Monday, December 12, 2011

My top 10 predictions for Internet and R&E networks for 2012

[Well folks its that time of year again when self professed pundits make their various forecasts and projections on technology trends on the coming year.
I too shall join this unlikely parade, but with a glass of my favourite whisky in hand. Libations are essential to such a process - not so much in improving the clarity of my crystal ball, but removing any self doubt in the certainty of my forecasts.

A true test for any seer is to look back at past predictions to see how many came true. This can be a very humbling experience. My predictions for this past year can be found at ( . Overall I scored 7 out of 10 on my predictions for last year. Not bad . It does help that I set the questions and I am judge and jury as whether my forecast was right or wrong. So under those circumstances a 7 out of 10 score may suggest that I am not quite ready to place bets on next year’s Oscar winners.

My predictions for last year:
1. Cisco enters the wireless arena – Score ½ point. Cisco has not made any major product announcements yet in the wireless field, but they continue to spend a lot of resources in the Wifi standards bodies to integrate Wifi wth 3G/4G
2. Google deploys national wireless 5G network – Score 0. I blew this one. Despite Google acquiring Motorola patents and significant growth of wireless services, Google has not proceeded to build a national wireless network
3. Commercial clouds for research take off – Score 1. Azure and Amazon are actively courting research community. Several R&E networks have announced cloud brokerage services
4. IPv6 growth still anemic despite Armageddon of IPv4 address shortage – Score 1. No surprise that nothing has changed here.
5. Green IT makes some headway in Europe and Quebec – Score 1. Quebec government through PROMPT has announced Green ICT $70m program and Europe has announced funding initiatives under the 7th framework
6. Major R&E data centers relocate to save on energy costs and added security – Score 1. Facebook have announced their data center in Northern Sweden and GreenQCloud in Iceland is starting to take off.
7. First 1000G wavelengths deployed – Score 0. Maybe next year
8. Twitter accelerates past Facebook- Score 1, because I hate Facebook. I am not interested in people’s personal lives. Just the facts mam’. Just the facts.
9. Network Neutrality still stalled because of actions of incumbents – Sadly score 1 here. Usage Based Billing and sordid list of other practices continue to bedevil the broadband market in North America.
10. R&E networks will evolve to become the National Public Internet – Score ½ here. The US UCAN initiative is a great example.

For 2012 I shall make the following bold predictions:
1. Amazon to commercialize follow the wind/follow the sun networking. Following the path of Greenstar as well as Hewlett Packard and AMD, Amazon will offer a service to move computing jobs between their various regions, as part of their spot market offering so that users can take advantage of lower energy and CO2 costs.

2. The “enterprise” centric cell phone network will start to be deployed at many universities. Carriers and equipment providers are starting to recognize that a cell phone network for data looks a lot different than one designed for voice. A lot of traffic can be cached locally and it makes a lot of sense to integrate Wifi with 3G/4G.The SURFnet/KPN trial at University of Utrecht is a good example of this type of architecture. See

3. Commercial clouds become a fertile ground for innovation for both universities and small businesses. Initiatives at JISC in the UK and Globus On live will create a wave of innovation at universities for a variety of new applications and services. Most of these will be deployed without the approval or knowledge of the central IT department. The cloud, like the PC did two decades ago , will free grad students and researchers to bypass the central IT department for their computing needs. See Universities also outsource many IT functions to R&E networks as in Australia

4. Software Defined Networks go mainstream on campus and R&E networks around the world. Over 10 years in gestation from original concepts such as UCLP and OpenFlow, universities and R&E networks will start to deploy SDN to allow greater control by the end user and to reduce costs of network equipment. See a wider role for R&E Networks in addressing innovation and the broadband competition gap

5. Small Canadian mobile operators go bankrupt or get acquired by the big 3 carriers. History repeats itself again. And yet by the end of 2012 we will still not have a digital strategy in Canada or have opened the market to competition

6. DNS goes underground. Even if SOPA and Protect-IP are defeated this will not stop the copyright cartel from trying to use DNS as a tool to thwart fair use of music and films. See hide DNS requests from friends, foes and the feds Alternate DNS under construction to counteract

7. Siri becomes a technology phenomena as Siri is used in all sorts of novel applications. See Aussie hacks Siri to automate home", with Arduino /

8.Apple and/or Google deploy software SIMs and breaks up monopoly cell phone market to create new opportunities in M2M mobile market.  See Ford has some problems with roaming in its #M2M solution. The answer is liberalization of the market and IMSI's for all

9. Telcos in countries that opted for structural separation become innovative and profitable. Telstra, Singtel, KPN, etc are discovering structural separation is a blessing. It frees their management from the monopoly rent mind set and now they can compete on services. Given their huge market visibility they quickly capture a large percentage of broadband market.

10. But elsewhere in the world, especially North America, consolidation in the broadband market continues with cable companies clearly becoming the big winners. Usage based billing rears its head once again to kill over the top competition. See will usage-based pricing kill the streaming video star? New Research Report From Diffraction: Do data caps punish the wrong users? A bandwidth usage reality check via@AddThis

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