By Andy Marken
More than anything 2014 is going to be a year of beauty, acceptance, and becoming more comfortable with the fact that we're not alone. even in our own thoughts.
In 2013 we saw
1. The demise (more of a lowering of expectations) of 3D and movement to the next era of insanely brilliant moving image brilliance with 4K content and growing possibilities
2. The death (realignment) of the PC, rise of everything mobile, constant connection
3. The stimulated deterioration of long-term thinking being replaced by ultra short-term images/messages that are replaced in a nanosecond by newer/funer images/messages
4. Business pressures demanding a more rapidly deployed and flexible infrastructure that could respond/react in minutes/hours rather than days/weeks economically. The Cloud
5. The "horror" to discover that even our most innocuous utterances, activities were being followed by someone, somewhere but not enough to skip a beat or a keystroke
The list at first blush may look like a very pessimistic view of our "progress" but actually the last two years have been a major seismic shift - forward - in becoming increasingly more comfortable with the speed of technology change/adoption. And it's only getting better...faster.
In 2014 we'll see
1. 4K content production, delivery, enjoyment will increase more rapidly than many expect not just because people will buy UHD TV sets more quickly than anticipated but because more 4K content - new and old - will be appreciated and we'll see a demand force the move more quickly than we did with the shift from SD to HD. The change will also have a positive/negative effect on what we watch, when we watch it, where we watch it. OTT (over the top) quality streaming will enable more viewing options forcing the change of cable/satellite firms to become service providers, not gate keepers.
2. First appearing in 1977 the PC has had a good run and is being rapidly augmented - not replaced - by new tablets and smartphones. It's estimated that more than a half billion of the desktop/notebook systems are in use today and the technology is on track to keep them fresh and relevant. The challenge (opportunity) for the industry is to offer a range of screen sizes for tablets and smartphones so they meet the uses of individual consumers not broad theoretical "groups." The 9-12 inch tablet will establish itself as the entertainment/work device of choice by Gen X, Gen Yers while the 3-7 inch phone/phablet will become the communications/entertainment device of choice for Gen Cers
3. The instant-on acceptance of TVs and appliances has raised the expectations of people in almost everything they see, hear, do. It is difficult to "find the time" to sit through something as exciting and breathtaking as Alfonso CuarÃ"n's Gravity without the addition of show Tweets and 3-minute YouTube views of outtakes and goofs. Fortunately the human computer - the mind - is upgrading itself to make multitasking easier to manage, control, live with...I hope
4. The Cloud will experience a lot of upheaval in 2014 that will also have a mixed effect on the computer hardware/software industry. The industry will experience a lot of change this year as startups will be squeezed out or acquired by others and the herd will be thinned to the point where the dominant players will be Amazon, IBM, Google, Microsoft. This consolidation of horrendously big data centers will also place a lot of pressure on hardware producers like Dell and HP as well as software providers such as Oracle, SAP and VMware which will have a much smaller prospective customer base. The saving grace for these organizations will be the growing SMB (small to medium business) segment which is growing very nicely
5. While we all "knew" that businesses were spying on each other and tracking customer activities on the Internet and we "knew" governments were spying on each other, 2013 marked the turning point where we now "really knew" it. While we will continue to give lip service to transparency, the security industry will enjoy solid - but futile - growth in every area - consumer, business, public organizations. Globally governments, businesses, individuals will use all the tools they can develop/find to keep their friends close and their enemies even closer. The black hats/white hats will finally become grey hats
- Lower cost video capture solutions like Black Magic's 4K $400 and $4,000 cameras combined with high-performance, low-cost video post production systems will reduce overall content production costs so studios, indies and businesses will deliver more eye-popping content more quickly
- Standards organizations like SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) are already developing more efficient solutions for delivering (streaming) content rather than forcing native 4K content delivery. Rather than relying on pushing more pixels through the already cramped pipe they will focus on more delivering higher frame rates, better bit rates and a broader color gamut more effectively with lower bandwidth requirements
- While producing new 4K content is an expensive/time consuming process, studios, content owners and firms like 4K Studios are finding they can mine their libraries of content, economically repurpose/represent old movies/shows and find an eager market for the material
- UHD TV set manufacturers are "stimulating" people to replace their "old" HD sets more quickly and are working directly with content owners to deliver material now rather than waiting for the cable gatekeepers to negotiate distribution
- The perfect storm of new Xbox and PS4, growing array of versatile media players like Roku, Nuvola, NetFlix, Hulu and UltraFlix are giving consumers just the content they want - mixture of free/paid - helping legacy TV services to become less relevant
- Today there are a half billion PCs in use and the sales growth has obviously slowed as mobile devices - tablets/smartphones - take more of the consumer's budget. Still only about 230M + tablets will be sold this next year and more than 500M smartphones. Three players will continue to dominate the tablet market - Apple, Samsung, Amazon - and two will dominate the smartphone market - Apple and Samsung. The big struggle here will be in the OS arena - Android, iOS and Windows. To be more in control of its own destiny you can expect to see Samsung move more of its mobile devices from Android to Baba in a slow, cautious fashion
- Face it there are just too many cloud service companies in the pool and 25 percent of them will disappear this coming year either through acquisition or bankruptcy. The economy of scale plays too big of a roll for second tier service providers to make the heavy investment in infrastructure
- Because C office folks see huge savings by buying into the cloud it also means less IT investment - servers, storage, software - which could reduce global IT spending to single-digit growth. It will also require a major focus shift from enterprise to SMB sales
- I'm not quite certain why Snowden's "revelations" of the foul activities of the NSA (National Security Agency) gets so much attention but it has certainly stimulated the security industry. People have been putting, gathering, grabbing big data on the Internet for years. Look in the mirror...you are big data. And there's money to be made, things to be found in your data. It's what people gave freely to get free stuff! It's the financial motivation to mine that data that fuels Facebook's/Google's growth. It is just too tempting for governments, organizations not to tap into. It's not that people didn't know that spies, espionage, surveillance didn't know it...it's on the news and the storyline of every movie, TV show. Everyone is suddenly outraged even though he/she wants to know what the other is thinking/doing while protecting their thoughts/ideas/actions. Covering up my stuff while finding out dirt about the other guy is a big business, getting bigger. Just know everyone !
is cheating, spying except you and me and...I'm not too sure about you.