Juniper’s Top Ten Wireless Predictions for 2013

Posted on December 18, 2012


Juniper have published this free report outlining their top 10 predictions for next year.

I’ll not copy their text out,  i’ll just put my thinking.

1. Big Data to Become Big Business
I work for IBM and they are all over this.  The idea that there will be an ever increasing amount of data from networks, sensors and the like.  However I think the case for being able to use this to better understand customer behaviour, to increase the fidelity of you will is over made.
And … if I am wrong, then 2013 will be the year in which the backlash to CRM becomes stronger and tips over into outright outrage at the companies tracking our every move, led by the Daily Mail and The Telegraph brigade.  Perhaps also VRM will also break out from being a discussion in to the real world.

2. Smart Glasses & Other Wearables: 2013, the year of ‘announcements’
Another false dawn,  sadly,  i remain unconvinced that these technologies will thrive in 2013.  Fierce Wireless have just penned a piece on this showing that there is movement.  However the use cases are yet to be smooth enough or ubiquitous enough.  Lets hope I am wrong.  I suggest that Google’s project Glass will be, for the next year of 2, a bit of a damp squib.

3. BYOD trend on the rise, as security issues escalate
mixing private phones with company data / apps is not a good idea,  and in my simple little head it is cheeky of companies to expect their employees to provide essential kit.  That aside, I think that 2012 is when Trusted Execution Environments will emerge, effectively giving your company a safe and restricted area on your device, so that this area is protected from the wild west of threats that all those other downloads present.  Far better than relying on malware protection alone.

4. Retail to embrace the in-store mobile strategy
Embrace is not the word I would use,  be smothered by, be caught in the bear hug of, struggle to cope with,  these are phrases that come to mind.  That said most retail organizations that I know of are or have woken up to the huge threat that mobile and are trying to do something about it,  however these projects take such a long time.  It’s good that they are waking up as pundits like Roy Vella are suggesting the demise of a large portion of the high street as sales move on line, and stores become showrooms for Amazon et al.
So expect to see a flush of mobile apps like Sainsbury’s future scanning app, and other ways to make shopping easier,  or to provide much, much more details of products whilst in store, in particular for homeware / electrical / cars etc. that is where the spec is important in the selection,  and the average person needs some help to understand which is right for them.

5. Operators to adopt seamless WiFi & LTE connectivity
I know these prediction are from Juniper so they should know,  however I thought that it was not possible for a phone to seamlessly roam from cell to wifi and back again.  Perhaps this is changing,  however the handover is not easy given the different core networks at play.  This is true for 2 and 3G because the core is not tcp/ip,  and anyway is separate from the wifi core,  even if from the same supplier.  LTE is all top/ip therefore it may be easier to migrate a stream from one radio to the other, but only if they share the elements that authenticate, bill and rate the traffic.
Thus, for data, I am unconvinced at this stage, and for voice I am sure it won’t happen.

6. Mobile Becomes the Connectivity Hub
This will happen more and more, as the network connection of phones is so much better now,  and the effort to hook a device to your phone is much easier with portable wi fi hotspots on phones.  add into the mix that lots of tablets work this way due to the high cost of a 3G or 4G version, together with the ongoing lack of built in mobile network support in laptops means that there is a strong demand from users.  I do wonder about Miri units, I cannot see them leaping to the mass market the way phones and tablets have,  because it is  yet another box to carry, charge,  more costs in the data etc, so I guess they will remain in the hands of the road warriors and similar folks who are itinerant.  For me i have a 3G tablet and 2 phones with me at all times, so I’ll connect my laptop over the phones for the time being.

As for the thinking regarding Internet of things,  I would have thought that the majority of fixed sensors, eg for your electrical meter or your car, these will have their own pipe, and not rely on the users mobile,  because this is too tenuous a link.  Similarly for so called body area networks for medical use, there is a chunk of spectrum being made available for this so that these devices can inter-communicate without requiring a phone.  Tough they may use a phone to get onto the Internet, again it is a tenuous link,  so will be restricted to when you are not in range of a more reliable link.

7. The Year of Microsoft
I am unconvinced this will be the year of Microsoft,  however I do agree that this is the year that they break away from windows on PCs and office etc into the mobile and tablet space.  What will drive this for me are the changing form factors of laptops.  So many of the new designs coming to the market are transformers whereby the screen of the laptop can be separately and turns into a tablet.  Great for meetings, use on transport, at home etc.  with something like half of all models going this way I a year or two as the laptop refresh cycle works its way through the market, then windows 8 tablets will be everywhere,  and suddenly having a single pc, laptop and phone OS and ecosystem will be very popular for the digital worker and their CIOs / IT depts.

That said, I was thinking the same thing back when PDAs were being replaced with phones,  I thought the MS phone OS would be the corporate OS of choice,  and that did not work out due to the crappyness of windows on phones back in the day.  So let’s hope that MS keep improving their mobile phone OS.

8. The multi-screen, seamless user experience becomes a reality
I began writing this piece at work yesterday, and today I am completing it sat in Bar Esspresso while waiting for someone to arrive at the train station.  I am using Evernote,  and it synchs all my notes between all my devices so that which ever i use, the notes are all there,  or a few seconds of synch time away.  So I agree that this kind of background connectivity and sharing between devices will arrive in the mainstream.  As the  windows 8 approach of providing small apps along side the main app grows and these small apps work on many platforms so we’ll see this far more.  It’s a good thing.

What i am more unsure about is true seamless transition of “live” or streamed content or services.  Tis requires the ability to share bookmarks across devices and to pick them up.  It sis possible however it feels like this is harder to implement that it first appears,  so I think this will not match the hype,  yes I am thinking of you EE and your deceptive TV ad.

9. New mobile and tablet form factors to emerge
I agree with the assertion that there will be new form factors in place,  as the laptops and tablets merge into single devices,  be that thin and foldable, like Juniper’s reference to the Lenovo yoga,  or the type where the screen detaches to form a tablet.  I can see that this is the best of all worlds if it can be made to be high performing: the screen is clear, CPU fast enough to handle any applications (high end 3D gaming aside!) and that the battery of the tablet part is good enough for 4 to 8 hours.  We are starting to see large sized storage in the cloud become affordable (see todays announcement from Bitcasa where they are offering infinite storage for $10 pcm. so no need for huge storage on board.  This kind of proposition is going to sell like hot cakes,  because not having to lug several boxes about, using the laptop or the tablet,  having everything everywhere,  makes a lot of sense, saves money and saves effort.

As for the bendable, flexible screens,  well i am not so sure,  a screen that folds out to be bigger perhaps,  but if it is flexible it will be awkward to read on, even though paper is flexible,  so I’m on the fence with that one, besides they still need to get all the other componens like teh electronics and the battery etc, to fold and bend,  and that is some way off.  Screens in clothing however will be fun.

10. Social Gaming is on the Rise
I think Juniper is describing social gambling,  and I fear this.  Not because I have anything against gambling per se,  but a lot of people struggle to deal with gambling and get hooked on the stress and the high of gambling  so I worry that it will be  force for ill.  I hope that social gaming is more about playing games and competing against others,  much like the first person shooters have for many many years now.  Get that onto mobile in a workable fashion, and someone will make a mint.


Posted in: mobile