TMCnet recently spoke with some of its sources about the past year and the year ahead. Here are the responses from David Berman, president of RingCentral.
Who is the most interesting person in tech this year, and why?
Elon Musk is the most interesting person in tech this year. He’s an innovative serial entrepreneur who never stops turning his dreams into reality. With Tesla, he’s achieving commercial success and top customer satisfaction ratings. With his space and solar initiatives, he's trying to shake up the aeronautics and energy industries. He never stops.
What was the biggest tech failure in 2013?
Windows 8 was the biggest tech failure of 2013. First and foremost, it broke the cardinal rule of technology design – it wasn't made to be user friendly. Secondly, Windows 8 was mainly developed with the tablet in mind, and targeted as a mainstream product. This is where Microsoft (News - Alert) ultimately fell short.
What were the three most important tech developments of 2013, and why?
Fingerprint recognition – The inclusion of fingerprint recognition in the Apple iPhone (News - Alert) 5s brought the notion of personal device security into the mainstream and pushed electronic wallets to the next generation.
Google wireless balloons (Project Loon) – Project Loon is bringing wireless Internet to the more than two-thirds of the world's population that does not yet have Internet access.
Bitcoins – Bitcoin evolved from a niche product to a global currency in 2013.
What was the top startup of 2013?
One of the most notable startups of 2013 is Coin Card, which delivers a device the size of a credit card, which you can use in place of all your cards combined.
What was the most noteworthy acquisition, and why?
Google (News - Alert)'s acquisition of Waze was the most noteworthy acquisition of 2013. This Israeli mapping startup figured out a way to make Google Maps even better by making traffic tips social.
Which companies are prime candidates for acquisition?
All IM apps – What'sApp, Viber, SnapChat – are strong candidates for acquisition in the coming year. They will most likely to be acquired by Google, Facebook (News - Alert) or Apple because they've captured the youth market, and that's a good predictor of where we will all be in 5-10 years.
What do you expect to be the hot topic(s) in 2014?
Security enhancement for personal private smartphones will be a hot topic in 2014 because large hacks (like Target (News - Alert) most recently) will continue to grow in scope and impact, and people will begin to feel a loss of control when it comes to their personal financial data. Companies will be forced to develop security solutions in order to regain customer confidence.
I also see the rise of perceptual computing as a hot topic, as technology advances and machines gain the ability to understand and process emotions using web cameras and sensors.
What are your top three 2014 predictions for our industry?
1. More companies will move their business communications to the cloud, as they have with CRM, storage and other critical functions.
2. More companies will empower mobile workers as they become the norm, not the exception.
3. Mobile phone apps will become just as integrated as applications on your desktop.
If there’s just one thing related to tech that businesses need to know going into 2014, what is that one thing?
Our world will become truly mobile. By the end of the year, the number of mobile phones will exceed world population, and the number of global mobile users accessing the Internet will surpass the number of desktop Internet users.