2007 to be a tech of a year

David Canton – For the London Free Press – December 23, 2006

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For this last column of 2006, I will hazard some predictions for 2007.

In the corporate world, Microsoft Windows Vista, Office 2007, and Exchange 2007 are now available. These latest editions of the PC operating system, desktop software, and e-mail server contain some compelling features — such as RSS feed capability, unified messaging, and mobile messaging. They will bring phone messages to one’s desktop, and, ironically, to ones smart phone via its e-mail.

Despite these features and advantages, it will be at least the end of 2007 before they are widely implemented.

Businesses generally want someone else to try new software for a while so they can take advantage of the learning curve of others, and the inevitable initial round of software updates.

Implementing these upgrades also takes time and money, and hardware may have to be upgraded as well. Many may wait until their next scheduled round of hardware upgrades to upgrade their software.

And speaking of the office, remember when technology was going to reduce the amount of paper we use? So far, that’s been considered a joke, as computers seem to have increased paper. We may, however, be at the tipping point where electronic record-keeping will actually start to reduce paper. The technology is available — indeed, many of us already have it.

The combination of central storage, document management tools, wifi and cell networks, the convergence of platforms (such as the unified messaging features mentioned above), and document markup tools like tablet computers make it possible. What is lacking is the will and determination to make it happen.

In addition to reducing paper, those tools increase efficiency and make information more readily available.

My goal is to become as close to paperless as possible.

The coming year will be the year that RSS feeds take blogs into the mainstream. An RSS feed is the code that alerts us when new content is posted on blogs or websites that interest us.

Until now, tracking RSS feeds has required extra newsreader software. While that software is simple to implement and operate, many have avoided it because of those extra steps, or because they did not know how to use it.

Internet Explorer 7, the latest version of the Internet browser that most of us use, has RSS capability built in.

It is extremely easy to use, and will lead to wider adoption. (See my blog post of Dec. 7 at www.canton.elegal.ca for instructions.)

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