A TECHNOLOGY boom to mirror that of the mid-nineties bubble is only three years away, says a senior analyst with telecoms giant BT.
Ian Pearson predicts that "technology stocks will go through the roof" as the industry undergoes a second wave of convergence.
Pearson, in Edinburgh this week advising Edinburgh law firm Henderson Boyd Jackson on future IT industry trends, said that enormous improvements in the availability of the internet, coupled with a plethora of new ideas, dramatic increases in computer memory and artificial intelligence, will create a huge technology stimulus by the end of 2005.
"We are in the middle of an IT recession at the moment, but recessions never last forever. What is important is that even during a recession people have ideas. So there is a big backlog of ideas growing in engineers’ minds that at the moment do not have enough money behind them to be developed," he said.
"While this is happening, technology is improving in the background so that by the time 2005 and 2006 comes round and there is an improvement in the economy, there will be really good ideas waiting to happen."
Pearson has been working with BT for 12 years, anticipating trends and working out the likely consequences for business and society. He argues that the tools for creating the new technology are also improving dramatically.
"We are seeing the growth of interface technology, better displays, much better storage, faster processing and better artificial intelligence."
He added that all this will be underpinned by the introduction of the semantic web on the internet in 2005.
"Those who invented the internet are developing tools that convert all of the information on the net into machine readable form. This will make it possible for the first time to explain to a computer what you want and it can go and do it for you.
"All this technology will start converging in a big way round about the tail end of 2005.
"Obviously, it takes the economy time to react to a technology stimulus - 2006 will be a year when we see start seeing a combination of all these advances coupled with a major input of venture capital. The net result: a massive amount of new technology bursting on to the market."