I am in no way, shape or form a visionary like Ray Ozzie, but he has made me think about Software and Information Technology and what I see as the immediate challenges facing the space.
1. IPv6 or 128 bit code. I am running 64 bit for the first time on Windows 7, and I have had no problems, but 128 is up and I have not seen much progress. Interestingly I have heard many Venture Capitalists say that software is not being developed to fully utilize the capability of 64 bit (nor dual processors). This is a very big challenge as a potential gap could develop between hardware and software.
2. The portable device and the "cloud." The True Cloud is NOT a web server farm. The True Cloud is the linkage of open hard drive space on all web-connected devices. This Peer-to-Peer sharing of data and information -- with the necessary security features -- is a key to our affordable progress (energy and equipment). The problem is whether portable devices (laptops, notepads, phones) will be on enough of the time ot make this work.
3. People. Has anyone heard the statement, "We need more engineers?" Usually it is for building bridges or autos or machines. Well, we don't have enough software engineers. We don't have enough experience across disciplines in hardware and software to generate innovation. This is a big problem.
4. Education. Right behind people is how we train our students. Too many really bright minds have gone for "efficient market" theory economics and spend all of their mathematical brilliance on trying predict and control financial markets. Look where that got us! We need to move beyond traditional approaches to hardware and software and press forward with breakthough materials and concepts for communication, analyisis and production (including AI).
5. Storage Management and Security. Disclaimer...I have an interest in Digital Lifeboat which is going after this issue. I have previously written that 'The future of business technology is likely to involve a combination of three things: secured data managed onsite; outsourced data warehousing; and so-called cloud-based services.' I believe this to be true and this is the area where we will see the most progress. It is VERY expensive to do this for governments and Fortune 1000 companies.
6. Open Source. Is it really working? In my limited experience, anything that is really good suddenly becomes closed. Figure that. The support necessary for this concept is much greater than anyone imagined. It is also hard to find a way to make money and remain open.
7. Patents and IP protection. Don't think me a grubby capitalist, but I think this is a big issue. Getting your work ripped off by the Chinese is a big deal. Not having enough clarity around what process or ideas are defensivable has depressed a lot of great ideas.
8. "Video killed the 'face to face' star." Just like the first video played on MTV (yes I saw it live, I'm that old), we are now seeing how information and communication technology are replacing entertainment (meals and ball games) in the realm of sales and service. This is just the beginning with WebEx and GoToMeeting. Think about the merger of collaboration software with these services wherein clients and suppliers work dynamically to find solutions to problems.
9. Where art thou, virtual world? What the heck happened to Second Life? Is it possible that the real world is now so connected that we don't need to have a virtual shadow? Was the idea really that lame or are we just not doing it correctly yet?
10. GPU vs. CPU. Much like my point on the failure for sofware developers to fully utilized dual and now quad and soon mult-core processors effectively, we are NOWHERE when it comes to getting the most out of GPUs in laptops and phones. There is a long way to go here and we better get started. By the way, who should care? Network television.