Disruptive technologies, those innovations that create new markets and destroy others, are on the rise. So much so, that author Carlos A. Soto says the trend reflects an economic boom time, rather than a period of lackluster growth. Soto concludes that the upcoming changes will be focused on services and solutions that challenge and change the way technology is used, with an eye toward the needs of consumers. And while he calls some of the products disruptive and innovative, he refers to others as fads. In some way, every disruptive technology impacts the job market, sometimes by creating new jobs and ending others, altering skill requirements, or changing the way people work. So here's Soto's list of game-changing technologies along with a sampling of references from his article citing the impact of each innovation on the workplace. 1. Mobile: "It's a marriage of disruptive collaboration technology such as video and videoconferencing and our day-to-day activities that provide the ability to physically see a person instead of just hearing them. Telework will become more popular as it becomes as easy and inexpensive to communicate with someone across the country as it does with someone down the hall." 2. and 3. Search and the Semantic Web: "The relationship between search technology and the Semantic Web is a perfect illustration of how a small sustaining technology, such as a basic search feature on an operating system, will eventually be eaten up by a larger disruptive technology, such as the Semantic Web." "These types of products will continue to expand, initially in the publishing industry and then to most industries on the Web in the next two to three years." "In the next three to five years, I would expect desktop operating system search engines to operate in a way that is similar to the Semantic Web and even have their search engines connect to the Web for an expanded search." 4. and 5. Virtualization and Cloud Computing: "Cloud computing, which is essentially the outsourcing of IT activities to an Internet provider, would allow IT managers to erase maintenance, licensing and training from their list of costs while improving the speed with which they can get their products or services." "However, despite those benefits, I don't see all major enterprises moving toward a cloud, especially during the next five years. Most government agencies, financial institutions and some areas of medical services might never buy into true cloud computing because, at the end of the day, they need to know that all of their data in Richmond, Va., or Toledo, Ohio, is resting comfortably in a secure location that they can access at any time." Do you agree with Soto's selections and his assessment of their impact? Share your thoughts. -- Leslie Stevens-Huffman