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Ed's top 10 tech predictions for 2001

What does 2001 hold in store for the IT industry? TechRepublic's Ed Engelking believes we'll see some big changes. Here's a look at his predictions for the coming year.


TechRepublic editor in chief, Veronica Combs, recently asked me to come up with a list of technology predictions for the upcoming year. Being the tech junkie that I am, I practically jumped at the chance. Some of my predictions you may agree with; some you may not. But it seems clear that a lot of changes are on the horizon.

We’re interested in hearing what you think may happen in the IT industry during the next year. Send us an e-mail with your tech predictions, and we’ll include some of the most interesting ones in a future article.
  1. Fiber networking
    While fiber networking has been introduced into many large organizations, it has yet to become the replacement for category 5 cable. We’ve all heard how fiber is the cable of the future, and perhaps that’s true. However, in order to achieve true GB transfer rates, and possibly TB rates, companies will need to incorporate fiber cabling into their networks.

    Prediction: With the increased need for bandwidth, fiber networking will become a mainstream solution for GB and TB transfer rates.
  2. Linux vendor fallout
    Have you ever tried to make a house out of playing cards, only to have them collapse when it gets too tall? I fear a similar scenario may happen in the world of Linux. I believe there are so many vendors in the Linux OS market, some sort of “Linux market crash” is inevitable.

    Prediction: With all the distributions of Linux, people are going to get confused and stick with a few of the main distributors. As a result, better standards can be introduced to the market.
  3. USB 2.0
    Although USB 2.0 is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2001, it will be a huge advancement in external device connectivity. Developers claim that USB 2.0 will have bandwidth of around 480 Mbps—an advantage of 80 Mbps over its nearest competitor.

    Prediction: USB 2.0 is going to be one of the hottest technology advances since its predecessor, USB 1.0. Look for many new USB 2.0-compatible devices to become available, as well as computer vendors pledging support immediately after its release.
  4. Microsoft.NET
    Microsoft intends to take its software to the next level with the introduction of its .NET plan. While this technology has yet to take off in its introductory year, I believe you’ll see many developers adopting it soon, kicking off a new .NET era. (That’s assuming, of course, that Microsoft doesn’t get split up in 2001.)

    Prediction: Look for Microsoft to make new strides with the developer community when it takes .NET under its wing.
  5. Wireless Communication
    2001 should be the beginning of the golden era for wireless communications. This is the year when you’ll see true integration with PDAs, cell phones, and other mobile devices. Before 2001 is over, almost everyone will be completely wired one way or another.

    Prediction: Wireless is the way of the future, and 2001 will be the year that it all comes together. You’ll have everything you need in one device; for instance, your cell phone will be your PDA and vice versa.
  6. The dot-com crisis will level out
    Since the initial fallout earlier this year; dot-com companies have been struggling to survive. Many companies have not been able to keep up and have folded due to lack of funds and profitability.

    Prediction: After learning a hard lesson from the 2000 fallout, dot-com companies have become stronger and understand that to stay in business, they must be profitable and have a structured business plan. Look for these companies to continue to grow and become the model for other businesses to follow.
  1. MAC OS X
    Apple is betting the house on its next generation operating system, known as X. A combination of Steve Job’s NeXT operating system and BSD, Apple plans to take its users into a new environment where they will have more control over the machines they run. This may bring hardcore UNIX-based OS fans to the Apple camp as well.

    Prediction: With the release of MAC OS X, look for Apple to make a few strides in the OS arena. I believe there will be renewed interest in the Mac as a workstation machine and perhaps even as a server machine to be used within typical Windows or UNIX-based environments.
  2. Server Appliances
    In the complex world of IT administration, the easier a server is to install, the more likely it is that the server will rule its competition. Such is the case with server appliances. Vendors such as Cobalt are betting that IT professionals are willing to purchase servers that are preconfigured and require little or no administration to run.

    Prediction: Look for these devices to take over traditional servers to perform specific functions within an organization.
  3. High-speed communications
    2001 will be a profitable year for many cable and phone companies nationwide. While it’s taken awhile to get the infrastructure in place, many cities throughout the United States have implemented all the components to provide high-speed Internet access throughout the nation.

    Prediction: With the introduction of high-speed Internet access in many different cities, users will work from home more in 2001. Most individuals will be connected to the Internet at breakneck speeds. In addition, Web sites will become more sophisticated as high bandwidth becomes increasingly available.
  4. FireWire (a.k.a. IEEE 1394)
    Because of the release of USB 2.0, look for FireWire to take a hit in the vendor market. This nifty technology will most likely become a technology for those companies that invest strictly in video editing and so forth.

    Prediction: Because of the release of USB 2.0, FireWire will become a niche technology that will be used by video editing companies and organizations that rely on a Macintosh.
Do you have additional technology predictions for the year 2001? Perhaps you completely disagree with some of mine. Share your thoughts on this topic! Start a discussion below or send us a note with your opinions and predictions.

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