What? It’s mid-December already? I barely blinked twice and the year has flashed by. That means it’s time to think about my predictions for the upcoming year. Yes, yes, I’m working on them already. But, as is my custom, I will do the right and honorable thing first and review here publicly how I did on my predictions for 2013. OK, taking a deep breath and here we go:
1. Facebook hits rocky ground
I predicted in January that Facebook would experience a slowdown. The company is of course doing well financially and the stock has recovered. Yet the year has passed without any major uproar about Facebook changing something, which is a sign that innovation has started tapering off. On the privacy front, the NSA became the top villain replacing Facebook. Since Facebook hit the magical mark of 1 billion users back in October 2012, there has not been much talk about user numbers. In fact, most media started reporting that teenagers are no longer hanging out on Facebook anymore since their grandparents befriended them. Things have definitely slowed down at Facebook.
I call this point for me: 1/1
2. Everything will be digital
I’ve predicted that 3D printing will trigger a major boom in CAD drawings and the management of CAD files. Yeah, I said back then that I might be pushing my luck on the timeline and sure enough, this hasn’t happened. Not yet. The 3D printing pioneer Chris Anderson has published a great new book called Makers and has given a bunch of inspiring speeches but the 3D printers are still used mostly to create lame plastic toys, albeit sometimes very creative ones.
This was definitely a miss and the score is now: 1/2
3. The rise of intellectual property management
My prediction was that the CAD boom will stir a debate about intellectual property as the CAD files are easy to pirate. Well, since the CAD boom didn’t happen, this one hasn’t played the way I predicted either and I won’t score a full point here. Yet, intellectual property management has become a huge issue behind managing rich media, particularly in the media and entertainment industry. IP rights management and the business processes related to securing, monitoring, renewing, and enforcing IP rights are a huge topic. Interestingly, Gartner just published a report called Gartner Top Predictions 2014: Plan for a Disruptive, but Constructive Future and the very same 3D-printing related IP security issue has been listed as one of the 10 predictions. Some Gartner analysts apparently read my blog :-)
I think I deserve a half point here.
4. Internet of iPhone things
The set of Wi-Fi connected gadgets that can be controlled with mobile devices has started growing like crazy. I love, love, love my Nest thermostat which allows me to come home to a warm house after a few days away. I use several WeMo power outlets and my Withings scale uploads my data straight into my Endomondo profile for precise calculation of calories burned. On my Christmas list are a Wi-Fi connected weather station, a WeMo light switch, and a hot tub thermometer (gotta have one of those!!!). I’m still looking for a good Wi-Fi controlled hot tub switch and a sprinkler switch if you know of any. And we are only just getting started.
This is a hit: 2.5/4
5. Mobile market predictions
I predicted that Apple would continue making a killing on margins while Google would keep going after revenue; there would be a price war among Android suppliers and RIM would keep struggling while hanging on to a small group of keyboard loyalists; Microsoft would not make a dent into the market and that would go multi-platform. Most of it happened. iPhone is the high-end status symbol while Android is going after market share. The Android phone vendors are killing each other with Samsung emerging as a big winner of this war. Blackberry is in trouble. Microsoft is still nowhere and if Stephen Elop takes over before the year’s end, we may even see some Microsoft products on iOS.
I’d say this was worth a point: 3.5/5
6. Censorship will succeed
I’ve predicted that after the barrage of government attempts to enact laws regulating the Internet, one of them actually passes. This has not happened but the government got most of what it wanted: tax income and access to everything. The tax income came since Amazon capitulated to California pressure to tax online purchases - a precedence that will likely lead to more taxation on the Internet. The access to everything came courtesy of the NSA that actually already had access to all the data on the Internet worldwide for years but we’ve only now learned about it thanks to the disclosures by Edward Snowden. Knowing that the government is watching will impact what we share on the Internet, which is effectively a form of censorship. Sadly, I score a point.
7. New wave of computers
I wrote last January that we will start seeing a broad adoption of wearable computers. Well, I might have been a bit too aggressive on my visioneering. Google pre-released the Glass but we can’t talk about a whole lot of adoption. In fact, it got kind of quiet around it for now. Pebble released its watch but as there are no useful apps, the excitement has also cooled off. Perhaps the only wearables that became popular are the fitness bands such as the FitBit or Nike FuelBand. I still believe that the wearable computers are coming but they haven’t made much of a dent yet in 2013. No point for me.
8. Responsive web design will become the buzz
My prediction was that there will be a lot of buzz about responsive web design. Its promise is to make web experiences look best on any device, no matter the screen size and form-factor. Responsive design has become a significant topic in the customer experience management and the digital marketing space. There has hardly been a conference where several sessions haven’t been dedicated to this subject. But I won’t pretend that this subject has reached the level of buzz of big data or NSA spying. Half a point will have to do.
9. Security finally becomes a market
Here, I predicted that customers finally start taking security seriously in the content management context and that convenience will not always win over security. The NSA spying scandal certainly sparked some heavy discussions and security and privacy have become a huge topic. People are waking up to the dire need for security – both at work and at home. The discussion is moving beyond just strong passwords. People understand the need for security and privacy. In fact, in some European countries, they are quite obsessed by it. We may not have all the answers today, but security and privacy are huge.
10. IT strikes back
Back in January, when everyone was still claiming that IT is dead and that the line of business managers will be buying their own software in the cloud as they please, I wrote that IT will re-gain power and importance again. After all, someone has to run all those systems, whether on the premises or in the cloud. Did that happen? Oh yes! The number one topic today is the CIO-CMO relationship and the overall sentiment is that the CIO is not only alive but needed more than ever before.
Scoring seven out of ten predictions is not quite a Nate Silver quality of clairvoyance but it is not bad. OK, there were a bunch of half points in there, which might suggest that I wasn’t quite right…but close enough. Predictions have to be bold enough to be wrong sometimes. Otherwise, where is the fun in that?
I plan to write my predictions again, and to be wrong sometimes. Stay tuned, I will publish them right after the holidays.