TMCnet recently spoke to some of our favorite tech analysts and pundits about 2013 year and the year ahead tech. Here’s our interview with Peter Bernstein, TMCnet senior editor, who also has a long history as an industry analyst and telecom professional.
Who is the most interesting person in tech this year, and why?
“Hands down it was Edward Snowden. We are still dealing the repercussions of the rolling thunder of revelations. These are already impacting: how the Internet is used; how data is stored and accessed; how risks are addressed and mitigated in the government and commercial sectors; and will likely lead to new laws around the world regarding privacy and security. It will also set off an explosion of purchasing in the areas of encryption and other types of security measures.”
What was the biggest tech failure in 2013?
The https://www.healthcare.gov/ rollout. As critical a part of the Obamacare implementation it was/is made it absolutely the biggest tech failure of 2013 – or almost any other year. Others have used the term catastrophic to describe the lack of preparation and testing, I would use the word inexplicable.
What were the three most important tech development of 2013, and why?
“WebRTC: It is possibly the most disruptive thing to hit the communications industry in over a decade. It literally holds the promise to transform the way in which all of us interact professionally and personally.
“Mobile Applications Management: The BYOD phenomena and all things related to the cloud and the needs for empowering the virtual workforce and the mobile workplace have created a nightmare for IT because of the explosion of the number of vectors of vulnerability. Apps are a huge new vector, and solutions that enable all of us to use what we need when we need it while still giving IT visibility and control – enforcing more context-based policies and rules – is going to be a requirement for assuring security of the enterprise going forward.
“SDN and NFV: The three pillars of the cloud are storage, the data center computing environment and the networks, i.e., the ones connecting data center elements and data centers to each other. Whether it is the enterprise in the form of private clouds, the public cloud services, or the telecommunications global infrastructure, all aspects of ICT are rapidly become software-centric. SDN and NFV, while both in their infancies, are the future. In fact, how fast we get to the so-called software telco is going to be fascinating to watch as service providers seek to transform themselves in a rapidly changing world and exert their relevance in the face of OTT competition.”
What was the top startup of 2013?
“CrowdOptic. I just happen to like the entire augmented reality space and think we are at the bottom of the on ramp of the learning curve as to where this technology can be applied. These folks are at the bleeding edge.
What was the most noteworthy acquisition, and why?
“There is a lot of industry restructuring going on which is the mega-trend. Put feet to the fire, the Softbank acquisition of Sprint (News - Alert) probably is No. 1, although Microsoft getting the handset business of Nokia is right up there since it means Microsoft still has a chance in the mobile device market.”
Which companies do you see as prime candidates for acquisition?
“There is way too much turbulence in the market to predict. There are lots of hunters out there, and this will be driven by areas needed for global expansion, to fill in strategic holes in their portfolios, thwart competitors, etc. We are at a watershed period in time and as a result I think we are going to see more M&A activity, based on the reality of convergence, of entities in adjacent areas doing the buying rather than mere sector consolidations. Google, Microsoft, Cisco (News - Alert), Apple, media conglomerates, financial institutions, non-U.S. or Europe Internet companies and the like are all sitting with large cash holdings and/or have access to major financing, which means they can be aggressive. However, each of the major players has significant weaknesses in the battle to build sustainable ecosystems, which is why making predictions is problematic.”
Customer experience, the cloud, M2M/IoT, mobile wallet, wearable tech and WebRTC were hot topics of discussion in 2013. What do you expect to be the hot topic(s) in 2014?
“Ditto to the above. Revolutions happen in evolutionary speeds in many cases, and all of the above will be top of mind and headlines in 2013.”
What are your top three 2014 predictions for our industry?
“The skies will be even more cloudy.
A major cyber attack will cripple the electrical grid of some country.
Europe will pass very strict privacy laws that will change the face of e-commerce globally. Ad-based business models are going to be devalued as a result and how all of us pay for our online activity is going to have to evolve.
BONUS: Microsoft (News - Alert) will name an outsider as the new CEO.”
If there’s just one thing related to tech that businesses need to know going into 2014, what is that one thing?
“I have called the times in which we live The Age of Acceleration, where the only constants are change and the speed at which it is increasing. The biggest revolution enabled by the Internet has been the shift of power in buyer/seller relationships. The buyer, armed with more perfect information, calls the shots. In fact, users are way out in front of the industry and regulations when it comes to the adoption and use of technology. Companies that do little more than mouth the words that they are customer-centric will be punished for not accommodating changing user needs.”