Since, I managed to overshoot my target for last year, I've made the predictions even more detailed using well over 100 different components. I'm aiming for a 50% target (not higher and not lower) which is the ideal balance between usefulness and accuracy.
So, without any more egging of the custard, here goes :-
Predictions for 2012
- Cloud:Open stack will gain further momentum in the popular press with multiple providers coming online to form a fledgling market. However debate will intensify over the wisdom of providing multiple APIs and whether Open Stack should focus more on being an AWS clone due to evidence of the growing success of Eucalyptus. This situation will be further complicated by Amazon launching a managed "Data Centre in a Container" product aimed at at large enterprises as an onramp to use of public AWS services.
The adoption of cloud computing will continue to outstrip earlier analyst predictions and pundits will cite AWS as exceeding $2 billion in revenue.
The confusion over "enterprise clouds" will grow due to marketing efforts promoting Enterprise Class vs Commodity based clouds, however there will be a backlash including some high profile customers declaring them as of dubious value. Platform as a service will have a strong year with CloudFoundry in particular growing significantly in both community involvement and media coverage.
There will also be no let up in the pace of mergers and acquisitions in this industry with a particular focus on Devop and Management systems. Both ARM and Ubuntu will strengthen their positions in the cloud space. In particular, we will see increasing mention of a standard computing stack involving Ubuntu, OpenStack and CloudFoundry.
Countering these developments will be an increased involvement of Gov bodies with the view of introducing legislation to the cloud with licensed cloud operators.
Big Data will continue to rapidly grow in prominence, however the focus will switch more towards utility provision of big data systems and the importance of algorithms. In particular, data competitions will have a strong year and it will become increasingly clear that they are used not only for improving algorithms but as sources for recruitment of talent.
There will be a number of high profile articles questioning when (not if) cloud will dominate financial ERP and more traditional Enterprise spaces with popular wisdom shifting towards the near future i.e. less than 5 yrs. However, what won't be clear in the first half of the year is which companies will dominate this space and instead concerns will be raised over whether existing software vendors can overcome internal inertia. By the end of the year, it will be clear that an outside player will dominate.
- Environment:Total Arctic Ice volume will decline to the lowest level on record raising concerns that a tipping point has already been reached. The melting season will be considered to have extended again and the UK will suffer one of the most severe winters on record. Despite the unpopularity of nuclear power, there will be a number of high profile environmental articles highlighting it as a necessary evil in terms of combating climate change.
- Economy:Despite assurances by the BOE (Bank of England) that inflation will reduce by the second half of the year, RPI will have increased on a year by year basis. The technical recession in the UK will turn into a full blown recession with increasing discussion in the BOE for another round of quantitative easing. Interest rates will be kept at their current historic low. The driving forces behind many of the UK actions will be from Europe.
In detail, the sequence of events include :
In the first half of the year there will be continued uncertainty over the European debt crisis and exposure of banks to financial instruments based upon this. There will be increasing calls for the ECB to act as the lender of last resort and underwrite individual countries debts across Europe but the ECB will initially refuse.
With increasing social pressure within European countries, the core group of Europe will take drastic action. First, selected countries will default on the Gov debt but remain within the Euro causing increasing market reaction to Euro debt, weakening of the Euro and strengthening of UK gilts and GBP. As GBP strengthens, the FTSE will weaken (as foreign capital seeks to take profit) and to counter this the BOE will embark on a significant round of quantitative easing, possibly in excess of £500 bn depending upon how insane they are.
At this point, the ECB will step in and consolidate the remaining Gov debt across the core Euro group into EuroBonds and act as the lender of last resort for future debt. Investors and rating agencies being caught flat footed will cry foul, however the strengthening of the core Euro group will cause both the Euro to rise and the debt crisis to recede in Europe. However, investors in those selected countries which have defaulted (i.e. banks etc) will be left with a realisation that they have been gamed. Legal actions will result but losses in those investors will be enormous.
In the core European countries, those banks most impacted will be nationalised and it will become increasingly clear during the year that this had been planned as the most significant damage will be felt in the city of London. By the end of the year, the core Euro groups will start to re-define the single market agreement to be limited to a Eurozone. Faced with mounting debts, weakening of the financial market and the strengthening of the Euro market, the FTSE will start to fall significantly by the end of the year. The BOE will then again raise the spectre of even more QE.
- Society :
There will be continued protests in Europe over austerity measures in the first part of the year, however by the end of the year these will lessen. In the UK however the reverse will happen.
Protests and strike action in the first part of the year will be mild, however by the end of the year with a massive increase in gov debt (due to QE3), rising inflation (due to QE3), weakening internal economy (due to QE3), isolation from Europe (due to Euro core and ECB action), further bail-out of the banking system (due to Euro core and ECB action) and increasing government austerity ... the mood will darken considerably.
Someone, somewhere will write a popular but ridiculous press article on whether this is the "End of Britain?" By the end of the year, one member of the MPC will write an article explaining their concerns that they have got it wrong.
- Politics :The year will show increasing tension between the coalition partners with a number of high profile spats. Despite this and with press pundits predicting a collapse of the coalition, the darkening public mood will convince both parties that an early election will lead to a rout. In their own interests, not in the interest of the country, no early election will be called.
Despite the calls for more legislation of the internet and protection of vested interest, there will be a growing realisation that the UK must embrace a future which is not the past. Such calls will find a champion and increasingly the Government will talk about the end of large scale IT projects, embracing a more open future and a need for industry to adapt. Increasingly measures will be discussed to encourage high technology start-ups, to support open source, to end current Government purchasing practices and to limit IP effect on the wider industry.
By the end of the year, despite the poor economic situation, the first glimmers of a bright future will appear as a number of high technology companies will openly discuss moving to the UK.
- Technology:VMWare will clearly act as two operational divisions - one focused on infrastructure, the other on platform whilst VCE will be touted as a potential IPO for 2013.
The dominance of Android on phones, tablets and TVs (as demonstrated by market share of units shipped) will increasingly raise speculation over Apple's future with several popular press articles asking whether this is a re-run of the Mac vs IBM PC.
Amazon will also have an exceptional year in sales of their tablets with Amazon and Samsung being seen as as the two dominant players (by volume of units) in the tablet space.
Google TV & Google Wallet will exceed expectations with G+ continuing to grow rapidly exceeding 350 million users by the end of the year. Despite hostility to the integration of G+ with Google Search, and the potential dangers of data gravity effects, Google will not discontinue the effort. As a consequence Facebook will buckle and start to adopt a more open approach to data.
Early in the year pundits will discuss the potential for Twitter as 'the' worldwide real time messaging system and there will be, at least one, high profile attempt to acquire it. Twitter will both refuse acquisition attempts and refuse to integrate into G+. By the end of the year the pundits will change tune and articles will question whether Twitter is a "dead man walking".
Mobile banking will also have a phenomenal year with pundits speculating whether this is the beginning of the end for many traditional retail banks.
- Media :Despite early success, 2012 will be marked by an increasing "war" between past industries and the future. The battle of IP will cover many fronts simultaneously including legislation through Congress, further introduction of DRM on devices and attempts to reinforce Global IP laws.
The battle in the US will turn particularly bleak as media companies aggressively fight a campaign through traditional media channels including assaults on the characters of many public opponents. The pro IP lobby will also find an unlikely ally in China. Due to expansionist policy, Chinese backed companies will increasingly become active in US IP law and provide funding to increasing IP / Copyright legislation. Opponents will highlight how China's policy in the US differs from its own home policy which will not strengthen such laws.
Despite vocal public opposition the US Congress will continue to enact PIPA or an equivalent. By the end of the year, a number of leading Internet companies will have openly raised concerns that they may need to move out of the US. Media companies which have adapted to the new environment, such as NetFlix, will continue to grow rapidly but increasingly will find themselves dragged into the political battle with content providers.
At the very end of the year, a high profile article (probably HBR) will be written concluding that the US has just handed the future of the internet to other nations.
- Manufacturing :Both 3D printing and printed electronics will have a robust year in terms of growth and public awareness. There will be a marked rise in start-ups and funding in this space, with numerous public articles describing the technology as the future of manufacturing.
The first hints of hybrid printers (both electronic and physical form) will surface along with technology articles questioning whether new forms of computing language will develop covering both physical and digital function.
None of the major printing companies will make significant moves into this space during 2012.
A number of articles will also raise concerns on the issue of security and whether this technology will lead to widespread piracy. These articles will conclude with the importance of DRM and a fledgling lobbyist organisation will form to promote these concerns in the US.
- Things to Watch :The key watch words of 2012 are Ecosystem, Openness and "Do it yourself" IT.
Increasingly there will be a clear separation between traditional organisations and a new form of next generation companies. Key characteristics of this next generation which will be highlighted throughout the year include :
use of cultural strategy
cell like organisational structures
use of platforms to develop ecosystems with competition based upon ecosystems
use of commodity components in IT
emerging architectural practices (design for failure, chaos engines and distributed systems)
extensive use of analytics and algorithmic regulation
intensive focus on strategic gaming in competition
use of open source as a tactical weapon against competitors
a focus on disruption of existing industries as opposed to profit or expansion into geographical emerging markets.
- MISOG's :Despite the best efforts of the Olympic Committee there will be endless grumblings about the Olympics in London covering the cost, the legacy, the exclusiveness of the event, ticketing, transportation issues, failure of IT systems, unpreparedness, rising costs of rent and excessive security. There will be some protests over the event with increasing concerns that the project costs have overrun and the UK could ill afford the event. Much of this will be couched in terms of the increasing economic gloom in the UK which will overshadow the event. Despite this, the UK will have a good event.