I think two innovative technologies which will play a key role in the future are vnc and RSS. vnc makes possible thin-client computing, while RSS makes possible the publish-subscribe web. They both allow us to rethink computing and information.
vnc is the magical element which will make for affordable computing. It enables software to be run on servers, and the screens to be displayed on remote devices. The commercial world has Citrix. Think of vnc as an open-source equivalent. vnc still needs about 512 Kbps connectivity between the client and server for acceptable response-time for the user. Hopefully, innovations can bring that down to 64-128 Kbps, making it also possible to use it over wireless connections on smartphones. vnc will thus ensure a centralised information base, accessible from multiple devices (cellphones, PDAs, thin clients).
RSS is a syndication format, allowing information consumers to specify what streams they would like to subscribe to and just receive that content. It is at the heart of the blogging revolution. In the coming months, it will get extended to enterprise events and other areas. Basically, RSS makes information flows manageable. RSS is what has allowed me to amplify the information I access by 10x – in the same time.
Taken together, vnc and RSS will help us reinvent computing for the emerging markets. Will discuss this in greater detail in my year-end Tech Talk series.