Readers often get lured into reading predictions for the New Year, on the premise that a new year brings a new start. When a new year begins, perhaps corporations reset business plans, revise spending budgets, or review their progress of 2013. Based on 2013’s results, companies then reset, revise, and re-start, where possible. There are a number of big disappointments in 2013 that could set the stage for a surprise rebound in 2014.
1) Microsoft Surface Pro 2 a hit
Shortly after Microsoft released the successor to the Surface Pro, simply dubbed Surface Pro 2, Microsoft quietly upgraded the specifications without any fanfare. Microsoft upgraded the Surface Pro 2 with an Intel Core i5-4200U 1.6GHz chip. This is up from an i5-3317U 1.7GHz processor. More recently, the chip was updated to a 15W 1.9GHz processor.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet series could be an unexpected hit in 2014. Though the RT version will likely disappoint, the scaled down version exposes the line of tablets to consumers. On Best Buy Canada, the Pro 2 is rated 4 stars out of 5.
2) BlackBerry Enterprise business stabilizes
In 2013, collapsing demand for BB10-based devices forced BlackBerry’s management to evaluate its competitive relevance in the smart phone market. The company went so far as to sell itself. When Fairfax called off the deal, BlackBerry hired a tech veteran with a specific skill set of turning around troubled companies. The executive team was nearly completely replaced, and BlackBerry is refocusing on its core strengths. Security and privacy remain a core offering from the company. These are even more desirable features for corporations. In 2014, enterprises might reset their mobile device management tools. They could all pick BlackBerry to manage Apple, Android, and BlackBerry devices.
3) Frothy industries get more froth
Facebook rebounded in 2013 (up over 90% on the stock market), while Twitter shares are set to double. In 2014, the market valuation of these companies may not let up. If they sell-off, it will not matter: users continue to sign up on these sites. Social media companies that develop better ways of sharing on mobile devices will do even better.
4) Google+ doubles: no one notices
Despite strong usage for Google+ in 2013, few will notice the search giant’s success in Google+. The retention of users will be driven by the quality of content on the site. For example, Google+ may have experienced a decline in active users by late November, 2013 ahead of the holidays. In 2014, users could be convinced to return. This will be dependent on the highly engaging, dominant users (as measured by plusones received and by follower growth).
Ignoring the growth of Google+ could prove expensive for advertisers and for corporations. The site is ad-free, and gives companies a means to engage with new and potential customers.
5) Apple releases something new
Pressure will build once again for Apple to release something other than a tablet or phone. With its experience in building very small, but efficient devices, Apple could be set to release either a smartwatch device or a refreshed media box device.
The usual suspects of IT, as summarized here, should continue to grow. There will always be a shortage of bandwidth and storage. This trend will be no different in 2014.
Securing the healthcare enterprise
With data breaches making headlines far too often, healthcare executives need to re-think the dangers of today’s digital environment. Keeping one step ahead of attackers will require a combination of measures, including robust system defenses, analytics to spot intruders fast and the ability to react quickly whenever an intrusion occurs.