What We Got Wrong and Right in our 2017 Predictions

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What We Got Wrong and Right in our 2017 Predictions

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On December 9, 2016 we made the following predictions. Some we realized were ahead of their time but we figured, it was worth taking a risk. Topics ranged from tech to the economy and even the strength of the dollar. We've scrutinized our results. Our comments on each prediction is inline below in green if correct and red if not.

This was a fun project and we'd love your thoughts. Perhaps the most incorrect was the sale of Ring... Apple was a natural Buyer in our opinion but the company went to Amazon instead. We did however get the sale right - although we were off by a month or so.

Here we go:

  1. We will see major financial problems begin to take shape at hardware companies without a solid cloud strategy. Correct
  2. Trump’s new offshore tax rules will bring a flood of cash to tech companies – much of this will be shared via dividends and buybacks but it will also find its way into M&A as well as new product development. Correct.
  3. Smart factories with low cost energy will make the US a major force in manufacturing but this prediction will need to take 10 years to play out and thanks to IoT and robotics, the factory of tomorrow will need 1/10th the workers of today. Correct. The financial experts all got this wrong. Manufacturing jobs increased by 196,000 in 2017!
  4. Chinese cell phone provider Huawei or Xiaomi will become a serious thorn in the side of Samsung – producing low cost phones for hundreds less than the Korean maker and selling them in large numbers outside China. Samsung will lose a lot of U.S. market share as a result. Wrong in the U.S., right globally. Trump's concern about Chinese snooping via these phones really hurt this prediction. 
  5. Google, buoyed by the success of its Pixel phone will invest a lot more into hardware which we might not see 'till 2018 but we’ll hear the rumors in the summer/fall of 2017. Correct. via $1.1B investment into HTC workers and IP.
  6. Foxconn will become even bigger as companies use them instead of directly moving manufacturing jobs overseas. They will provide a Trump-friendly way of getting around offshoring manufacturing. We think this is pretty much correct - as they announced a new plant in Wisconson in July, 2017.
  7. Energy prices in the US will plummet and green energy will go through a major trough of despair. This will present problems for Tesla. Mostly right - energy prices did plummet - green energy is seeing a dip but Tesla is experiencing problems but we aren't sure how major yet.
  8. Towards the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, the 4K monitor will become a far more common fixture on desks. Somewhat Correct.
  9. Goodbye net neutrality – we hardly knew you. Instead of forcing carriers to carry outside traffic at high priority for free, a Trump FCC will be more concerned about how many jobs will be created by the carriers who will promise jobs in return for gutting net neutrality. Correct.
  10. The AT&T/Time Warner acquisition will go through as the Trump administration gets Ma Bell to promise to keep jobs in the US and/or add more. Incorrect but it could still happen this year.
  11. US tech companies (among others) will be in the crosshairs of countries looking at the tariffs the U.S. imposes on it's imports. 100% correct, Europe is toying with a 3% digital tax based on where users are located. 
  12. The dollar will continue to strengthen and interest rates will continue to rise. The dollar is off about 5% but interest rates are up. So half right.
  13. Apple will buy the Ring video doorbell and my old pal Jamie Siminoff will launch yet another successful startup 12-18 months later. Wrong. Amazon made the purchase - but there was a sale.
  14. HD voice interop will get real… Finally allowing you to make HD calls from one wireless carrier to just about any other. Not there yet.
  15. GSMA RCS or Rich Communications Service will finally become a real thing in the US, allowing carriers to offer services like Facebook Messenger but these communications service providers will have a tough time competing with Silicon Valley. Sprint has announced so far and other carriers are following. Marketing companies like 3Cinteractive are already launching to help companies in this space.
  16. NFV or Network Functions Virtualization will become more popular in the U.S. – success stories will spread and even more carriers will adopt it. Carriers will also realize they are going from hardware lock-in to software lock-in and now pay higher maintenance costs – perhaps as high as 25%. Correct.
  17. All carriers will be forced to purchase media companies in order to compete with AT&T/Verizon. This isn't happening as fast as we thought but is generally correct.
  18. Apple will make real progress with new iPads in the hopes of the new devices getting the tablet market to grow again. They did slow the bleeding and the downward trend has stabilized with a slight uptick.
  19. Apple’s third-gen smart watch is the one you’ve been waiting for – it will likely be a must have for serious wearable tech enthusiasts. Correct.
  20. Microsoft will continue to out-cool Apple with more products like Surface Studio. They will release an amazing Surface Phone but it will be really tough for them to gain traction against Android and Apple. They did come out with a cool thermostat no one seems to care about. And a laptop which is ho hum. No phone. We were wrong.
  21. Someone acquires Twitter as it continues to replace the news media for unbiased communications between the President and the public. Nope.
  22. Obamacare is replaced by a unique algorithm matching patients to doctors like TripAdvisor matches travelers to hotels. Not yet.
  23. Self-driving everything becomes a major cause of unemployment. Not yet.
  24. The retail sector spends billions to match Amazon’s worker-free store of the future. This week Macy's announced a self-checkout experience like Amazon.
  25. Jet.com becomes a major force competing with Amazon after Walmart makes major investments in the company which it now owns. How wrong we were. What happened to Jet?
  26. Someone (Apple, Google or Amazon) one-ups AT&T’s DirectTV Now with a service which includes DVR and works well – millions cancel cable as a result. Correct - GoogleYouTube has. Expect all others to follow.
  27. Low-cost energy means the pressure on the tech industry to reduce energy consumption will be paused. This will hurt ARM but help Intel. We give ourselves a pass.
  28. Car keys will be replaced by phones with bluetooth. Not yet.
  29. The auto insurance industry will see reduced accidents thanks to self-driving/parking vehicles and will step in to incentivize consumers and businesses to buy vehicles with these features. It's going to happen but not yet.
  30. The sharing economy will extend to spouses allowing you to “rent” one for periods of time without the hassles of divorce and losing ½ your assets. Are you kidding me? I think this is just in here to see if you read this far down. :-)
  31. The smart-home will take shape, with new standards allowing cameras to interop with security, lighting, motion sensors, entertainment, music, etc. Happening via acquisition and open ecosystems. 
  32. Hackers will hack a smart-city, scaring the living daylights (no pun intended) out of the global media and governments. Recently, Russia gained access to a nuclear plant but not a smart city - yet.
  33. The last remnants of privacy go up in smoke as virtually all companies and government agencies seem to be getting hacked at will. Correct. Add Facebook to the list.
  34. The encryption battle between Silicon Valley and US Government gets far worse as more iPhones used by terrorists are deemed unbreakable by law enforcement. Somewhat wrong, $30k will buy you a device to unlock iPhones all day long. On the flipside, Russia ordered the encryption keys from Line and telegram today.
  35. It is discovered that some secure messaging apps are actually authored by government spy agencies. Yep; Lebanese spy agencies were fingered doing this. One day after publishing we learned the NSA developed MONKEYROCKET for the same purpose.
  36. Italy or France (both?) break(s) away from the EU, sealing the fate of this failed union experiment. Not yet but Macron said this past January that France might have. Italy is moving closer as well - big move this past January.
  37. 2-5% of our population will be lost to VR – like people are lost to drugs or alcohol. This number will grow by a few percent a year and max out at 15-20% of our population unable to function outside of their VR cocoons. It will happen. Stay tuned.


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