Tech trends on the 2011 horizon

What trends do technology executives foresee in 2011? It depends on who you ask. But, as Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung puts it, “smart,” “cloud,” “social” and “open” are just some of the concepts being predicted.Cloud computing – Logicalis, an integrated information and communications technology provider based in Farmington Hills, Mich., said cloud computing has become a huge buzz word in the industry, “but if you peel back the marketing fluff and hype, cloud computing simply represents a delivery model for consuming IT as a service” across the Internet.Everything as a “service” – Along those lines, telecommunications giant Verizon said, with today’s new IT delivery model centered on the cloud, buying solutions “as a service” instead of buying actual components delivers better economics, faster time to market, and access to information and content sharing virtually anywhere in the world.Secure networks – Both Verizon and Logicalis see network security taking a much more noticeable role in businesses in the near future.”Developing and implementing a sound security plan is only the first step in protecting today’s distributed enterprise,” said Verizon in its 2011 technology forecast. “Good security programs include constant monitoring and tweaking to safeguard an organization, and compliance with stringent government regulations.”Enterprise apps go mobile – Logicalis and Verizon also foresee the world of business colliding with the personal world as business applications will become increasingly available on mobile devices.”Slimmed-down, low-cost, desktop-replacement mobile applications are making their way out of the app store and into the enterprise,” said Logicalis.Video, the new app darling – Videocon-ferencing is coming back, and in a big way.”Video will be among the most engaging business applications to take advantage of higher capacity wireless networks for face-to-face and face-to-machine interaction,” said Verizon. In fact, Verizon predicts new business models will evolve to monetize digital content and deliver video across multiple screens.”M2M” communication – Sounding more and more like a scene from “Star Wars,” machines themselves will become more interconnected, said Samsung SDS, Samsung’s information technology and consulting services division.”This year, the number of smart phone users in Korea reached 4 million, and the scope of smart devices was expanded from mobile phone and PC to TV, refrigerator and automobile,” said the company.Farewell to IPv4 – According to the American Registry for Internet Numbers, less than 5.5 percent of IPv4 addresses remain available – unique eight-digit “names” identifying every tech device from computers to printers to mobile phones on the Internet.Verizon said organizations need to plan now “to ensure that e-mail, Web and business applications will be accessible via both version 4 runs and the next generation IPv6.”One word order – Verizon says many countries around the world are developing infrastructures where just one user name and password are required to access any website on the Internet or corporate LAN.”Such a protocol not only adds convenience, but makes for stronger security helping to offset a major reason for breaches today – the misuse of user names and passwords,” said Verizon.‘Mega’ trendsLogicalis and Samsung SDS have pointed out a number of other non-gadget trends technology executives discussed in recent surveys.Company direction and planning – According to Logicalis, IT executives are focusing their attention beyond technology, and their conversations indicate they are looking at the overall corporate strategy.In fact, “They are seeing a greater emphasis on business acumen, strategy and tactics enabled by technology. The requirement to justify and build real financial-based business cases for IT spending has become the norm,” said the company.You say you want a revolution – The idea that finding more information on virtually any concept with a quick search on the Internet has led to what Samsung SDS calls the “Open Revolution.””In such an era, there is no room for the word ‘closed,'” said Samsung SDS. “In other words, the Open Revolution will collect various ideas of a large number of ordinary people, rather than ideas of a small number of elites, and by doing so, will unleash creativity.”Cindy Kibbe can be reached at