Gartner: Top tech for business

Tech trends such as green IT, cloud computing and social networking might seem overhyped, but they’ll change the way business is done in the future, the analyst firm has said.

You might be sick of hearing of green IT, cloud computing and Web 2.0, but a new Hype Cycle report from Gartner has suggested those tech trends and others will be affecting business for many years to come.

The report listed five tech-centric ideas nearing the peak of the Hype Cycle, which affect business in the next two to five years.

Green IT will continue to be important, but is set to hit what Gartner calls the "Trough of Disillusionment" which essentially means people will get sick of the hype. However, because of its importance, it will rebound and stay important to the sector.

Cloud computing will be driven by companies looking to cut costs in storage and computing power. Social networking will continue its consumer success, and eventually make the transition to enterprise collaboration. Video telepresence will come of age as costs start to fall, while microblogging think Twitter will start to make in-roads for certain types of web companies.

"Other technologies that have passed the trigger where they start to be interesting to businesses include 3D printing, surface computing, augmented reality and mobile robots," said Gartner vice president Jackie Fenn, the author of the report. "We expect early adopters to start applying these in novel ways and driving new classes of application, such as using 3D printers to dramatically change the supply chain by creating products and replacement parts at the point of need."

The report suggested that within two years, Web 2.0 will transform the way we do business. Cloud computing, public virtual worlds and SOA will do the same within about five years, followed by 3D printing and RFID within ten years.

Fenn said it would be at least a decade before mobile robots start really changing industry.

In the next five or so years, electronic paper, green IT, location-aware applications, and solid state drives will have a high but not transformational' effect on businesses.

"Although Web 2.0 is now entering the Trough of Disillusionment, it will emerge within two years to have transformational impact, as companies steadily gain more experience and success with both the technologies and the cultural implications," said Fenn.

"Later in between two and five years time cloud computing and service-oriented architecture (SOA)... will deliver transformation in terms of driving deep changes in the role and capabilities of IT," she added. "Finally, public virtual worlds, which are suffering from disillusionment after their peak of hype in 2007, will in the long term represent an important media channel to support and build broader communities of interest."

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