WebRTC World Feature Article

December 06, 2013

Edholm: VoLTE, WebRTC, Alterations in Cellular Structures Could Prompt Big Changes

Webrtcworld recently spoke to some of the industry’s movers and shakers about their thoughts on 2013 and the year ahead in tech. Here’s our interview with Phil Edholm of PKE Consulting LLC, which in cooperation with Technology Marketing Corp. puts on WebRTC Conference & Expo.

Who is 2013’s most interesting person in tech?

“Two answers.

“One is Steve Balmer. While neither a technologist nor a recent titan of the industry, the announcement that he is leaving the CEO role at Microsoft puts one of the foundation stones of most organizations IT infrastructure in a state of transition. Who comes in to run Microsoft and their vision of the company over the next decade will have a huge impact on IT and organizations. The acquisition of Nokia's handset business and the movement to hardware after years of being a software vendor is the icing on the cake of interesting.

“Two is the angel investor. 2013 saw an explosion of angel investors, continuing a trend that has been emerging. This trend, combined with cloud initialization, crowd-sourcing, and lower barriers, has resulted in an explosion of early stage startups. General speculation is that there are 10 times as many initial starts now as a few years ago. However, the amount of A-round venture money is not increasing at nearly the same rate. The result is an incredible level of competition for venture money and a new focus on quality and results. The impact may be a large number of early implosions and failures of interesting technologies that could not find funding.”

What was the biggest tech failure in 2013?

“Smart/personal network watches. While the concept of a smart watch integrated into or with other devices was a hot topic, the actual releases have been less than stellar and the big players have stayed away. While Google showed Glass as an alternative to the wrist, Apple has remained mum on the subject. Dick Tracy is still looking like a visionary.”

What were the three most important tech developments of 2013?

“Cloud, cloud, and cloud. While new technologies like WebRTC and HTML5 are changing the landscape, behind it all the biggest and most important development is that cloud is changing the business of IT and information. Just like the Industrial Revolution changed manufacturing from a bespoke cottage business to mass manufacturing, cloud is changing information and communications. The big difference is that things will cost much less, but will be available in a wide range of defined options. Just as in the hardware store you can choose between 10 hinges, but you cannot specify a unique hinge. Similarly, technology is becoming a range of choices, but not customized in each implementation.

What was the top startup of 2013? 

“Leap Motion is defining a new world where you can control the UI experience in the air. They are opening up the potential to a three-dimensional world for input. The transformation that the mouse introduced is going to be repeated with three dimensions and will drive holographic display technology.”

What was the most noteworthy acquisition, and why? 

“The acquisition of VidTel by Fidelity Investments is very noteworthy. While most acquisitions are based on technology, team or customers and have a strong link to the core products and technology of the acquiring company, this one is different. Fidelity is not a technology powerhouse looking to fill gap or add some strength, so what is going on?  However, Fidelity is all about money and relationships and video is poised to transform that arena.”

Customer experience, the cloud, M2M/IoT, mobile wallet, wearable tech and WebRTC were hot topics of discussion in 2013.What do you expect to be the hot topic(s) in 2014? 

“With VoLTE on the horizon and WebRTC emerging, the change in cellular structures may be a huge topic. Companies like Republic Wireless are already beginning to change the models in dramatic ways by leveraging Wi-Fi. The ongoing pricing and limitations on data are becoming a significant dissatisfier for users. This space will hold huge change potential over the next year and beyond.”

What are your top three 2014 predictions for our industry?

“WebRTC applications will both delight and amaze us. While many WebRTC implementations will be extensions of existing communications solutions, many will emerge that will use WebRTC to deliver communications in contexts we have yet to imagine.

“Cloud models will begin to emerge that will seriously disrupt the revenue streams in many segments. While these options will have limited customization, for many organizations they will be a reasonable option. This will bring significant price and cost pressure on certain existing players.

“The change of communications from a separate service or capability to being integrated with applications and other activities will become obvious. With this we will see the emergence of asymmetrical communications solutions where the experience is different dependent on the role of each individual.”

Edited by Ryan Sartor


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