Mobile working and flexibility are top tech trends for 2010

26 Jan 2010

Mobile technology driven by the consumerisation of technology and self-service IT will explode in 2010 as will the demand for more flexible workplaces, according to the Citrix Top Technology Trends for 2010 forecast.

With the month drawing to an end, the estimated cost of January’s fierce weather conditions is expected to run into millions of euros due to lost work hours alone.

Flooding, severe frost and snow, damaged offices and closed schools. The weather also made some routes inaccessible, preventing staff from making it into work.

With studies showing that global warming will increase the frequency or intensity of many kinds of extreme weather, businesses cannot afford further wide-scale disruptions and are again looking at cost-effective ways to keep their staff working at any time and from anywhere.

Although organisations have put their IT spend on hold for the past couple of years, many will be looking to reassess and upgrade outdated IT infrastructures.

Citrix’s general manager, Niall Gilmore, takes a look at the emerging demand for mobility and flexibility in the Irish workplace and how these will shape the IT department over the coming year.

2010 – Year of the virtual desktop

“As Irish businesses know, office desktops are expensive. While hardware and software acquisition accounts for just 20-30pc of the ‘actual’ desktop spend, the ‘real’ cost for businesses begins once the initial installation is complete,” said Gilmore.

“It is estimated that ongoing IT management accounts for 70–80pc of the desktop spend. 

“(The year) 2010 is predicted to be the break-out year for desktop virtualisation, fuelled by its ability to cut the cost of managing IT and the roll out of Windows 7. In the past, the barriers to implementing desktop virtualisation in Ireland have been fourfold: cost, functionality, the recession and the wait for Windows 7.

“A growing realisation that desktop virtualisation can extend the useful life of a device means that the jump to desktop virtualisation can be accommodated within most organisation’s PC refresh cycle. Now that Windows 7 is available, the tipping point for mass adoption of desktop virtualisation has arrived.”

Mobile a go go

As seen at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas at the beginning of January, the next decade will see significant innovation in portable products.

Gartner Inc. predicts that “by year-end 2010, 1.2 billion people will carry handsets capable of rich, mobile commerce providing a rich environment for the convergence of mobility and the web.”

“Next year and beyond, there will be a surge in demand for applications accessible on a variety of devices, from desktop PCs to laptops, netbooks, iPhones, Blackberrys and Android-based smart phones.

“The whole concept of mobility will become infinitely more viable as small devices become much more connected through application and desktop virtualisation,” Gilmore said.

Consumerisation and self service IT will explode

The smart phone, particularly the phenomenal growth of the iPhone, is now increasingly joining the laptop and the netbook as a business tool, Gilmore continued.

“The on-demand service era will really take root in business as it becomes clear that major cost reductions are possible through the introduction of ‘anytime, anywhere,’ personalised services that reflect the hugely successful Apple iTunes mode of application access and availability.”

Green IT

Since the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, green is back onto the agenda and public-sector organisations are under particular pressure to hit green targets.

“One way to achieve this is by consolidating server space and simplifying operating environments through virtualisation. There will also be a move towards remote working, making use of tools such as desktop and application virtualisation.

“With data centres especially, there will be an increased consciousness of the importance of factors other than energy consumption, such as the need for asset management, workload analysis and an enterprise-wide view of all IT systems. Cutting power consumption alone will be seen as a limited and simplistic view of tackling the green issue.”

The cloudscape

Gilmore said there is still a level of ambiguity surrounding cloud services.

“The concepts of private (internal) and hybrid public/private clouds, including the management of hybrid clouds, will become more crystallised.

“Ultimately, enterprise data centres will in effect become internal clouds, while SMEs will move towards external clouds to manage their IT services,” he concluded.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Niall Gilmore, Citrix’s general manager

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years