After reviewing how my 2001 predictions fared compared with last year’s reality, you’d think I’d have the good sense to avoid trying it again (“Doctor, it hurts when I do this…”). As some say, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again with the same result.
But being the fearless journalist—and technologist and business manager—that I am, I’m sometimes required to do things that others may consider insane. I’m even expanding this year’s prediction list to eight ideas over last year’s five.
1. The death of the ASP and ISP
Not only will both acronyms fall out of use by year’s end, but the aggregation of providers will also leave a few high-end connectivity providers for consumers (most likely the telephone companies with DSL, and AT&T with cable) and hundreds of small-to-midsize companies providing distributed services. I think this last group will be called something like “Web services providers (WSPs)” because the focus will be on providing core services, other than connectivity, across the Web.
Most small-to-midsize players simply can’t make money in the connectivity space. The new focus for WSPs will be to provide application building blocks and not complete applications. The real event here is the reemergence of the value-added reseller (VAR) model as the distribution and aggregation point that turns these hosted Web services into applications for their customers.
2. De-emphasis on HTML
The move from Web site hosting to Web service hosting will also herald the introduction of another trend: the move away from HTML as the Web interface. As companies settle into two development camps (Java and .NET), they will recognize that both development models allow for the creation of rich graphical applications without the associated overhead of deployment and installation.
When the services exposed by HTML are converted into services exposed by SOAP (through WSPs), the clients will be rewritten as rich Java and Windows applications using dynamic downloading of updated forms (now possible on Windows with .NET).
3. Universal Internet identity
By the end of 2002, you will be able to register a unique universal identity on the Internet. In fact, most of us will have both a personal identity and a corporate identity. The personal credentials will be maintained by our choice of identification providers (Microsoft's MyServices, AOL Magic Carpet, or one of several third-party offerings). The user's employer will maintain the corporate credentials.
Using this system, you’ll be able to log in to any instant messaging system via a personal or business account (or both). Merchants will be able to distinguish between a personal purchase and one for business use so that they can then trigger the appropriate internal business process.
How will this happen? Microsoft and the members of the Liberty Alliance Project (Sun, AOL, and a host of banks and other large businesses) will agree on a Kerberos-based standard that allows federation of identities by third-party identity providers or by corporations who use Kerberos to authenticate on behalf of their employees.
4. Bluetooth will disappear
If there ever was a technology in search of a problem to solve, it’s Bluetooth. With the emergence of high-speed (54-MB) wireless networking using the 802.11a or 802.11g standard in the first half of 2002, the cost of the chips and infrastructure required to support the standard 802.11b 11-MB wireless connectivity will drop precipitously. Bluetooth’s limited range and speed will render it unnecessary and useless.
5. The markets will recover to reasonable levels
Although we’re not likely to see the crazy valuations and dramatic spikes that we did during the Internet gold rush, we will see the markets rise steadily and significantly during the year. The tech-heavy Nasdaq will grow on the strength of traditional companies to an average of 2,500 by the second half of next year. I predict that the NYSE will average 13,000 by the dawn of 2003.
6. HPAQ will never happen
It’s pretty clear that shareholders don’t share the same passion for the HP-Compaq merger as the company’s respective leaders (Carly Fiorina and Michael Capellas). The fallout will begin with Fiorina’s exit by April 1 and will end with a decision by the HP board to split into two companies—one focused on midrange systems and services and the other on imaging (cameras, scanners, printers, consumables, etc.).
The PC market is too saturated to support any more players, and if HP can’t merge with a company that has significant PC desktop and server mindshare (like Compaq), then they’re better off financially to just get out of the business. If you’re currently buying a lot of HP desktop and server PCs, I’d be very concerned about the future engineering and break/fix support for that equipment.
7. The emergence of peer to peer as a viable business model
Although instant messaging (IM) traffic is steadily growing, IM has yet to be widely recognized as a viable replacement for e-mail or phone contact. This will change in 2002.
The addition of groupware services using peer-to-peer (P2P) rather than client/server technologies will fuel the trend dramatically. By the end of the year, P2P traffic will exceed existing e-mail traffic (i.e., the number of P2P messages on a monthly basis will exceed the number of e-mails). Companies will be forced to evaluate and adopt P2P productivity applications because they will increasingly be using them to communicate with their partners and customers rather than through e-mail.
8. Going out on a limb
By the start of 2003, a creative company will develop and release a simple user programming tool that lets everyone from housewives to IT professionals create rich applications that aggregate Web services into Internet applications.
Since the building-block services will be in place by midyear, and the interfaces will be documented and supported, there’s no reason that an enterprising company can’t make it happen.
In fact, many companies should consider creating specialized tools for partners and customers so they can build custom interfaces into their companies' systems. To me, it’s clear that Web services will revolutionize the way we will deal with customers and trading partners. Your job is to figure out how to make sure that your company will benefit.
What are your predictions for 2002?
Do you agree with Tim Landgrave’s predictions? Have a few of your own to share? E-mail your predictions to us, and we may publish them, or start a discussion below.