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'Internet of Things' will connect the home together
Plenty of strange acronyms and new sayings from 2012, but perhaps the strangest and non-descript is the 'Internet of things.'
The concept is simple: ordinary household and personal items have become connected to the wider world through networking connections, near-field communications (NFC) and Bluetooth. For instance, that relationship allows jewelry to change color with the weather, glasses to show what time it is, and other seemingly ordinary items that will connected to the outside world and react accordingly. 2013 is the year where this will likely take off and become a brand new phase to our inter-connected lives.
From a business and enterprise perspective, it will allow for more informed business decisions and interaction without human intervention, such as printers telling manufacturers when ink levels are low or when a computer's hardware needs replacing.
Mobile mergers: T-Mobile-MetroPCS; Sprint-Clearwire
In 2013, the U.S. cellular market will become increasingly competitive, despite the troubles they face. Following the failed attempt by AT&T to acquire T-Mobile, partly thanks to the intervention by the U.S. Department of Justice, the smaller networks have been bidding for others in order to bolster their financial positions and network infrastructure.
With cellular saturation at its peak, the only way these companies can grow either domestically or internationally is to acquire their rivals with the closest set of hardware to their own. With T-Mobile and MetroPCS set to merge by the second quarter. The Sprint and Clearwire deal set to clear later in 2013 now that Softbank, the primary shareholder of Sprint, gave its thumbs up to the deal, we expect to see a series of larger networks to take on the behemoths of AT&T and Verizon.
As 4G LTE is set to edge in to take the place of older technologies, falling short of actually replacing GPRS, EDGE and 3G, infrastructures will grow and develop with additional investment from outside companies, and become increasingly internationalized as LTE becomes the global standard for next-generation communications.
As the cloud gets more complex, legalities could hold it back
Businesses will increasingly rely on the cloud to separate BYOD employees from sensitive corporate data, while the cloud will become more and more a center for power and processing. The cloud is no longer 'just' storage; it is a powerful engine -- and its power will become increasingly exploited in 2013 and the years to come.
Issues and legalities over cloud data sovereignty will come to a head this year when the EU will likely have to go back to the drawing board on new data protection proposals, that affects more than just the 27 bloc of countries. Issues over where cloud data is stored and who can access that data will remain in focus, but solutions to these problems may not come to fruition overnight.
What is clear, however, is that major businesses will shun the public cloud for now -- until these problems and worries can be solved or alleviated. Expect more controversy in 2013 regarding the cloud. Ultimately, only our politicians can only solve these issues.