I’m often asked “what’s hot now?” And why the hell not? I was asked most recently by Isaac Roth at Makara at the Rackspace SaaS Summit during lunch yesterday. My focus tends to be more enterprise-y than consumer (I don’t spend too much on the cadre of “some dot com will buys us” business models).
Here’s what I generally tell people, expanded out beyond what my mouth can usually produce:
- Cloud Computing – I spend a lot of time talking about this with folks, both on the buy side and the sell side (vendors). Vendors are all trying to ride the wave of cloud interest (cheaper, faster, more agile) and have either come up with genuine offerings or shimmied what they have (virtualization, management, etc.) into that category. Cloud is mostly understood to be “public” (Amazon, Rackspace, and the rest) or “private” (using cloud-inspired methods and technologies to run behind-the-firewall data centers). Most vendors recognize that the easier money and (more importantly) customer retention is in private cloud. Folks universally agree that Amazon is ahead of anyone else the public cloud space, and there’s some uncertainty about how much of the private cloud elephant companies can eat in 12 month transformation project chunks. Another thing I should write-up is the huge interest telcos are having in IaaS cloud technologies: these guys have piles of infrastructure they need to protect from Amazon & co. and seem to be going crazy buying IaaS clouds. For example, see the recent moves by KT with involvement from both Cloud.com and CloudScaling. And there’s starting to be action on the other end of the dumb pipes.
- Mobile app development – developers I talk with are obsessed with the iPhone/iPad, or “iOS” as Apple has mercifully re-labeled their category. They’d love to develop for Android, which they feel is more open and “right” than iOS, but the gold rush is in Apple-land. While Hacker News might vote up a story every quarter pointing out the actual pennies on the dollar revenue in the Great App Game, developers still see the chance to cash in. These desires drive interest in mobile web (using web technologies for native apps or delivering mobile web apps), and a wider acceptance of the app store idea in (completely) different domains. Apple and Android dominate here: little is said (aside from a few snickers here and there) of Nokia, Samsung, MeeGo, Adobe, Microsoft, RIM, etc.
- Elder Companies go Cocoon – the big tech companies like IBM, Oracle, HP, Microsoft, Cisco, and even “young folks” like VMWare are going bonkers with consolidation, portfolio shake-ups (“hey, we’re Cisco, wanna buy some servers?”), and otherwise doing something beyond collecting their tasty revenue streams…