How is IT going to evolve over the next ten years, as we transition to the cloud? The Pew Research Center's latest survey has plenty of educated, insightful opinion on that topic, from the future of the desktop to escalating problems with security. Oh, and are you ready for the "Internet of things"?

John Soat, Contributor

June 14, 2010

3 Min Read

How is IT going to evolve over the next ten years, as we transition to the cloud? The Pew Research Center's latest survey has plenty of educated, insightful opinion on that topic, from the future of the desktop to escalating problems with security. Oh, and are you ready for the "Internet of things"?

As I mentioned in my previous blog, the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life project recently conducted the fourth iteration of its "Future of the Internet" survey, this one called "The Future of Cloud Computing." The almost 900 respondents to the survey are all Internet pioneers, experts, developers, authors, entrepreneurs, etc. I urge you to access a copy and peruse it.

For the most part the respondents strike a relatively conservative path. For example, as for the function of the desktop in the cloud computing landscape of the future, "[t]he majority (of survey respondents) sees a hybrid life in the next decade, as some computing functions move towards the cloud and others remain based on personal computers," according to the authors.

By far the most interesting elements of the survey report, though, are the open-ended answers provided by the respondents and reproduced by the authors. Here is a sample.

On the distinction between the desktop and the cloud: ** "By 2020, people will work on the desktop and in the cloud, never really knowing where their data 'lives.' " -- Charlie Martin, correspondent, science and technology editor, technical writer.

On the mobile Internet: ** "In the future we will live in a transparent 3D mobile media cloud that surrounds us everywhere." -- Marcel Bullings, futurist and founder of Futurecheck.

On security in the cloud: ** "We'll have a huge blow up with terrorism in the cloud and the PC will regain its full glory." -- R. Ray Wang, partner in The Altimeter Group, blogger on enterprise strategy.

On privacy in the cloud: ** "By 2020 we will have been disappointed enough times by online information services losing data, claiming ownership of data, sharing data without permission, etc. that we will keep our own data in our own in-home data store--a personal web server--and it will be available (via the cloud) to our personal devices." -- Stephen Downes, senior research officer, National Research Council of Canada.

On the Internet of things (the prediction that everyday appliances will acquire IP addresses): ** "By 2020 the computational hardware that we see around us in our daily lives will all be peripherals--tablets, goggles, earphones, keyboards, 3D printers, and the like. The computation driving the peripherals will go on in any of a million different places, from local networks that run on your desk and in your room and building and on up." -- Fred Hapgood, technology author and consultant.How is IT going to evolve over the next ten years, as we transition to the cloud? The Pew Research Center's latest survey has plenty of educated, insightful opinion on that topic, from the future of the desktop to escalating problems with security. Oh, and are you ready for the "Internet of things"?

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