Cloud, mobile computing and social networking will mature in 2011

Cloud services, mobile computing, and social networking are expected to mature and converge in 2011, according to the latest report by the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and chief analyst at IDC, said that the market will shift in 2011, with these technologies transitioning from “early adopter status” to more widespread and mainstream adoption.

Much of the expected transition boils down to overall recovery in IT spending throughout 2010, after a paltry 2009 which saw spending cuts in many businesses. Global IT spending is expected to increase a further 5.7 percent in 2011 to $1.6 trillion.

A lot of this money will go on the maturing cloud, mobile, and social networking sectors. Cloud computing will grow by 30 percent in 2011, more than five times the rate of the IT industry as a whole.

Mobile computing is also set to boom, mainly due to the popularity of smartphones and tablets. IDC predicts that shipments of mobile devices will outnumber normal PC shipments over the next 18 months and that the trend is expected to continue for some time to come. The mobile app market will also more than double in 2011 to 25 billion downloads, compared to 10 billion in 2010.

Social networking is still big business and growing steadily. IDC forecasts a compound annual growth rate of 38 percent over the next four years. The technology is expected to become more mainstream, with multiple acquisitions expected in 2011, while more businesses will embrace it for advertising.

IDC also predicts that these three technologies will converge and coalesce next year, becoming part of a larger, more integrated approach.