I was in a discussion on the Enterprise 20/20 website where someone asked “What current piece of popular technology do we see disappearing in 2020?”
When I thought about it, I look for the demise of products that are hard or inconvenient to use. Products that increase consumer (or business for that matter) convenience, flexibility or that make people feel good will bury their predecessors.
Notice I did not say something that is cheaper. There is little doubt in my mind that a pad of paper and a pencil will remain cheaper than a tablet PC over the long haul -- yet I don't see lines formed when a new paper product is released.
There are many cases where consumers will keep both products (e.g., traditional oven and a microwave), even though for most cases they can perform a similar function. We tend to keep products around for a long time and the life cycle actually has a bit more to it than just the initial curve that analysts tend to discuss.
Since software solutions usually are more flexible than dedicated hardware solutions, you will see dedicated, discrete hardware products decline. Much like the MP3 file replaced physical vinyl and tape for most of us.
In that vein, I can see in home or at least local 3D printing replacing the "tortoise shell" packaging (maybe I should say tortuous package) that we all find so frustrating.
Are there other products ripe for replacement that you can think of? Are there any that specifically affect the IT business?
We’ve seen virtual machines replace the dedicated, one app per box of the .com era. I can easily see the memristor replace many of the storage products used by consumers and business today, at some point.