The economy is less ragged, there’s more confidence in IT, Internet advertising is booming, the media are talking about a new Internet bubble, and webloggers are creating an atmosphere of innovation in Internet publishing. Here’s a quick braindump of what I think will happen next year.
Demand from high-volume bloggers will lead to the development of simpler, standards-based open-source content management software. This will increase pressure on existing CMS vendors and integrator to justify their cost and complexity. Most will not survive this challenge.
More and more CIO’s will report to CFO’s. IT will look more like a cost center and not a strategic resource. ROI and hard cost/benefit analysis will be necessary to justify any IT spending.
The IT recovery will be unevenly distributed. Large vendors will reap the benefits, but there will be pressure on their margins as their solutions are commodified. Small vendors will scurry for defensible niches or merger partners.
Internet advertising will be white-hot, but most of the revenues will go to a handful of sites. This will give Time Warner the opportunity to spin off AOL. They should seize it.
Computer companies will fail in the consumer electronics market, because they don’t have any understanding of what consumers want, have been turned into followers by Wintel market dynamics , and don’t have the right distribution channels. Apple is the only company that could do it, but loss of focus, low margins and short product lifecycles may make it unattractive even to them.
RSS will be used to syndicate new kinds of information and RSS readers will begin to appear in mobile devices.
This will be the year of digital rights management. A lot more hardware, software, and media will be introduced with DRM, but unattractive terms and compatibility issues will lead to stagnation in networked media.
Client-side and server-side spam filters will be ubiquitous and really good. Collateral damage will include most legitimate email marketing programs.
Most commercial wifi hotspots will go away (except in hotels and airports), but merchants will begin to provide free hotspots as a customer service.
More online content will go behind subscription barriers. However, this will be the beginning of a death spiral for those sites. Eventually (after their current management is fired), they will be reborn as stripped-down, highly-automated free sites.
Broadband access providers will begin to exercise their muscle by metering bandwidth and by imposing more limits on what protocols their customers can use, what information they have access to, and what information they can publish on the net.