For the last few years I have been trying to identify the trends and directions of the Technology industry so I thought I would try again and make some predictions for 2010. You can read about my 2009 predictions here which were close with a few misses. Four of my predictions from last years are still high on my list for this year however the order has shifted in my mind. Here are my predictions 2010:

1) The Social Web

There is a lot of hype and a lot of work around introducing social tools and communities into our daily life. The majority of these tools are delivered via the web in communities like Facebook, Twitter, Identi.ca, Plaxo, and Friendfeed. Google also has a stake in this game with OpenSocial, Google Apps, and Google Groups, and Microsoft is getting in late with the Microsoft Azure Platform. Also, there is a lot going on behind the scenes in the social tools and apps space with Open efforts around Identity, Activity Streams and Discovery. These low-level efforts will help to shape our products and enable innovation. Social has bloomed on the web, and will be intergraded in many products in 2010, so now it is time for the enterprise.

One area that has helped the Social Web adoption is the integration of social applications on smartphones which enable users to stay connected to their Social communities. Another area is the use of inexpensive networked video cameras which has enabled content creators to quickly capture the moment and share it with their communities.

As Joseph Smarr once said …

The Web is going social … and the Social Web is going Open

I think this statement is very true ….

2) The Open Web

The web started as an Open project when Tim Berners-Lee released HTTP & HTML into the public domain in the early 90’s. Since then, organizations have been carving up their little piece of the web and restricting access to many. There are apps and solutions that are completely open, some that are partly open and others that are completely closed. There will be a big push to advocate for and adopt open strategies as more people start to participate in the Social Web and look to integrate all of their social tools.

The move toward an Open Web strategy has started to become organized with multiple groups participating in the effort. The Open Web Foundation was established in 2009 as a legal and standards based group for developing Open Technologies, and the Open Web Advocacy Group which is an open Google Group was create as a forum Open Web Developers, and the Mozilla Drumbeat Project was established as an advocacy group for the Open Web.

How about a real example of the Open Web. Twitter, not a totally open company or application, however they do have an open api which has benefited them greatly. By opening their api and access to twitter data, Twitter has allowed the creation of a sub market around twitter data. Hundreds of companies have been established which enhance twitter data and provide a service to twitter users. Without the Twitter open api, that would never happen.

3) Cloud Computing

Last year I had Cloud Computing at the top of my list and really expected adoption to be great than the adoption in 2009. That was partially due to security and legal concerns of Cloud Computing but also due to the fact that many enterprise organizations will need to change their infrastructure to take advantage of cloud computing, and most do not realize that. I think Cloud computing will continue to grow in 2010 with some of the larger more established vendors acquiring many of the smaller vendors.

I also see the adoption of private cloud increasing as many organizations get their first taste of cloud solutions in a controlled environment. There is a need for improved security and vendor accountability in the cloud space and I anticipate that there will be one or two new vendors on the scene in 2010 offering increased security and accountability at a premium.

4) Mobile Computing

Computing functionality is moving to the phone as evidence by the many SmartPhones available today. In 2010 we will see a whole new line of smart phones and Smart Phone adoption will increase in Enterprises as many organizations as many Business Managers realize that Smart phones allow for constant connectivity and Smart Phones adoption grows beyond the techie IT crowd.

I anticipate a line of semi-smart phones which allow some but not all of the features of a smart phone on a cheaper priced phone. Many folks are looking for basic phone services with limited to no data plans, however application store features will be available on all phones in 2010 as the providers look for more way to generate revenues.

The integration of social applications on smart phones has increased and will help to fuel the Social Web as smart phone users stay connected to their Social communities all the time.

5) Enterprise Social Computing

Adoption of Web 2.0 and Social tools in the Enterprise will increase however it will continue at a slow pace. Enterprises are adopting Enterprise Social Computing much like they adopted Intranets, in a slow and structured manner and need to get their feet wet before adopting any large scale organizational efforts. The good news is that more Business folks understand Enterprise Social Computing and can see the value of improved collaboration for their process.

Many organizations do not have a Enterprise Social Computing strategy however I see that changing in 2010 as many organization will come out with Enterprise Social Computing Policies for their users. This will be a clear indication for the user community of what is appropriate and what is not and will fuel Social Computing within the Enterprise.

6) Enterprise Infrastructures

Enterprise Infrastructures are changing. Most organizations have already adopted virtualization, while others are experimenting with cloud computing, and everyone is looking for strategies to decrease power and cooling requirements. Most larger organizations have data centers that were designed many years ago for large transactional type processing requirements and that has not changed as the processing continues on newer hardware but with the same old infrastructures. One reason why both Google and Amazon have become successful is because they are not tied to older transactional type architectures but instead created their own Architectural Stack which enable them to deliver massive computing power to end users. As more organizations start to work with private clouds the architecture required to support private clouds will become apparent and will start to fuel a change in applications and architectures.

The other Enterprise Infrastructure shift that I see is in the area of Identity Management and governance. Most organizations have at least three different methods of authentication in their organization including Active Directory and multiple LDAP’s all architected to be used behind the firewall. This is the year that organizations will start to look outside the Enterprise to join federated IDM’s for a subset of their users, customers and partners. Another Identity related solution will be Information Cards, which have gained adoption on the Web and eventually will make it’s way to the Enterprise.

7) Big Players in Technology Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Oracle

I see the large established players like Amazon, Apple, Google and Oracle growing and doing well in 2010 however I see Microsoft slowing down in 2010. I think that Amazon, Apple, Google and Oracle are poised to take advantage of the web as all are nimble enough to shift direction if needed and all appear to have new products and services in the pipeline. Windows 7 and Microsoft Sharepoint will the the two high points for Microsoft while overall sales will decline.

I see Google as the big winner here. They are embracing the Open Web, and moving out of their comfort zone of search with new voice and social applications and of course the rumored Google Phone.