By Verizon

As multinational corporations continue to embrace information technology as a strategic advantage, Verizon is highlighting 10 business technology trends that will help companies further optimize their business in 2011.

“As our clients gain confidence in the economy, we are prepared to help them take their business to the next level through innovation and excellence,” says Kerry Bailey, senior vice president of enterprise strategy for Verizon Business. “Whether focused on a particular vertical industry or seeking to improve return on investment, Verizon’s global solutions and expertise can help enterprises achieve a better business outcome while gaining a competitive edge.”

Here’s Verizon’s list of 10 top trends that will help move business forward in 2011:

1. High IQ Networks Take Center Stage -- These networks -- which comprise ultra-wideband capacity, “super” data centers for the cloud and smart devices for anywhere, personalized applications -- will become the springboard for a new decade of innovation. Businesses that have learned to do more with less over the past several years will increasingly harness the power of High IQ Networks for the most inventive, efficient and cost-effective platform for success. They will look to private, public and hybrid clouds for new delivery models and move to more industry-specific solutions to get the most for their money.

2. Everything as a Service: a ‘Cloudy’ New Mindset -- Building for peak capacity is yesterday’s way to manage IT resources. Today’s smart CIO uses only those resources required to power his or her business. Plus, with today’s new IT delivery model centered on the cloud, enterprises need not make large investments in capital equipment or additional IT resources. A smart business knows buying solutions “as a service” delivers better economics, faster time to market, and access to information and content sharing virtually anywhere in the world.

3. Seeing Security Through -- Developing and implementing a sound security plan is only the first step in protecting today’s distributed enterprise. Good security programs include constant monitoring and tweaking to safeguard an organization, and compliance with stringent government regulations. Once an afterthought, security today must be factored in at every step of the way when deploying new technology and protecting existing technology, whether it’s premises equipment, in the cloud solutions or end-user devices.

4. Enterprise Apps Go Mobile -- Smarter, more portable devices combined with fourth-generation wireless networks and an increased demand for workforce mobility and advanced mobile enterprise application platforms will make business apps more attractive and popular. A thin-client approach where applications are stored and delivered from the cloud is helping to make the business case progressive yet practical to “mobilize” applications beyond the desktop to become truly accessible, seamless and secure for today’s on-the-go workforce. More powerful devices, backed by huge libraries of applications and large developer communities will help businesses capitalize on LTE-based mobile broadband that offer mobile computing experiences we can only begin to imagine.

5. Video, the New App Darling -- Video will be among the most engaging business applications to take advantage of higher capacity wireless networks for face-to face and face-to-machine interaction. Just as telepresence, high-definition desktop video units and Web-based video have become prevalent in business meetings; video will become an essential tool for workers everywhere. It will be used, for example, by doctors to view X-rays that were taken hundreds of miles away, or manufacturers calling on faraway experts to diagnose challenges on an assembly line. New business models will evolve to monetize digital content and deliver video across multiple screens, a development that is reshaping how we interact with video at work, home and on the go.

6. Machine to Machine Cacophony Triggers Transformation -- Beneath the service of all the cool apps we employ to engage with each other, a plethora of machines will continue to run in the background, initiating and responding automatically to the business at hand. By 2014, it’s estimated that more than eight billion devices will be connected to the global Internet, leading “The Internet of Things” to surpass the number of people connected to the Net in the next four years. Broken machines will call for service, inventory items that have been used up will automatically be replenished, and mobile devices with an IP address will be discoverable no matter where they are located at a given point in time. A proliferation of devices will make the world we live in more intuitive and efficient. For example, machines talking to machines will help to enable a smart-grid evolution and improve health care, specifically diagnosis and care.

7. UC&C Becomes More Than a ‘Buzz Phrase’ -- With the advent of cloud-based subscription models for advanced messaging, unified communications and collaboration, smaller businesses will find a way to adopt new technologies that speed their operations. Larger businesses will take advantage of professional consulting services to chart the best course to enterprise UC&C adoption on a global scale. As a younger working population demands “social collaboration,” companies need to deliver the business-grade tools to empower employees to be more responsive and engaged with each other and with customers.

8. Farewell to IPv4 -- According to ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers), fewer than 5.5 percent of IPv4 addresses remain. Organizations need to plan now to ensure that e-mail, Web and business applications will be accessible via both protocols once version 4 runs out. Global network service providers, private industry and the public sector will all need to work together to ensure that websites can be reached, and that the Internet supports business as usual during the transition to the next-generation Internet protocol, IPv6.

9. Hello to Universal Identity -- Imagine a virtual world where a user only required one user name and password to access any website on the Internet or the corporate LAN. In 2011, many countries around the globe will begin to put in place the infrastructure required to make this a reality, which not only adds convenience but, more importantly, stronger security for every digital user, helping to offset a major reason for breaches today — the misuse of user names and passwords.

10. Personalization Inspires Innovation -- There will never be a better opportunity for CIOs to rethink the way they can deliver value for their businesses. The cloud, enhanced mobility ability and a hunger for new ways of working will inspire a more strategic approach to employing technology. IP networks will continue to enable new Web communities to market and support products and services. Crowd-sourcing will drive innovation and analytics will play an increasingly important role in helping businesses engage with their customers. Add to this an enthusiastic developer community, and one can envision an unlimited number of creative solutions inspired by and tailored to the individual.