As 2007 draws to a close, it is time for a tech wrap-up on the technologies, companies and trends that made a difference this year. On the plus side was the rise of green computing, added competition and new technologies that make sense for the enterprise. There were a few minuses also, which I'll get to.
The rise of green computing has struck a balance between significant advancement and overhyped enthusiasm. The approach to energy conservation continues to be piecemeal and also tends to overly focus on individual components rather than a systematic approach to power usage and applying just the right computing horsepower to the task at hand.
In retrospect, maybe the piecemeal approach makes the best sense as individual chip makers, computer vendors and IT hosting services now offer the parts to build a computing system that meshes scalable power with scalable computing capabilities to meet your users' needs.
Competition has been rapidly piling into the IT space. Open software, new bidders for the telecom spectrum, and new and renewed laptop providers now offer many choices for technology professionals. If the technology world at one point seemed to be devolving into only a few large vendors to pick from, that is clearly no longer the case.
Also, there are many new technologies to investigate. Virtualization—rarely mentioned four years ago—is now at the top of the business tech agenda. Mobile software for businesses is finally starting to catch up with the mobile hardware. In fact, the entire software industry, including new SAAS (software-as-a-service) offerings, new storage and compliance products, and social networking software making its way into the business world, outpaced the hardware companies in 2007.
The technology shortcomings in 2007? Despite their continued investment in technology, the finance companies looked increasingly foolish as the subprime mortgage crisis intensified. Banks and financial institutions—traditionally the most robust technology buyers—continued an embarrassing dance of writing down billions of dollars in debt without the ability to track and estimate how much greater their losses might grow.
Security continues to be a problem. Lost or stolen credit files at major retailers, spamming attacks that continue unabated, sophisticated phishing expeditions luring unwary consumers, and hacker attacks against some of our most secure institutions continue to plague the technology marketplace and retard the growth of online activities. As the year closed, there were additional concerns that social network providers might not be doing enough to assure that advertiser profiling did not impinge on privacy rights.
Overall, I'd say technology came out ahead in 2007.
Editorial Director Eric Lundquist is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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