Technology

Business IT trends for 2008

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Some new releases of technology products turn out to be hype while others genuinely change the way we do business. What we can expect to see this year?

 

Paul Wallbank Tech Talk blog

Every year we see new releases of technology products with great fanfare; some turn out to be hype while others genuinely change the way we do business. What we can expect to see in the business tech world this year?

 

Those who like small and fast computers will be pleased at the new wave of laptops. Communications is one of the hot areas for 2008 as we’ll see wireless internet dropping in price and unified communications products coming on to the market. Green IT will be a big selling point and Vista will finally start to be accepted in the workplace.

 

Windows Vista service pack

Smart businesses never buy the first release of any software product. It’s far better for your competitors to be the crash test dummies for the software industry. Sometime around the middle of the year we expect Microsoft to release the first service pack for Windows Vista.

 

This will make Vista more attractive although it won’t overcome all the problems with older equipment and software. For those who have decided to stay with Windows XP, the long overdue service pack 3 is expected some time after the Vista service pack.

 

Smaller and cheaper portables

While desktop computers aren’t going away any time soon, laptops are steadily taking over. Portable computers now outsell desktops in both homes and businesses. The new breed of cheaper and smaller laptops entering the market make portables even more compelling.

 

The awkwardly named Asus EeePC (pronounced “e-pc”) and MacBook Air are two of this wave. Both of these products are aimed at domestic users, although either are fine for the SOHO operator (small office/home office) or independent road warrior. We’ll see business equivalents of these machines on the market in the next three months.

 

More wireless, more often

Until recently, wireless internet was limited in both price and coverage. For business, the choices were expensive mobile phone data plans or local providers with limited coverage. This restricted how businesses could use the technology.

The mobile phone providers are finally seeing beyond short term price gouging and getting serious about wireless internet. This means mobile tools and services will be much more accessible to businesses that previously wouldn’t consider them.

 

Unified communications

While the focus on “voice over internet protocol” has been on saving money, one of the biggest advantages for business is VOIP delivers on the promise of combining data and phone systems. This means more flexible, simpler and cheaper services.

 

The big software and networking vendors are seeing this as a great opportunity. We’ll be seeing these products on the market in the middle of the year. It’s going to be worthwhile for many businesses to consider upgrading their phone systems.

 

Green IT

One of the biggest issues in 2008 will be global warming and sustainability. Technology is a huge consumer of power and resources so the IT industry will be adapting to the market and social demands to reduce their usage.

 

New systems will be offering features like better power management and more planet-friendly materials. One new computer is partly made out of corn-based plastics. We may even see the long awaited paperless office arrive.

 

In computers and technology, every year is a big year for change, but often the reality doesn’t always match the hype. Sorting out what’s right for your business is often hard work. I’ll be looking at these and other small business IT issues in future blogs.

 

Paul Wallbank is a writer, speaker and broadcaster on technology is sues. He founded national support organisation PC Rescue in 1995 and has spent over 14 years helping businesses get the most from their IT.

 

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