It is that time of the year where bloggers and technology column writers come up with their lists of trends to watch for the year. Here is my initial list in no particular order. While the first couple are library-related items most of them are generic.
- The debate will continue within the library application development community between those who feel the need to develop new tools and services based on open source principles and those who argue that it is better to make use of existing tools and services from vendors. The emergence of service-oriented architecture adds fuel to the debate since powerful applications can be developed and content shared using relatively simple tools.
- Much in the way telephone and gas monopolies were broken up, the ILS will finally begin to be broken into parts. Service-oriented architecture can be used to create an ILS in a layered approach which allows the core catalog, search modules, and user interfaces to be independent applications. The phrase "integrated library system" will soon refer to independent software modules being integrated together rather than a single monolithic application with fully integrated applications. An ILS mashup using WorldCat data can not be far away.
- This year will see the emergence of Mobcasting, a phenomenon where event observers capture events on their video phones and podcast the footage on a blog. An aggregated footage results from RSS feeds produced from the blogs of multiple observers. This will lead to live event coverage by bloggers that is more in depth than can be captured by mainstream media.
- In 2006, many of the large television networks used their web sites to distribute episodes of shows after they aired, or in some case, the last episodes of shows which were canceled. During the upcoming year there will be an increase in the number of live mobile video sites such as ManiaTV.
- Internet guru Bob Metcalfe once predicted that the Internet will crash (I was at the InternetWorld conference where he ate his column when it didn't). The proliferation of viruses, Trojan horses, spam, and security flaws are creating an enormouse amount of unnecessary traffic. The increase in the amount of video being distributed on the Internet in 2007 will put a significant strain on the network, as will the emergence of WiMax. The investment in core network infrastructure is simply not keeping pace with the usage and demand which may lead to network outages that Metcalfe predicted a decade ago.
- The combination of passwords, PINs, signatures and keys as the principal means of providing digital security is becoming increasing difficult for the average network user. In 2007, there will be a new push to use biometric-based security, whereby a physical characteristic of individuals provides the additional layer of security.
- The use of flash memory as the storage device will heat up. We are likely to see major technology companies introducing computers and devices without disk drives. Flash-based "point of service" devices that transfer content via Bluetooth or WiFi, like Tank U, will begin to make an appearance.
- Networked-based consumer products like Chumby (a wireless web-enabled clock radio) and flickr photo frames will move networked content into a new era.
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