What are the top technologies and technology trends that are likely to change the way you do business in 2009 and beyond? Let’s take a look at 10 of them---A to Z.

  1. Cloud Computing -- Not just for big companies anymore, “cloud computing” continues to grow in popularity. It allows even the smallest firms to affordably pay as they go for access to hosted off-site “in the cloud” computers and servers.   Cloud services are now offered by everyone from Amazon's EC2 to Google to IBM, and allow firms to save money, storage space, and energy while making backup and recovery a snap. The downside? Cloud computing could lock companies into a never-ending cycle of escalating vendor costs -- all to access their own data.
  2. Computer Virtualization -- Listed first in Gartner Research’s list of top strategic technologies for 2009, virtualization continues to grow in popularity and generate buzz. The concept: that software now allows businesses to run multiple operating systems and multiple apps through one computer at the same time. The resulting system of virtual desktops and virtual storage can save businesses significantly on hardware, storage, and energy costs. However, even with its promise, Gartner projects that fewer than 40 percent of interested businesses -- mainly enterprise firms --will adopt virtualization by 2010.
  3. Green IT --  Green IT, the concept of adopting technologies designed to save energy and reduce carbon footprints, continues to gain steam as firms try to respond to concerns over climate change, dependence on foreign oil, and the prospect of tighter environmental regulations under a new president. Many technologies can fill this bill, including virtualization, cloud computing, increased use of Web conferencing and collaborative tools, and telecommuting. In 2009, look for companies to adopt those “green” technologies that also help them to cut costs in a lean economy.
  4. Mashups -- Corporate interest is growing in the seemingly infinite ways that Web applications can be “mashed up” to serve up information in entirely different ways, like fusing Google Maps technology with real-estate data to create sites like Zillow.com, or using Sprout technology to add streaming video or a real-time polling app to an otherwise lackluster website. In 2009, look for more companies to enter the mashup arena, particularly to enhance their marketing capabilities.
  5. Memrister --“Memory Resistors” are tiny components that, because of the way they are structured, do not “forget” data stored in them even when turned off. They are likely to be cheaper and faster than flash storage. The ability to form a memrister was finally announced in April 2008 by Hewlett-Packard Labs, after nearly 40 years of research. Memristers “could be a strong competitor to the flash memory market in about five years,” writes HP Senior Fellow Stan Williams.
  6. Mobile Computing -- Mobile computing will remain white-hot in 2009. Devices such as the BlackBerry Storm -- the first BlackBerry with a touch-technology screen -- are expected to be a big hit. A new iPhone is out, too, as well as Google’s G1 Android-based phone with keyboard. In a tight economy, however, companies are sure to haggle for bargain contract deals before buying.
  7. Quad-Core Computing --As the decade comes to a close, this technology could see a boost as Intel and AMD continue to battle over whose processor is more energy efficient. While many companies will not need this level of power and multitasking, those considering virtualization models might consider quad-core computers. But in 2009, many companies are likely to shy away from big new purchases given the tough economy.
  8. Social Software -- The overwhelming popularity of Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, and Twitter is driving an increasing number of companies to add social network features to their websites -- for marketing, outreach, and internal collaboration. This is likely to continue in 2009, and companies would do well not to miss the boat, notes Gartner Vice President David Cearley, author of Gartner’s top-10 list.
  9. USB 3.0 -- Unveiled in August 2008 by Intel and others, the USB 3.0 personal interconnect technology would allow data transfer at 10 times the speed of the current USB 2.0 technology, all while being more energy efficient. In addition, 3.0 (also known as USB SuperSpeed) would allow much faster charging of cell phones, digital cameras, and other devices that use USB technology. Products incorporating 3.0, however, aren’t slated to hit the marketplace until late 2009.
  10. Web Browsers --Will 2009 be the year companies switch their Web browsers? With the September release of Google’s Chrome, an arguably faster browser meant to handle rich-media content with more agility than Internet Explorer or Firefox, some may choose to make a change.