Fading technologies sway future investments

Today's increased budgetary scruitiny mandates agencies to take a close look at their IT investments, now and in the future

When it comes to crystal-ball gazing, knowing what NOT to buy in large quantities can be almost as important as what to choose instead. The following list of technologies to avoid isn’t meant to scare buyers away from purchasing plans. For example, in the short term, hardware appliances are considered highly useful tools for a range of endpoint and network security protections. It’s just that the widespread use of virtualization and the ability to deliver security features and functions as a service will replace hardware appliances in the not-too-distant future, said James McCloskey, a senior research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group, London, Ontario.

The list below is important because government organizations must strive to think strategically about current requirements. Agencies must take into account whether they want to increase capabilities or simply lower costs. “[Unified communications], for example, is a proven cost saver over traditional [time-division multiplexing] networks,” said Russell Plain, UC solutions architect at CDW Government, Vernon Hills, Ill.

If agencies analyze total cost of ownership and return on investment and examine contract vehicles that will deliver greater productivity, Plain continued, “most will find that UC will allow agencies to work more efficiently and cost-effectively do more with less.”

According to Info-Tech’s research, the following technologies and standards are “so cold they’re on their way out in the next decade”:

* WiMax, a potential 4G wireless technology, is being replaced by Long-Term Evolution. Only one major network (Sprint) currently uses WiMax but is now also moving to LTE. WiMax phones will stop production by 2013, then WiMax networks will start to fade.

* Hardware appliances — such as hardware firewalls and hardware WAN optimization — will be replaced by virtual appliances running on existing utility infrastructure by 2013. This is part of the growing trend toward virtualization and managed services. The features and functions of hardware appliances will be provided by virtual machines, and increasingly, industry suppliers are planning to deliver those virtual features as managed services rather than hardware or software solutions, McCloskey said.

* Non-IP telephony — such as TDM and PBX technology — will be nearly extinct by 2015. It’s important for government organizations to hang up on traditional telephony as soon as possible, McCloskey explained. The future is all IP, all the time.

* Feature phones are also fading fast. By 2016, nearly all phones sold worldwide will be smart phones. Workers will always have a computer on hand and will need constant network connectivity to be productive.

* PCs (as currently recognized) will also be dead by 2020. Phones, tablet PCs and yet-to-be-revealed PC-like form factors will make the clunky desktop PC a dinosaur. By 2020, even laptops will be rare, reserved for very specific use cases. In the future, the idea of having to work in a specific place at tied-down devices will seem quaint.

* All cables will eventually curl up and die. Although that is hard to imagine in most government IT environments today, by 2021, improving wireless standards will make physical connections rare, even in most data centers. Info-Tech asserts that if wireless power limitations can be cracked, an entirely cable-free organization will be within view. Source: Info-Tech Research Group

About this Report

This report was commissioned by the Content Solutions unit, an independent editorial arm of 1105 Government Information Group. Specific topics are chosen in response to interest from the vendor community; however, sponsors are not guaranteed content contribution or review of content before publication. For more information about 1105 Government Information Group Content Solutions, please email us at [email protected]