As we start the second decade of the 21st century, it's only natural to wonder what lies ahead—but IT Professional's editors and authors are doing more than just wondering. This year we'll be previewing technology trends, discussing new technologies, addressing technical and management challenges, and suggesting practical solutions for you, our readers.
For IT professionals, 2011 brings new challenges. The growing importance of green computing, the increase of context-aware applications, the intensity of cyberattacks, the proliferation of social networking and collaboration, the promise of next-generation Web technology, and the expansion of cloud computing will continue to have significant impacts on our profession. In the year ahead, you can expect to see a diverse range of topics in both our general-interest and theme articles and our departments. In particular, our special issues will cover the following topics.
Green IT is the research and practice of designing, manufacturing, and using information technologies, such as computers, servers, monitors, printers, storage devices, and networking and communications systems. It's growing in importance because of increasing IT usage, depleting natural resources, expanding carbon footprints, rising energy bills, and increasing environmental regulations. As this January/February issue discusses, we can make a difference by greening IT.
RFID and Real-Time Location Systems
RFID technology and real-time location systems (RTLS) are rapidly evolving and growing, providing solutions to a wide array of problems. RFID and RTLS can improve a company's operational efficiency by reducing labor and enhancing product visibility, thus reducing overall operating costs. Although RFID is becoming more prevalent in our daily life, challenges remain when it comes to real-time services, adoption, and integration with enterprise architecture, security, and privacy.
There's little doubt that the future of both technologies is very promising. Our March/April issue will focus on the application, adoption, and integration of RFID and RTLS technologies to support various business operations.
Keeping enterprise IT assets secure has always been part of an IT professional's responsibility. Protecting enterprise IT assets involves keeping one eye on the lightning-fast changes occurring in terms of threats, malicious activities, and technology. At the same time, the other eye must remain on the enterprise business environment. Purchasing and integrating security devices to maintain the perimeter isn't trivial. Knowing how and what to protect and what controls to put in place is also difficult.
With proper or rogue means, strong motives, and abundant internal and external opportunities, cyberattacks are going to continue; it's inevitable. It takes a well-thought-out, multifaceted framework and a practical approach to secure your IT systems—challenges the May/June issue will cover.
Social Networking and Collaboration
Social networking and collaboration have opened an exciting new dimension to the Internet. Increasingly, businesses use social networking technologies to foster knowledge management and to transform their approach to marketing, advertising, research, and stakeholder engagement. Social technologies are rapidly evolving and are being delivered in various configurations. Some solutions are offered as independent applications, some as elements of socially enabled collaboration suites, and yet others are available freely (or cheaply) in the cloud.
As individuals and businesses discover the potential and value of IT-enabled social networks, we need to articulate and quantify the antecedents of adoption, diffusion, business value, and societal impacts. The July/August issue will provide perspective on the accelerating adoption of social technologies for specific business functions and within selected industries.
Web Applications: Strategies and Design
The future of Web applications is poised for significant change due to the proliferation of Internet-enabled smartphones, gadgets, and consumer electronics; the promise of cloud computing; the deployment of next-generation Internet protocols; and advances in Web 3.0 and 3D Web. In the coming years, billions of devices will be connected to the Internet, and they'll access and share information through the Web. New kinds of Web applications are on the horizon that will be more pervasive and smarter than current applications and will be accessible anytime, anywhere, and from any device.
New Web applications will emerge rapidly, requiring us to address the related technical, developmental, operational, organizational, and societal challenges. The September/October issue will focus on the emerging Web apps landscape.
Cloud computing can offer enterprises many benefits in terms of financial savings, scale, speed, management, and flexibility. However, it also raises concerns about trust, control, security, compliance, management, data location, and data availability. Furthermore, cloud computing represents a huge transformation in the way enterprises provide and use IT services. As such, there are potential long-term consequences for IT departments, business operations, and industry dynamics. The November/December issue will examines the realities, challenges, risks, and future impacts of cloud computing.
We'll continue to cover important and current issues from various angles in our departments—CIO Corner, Insecure IT, IT Ethics, Perspectives, Smart IT, and Trends. In 2011, we've changed and added the following three departments:
• "Developing Soft Skills" will be edited by Linda Wilbanks, the CIO of the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service. This department brings together best practices, tips, and lessons learned in leading and managing diverse technical staff and projects.
• "IT in Emerging Markets" will be edited by San Murugesan, a professor at the University of Western Sydney, Australia, and a new associate editor in chief of IT Professional. This new department will highlight the accelerating growth and application of IT by emerging markets.
• "Operational IT" will be edited by Wes Chou, one of our rising young editors. This new department will start in a future issue and offer technical and procedural advice on IT deployment and operations.
Departments will be adjusted regularly to respond quickly to current issues and to cover hot topics. This should translate into getting useful and practical information into your hands sooner, which in turn will contribute to your professional success and career advancement.
As we move into this new decade, I want to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy and prosperous new year. I'm looking forward to your continued support, and I welcome your feedback on how we're doing and how we can make the magazine even more useful and practical. Send your comments to email@example.com.
is the director of the US National Agricultural Library. His research interests include IT architecture, cybersecurity, software engineering, and database and data mining. Liu has two doctoral degrees in computer science and higher education administration from George Washington University. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.