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1 January 2014

10 Predictions For 2014

by Mike

1. Bitcoin and other virtual currencies will become more widespread

There is a lot of momentum behind virtual currencies at present and while there is a lot of hype, there is some real progress being made.

I don’t think that it is any risk to normal bank and credit transactions any time soon, but the early adopters are certainly jumping onboard.

2. Bitcoin will come under attack from banks and other legacy parties

Banks and governments like the control they have over the money markets at present. Anything that threatens that is going to be highly resisted.

Maybe even to the extent of crashing the price of bitcoin a few times to dent confidence in the new virtual currency.

3. Overlay networks such as Bittorrent, Tor and I2P will become more popular

With concerns over both the lack of privacy and the centralised control that exists on the internet at present, bit torrent with it’s ‘Distributed Hash Tables’ (DHT) will be leveraged for more protocols. We already saw BT-Sync and a chat application using the DHTs for their own purposes, I blieve we will see more appear in the next 12 months.

We will also see a growth in both I2P and Tor in the next few months - perhaps in conjunction with virtual currencies.

4. Mainstream Social Networks will become less popular due to further concerns about privacy and government snooping

Facebook has been bitten a few times in recent months with regards to privacy concerns. People don’t like being the product being sold to advertisers. This along with concerns over government snooping will see people considering other distributed social networks. Diaspora hasn’t gained a decent amount of traction after it’s initial hype, but the idea is sound and we have seen some success with XMPP and it’s federation capabilities over the past few years.

5. Big data will increasingly be used in business and government

We are seeing a lot of growth in big data at present. With companies storing all their data, there is a big pressure to use it to do something rather than just sit there eating up storage.

6. The cloud will increasingly be used by individuals

We have seen a lot of growth in cloud storage and computing with businesses, but individual uptake has been low except where bundled with a specific application or device (ie. the iCloud). We will see more people using their own personal cloud storage as the year progresses - probably both proprietary options such as Dropbox and more generic storage options such as Rackspace Cloudfiles, Amazon S3 or Dreamhost Dreamobjects.

7. The maker movement will continue to grow

We are seeing a lot of growth in hackerspaces, maker-faires and maker-friendly devices such as Raspberry pi and Arduinos. I don’t think this will slow down -  in fact I think it will begin to really hit mainstream.

8. DevOps will go mainstream

Much like agile is a recognised development methodology in software engineering, DevOps it’s anti-silo operations (we can argue about definitions later) counterpart will start to gain traction as more companies see it as a way to gain a competitive edge.

9. DRM will make a small comeback

Like horror movie monsters that always need to come back for one last scare, DRM will make a resurgence. With the HTML5 spec embracing allowing DRM protection, many publishers will attempt to use it in the vague hope that it will make their data secure.

This time around, with the wide variety of devices on the market, DRM will be harder to push on people. Not everyone uses Windows to consume content now, many use one of the numerous tablets around and compatibility of apps and plugins is sketchy at times.

So while DRM will continue to be used, users will push back as it breaks web applications and sites.

10. I will continue to have this nagging feeling that I should be doing something more with my life

The past couple of years I have been attempting to improve myself and my position in life. I am succeeding by some metrics, but I still have this nagging feeling I should be doing something else, something greater than myself - I’ll probably still have it this time next year.

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