The Roundup: Did Somebody Say IT Predictions?
If it's January, it must be prediction time. IT research firm IDC recently outlined 10 of their own relating to global IT in the coming 12 months. They are:
- The IT market rebound will begin by mid-2002, perhaps sooner. In 2002, spending will increase 4-6% in the U.S., 6-7% in Western Europe and 10-12% in Asia/Pacific.
- China's entry into the World Trade Organization will help ensure its 25% IT spending growth continues for years, on its way to becoming the third-largest IT market in the world by 2010.
- Businesses will feel a crunch in 2002 as users and workers with wireless and mobile Internet access create demand for enterprise support that's not yet in place. (Editor's note: For related WLAN info, read "Driveby Hacking on the Go" and "WLANs Embraced, But Security Concerns Dominate")
- The "Bin Laden Effect" will drive enterprises to rethink their specs for business continuity and will reset IT security plans in 2002.
- With Microsoft pushing Passport to XP users and competitors reacting, digital identity services will become real - even if single-sign-on to the Web will remain a consumer's pipe dream;
- Streaming media will be hot as new standards come online and new services and market needs -- some in reaction to September 11 -- come into play;
- The concept of "web services" will hit its hype peak in 2002 -- long before any critical mass of products or services in the market is reached;
- Linux will have a "breakout year," after 2001 proved that Linux is a viable alternative for enterprise use.
- Although the market for server blades won't be a big money maker in 2002, the new architecture will disrupt the entry server and appliance server markets -yet another disturbance in a server market already undergoing multiple transitions. (For more information, read "The Skinny on Server Blades")
- 75 million WinXP licenses will ship in 2002, but XP won't have the clout that Windows 95 did in driving hardware sales or generating first-time users.
Conferencing Catching Fire
The conference services sector is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years now that corporations are embracing them as a viable alternative for meetings and collaboration, according to a recent research report.
At a time when companies are cutting back on spending for travel (due to budget and terrorism concerns), Wainhouse Research (Brookline, Mass.) reports that spending on audio, video and Web conferencing services is expected to grow to $9.8 billion by 2006, up from $2.8 billion in 2000.
The overall market is expected to see a gain of 28% in 2001 alone, once all the numbers are tallied, with 9/11 having a major influence on growth. That that growth rate won't last "we do expect a long term positive effect on the usage of conferencing service providers and hence their revenues, despite the continuous downward pressure on prices," says Andrew W. Davis, Wainhouse's managing parter.
A plus for IT managers: All conferencing types (Web, audio, video) are expected to migrate to unattended, on-demand services. This will allow for lower costs for the end users (and higher margins for the service providers.) An example: Average selling prices for Web conferencing services are expected to drop 19% annually while having a compound annual growth rate of more than 42%.
Everybody's Going Wireless
Telecom research group The Strategis Group (Washington, D.C.) is out with predictions about the global wireless markets. The firm reports that next-generation wireless technologies and services are poised to drive growth various markets for enterprise and consumer devices and applications.
A major trend forecast: Continued expansion of wireless local area networks (WLANS) in public hot spots - airports and college campuses- as users come to depend on "everywhere" access to mobile data.
Another trend: The growth of telematics (an common example: connecting cars to the Internet) as reduced costs of implementing systems will drive more widespread consumer demand for services.
Holiday Shoppers Make E-Retailers Smile
It looks like the recent holiday season made 2001 a breakout year for e-retailers. Jupiter Media Metrix reports that online shopping traffic in December 2001 was up 50% compared to the previous Christmas season, with blue-chip retailers seeing traffic gains of 73%.
JMM reports this week that an average of 51.3 million unique visitors went shopping online each week during the 2001 holiday season, up 50% from 2000 and up 99% from 1999. During the recent holiday season, online shopping "started strong and ended stronger," said Charles Buchwalter, vice president, media research, for JMM.
The season was great for pureplay retailers with stores, catalogs and Web sites, JMM reports.
Top three traditional retailers based on daily traffic during the recent holiday season: Columbia House sites with 598,000 average daily visitors, followed by Toys R Us (515,000) and BarnesandNoble.com (447,000).