What's next in the world of tech?

Video conferencing, netbooks and virtualisation will continue to grow, according to predictions by analyst Gartner.

Video conferencing will hurt airline travel, PC vendors will fail to recycle four out of five computers, and enterprises will encourage IT failures these are just three of the top 10 technology predictions for 2009 from Gartner.

Every year, the analyst firm picks 10 predictions from the hundreds submitted by its many researchers. All are intriguing, but how many will actually come true?

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Video conferencing will hurt the travel industry

We've been hearing it for years: video telepresence means we can stop travelling for business. But Gartner promises that within three years, high-definition technology will cost the travel industry 2.1 million airline seats and $3.5 billion annually.

Virtualisation growth will continue

Okay, we could predict this one. But Gartner has been a bit more specific, saying that the server virtualisation software market will grow by 28 per cent over the next four years.

Cloud computing will take off

Cloud computing has been a top buzz word in the past few months, but with little to show for it. The analyst firm predicted that 30 per cent of consulting and systems integration revenue will come via the cloud within the next two years - despite saying previously it needs time to mature.

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Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) faces consolidation

According to Gartner's analysts, one in three of the top BPO providers will be taken over or shut down. It warned companies using BPO to have plans ready in case their provider is affected by such consolidation.

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Corporations will encourage failure

In order to succeed, enterprises will have to learn how to manage business process change failures, Gartner said. Within three years, the top firms will learn to encourage any attempts at change and reward employees even if they fail. We'll believe it when we see it.

Vendors will fail to recycle 80 per cent of computers they sell

Even three years from now, the top computer manufacturers will still be recycling just one out of every five machine they sell. Gartner called on government to support green tech initiatives through subsidies, but also said the IT industry itself needs to do more.

The netbook revolution will continue

As netbooks improve and the economy doesn't, it should come as no surprise that this cheap and cheerful hardware will continue to drive consumer markets. Gartner said 30 per cent of PCs sold worldwide will cost less than $300 by 2012.

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Office workers will ditch their desk phones

That phone sitting on your desk might not be there in four years. According to Gartner, 40 per cent of enterprise-level knowledge workers will ditch their desk phone in favour of mobile devices.

Operators will cut flat rate data plans

In a move that will cause trouble for all those workers who have ditched their desk phones, mobile operators will stop offering unlimited mobile data plans as networks start to overload.

Sensors take over the web

In three years, a fifth of non-video web traffic will come from physical sensors, such as CCTV systems, according to Gartner. This will provide a mountain of real-time data for businesses to make informed decisions if they can sift through it all, that is.

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