiction over the service was answered by the Federal Communications Commission this year.

OracleSoft

The Oracle-PeopleSoft story that dominated the tech industry in 2004 will continue to play out in 2005 now that the merger is complete.

But Oracle's victory lap will be short as the combined company must now tackle SAP AG, as well as advances in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) sector by Microsoft and IBM.

The real challenge for Oracle is keeping and maintaining maintenance contracts. Despite original plans to reduce its headcount by 6,000, Oracle now says it will keep development and support teams, as it continues to enhance the PeopleSoft/J.D. Edwards product lines. The companies are already working on their Java-based successor product.

Oracle will also begin the process of taking over PeopleSoft's contracts and partnerships with the U.S. government and financial services firms, including the U.S. federal payroll.

Even when the success of the hostile bid was in question, the industry was already maneuvering around the possibility, with IBM and SAP striking a deal and Bill Gates mulling whether to merge with SAP, as well. Oracle has not entirely ruled out the promise of another mega-merger.

Expect more alliances as the enterprise software players and systems vendors look to protect their market share in the shadow of a major behemoth by the name of Oracle.

Viruses: Even More Vicious

You've heard of smart mobs. How about smart viruses that act like agents, letting the other attack program know if it's about to get zapped. Call it a kind of rugby for the virus-writing crowd. Spyware will continue to spread, with or without weak federal legislation to help or hinder its growth. The prospects for collecting data on your surfing habits is too powerful. Spyware-zappers will be loaded for bear too.

If you think mobile phone viruses are a pain now, just wait until next year. Mikko Hypponen, F-Secure director of anti-virus research, said mobile viruses just started picking up steam in late 2004, but will make up for lost time next year. Just last week, the research firm detected two new variants of the Cabir virus affecting Symbian operating systems.

"This has already been the year of the mobile threat, and we do think that's going to get worse," he said. "Mobile phone viruses and PDA viruses are here to stay."

He also fears we are only a year or two away from seeing a virus that jumps from laptop to laptop via a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection. A "nightmarish" scenario, he said, would be an infected laptop making its way through the office or the local Starbucks, infecting everything it touches.

SCO vs. the World

The SCO Group continued to infuriate the open source community in 2004 with its lawsuits against IBM (breach of contract), Novell (slander), AutoZone and Daimler-Chrysler (breach of contract).

Expect some real activity in 2005, with an important court hearing Feb. 1, moved back from its original Jan. 20 date, in the SCO v. Novell slander case. A judge is expected to hear Novell's motion to dismiss the amended complaint. Meanwhile, SCO officials expect the jury trial in SCO v. IBM to begin in November.

Chips: Dual Core, 64-Bit

We'll see plenty of positioning around the new forms of processing this year. Already Intel has taken a few mea culpas for not acting quickly enough on 64-bit chips after AMD grabbed bragging rights for doing just the opposite: bringing Opteron and 64-bit computing to the x86 industry, which proved more ready than a lot of manufacturers thought.

Many enterprise application vendors are struggling with the implications of multi-core architectures and their pricing implications. Microsoft recently eased the situation when it said it would price its software by a per-processor model and not change it to accommodate hardware that contains dual-core and multi-core processors.

Dual core is sexy among silicon enthusiasts, so look for Intel to produce a chip that is two Dothans on one. Among notebooks, expect AMD to try to make up ground against Intel's leading mobile chip Centrino, with its upcoming Turion 64 brand. Massive volume shipments from both vendors are expected in 2006.

But AMD is at its best when it is playing its 64-bit card, which Intel doesn't have in its deck beyond extensions.