2 Biggest Topics of 2014 and My Guess for 2015

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

2 Biggest Topics of 2014 and My Guess for 2015

The 2 biggest topics to me this year (2014) were (1) M&A AND (2) hacking.

Hackers had a field day with Sony, Target, Home Depot, iCloud (and celebrity photos) and 757 other organizations. [See VZ data breach report here.] Hackers had a field day with millions upon millions of passwords, emails and credit card numbers - over 83 million records. No one takes security seriously in the US - until after the hack happens to you (and you bear the cost of the breach, which for some companies is in the neighborhood of a billion dollars.)

Then there was Ed Snowden and the other whistleblowers with the revelations that portions of our government are indeed Big Brother - watching and reading everything like the Machine in Person of Interest. The US has lost a lot of business due to these revelations. Cisco lost business. Microsoft lost business (and is in a fight for its European life with the US government over email privacy. Our allies look at us differently. I don't blame Snowden for this; I blame elements of our government with a win at all costs mentality that is just scorched earth policy when it comes to light --- and it always comes to light. (see AT&T Room 641A). It took some of the wind out of the sails of quite a few cloud providers.

What bothers me most: the lack of surprise (and outrage) from the general public. Blows my mind.

In 2015, Security should be taken more seriously, but it won't. Despite VoIP providers starting to talk about security, like here. We will see more than just lost or stolen laptops, thumb-drives and smartphones in the healthcare industry in 2015. There will be a huge HIPAA/HITECH mishap that will ripple the sector.

Second big topic was the M&A. There were very big takeovers - L3-twt, ATT-DTV, Comcast-TWC and so many smaller ones like Vonage-Telesphere (and others that are on Ramblings.)

The one that shocked me was Cbeyond-Birch. It just doesn't make that much sense to me. It was as weird as Burger King and Tim Hortons.

The Windstream REIT maneuver is still in the works but until I see the details I have no idea what that will look like. It was a surprise, but if you think about it, almost everything that happens in telecom transactions is about cutting costs. This is just a tax shelter play. It is never about building something new or real synergy. It is always about cutting - people, costs, knowledge, customer service -- cutting everything to eke out a few pennies more for the Street, the bankers, the makers of nothing. None of this makes anything better at all. You can't talk to a business owner who thinks telecom is great. They think their gadgets are awesome, but that has nothing to do with telecom. Telecom, Airlines and Banks - no one WANTS to deal with them, but you HAVE to.

In 2015, I hope the top topic is Wearables (aka IoT, the Internet of Things). It would be great if wearables to a huge leap forward, but I really think that the topic of 2015 will be the economy and/or job loss.

"Big changes are coming to the labor market that people and governments aren't prepared for, Bill Gates believes. We are automating everything - even jobs out of existence. I've seen the stats and our economy looks like it is recovery until you peel back and see that most Americans are not seeing the recovery. Rents are going up; food prices are up; gas is unbelievably low; wages are stagnant; new home sales are down. In a service based economy - a consumer driven economy like ours - how does the economic wheel keep spinning if the consumers can't aren't doing well?

So I think the topic in 2015 will be the slowing economy and its effect on everything - like retail, restaurants, gadgets and even telecom spend.

Carriers hate to write down revenue, but customers want to reduce their spend each and every year. So how do you grow the revenue pie when revenue is declining?

I didn't mean to get all Debbie Downer on you in this post. It's just as I reflect -- and I see all of these crazy factors all piling up -- I wonder if (1) am I the only one who sees all this? or (2) am I the only one with a gloomy outlook?

One other big topic that will see light again in 2015 is the Open internet / Net Neutrality docket at the FCC. It was a noisy topic in 2014 especially for Netflix, Verizon and Comcast, but it is far from settled. The FCC pushed the decision out to 2015. Yet when the decision becomes an order, it will result in lawsuits. It is inevitable. So look for resolution in 2016.

Happy New Year!

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