Friday, December 30, 2011

Trends of 2011

December 30 feels like a good date to reflect on the trends of the past year. Looking back to major trends of 2010, I realize that 2011 was more of an evolution and consolidation of technologies, rather than introduction of new ideas.

Mobile apps are rapidly becoming the most popular type software. Mobile space now resembles Web of late 90’s when everybody realized that they need a web-site. Furthermore, like e-commerce of late 90’s, mobile-specific business models are also beginning to emerge.  At the same time there are clear signs of market consolidation with iOS and Android being clear winners, and Blackberry, WebOS, Windows phone and others being clear losers.

While Tablet can be seen as just another mobile device, it certainly has unique characteristics and distinct usage patterns. 2011 saw great explosion in tablets’ popularity and adoption. Initially thought of as keyboard-less laptop, the tables are now perceived as completely different type of consumer device. Table market-space is still in its infancy and the jury is still out on what future tablets will look like – a computer, a toy, a media consumption device, etc.

Cloud computing begins to lose its hype because it’s becoming a standard part of software development and operation.  This technology is entering its maturity phase. By and large, Amazon remains the dominant cloud provider. A noticeable trend of 2011 is movement from IaaS to Paas, where infrastructure cloud providers begin to offer more hosted services like ElastiCache, RDS for Oracle, Beanstalk, etc.

NoSQL space also seems to enter a consolidation phase which followed Darwinian explosion of database types and approaches. At the moment, it seems that MongoDB and Cassandra capture most of attention. As with any new technology, people begin to realize its sweet spots and its limitations. Also, a better understanding of the umbrella “NoSQL” term leads to separation to document-based (Mongo), key/value based (Reddis), or table-based (Cassandra) solutions.

Social Platforms are now considered an important part of any consumer-oriented products. A new entrant into the social space is Google+ that competes head-to-head with Facebook. Time will tell whether it has a future or whether it ends up like other failed social products from Google. The interest in Social Platforms is further driven by a slew of high profile IPOs (LinkedIn, Groupon, Zynga).

While future predictions are futile, I have a strong feeling that 2012 will also be year of elaboration of existing trends rather than introduction of something radically different, but only time will tell.

Happy New Year!

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