Mobile, Cloud, IT Services, Security, IOT + M&A

Every year it is customary for industry analysts, pundits and long-time “veterans” to give their points of view (POV) and insights to what 2017 will bring us, both good and bad. As you read these insights, keep in mind that we all write these insights with a biased POV. Why “biased”, you may ask?

Well, it’s human nature to be influenced by previous experiences, the company you work for, and in some cases, the clients you have. Therefore, as you read these predictions, keep in mind, if you could predict the future correctly, would you be working? Or, would you be playing Powerball lotto and sharing your wealth with friends and people in need? You know the answer. These predictions are “best guesses” based on what we know, and individual bias based on positive and negative experiences, as well as our industry vantage point (macro or micro view).

So, as I have done over the years (with a pretty good scorecard), I too will share my biased convictions on what the future will bring us in 2017 (this is my personal view, and not the views or opinions of my employer or companies I advise).

Drumroll please… Here it goes. Top 10 industry predictions for 2017 for Mobile, Cloud, IT Services, Security, IOT + M&A

  1. Mobile: 3 leading mobile operators embrace distributed micro-services access and soft core networks, replicating (copying) Google and Amazon’s distributed architecture to deliver flexible and on-demand services. Presence and analytics dominate investment areas.
  1. Mobile: Enterprise companies embrace neutral host spectrum small cell systems and small cells and Wi-Fi as-a-service – dramatically off-setting planned Capex for mobile operators when it comes to addressing enterprises’ inside and on-campus mobility needs. This will start with USA (2017) and then Europe and AsiaPac will follow (2018-2020).
  1. Cloud: Datacenter and Fiber network investments go up (not down). Wall Street rewards investments and M&A into Gigabit Ethernet fiber networks and datacenter infrastructure. Whoever controls the metro ring and datacenters, controls the data flow.
  1. Cloud: Hardware companies without a clearly communicated and solid to-the-cloud strategy (with or without M&A) will see a 20% decline in sales (>30% decline in company value, if public).
  1. Machine Learning & AI start to dominate cloud access and services – automating what’s normally handled by large IT teams, massive infrastructure products and software. PE and Venture Capital continue to flow into Machine Learning & AI startups.
  1. IT services: The subscription economy takes over the enterprise, small and large. As-a-service (Opex) grows to overtake Capex (buy/own/manage) within the majority of enterprises (10-1000 employees) with large enterprises to follow by 2019-2020 (1000 > 10,000 employees). The move from 80% Capex to 80% Opex becomes a reality by 2020.
  1. IT Services: Network as a Service (NaaS) will establish beachhead in companies with 500 or fewer employees, and grow to be a $100B market by 2020. This starts with Wi-Fi, and then on-demand and employee-based monthly software services will follow (firewall, compliance, UC, presence and more).
  1. Security: More data breaches and hacks will occur in major datacenters (across verticals), and within utilities. Major government agencies step in to provide support to ensure protection of privacy and intellectual property – with support from Google, Facebook, Amazon and major players. Do not mistake this for government oversight or access to privacy data. Government agencies across various countries step in to provide physical and cyber protection – in the fight against cyber terrorism, financial thefts of $ trillions, and breach of personal data.
  1. Security: More startups and smaller public companies will be acquired by public companies, mobile operators and service providers as well as government agencies – rewarding public and private investors and VCs.
  1. IOT: Cisco, Google and Apple align to support a common framework for access, connectivity and cloud – for IOT enterprise and consumer products and services.

Did you notice that I did not mention 5G as a breakout topic? Based on my biased POV, I do not believe 5G is “something” but rather that 5G is “anything” that brings 2G, 3G and 4G mobile network access, wired networks, IP services and IOT together — in a common framework with QoS. Yes, that’s my personal view and description. I have no problem with companies claiming to have 5G products or services… but in doing so, they set themselves up for scrutiny: 5G How? And, do all products or services comply with an accepted 5G framework or standard?

2017 will be an exciting year, and may become known as the year 5G brings IT together (Information Technologies).

Ronny Haraldsvik
Twitter @haraldsvik

Note: This prediction blog is my personal view and not the views or opinions of my employer or companies I advise.

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