Bah humbug! Why is it at this time of year that every man and his dog wants to predict whatâ€™s going to happen in the coming year or years. Is it some primeval urge to defy fate, do they really possess the gift to see into the future, or are they just trying to prove how clever they are?
If itâ€™s the latter, which I believe accounts for 90 per cent of the cases, it would be far more clever if they reported to us how many of last yearâ€™s predictions they made actually came true, or even close to true. And Iâ€™m not talking about the really obvious stuff like â€˜telcos will cut costsâ€™ or â€™10,000 jobs will be lost because of new technologyâ€™ or â€˜digital services will boom,â€™ any idiot can predict those things.
Letâ€™s take a look at the top 20 â€˜clangersâ€™ that have passed my desktop in the last few weeks. Iâ€™ll keep them anonymous to screen the perpetrators from total embarrassment, although hanging, drawing and quartering would be advisable for some. The first five came from one of the worldâ€™s leading research and analysis companies (my comments are in italics).
- By 2015, nontraditional money creation and exchange will enable 125 million more people to participate in the mainstream global economyÂ (whatever does all that mean?)
- By 2016, half of US utility customers will have access to standardized energy usage data, but only 20 percent will use itÂ (Iâ€™m lost)
- By 2014, less than 2 per cent of consumers globally will adopt Near Field Communication (NFC)-based mobile paymentsÂ (is that 2 per cent of people with NFC enabled mobile devices are all consumers?)
- More than 50 percent of government shared-service organizations that provide cloud services by 2015 will discontinue or downscale them by 2017Â (well, thatâ€™s bucking the trend, surely)
- By 2016, patients will be harmed or placed at risk by a medical device security breachÂ (Where? How many? By what?)
- Interest in iOS and Android platforms to remain stableÂ (brilliant, why even bother)
- Mobile will forever change retailÂ (sorry, I think it already has)
- More business opportunities around big data for service providerÂ (youâ€™re kidding, really?)
- Omni-channel to become a top priority for 2013Â (Omni what?)
- Potential partnerships to establish between service providers and machine-to-machine vendors to roll out connected home initiatives such as proactive careÂ (just woken up, have we?)
- More strategic partnerships to form among service providers, OTT players and device manufacturers(whoâ€™d have thought that?)
- Big data grows up – there will be an emergence of Big Data Administrators, who will play a critical role in using new technologies and processing power to take a cold, hard (and useful) look at data and its business applicationÂ (wow, all that stuff about big data must be true, how do I become a BDA?)
- In 2013 people are going to have a harder time managing the security of their devicesÂ (no problem if you keep them with you at all times)
- Africa will become a new safe harbor for cybercriminalsÂ (there may be some other continents that will fight for that dubious crown)
- M2M is about to enter the next evolutionary stage: at the moment we collect data, but the real benefits of M2M will become apparent by analyzing this dataÂ (is that really the reason for collecting all this data?)
- Digital “ants” will protect the US power grid from cyber attacksÂ (I dread to think what a digital ant looks like)
- Software will predict traffic jams before they occurÂ (that I have to see!)
- Criminals will benefit from unintended consequences of espionageÂ (unintended espionage, never heard of such a thing)
- Advancements in speech, natural language understanding and artificial intelligence will continue to revolutionize the mobile user interfaceÂ (this one is a perennial favorite)
- Mobile video calls and Facetime will explodeÂ (I threw that one in because itâ€™s another annual favorite that never seems to happen, despite Appleâ€™s best efforts to convince us otherwise).
Of course, there are some people you really didnâ€™t want hear predictions from, like your boss. When he or she predict there will be cutbacks in your department then itâ€™s probably a good time to look for a new job. For ‘The Insider’ it’s time for a dubiously earned break, he’ll be back in the new year, unless his boss has another prediction!
First published at TM Forum asÂ The Insider, 20 December, 2012