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Technology innovation continued its ruthless pace in 2009, despite the economic headwinds. Now it's time to turn our sights on 2010, where there are going to be some really interesting things to keep an eye on. Let's count down the five tech trends that should be on your radar for 2010.
5: The consumerization of IT
This is something we've been talking about for a couple years but the trend is accelerating. We see it in employees using their own personal laptops and devices for work tasks and using freely available Web tools to help them get their jobs done. This can create a whole host of problems for IT, but in most cases you don't want to squash it altogether. What you'll need is a policy that gives employees guidance on how and when these types of tools can and can't be used, and why.
4: Desktop virtualization
TechRepublic recently asked its CIO Jury about desktop virtualization and 75% said they weren't interested. However, the 25% that ARE interested are very enthusiastic about using it to cut costs and simplify IT support. In 2010, it's going to interesting to see if this trend gains momentum and becomes more mainstream, or if it's simply relegated to a few niche scenarios and industries.
While most of the buzz around e-readers is centered around consumers readings books and newspapers, there are also a new set of e-readers that will hit the market in 2010 that are aimed at helping businesses streamline the meetings that require huge stacks of paper and bring more multimedia capabilities to business documents. For more ammunition on why you should follow this trend, see Jack Wallen's article "10 reasons why e-readers make sense in the enterprise."
2: WAN acceleration
I consider WAN acceleration to be one of the best kept secrets in the IT and business worlds. By caching big files and often-used documents, WAN acceleration appliances and software can save big money on bandwidth costs and give your branch offices and remote workers far better performance on their business applications. Companies like Riverbed are even taking WAN acceleration a step further and using it to help speed up hosted cloud applications by partnering with major SaaS providers. All of this makes WAN acceleration one of the hottest projects in IT right now, because it can offer fast ROI and immediate productivity benefits.
1: Berries, apples, and robots
What do these three things have in common? Well, of course, we're talking about smartphones with BlackBerry, Apple iPhone, and Google Android. These are the three smartphone platforms that have the most momentum heading into 2010. With smartphones becoming standard tools for more and more business workers, it's going to be important to watch which devices users gravitate toward, which platforms offer IT more security and manageability features, and which ones developers latch on to as the best place to build new applications for business users.
Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).