Here's some technologies that will impact us in the future that I am keeping my eye on. Some of these are around today but just haven’t hit prime time, others are in the works.
- Internet 3.0 The web will transform into a personal agent that basically tells us what we want to to know and when we want to know it. Important enabling technologies will be wireless technology, sensors, location and semantic technologies.
- Enterprise Social Networks: We are already seeing the impact of social networks on our personal lives, but they are just starting to make inroads into enterprises. Social networking technology will have profound impacts on management systems within enterprises. Corporations will turn to new innovative business models based off of crowdsourcing, social network analysis, prediction markets and user ratings.
- Virtual Worlds: There is no doubt that virtual worlds need to get easier before they become more mainstream. It has to be integrated with social software platforms and instant messaging. Ease of use, visible presence, unified communications and personalization will make virtual worlds a reality.
- Nanotechnology....Already having an impact in a number of industries, nanotechnology will enable unprecedented levels of control with incredibly small parts...having all sorts of implications for future materials, hardware components, and devices.
- User Interfaces: We are so used to using the mouse and the keyboard as an input device. I think we are in the early stages of totally new ways to interact with our electronic devices. The short term focus will be on touch technologies. After that, I expect advancements in gesture computing and speech technology. Regarding display technology, I'll be looking for new displays that will offer 3D, be flexible and project over large areas.
- 3D printers: 3D printers will provide a way for businesses to rapidly prototype potential products. The technique involves "printing" three-dimensional objects with plaster or resin. Some are even predicting a mass market for 3D printers for consumers.
- Robots: Robots will increasingly make their way into the business and consumer markets. The Roomba vacuum robot we have in our house does a great job. Expect robots to be increasingly used for applications like military operations, lifting and rescue operations, security, healthcare delivery, human companionship and other mundane chores.
- Mobile Applications & Services. There can be no question that mobile devices are important to the future of business. The gold rush is on to develop enterprise-based mobile applications, services and cloud infrastructures, both public and private. I expect a flood of new application services designed specifically for the business mobile user, including those incorporating location awareness, video, and social technologies. In the future, your mobile device will contain your profile information and will mediate relationships across social networks, commercial transactions, security clearances, and any device with embedded intelligence.
- Human augmentation: Technology is increasingly playing an important part in healthcare. My eyesight is just great thanks to that Lasik surgery I had 9 years ago. On the horizon are advancements in implants, brain interfaces, genetic selection and nerve to prosthesis applications. If you saw the movie IronMan last year, you have an idea of where all this is heading.
- Telepresence/Video Conferencing. Telepresence and 3D video conferencing capability will eventually be common for enterprises, having a huge impact on corporate travel, workforce collaboration and productivity. It will allow enterprises to form closer relationships with clients, partners, and clients.
- Quantum Computing....Perhaps a little further out than a 15 year planning horizon, quantum computing will allow computers to perform calculations in seconds versus the hours it takes today.
- Embedded Intelligence...Embedded intelligence will enable an increasing amount of communication with mobile devices, appliances, store shelves, vehicles, bridges, buildings, people, animals, and even plants. Embedded technologies and solutions will allow enterprises to create a true sense and respond framework. By extracting useful events and insights from this data, organizations can quickly respond to new opportunities and / or threats.
- Cloud Computing... The rise of data-intensive applications, virtualization, and mobile and networking technologies is driving adoption of cloud computing. As sensors proliferate and the world becomes 'smarter', more computing power will be needed to keep up with all the transactions.
- Cleantech... There is a growing focus on products and services that improve the efficiency of assets while reducing energy usage, waste, or pollution. There are a number of emerging technologies in this area, including water management, solar energy, wind energy, biofuel green buildings, green IT, intelligent transportation systems, smart grid, and fuel cells.
There's more than just fourteen on my radar list, but these come to front of mind right now.