In many ways 2013 was a watershed year for telecommunications. A lot of what we thought was established and unshakable did get shaken. New technologies arrived every week with manufacturers working to outdo each other. VoIP took a firm and solid stand, so much so that service providers have accepted the idea that PSTN is nearly dead. Cell phones have become all pervasive, and the day is not far off when every human being may have one. The technologies for marrying VoIP with cell phone have matured.
Let us look at what happened in 2013 in the communications world.
Blackberry nearly shut down its operations. From the being the de-facto industry standard for mobile business communication, Blackberry could not keep with the innovation from the Apples and Androids, and nearly shut shop in 2013.
This was definitely one of the worst to have occurred in 2013. BlackBerry as the worst newsmaker for the year was aptly worded by Karl Dahlin, director of strategic partnerships at VCI-Group. “BlackBerry [experienced] one of the biggest falls from industry hero to zero in modern business history,” said Dahlin. “Yes, they’ve been struggling for a while after plenty of early success, but they’ve had so many chances to get back in the game and become relevant again but failed to execute on a viable turnaround strategy in 2013.”
The End of Privacy
The PRISM scandal was probably the worst nightmare come true when we learn about the BIG Brother – NSA watching every move we make. The people belonging to the telecom sector already were sure about its coming but the general people were shell shocked by the revelation. Stanford said “… privacy is obsolete, thanks to phone tracking, click tracking, call tracking, street view, traffic cams, satellite imagery, and the mass storage and big data software technology that makes all that data storable and mine-able for all eternity,” added Stanford. “George Orwell had it right, except he missed by 20 years, and by the scale. It isn’t just Big Brother watching you: anybody can, and you fuel it with your Facebook Likes and Instagrams. This is a fundamental change in social reality, ranking with the printing press and the Industrial Revolution.”
Edward Snowden played his part in opening the can of worms and as Stanford aptly puts it: “We are still dealing with the repercussions of the rolling thunder of revelations. These people are already impacting how the Internet is used; how data is stored and accessed; how risks are addressed and mitigated in the government and commercial sectors; and will likely lead to new laws around the world regarding privacy and security. It will also set off an explosion of purchasing in the areas of encryption and other types of security measures.”
The communication technologies around us are fast changing and the infrastructure is crumbling because it has run past its usage. The aged infrastructure has added to the communication woes because there are cables, servers and other materials that need to be substituted like “NOW”. The growth from 9600 baud to something like 2 mbps connectivity took a long time coming. But today, people’s expectations are different. From simply moving data, the Internet is now used for literally everything. People store their family data including snaps, videos and other information online. Cloud storage and usage has exploded, and people are getting tired of wired connections. With mobile phones and tablets, the number of devices connected to the Net has also exploded. All this is putting a terrible strain on the connectivity infrastructure – both at the server and end user levels. Last lime connectivity would need a paradigm shift.
The Cloud Explodes
The cloud plays a very important role and dependency on this technology has immensely grown in 2013. Phil Edholm of PKE Consulting LLC says: “Cloud, cloud, and cloud.” New technologies like WebRTC and HTML5 are changing the landscape, he added, but behind it all the biggest and most important development is that cloud is changing the business of IT and information.
“Just like the Industrial Revolution changed manufacturing from a bespoke cottage business to mass manufacturing, cloud is changing information and communications,” quips Edholm. “The big difference is that things will cost much less, but will be available in a wide range of defined options. Just as in the hardware store you can choose between 10 hinges, but you cannot specify a unique hinge, technology is becoming a range of choices, but not customized in each implementation.”
M2M & The Internet of Things
M2M and Internet has the ability to collaborate multiple data sources to bring out meaningful intelligence that would gain more prominence in the coming years.
Greg Clausen, Sr. VP at INDETEC says, “While these devices have been the butt of late-night comedians jokes, they are positioned to expand the way we interact with our surroundings, much the way smart mobile devices transformed the way we communicate and access information”.
WebRTC is the best thing to have taken place in the year 2013. WebRTC has a huge fan following and people are showing more interest in the same.
“I consider 2013 to be the year of WebRTC,” said Dahlin of VCI-Group. “This was the year we moved beyond the hype and were actually able to use commercial products and see why the world will be forever changed going forward because of WebRTC.”
In agreement Bernstein said: “WebRTC is possibly the most disruptive thing to hit the communications industry in over a decade. It literally holds the promise to transform the way in which all of us interact professionally and personally.”
Michelle Patterson has been working with telecom companies for over 20 years, and is excited with the new IP/VoIP/Cloud Telephony and other systems flooding the market. She is learning as much as she can about IP Telephony, Cloud Telephony, VoIP, Unified Communications, etc.