How Did We Do at Our Predictions for 2016?

By Mika Skarp

2016 and these last waning weeks of the year in particular have been an exciting time for Cloudstreet. Just this past week, we closed our second round of financing of about $3 Million and won the World Communications Award in the category of Best Connectivity Solution for IoT. Returning from the WCA award gala in London, we helped our partners carry Periscope broadcasts from the Slush conference here in Helsinki, demonstrating once again the power and promise of network slicing. Needless to say it has been a roller coaster ride.

But even as many of our best wishes for the year have come true, what of our predictions for 2016? Have they proved correct, and if not, what can we expect 2017 to deliver?

See the full 2016 predictions article on LinkedIn Pulse here.

Mega trends are mega trends and so what more can we do but to watch them swell and crest? But on the matter of 5G development it seems our predictions were quite on the money. The first was that new frequencies would make their way to auction and that the aggregate temperature around 5G would rise to white hot. This will certainly continue into 2017 as this particular mega trend is only gaining in momentum.

The second prediction we made was about linear (one-size-fits-all) TV losing its already tenuous position. This is certainly the trend, and while as it has been steadily losing ground to the wonderful world of OTT and On-Demand, it isn’t happening quite as quickly as we expected. Pointing in a very straight line away from linear TV was the announcement of a possible merger between AT&T and Time Warner (and not Time Warner Cable). While I don’t believe this makes too much sense, it underlines that vertical combinations of distribution networks and content creators is well in play and promises yet another major disruption to TV as we know it.

Of course we were very bullish about real-time user generated video services like Periscope and remain so today. This is only re-enforced here in Finland where the ever-popular service has been the stuff of controversy as school kids have taken to testing their teacher’s tempers while periscoping in their class rooms. Whether merely a ‘coming distraction’ for North America and the rest of the world, this represents a truly new kind TV and one that is sure to continue to gain in popularity. We can already see it with Facebook’s trending live video feeds so we see that the ‘personal broadcasting video platform’ competition is well on. And while there is no doubt that this is definitely starting to get cooking, some basic ingredients are still missing, for example the idea of having some sort of automated director. Here’s a quick and dirty video we produced back in the summer of 2013 to demonstrate the Cloudstreet component of a possible future end to end personal live video broadcasting solution.

In our third prediction we saw a smart phone revolution that would bring an army of new devices with groundbreaking new features including indestructibility. We couldn’t have been more wrong, and even if we counted Samsung’s exploding battery as feature instead of a bug. No instead of an indestructible phone that we predicted we’ve got broken glass screens and blown up batteries.  And a new iPhone with arguably fewer features (namely no mini audio out jack) than it’s predecessor.  While this was surprising, it certainly underscores the power of the brand. Even if you aren’t happy with your iPhone, cracked glass an all, and even though you aren’t excited about its missing mini plug, you’ll still go out and buy another one. 

One thing that we did not talk a lot about was Net Neutrality, and despite the seating of a President Donald Trump and a lot of uncertainty about what that will mean for Net Neutrality, the world is a big place, 2016 seems to have provided some kind of consensus if not a clear resolution. For now at least, the best way to understand Net Neutrality is that there will be three are different kinds of traffic on any one network and that while technically they must be treated differently, commercially they will need to be available for everyone on the same terms.

And as we bravely march toward 2017, next week we’ll muster the courage to present our predictions for next year. Stay tuned!