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Gartner: Web 2.0 to make waves in enterprise

AJAX, mashups will have big impact on businesses in the next 10 years, research firm says.

AJAX, mashups, location-aware software and sensor mesh networking are among the key emerging technologies set to have a significant impact on businesses over the next 10 years, Gartner says.

Web 2.0 is one of the major themes identified in an "emerging technologies hype cycle" released by the research firm. The hype cycle looks at new technologies that are gaining attention and predicts a pattern of hype/disillusionment/adoption for each one.

Technologies under the Web 2.0 umbrella predicted to have a high impact on businesses are AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript and XML development techniques for enhancing the responsiveness and usability of Web applications), and mashups, the joining together of multiple online applications to create a new service). These are also expected to reach maturity in less than two years.

Gartner also predicted that location-aware applications that use GPS and mobile networks to pinpoint users will hit mainstream adoption in the next two to five years.

Another area that businesses should be paying attention to is mesh networking that uses sensors, the research firm said. The communications technology, which can switch between nodes to ensure a line of connection, is especially of interest for manufacturing and the supply chain, although it is still proprietary and around 10 years away from broad mainstream adoption.

Jackie Fenn, a Gartner fellow focusing of emerging technologies, said the small low-cost nodes in a sensor network will be able to provide information on things such as whether a product has been dropped on its way through the supply chain, which would prevent damaged goods being sent out to customers.

"It's a way to get a much more real-time insight into what is happening with your assets," Fenn said.

Other developments on the longer-term radar include the application of Semantic Web technologies to corporate Web content. Gartner claims the corporate Semantic Web will cut costs and improve the quality of content management, information access, interoperability and integration.

One of the key themes of the emerging technologies hype cycle is the growing consumerization of IT. Fenn said companies need to work out how to incorporate consumer technologies in a secure manner to provide business value for the enterprise.

Andy McCue of reported from London.