Industry analysts aren’t the only ones who make forecasts for the coming year. Many service providers, hardware manufacturers and software developers also have opinions on what the next 12 months will bring.
Here’s a random sampling of the prognostication they pitched us.
Rogers Communications Ltd. (Toronto-based cable, cellular and Internet provider)
Smartphones will get smarter
Or at least, they’ll be able to turn your lights or air-conditioner on and off, predict Rogers customers. They expect more functionality in their phones and tablets, and more integration with “dumb” devices.
Network speeds will get faster
A pretty safe prediction given the overall trend in the past 60 years or so—bits and bytes will move even faster than last year. Rogers customers expect their provider to satisfy their growing demand for music, video and games with even more bandwidth.
Virtualization and clouds will lead to less clutter
A large majority of Rogers customers expect to have increased access to their files in 2012—wherever they are. They anticipate that advancements in cloud technology will make this possible.
Internet Identity Inc. (Tacoma, Wash. provider of security solutions)
Cybercriminals will get into politics
IID predicts that in 2012, an American election year, online voting will prove to be an irresistible target to hackers. The greatest threat, they say, is direct attacks on voting machines.
Hackers: Now in it for the money
In 2012, the company says, hackers will be inspired less by Che Guevara and more by Manuel Noriega. We should expect to see fewer idealistic hackers and more profit-minded e-criminals trying to steal our financial information.
E-vandalism gets real
The damage caused by online miscreants won’t be limited to a lot of wasted time and resources, says IID—real-world infrastructure will get trashed. Citing the example of the Stuxnet worm that targeted Iran’s nuclear program, the company says we should expect hackers to cause more actual physical damage in 2012.
Avaya Inc. (manufacturer of unified communications solutions)
Expecting more from mobile
The prevalence of mobile phones is leading to some significant behavioural changes in consumers and employees. Whether it’s the “bring your own device” controversy or consumer demand for more mobile apps, expect to see smartphones and tablets influencing business decisions in 2012, says Avaya.
Is social media truly providing value for us? In 2012, says Avaya, more businesses will ask themselves that question—and act accordingly.
Managed services get their day
Avaya estimates that more and more companies will turn to managed services in 2012. And clients will get choosier about what they want from providers.
BelAir Networks Inc. (Ottawa maker of Wi-Fi and backhaul solutions for carriers)
Metropolitan bandwidth hogs will take a bigger piece of the pie
BelAir Networks predicts that in 2012, just 10 per cent of subscribers in metropolitan areas will eat up 90 per cent of the bandwidth on 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi networks. Netflix, Google and YouTube will be the major culprits, accounting for 90 per cent of all metropolitan broadband access.
Increasingly wireless will be sold as a service
BelAir sees more competition between networking vendors and carriers with the rise of Wireless-as-a-Service. It also predicts that easier access to cell networks and the removal of some red tape will bring more newcomers to the wireless market.
Lots of smaller networks will create big networks
In 2012, BelAir sees a 100 per cent growth in mobile data offload and Wi-Fi services. They also predict mobile carriers around the world will have more than 100 billion Wi-Fi connections.
IXIA Inc. (maker of IP network test equipment)
Virtualization will fuel advances in network equipment development
IXIA foresees that 40 Gbps switches and 40GE interfaces on servers will become more prevalent due to increased traffic on virtualized servers. They also anticipate seeing 100 Gbsp ports on core switches.
In 2012, the company expects more DDoS attacks. This, they say, will prompt network equipment manufacturers, ISPs and enterprises to step up their security.
IPv6 will become big business
As IPv6-ready hardware and software becomes more common, we should expect large enterprises using IPv6 on their networks by the second half of 2012, says IXIA. They also say that network equipment manufacturers, ISPs and IT departments will be eager to demonstrate their ability to make it work.