Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012: Quite a Year in Technology (Brief Thoughts)

The year in Technology has seen transformation beyond what we could have hoped or imagined.

As I reflected upon the year 2012 , I would call this year the Year of the tablet.  This is the year that the Tablet began its' long ascendency into the Corporate and Consumer Market.     Whether it was the iPad, the Windows Tablets or the Android Tablets, Tablets made their mark at the expense of the traditional PC's.      

This is a year that also saw the ever more rise of the big four: Facebook, Google,  Amazon & Apple.

This is exemplified by the rise of the tablet and how we continue to live thru the Web on the Phone and of course as the Applications continue to run on the cloud.   There were snafus—as exemplified by outings at Amazon towards the end of the year  with device outages.     

Facebook went public and ran into profound headwinds.   Yet, it continued its' dominance of the Social Scene as over a billion people joined the “World Town Square”.   If it was a Country, it would have been the third largest country in the World!!  With that level of power and reach, it continued its' efforts to try and figure out how to monetize and grow.   It had its' share of controversy as it continued to figure out how to continue to monetize its' massive user base.

There is the danger that the current big four may let their size and clout get to their heads.     One of the questions at hand is whether Schumpeter's reflections on creative destruction will work its' way up to the big four as they continue to battle it out for the future.      The battles for the future of search, E-Books, applications is bound to really get interesting and challenging.   The stumble by Apple as it sought to replace Google Maps or what Google has tried to do with Google + showed that the battles to be fought have to continue to be more strategic rather than tactical.

2012 was a year that saw the rise of the Cloud .      Google has continued to be at the forefront with its' on-going evolution of the level of products it has been offering.     This is as facebook has worked to integrate and work to bring out more features with its' partnership with Microsoft.   If one does a search in Facebook today, the search defaults to bing.    With what Facebook has done with the docs. Platform ( one can literally reside within Facebook, create documents, collaborate and also continue the onward visit.

The “Cloud” will continue to evolve throughout 2013.     With some of the challenges Cloud Providers (including Amazon) had to deal with, there will be changes.  Such changes will include:  the following:

1)    Hybrid Cloud will take off & Be key to any strategy by organizations:   Organizations will work to have more control over their most sensitive proprietary information;
2)    Analytic tools will get better to allow more flexibility and visibility in on-going
3)    SDN will just be networking

This was also a year where Security was of profound concern with some of the on-going “cyber wars” which will continue onward in a major way.  Some of the key Security challenges will include:

1)    medical identify theft;
2)    hactivisim;
3)    Cloud attacks;
4)    Intercepting Text Messages;
5)    Ransom Malware

The rise of 3D Printing for “mass use” is also something that is worth noting as 2013 is before us.     There are sites out there that one can retrieve the information to thereafter produce an 3D Image of a Product that can in turn be produced without paying premium prices.     One such site is that allows users to download the part, drop it into a free 3D CAD viewer and thereafter get it printed for future use.       I view it as akin to the transformation that the Music Industry has undergone with what Apple, Napster and all the new entrants have had.   How this disruptive technology will affect traditional players like Toy Makers and other organizations remains to be seen.    

Beyond all the more “tactical aspects” of this evolutionary year, there is another concept that I believe may present ever more of a challenge:  the advent of what GE has called the “industrial internet”.    It is a phenomenon that GE notes may add between Ten to Fifteen Trillion Dollars to the world economy over the next twenty years.

There is one thing for sure as 2013 rolls around:  The watchful eyes of the regulators will be ever more vigilant and opportunities will abound for those who have the creativity and the vision to somehow transform the World as we know it.    This is as the Big Four battle it out both in the market place and through the legal system as the epic battle between Samsung and Apple made major headlines in 2012.

Who will win?  Who will survive?  Who will thrive?  These are some of the challenges that will be fun to watch as 2013 rolls around.

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