My predictions for IT in year 2006

A year ago, I made a few predictions regarding IT in 2005. Let’s see how well I did.

  • Didn’t come true at all: The home PC market will keeping declining and by the end of 2005, a new architecture will seriously threaten the PC for home web surfing, email and instant messaging. There will be serious talk of replacing the PC-on-every-desk model in many companies. Maybe Microsoft will be pushing an XBox2-Pro for business use.
  • Came true, but Voice-over-IP is now everywhere, and we have things like Google Talk. So broadband is doing well:Videoconference-type broadband will still be out-of-reach for most home users and most small and medium businesses.
  • Didn’t come true at all, but I have a 160 GB hard drive now: Whatever the big thing in IT is, it will have to do with storage. Job prospects in large cities will improve significantly for IT workers in 2005 and the growth will be driven by the new possibilities offered by infinite permanent storage. They will be significantly more data warehousing at the end of 2005 especially in smaller companies.
  • Came true:Google will still be the most interesting Web company at the end of 2005. They will still be seen as a potent competitor for Microsoft.
  • Came true: The Semantic Web will still be mostly at the same point it is now, at the end of 2005. That is, some nice ideas, including RDF and XML will stick around and find some uses, but OWL won’t take off.
  • Came true partially, but new models for recommender systems didn’t arise: The Web will keep evolving. Personalisation will be a big thing: while the Web is now seen as a static graph on which people navigate, we will start seeing the Web as a graph around people. Social software will keep growing and growing in importance and won’t be based on ontologies or any such rigid model. New forms and models of recommender systems will emerge.
  • Came true: Security will be a big thing in 2005 as it was in 2004, but we won’t make significant progress. People will install critically insecure software and they won’t care; or else, they will keep locking everything down.
  • Came mostly true: eLearning in universities will keep on growing and we’ll have significantly more online courses offered by the end of 2005, though the push will come from students and deans, and not so much from Faculty members.
  • Didn’t come true: eLearning outside universities may grow out of the PowerPoint or Flash models, but if so, only because some cool new technology, maybe based on XML, makes it possible.
  • Didn’t quite come true, but is in the air: Year 2005 will be the year where the parallelization of systems and algorithms will become ubiquitous because of changes in CPUs.

So, my success rate is about 50%. I’m probably no better off than a random generator, but I’m a random generator with a personality.

Here are my predictions for year 2006…

  • With Blu-Ray around the corner and about to invade many homes thanks to the PlayStation 3, 100 GB of storage on a single optical disk will be common by the end of 2006. Amazing video games using upward of 30 GB will come on the market and impress reviewers. I imagine a flight simulator containing the complete maps of the entire planet including every single house.
  • Google will still be the most interesting player by the end of 2006. They will leverage their massive storage capacities to do amazing Data Mining and they will know, better than anyone else, what the pulse of the planet is. Google will start analysis social trends and will get into decision support.
  • Generally speaking, year 2006 will be the year Data Mining becomes mainstream. Data warehousing will increasingly be a big deal for large corporations and we will see shortages in Data Engineering.
  • Thanks in part to fancy open source content management software, eLearning will grow in most universities. By the end of 2006, we won’t be asking “why eLearning” but “how eLearning”.
  • eCommerce will all be about personalization and Data Mining, and much less about work flow and web site design.

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Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

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