Reviewing the hype of 2005, and the hopes of the year ahead

Every year IT managers face numerous emerging technologies, all claiming to be the Holy Grail that will reduce costs and improve productivity.

So in our final print issue, Computerworld polled IT managers and asked them what were the most hyped technologies in 2005 and their plans for the year ahead.

Wireless rated as the most promising tech options for IT managers in 2006 while the biggest stumbling block nominated by those polled was lack of standards.

However, despite the much-touted claims of increased flexibility and productivity, implementing a wireless network is just not on the radar of Bidvest Australia's IT manager Alan Stainlay.

"It's been around for a while, but it's just not robust enough," Stainlay told Computerworld, adding he "didn't bother to think" about mobility or wireless this year.

"I don't know if it's something we will [look at] next year, and if it does come it will be following year," he said.

Stainlay also puts this hesitation down to the company being "not one to be leading the market" and a lot of work done this year was "settling down" operations so it wanted no "extra overheads" associated with a wireless network.

Another technology Stainlay said is overrated is intrusion prevention, which "can be classed as hype", because questions like whether the organization already has sufficient protection and whether there's something worth protecting at that level need to be answered.

Emerging technologies Bidvest has adopted this year are IP telephony and virtualization.

The company "launched" into VoIP this year, because it knew it had been coming "for the last couple of years".

"It's something you just have to have," Stainlay said. "Eventually it will be helpful to us, but now we are just replacing current infrastructure with the new technology. Over the next 12 months we will start exploiting it."

Regarding virtualization, Stainlay said the technology has already been "very helpful" for replicating servers and SANs across different locations.

"Virtualization allowed us to build a warm-swap disaster recovery site [so] if one goes down it's not automatic failover, but ready to be switched on." Looking ahead to 2006, Stainlay said RFID would be helpful but "management doesn't see it as something they need to invest in just yet".

Socrates Vasiliadis, chairman of lending industry e-commerce body LIXI, described the lack of standards as the IT industry plague.

"It is hard to harness technology in a constructive way without standards," Vasiliadis said. He is chair of the body that created Credit Application Language (CAL), which standardized electronic transfers for home loans.

"Next year we will be looking at wireless, mobile communications, WiFi; I would love to bring GPS, GPRS and WiFi connectivity together," he said. "Wireless technologies should cost the same as wired technology. I'm hoping in future costs will drop."

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