Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Evolution in real time

Today I'm at the Gartner Portals, Content and Collaboration Summit in London. The opening session was an interesting and amusing look on how things have evolved in this area. The first slide - a TripAdvisor web site announcing the 2010 dirtiest hotels as voted on by visitors to the site, showed how little control some businesses now have about the messages being put out about them. No-one know who'd voted, whether they'd really been to the hotel, whether they were competitors....

There's a complex ecosystem over which we have no control - but we can influence. Technology has made communities more powerful and enabled change to happen more rapidly.

There was a quick look back at some themes that were being discussed 15 years ago at similar Gartner events in 1995 including:

  • The desktop of the future (do we talk about desktops anymore?)
  • The future of end user computing (its not about computers anymore but devices)
  • The integrated personal assistant on your desktop (who remembers Microsoft's clippy  -  the most reviled piece of technology ever)
  • The paperless office (are we any nearer?)

Then a look forward to some developments we might see in the next 5 to 10 years:
  • No-one will be interested in or know about the device operating system (I would say for some users esp MacOS that's here already)
  • most new IT investments will be sourced as services from the Cloud
  • User experience will be key
  • Displays will be tactile, flexible, 3D, projected anywhere
Crowd sourcing  - using groups of individuals to solve problems - is already on the increase. This is based on the premise that its easier to solve a problem with a diverse group of non experts, than with a small group of experts.

Memory is getting cheaper - terabyte memory sticks are on their way - so it will be easier to record and store everything rather than be discriminatory, so good search and retrieval tools will be essential. We're seeing this already with photographs and films. I take loads of both, and can't be bothered most of the time to sort through them, I just store everything, and if necessary buy a bigger hard disc.

A good opening talk, setting the scene for the rest of the conference.

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