Recently, Airfoil was a sponsor for the PRSA Silicon Valley Media Predicts 2009 event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.  The event featured a fascinating panel of high-profile tech journalists, often with delightfully conflicting points of view, and was moderated by Ann Winblad of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. 

The panel discussion took a quick look back at the technology trends that were big in 2008 and focused on projections for what will be big in 2009.  Journalists on the panel included:

  • John Markoff, senior technology writer, New York Times

  • Elise Ackerman, technology reporter, San Jose Mercury News

  • Mark Veverka, West Coast editor, Barron’s

  • Richard Waters, West Coast editor, Financial Times

  • Michael Arrington, co-editor, TechCrunch

So what will be big in 2009?  Here are some of the projections made by the panel:

The economy of course will be of utmost importance.  Ackerman created quite a stir in the audience with her predictions that many people in the Valley, including journalists and PR professionals will soon be unemployed and residing in shanty towns.  On the upside, she also predicted that we will soon be using jet packs for transportation. 

Green technology will definitely be an important market segment, but there is much debate as to whether it’s a viable industry due to its capital-intensive nature.

Netbooks are hot!  A not-so-useful fad due to tiny screens and inadequate keyboards, but hot nonetheless.  Smartphones on the other hand are beating existing mobile technology and netbooks as portable, do-it-all mini computers. 

Cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) received a lot of attention as an emerging technology trend, as did the security benefits and consequences of moving applications and data onto the cloud.  Some called for the elimination of hard drives for security reasons, with cloud computing serving as the secure alternative. 

Other security and privacy concerns abound as viruses get stronger, bad guys get smarter, consumers lose privacy and corporations and government gain privacy. 

Overall, the PRSA Media Predicts event was a very insightful look into the hot technology trends of 2009.

— Sue Barnes