We’re in the peak season for prognostication in the IT industry. By this time of year, technology buyers and strategists have been buried by a continuing series of predictions regarding The Next Big Trends from the market research shops.

There’s some valuable information and some self-fulfilling

prophecy. Some-times, though, it’s more phantom trends that never seem to get off the ground.

Sure, you’ll say, it’s easy in hindsight to mock the prognosticators for their lapses in judgment by comparing their beginning-of-year predictions to the way things really shook out. And you’re right. Though I usually take the easy way out, this time I’ll risk that kind of public admonition and ridicule myself and offer some alternative predictions.

In no way should you consider this a substitute for the professional advice of, say, IDC (forecasting double-digit growth in the Asia-Pacific market) or Gartner (which published a series of analyst predictions in the form of a blog, which would suggest that one of the things they’re bullish on is blogging). Consider it complementary research.

After consulting industry leaders, news clippings, telephone psychics and Spike’s online Magic 8-Ball — an invaluable executive decision-making resource that can be found at www.indra.com/8ball/front.htm — here’s what I think we’ll see in the next year:

* With PIPEDA in full effect, there will be numerous developments on the privacy front. With customers now able to confirm and correct personal data held on them, billers will notice an odd increase the number of clients named “”I. P. Daly”” (heh). Controversy will continue to rage over the crucial issue of how to pronounce the acronym, with the “”pie-PEE-da”” advocates garnering widespread support while four or five stalwarts insist on calling it “”PIP-eh-dah.””

* IT departments will still be pressed by bottom-line, corner-office types to do more and more with less and less. This trend will continue toward its ultimate, logical conclusion, wherein the IT manager does everything with nothing.

* The marketing department of a certain software company will have its ease-of-use claims put to the test when, contrary to its assurances, it turns out you DO have to be a rocket scientist to install its applications.

* The ubiquitous Internet will become a reality when the disciplines of economics, business administration, astrol-ogy and theoretical mathematics are combined to produce a workable model for billing public WiFi access.

* A marketing coup: One of the cell phone manufacturers will begin shipping a revolutionary model that doesn’t have a friggin’ camera in it. It will be tiny, unobtrusive, and you’ll lose it.

* The Canadian Private Copying Collective, spurned by the Copyright Board in its effort to extract usurious levies from media and device manufacturers, will turn to a much-ignored content delivery service for its next pound of flesh — radio. “”Artists’ product is available freely to anyone who uses these devices — any time, anywhere,”” a press release will huff. “”They can even consume the product in their cars.”” The CPCC will seek compensation through a levy on the nine-volt batteries that power transistor radios.

* You will be contacted by a relative of a deceased, high-ranking foreign civil servant about a business proposal. This may be the break you’ve been waiting for…

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