Red Herring, working together with ChangeWave Research, spent hundreds of hours talking with VCs, brainstorming with technical innovators and poring over research reports to come up with its Top 10 Trend list for 2005. Among the more predictable entries is the victory of VoIP over distance, but prognosticators say the really interesting thing about VoIP is not that it’s so cheap, but some of the really cool things you can do with it. For instance, VoIP systems could incorporate “presence awareness,” which indicates whether or not someone is available by phone, much as IM does. In addition, look for a sharp growth in identity and access management products, estimated to soar from $738 million worldwide this year to $10.2 billion by 2008. “Experts say that most of the growth will come not from snazzy authentication methods such as fingerprint scanners and facial recognition, but from simplifying the authentication process for users across different systems and applications,” says Red Herring. And of course, be prepared for an explosion in the medical device market, as aging boomers seek to repair their degenerating bodies. At the same time, look for a rise in non-surgical solutions to cosmetic makeovers, such as an FDA-approved product called Thermacool, which uses radio frequency to boost the amount of collagen below the skin’s surface, promising similar effects to those of facelifts and liposuction, minus the downtime.

Red Herring 13 Dec 2004.