by Rob Enderle
2009 is going to be a tough year but there are areas that will receive additional funding and focus in part because of the new US administration’s focus. But much of the change will be the result of the world economic collapse which will force companies and individuals to stop doing things that they might have otherwise continued and to start doing things they would have otherwise put off. This is text book Maslow, you put people in a state of fear for their income and jobs and you will change their behavior and we are likely to see an impressive amount of change in 2009.
Generally a severe lack of funding does ugly things to the environment and 2009, in general, probably won’t be huge exception when it comes to things like toxic waste as I expect illegal dumping and putting off initiatives that carry high cost with only environmental benefits. On the other hand conservation efforts will gain multiple advantages as the companies can continue to look green, they will be saving real money in terms of resources, and often cutting costly excess complexity.
This suggests that both companies and individuals will increasingly be motivated to find ways to conserve energy and raw materials. With the expectation that the new Obama administration will put in place financial incentives to both make and buy energy efficient products there will be multiplying incentives to build and sell them. However, there will also be an increasing number of vendors who try to game the system, because they aren’t paying their customer’s power bills, and extra care will need to be taken by both the buyer and regulatory bodies to ensure the promised savings is real.
You put a lot of people out on the street hungry and theft is going to go up dramatically. Unemployment is already spiking and we far from the low point. This time a lot of the people on the street will have IT training and that suggests not only a rise in physical theft but a rise in electronic theft as well. Yet funds will be tight for security personnel and more people are often not a good defense against cyber attack anyway.
Companies have not in the past been overly motivated to train employees to be part of the security solution and have often left technologies that protect their PCs like the TPM https://www.trustedcomputinggroup.org (Trusted Platform Module) off. I expect those policies to changer as IT organizations are asked to secure their sites and make sure the security technologies they have purchased but put off implementing are implemented.
Individuals as well will likely become much more likely to take their own security into consideration and I expect gun sales, alarm sales, and the use of private guards to increase as a result. But I also expect products like Absolute’s Computrace http://www.absolute.com and Phoenix Technology’s Failsafe http://www.phoenix.com to gain greater interest as the concept of LoJack moves from cars to personal products, and eventually, to individuals. Protecting against kidnapping will likely get increased focus as well.
Strangely enough this could help drive a trend that became evident in 2008, the move towards more personalized products. This was highlighted in Dell’s recent Design Studio http://www.dell.com launch and products that are unique to an individual are less valuable to thieves (unless the individual is a celebrity) and are generally more easily recovered.
As I write this Netbooks are one of the big winners at the end of 2008 because they are both very mobile and very inexpensive. However the real push for Netbooks comes in 2009 when the services they are connected to become better integrated. Microsoft’s Live Services, Google’s new Android Platform (which should drift to Netbook size next year) which includes the web and a variety of third party Sync/Storage like that out of EMC’s Decho http://chucksblog.emc.com subsidiary, Microsoft’s Live Mesh https://www.mesh.com , Apple’s MobileMe http://www.apple.com and SugarSync http://www.sugarsync.com are likely to enable the drive to the mobile world. This will be enabled by the need to for smaller local storage and concerns surrounding the loss of a device along with our irreplaceable information.
WiMax and WAN should both be huge enablers and, I expect, an increasing number of individuals and small businesses will turn off their land lines and DSL services to avoid the redundant charges in 2009 instead preferring to be connected wirelessly. Even large enterprises will begin trials using virtual PBXs http://www.virtualpbx.com and cell phones to eliminated redundant charges but, I expect, large roll outs will likely wait until 2010 or later because they move so slowly.
By the end of 2009 we should see a market changes with substantial advancements in resource conservation, personal security, and in what we can do while mobile. Mobile Internet Devices, Netbooks, and Smartphones will be the darlings and we’ll look out at a vastly changed landscape of companies and services. We will see an increasing focus, particularly on personal portable devices, towards personalization as the market struggles with differentiating ever lower priced offerings.
Overall 2009 will provide one of the greatest opportunities for change in many of our lifetimes and the world will be a vastly different place as a result.