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Our 2011 predictions: Spot on about mobility, ahead of the curve on social media

While many people are still clinging today to one last day off associated with the New Year holiday, I’m plowing through the requisite year-in-review and year-ahead materials that those of us in journalism use to help keep us honest throughout the year. With that in mind, I dug up my report from early in January 2011, “Five IT trends for VARs to watch in 2011” so that I could grade myself.

Before I really dig into the meat of this commentary, I will revisit something that I predicted in my introduction. That is, that I would be writing this year’s piece on my tablet computer. Actually, since I’m hunkered down in my home office I am NOT using my tablet to write this commentary, but I DID bring my Apple iPad and a great Bluetooth keyboard from Zagg (Zaggmate) with me to Ireland last September in order to file the three daily submission that shape every morning. Right now, I’m using my solar-powered keyboard from Logitech as a replacement for my MacBook Pro’s built-in keyboard.

Back to the topic at hand, revisiting the predictions we made last year. I’ll recap them.

Trend #1: Tablets and smartphones will become even more prolific. During 2011, the industry’s perception of what it means to be mobile underwent a profound transformation. From ultralight notebook computers to an abundance of tablets, the sheer diversity of mobile technology platforms and the desire of more workers to be mobile at least some of the time is helping fuel a conversation that solution providers will need to address more during the new year: the bring your own device (BYOD) movement. the BYOD trend refers to the desire of employees to use personal gadgets, usually mobile, for work purposes.

How SearchITChannel did: Spot on, considering that NPD Research reports there were more than 1.2 million tablet computers shipped in the first nine months of 2011 alone

Trend #2: Solution providers should embrace social media for their customers and their own internal use. The latest example of the power of social media came during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Some time during that week, Verizon Wireless quietly disclosed that it would start charging a $2 “fee” for processing one-time payments being made on the phone or online. The mobile carrier grossly underestimated the vitriol of the social media world, which reacted negatively to blast Verizon Wireless for the fee. Within a matter of hours, the company was forced to backpedal.

How SearchITChannel did: Ahead of the curve. Although many smaller companies are still suspicious of the “time suck” that social media might entail, the fact is that technology enthusiasts continue to use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook as sounding boards. Managers ignore social media at their own peril.

Trend #3: Video technology will earn a starring role. Definitely a major theme of the past 12 months, as evidenced by number of top-tier videoconferencing vendors that extended their technologies to mobile platforms including smartphones and tablets. While the stagnant economy kept sales from really taking  off, this remains a key theme for emerging collaboration applications.

How SearchITChannel did: In synch with market desires, but not with economic realities of the slow U.S. economic recovery.

Trend #4: The cloud conversation will translate into heightened interest in converged data center solutions. The push to keep it simple continues to inspire businesses to contemplate the benefits of the cloud model, with its simplified approach to provisioning and its promise of helping to better align a company’s true computing capacity needs with what it pays for infrastructure. The mainstreaming of server, storage and networking virtualization architectures continues to be central to this idea.

How SearchITChannel did: In synch with this emerging market, but not with realities of evaluating and piloting converged data center solutions. It takes longer than you expect.

Trend #5: Demand for data loss prevention solutions will intensify. It isn’t coincidence that cloud-delivered backup and disaster recovery services are one of the fastest growing areas of the cloud services market — even though the “storage as a service” concept met a rather infamous fate over the past 10 years. A string of disastrous weather events have convinced a growing number of businesses of all sizes that data-loss preventions solutions are not an optional infrastructure investment.

How SearchITChannel did: Spot on.

What do we think is in store for 2012? Be sure to read the first of our two-part prediction series for the next 12 months, “Four technologies that will shape 2012 solutions.” Stay tuned for the second predictions piece about services trends, coming soon.

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