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Gazing through the crystal ball

It has been an eventful year so far. The first seven months have been full of ups and downs, mostly downs. It all began with the dotcom bust, with most of last year's newsmakers and highfliers running out of resources due to half-baked business plans. Even popular and well-entrenched players like Yahoo! are evaluating existing business strategies to attract or retain the fast-dwindling online advertising buck.

As if this wasn't enough, the US recession came along, followed by the subsequent downturn in the fortunes of many software development and tech-consulting firms. Most of these companies, which were registering three digit growth figures, are now struggling to achieve two digit growth figures.

There are many theories doing the rounds as to what suddenly went wrong with the booming IT industry. Some blame it on the dotcom bust, others on the US recession. But there are other aspects too, that are either ignored or overlooked. Information technology is supposed to be a business enabler, it's supposed to increase efficiencies and at the same time save businesses a lot of money by automating functions, cutting down on communication costs, saving hours of manpower and precious time, etc. It's supposed to make life simpler, easier.

But consider a business that is completely automated. Or at least its core thrust areas are addressed. There are a finite number of areas in any business that can be automated or IT-enabled. After a subsequent period, there has to be a saturation point beyond which any further automation may not bring in the kind of benefits expected, both in terms of returns or efficiency.

Then there's the all-prevailing hype about any new technology, and hype is something the IT industry with a little help from the media thrives on. Any new technology is always predicted to be the next big thing. In fact the next big thing always fascinates and charms the IT industry. And advance knowledge of something that would make the cash registers ring especially in a down economy is always welcome. This is very much true with corporations that have huge IT spends. Should or shouldn't they invest in a new technology? Or should they wait till the technology gains mass acceptance before adopting it, in the process perhaps lose the competitive edge?

At Network Magazine-The Indian Edition, along with the transition from LAN Magazine to one focused on enterprise networking and related technologies; we have been following trends in IT industry over the past one-year. In this issue, which coincides with the first anniversary of Network Magazine, we gaze through the crystal ball to peak into five diverse areas areas as diverse as Servers, Security, Wireless, Optics and Broadband to depict the rapid changes and innovations happening in these areas. We have taxed our already overworked brains to bring you trends in these areas by separating the hype from hard facts.

Well, would our predictions turn out to be true? Wait and watch.

Sandeep Ajgaonkar,
Assistant Editor
sandeepa@vsnl.com

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