I would argue that we are in the midst of a technology boom, or at the very least a strong upswing. The current “boom” certainly does not resemble the hysteria and unbridled enthusiasm of the dot com years, but it has a much more solid foundation and better prospects for a sustained long-term expansion.
Much of the enthusiasm of the dot com era was based on the widespread feeling that we were on the cusp of a technological revolution that was going to have sweeping changes on the economy of the world and the everyday lives of its citizens. In truth, many of the ideas of the time were simply several steps away from reality, while other ideas were not very well thought out or simply over-exuberant, as some people subscribed to the notion that any idea would succeed if it involved technology or the Internet. Of course, the combination of impatience with emerging technologies and the crashing back to earth of poorly-developed ideas tied to technology led to the economic bust in the technology sector in the early years of this century.
However, in the last several years we’ve begun to see many of the revolutionary ideas from the dot com era begin to come to life. We’re finally in the period where the rubber meets the road. For example, broadband Internet is spreading far and wide and getting cheaper all the time. Wireless networking is also spreading and continues to get easier and more secure. The Internet is becoming a huge engine for commerce and sales, a primary platform for advertisers, and the de facto source for information lookup. The mass media is swiftly embracing the Internet as a delivery platform for mainstream audio, video, and print content. The prices of computing devices are plummeting, thus opening up access to many more users.
If you take these trends in combination with the natural recovery of the IT labor markets in the U.S. and Europe and the rapid development of emerging technologies such as OLED, WiMAX, and others (that will extend the current develpments) then I think you have to believe that we’re in the midst of a tremendous technological upswing, if not a “boom.”
That’s why I find it interesting that on May 1, Information Week published an article called “5 Reasons We’re Not In A Tech Boom.” If you judge a tech boom by the irrationality of the dot com era then Info Week is right. But if you view the current period as the time when the rubber meets the road for many of the technological promises of the last decade, then you’ll see that this is definitely a period of tremendous innovation and change in information technology. And when the dust clears, this period could be viewed as far more impactful then the dot com boom because of the genuine developments that are taking place.