Predictions, predictions

If all goes well, I'm thinking this will be the year we wanted to have in 2001. I'll stop short of proclaiming my New Year's resolutions, but I will stick my neck out and offer my 2002 predictions.

There's something to be said for getting away from it all. Amber and I escaped off to the snow to celebrate the new year, and we feel much better for it despite the aching leg muscles.

Crystal ball

If all goes well, I'm thinking this will be the year we wanted to have in 2001. I'll stop short of proclaiming my New Year's resolutions, but I will stick my neck out and offer my 2002 predictions.

First, I think we're about to rediscover the internet. While dot-coms stained the net's image, corporate America is about to really understand practical uses, such as better application integration, for that hyped story called web services.

Then there's the return of the networking industry. Recent big-name failures aside, thirst for broadband connectivity will be insatiable. This in turn will fuel a variety of new players offering integrated voice and data to even the smallest of businesses.

Then there's the rise of corporate wireless networks. I'm hearing that we can expect wireless carriers to seek New Year's cheers with more national retail chains. For example, one theory says the likes of Sprint could strike a deal with McDonalds to offer lower rates in exchange for building and marketing 802.11b access points in its franchised stores. The new customer push could be a driver for 3G (third-generation) services.

What are your 2002 predictions?

Earthy rumours

As for rumours in the wireless space, my spies report that wireless access provider Boingo, formed by EarthLink founder Sky Dayton, are planning to aggregate various 802.11 wireless services to provide universal access to its service, regardless of location and different suppliers.

The wireless talk doesn't end there. A reader reports what's becoming a growing user concern -- Windows XP compatibility with wireless PC cards. The troublemakers appear to be Linksys, Netgear, and D-Link, which, in the case of the D-Link, the company claims XP compatibility that it doesn't deliver. You stand warned.

And on the subject of XP, how about that recent story in the media where Islamic militants claimed to have gotten jobs at Microsoft and sabotaged XP? You've got to ask yourself why Microsoft would need any "help" in this regard in the first place!

In other news ... we're back on the M&A trail again. Rumors from one of my spies are that Oracle will soon take its partnership with business process management outfit Fuegotech a little more seriously. An acquisition is apparently in the cards.

"My New Year's resolution is to hit the gym more often," Amber announced. It goes without saying that it's now the season to recover from holiday excesses.

Send your tips and predictions to cringe@infoworld.com.

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