With a challenging 2009 almost behind us, 2010 will be more positive with customer investments pointing towards network technologies that drive efficiencies and cut costs. On the rise will be video over IP. Better video services, at lower prices, complement reduced budgets, not just IT, but operational budgets as well.

Virtualisation will hit the desktop fast. Mobile devices becoming the standard for remote business communication have made virtual desktops the most practical way for network teams to secure and manage access to data and applications.

Unified communications growth will remain strong as the technology penetrates into the small and medium business markets with Microsoft and Cisco leading the way. Having evolved from a concept into a true communications management platform, unified communications will be offered more as managed services. Low-cost tariffs and flexible single platforms covering everything from VoIP to video conferencing and instant messaging with fewer complexities and hidden costs will be the norm.

Rather than rip and replace network equipment, most companies will look to optimise what they have. Monitoring will play a key role in boosting performance and helping network teams take a proactive stance in tackling both network and application performance. The rise of new network services and increased responsibility by network teams for applications will drive the consolidation of network monitoring solutions in 2010 into single, cost effective platforms.

While in 2009 IT was dominated by cautious attitudes coupled with fear, 2010 looks to be epitomised by companies taking a more practical approach coupled with optimism.