Virtualisation last year. What next?

Robin Fisk predicts the technological breakthroughs of 2009

Robin Fisk
Robin Fisk

A year ago, I used this column to highlight technologies to watch in 2008. Was I right? Mostly, I am happy to report, I was - but which ones really made their mark last year?

Although not a new technology, virtualisation really took hold in 2008, largely because of increases in the cost of power consumption and a growing awareness that buying more servers is often needless.

Ultra-mobile PCs and netbooks such as the Eee PC and the Everex CloudBook became commonplace. Some users preferred Linux, some Windows XP - which might be why Microsoft has decided to keep shipping XP until a netbook-friendly Windows emerges.

Oled screens - high-spec TVs and monitors - came onto the market, mostly as high-end products, and they are sure to get cheaper in 2009. The fact that they consume less power than LCD monitors means the long-term cost of owning them will be lower.

A rise in the number of Facebook users was perhaps not a risky prediction, but at the time of writing it had been open to the public for little more than a year and had 30 million users. Now, with 150 million users, it has also become a business tool. Facebook has been used to recruit new donors, mobilise support, enhance campaign messages and even organise activism.

Silverlight, remarkably, gave Microsoft technical respectability. There has been a rapid growth in this new technology, which gives developers the tools to make great-looking websites and applications.

In 2009, the technology to watch will be internet access from mobile devices - using applications in the 'cloud' from your desk, your home, the train. Twitter will begin to make sense for a lot more people, including charities; and fundraisers will learn to leverage donors' social networks for good - 'friendraising', if you will.

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