Good news: I’m not going to bore you with my own uninformed predictions this year.
Even better news: the best visionaries I know have agreed to share their insight for 2014. These brilliant individuals, all within my portfolio and board network, represent that rare breed of visionary that also possess lucidity on the short-term, i.e. the next 12 months. Here are the highlights:
- Major media companies will have to properly define and accelerate their multi-screen strategies to reflect the growing importance of tablets and smartphones as high-end devices alongside PCs and TVs.
- Internet of things, and especially within home appliances and transportation/cars (see the new Open Automotive Alliance)
- Apple will set the standard for wearable technology with its new iWatch.
- Cloud applications are more interconnected one to another increasing the use of webservices : as an example: Sales automation and marketing automation.
- Revenue forecasts and actuals by quarter vary a lot from one to the next, as budgets are constrained and are released in an adhoc way and not upfront. Approvals are requested (again) at the time of investment.
- Security is getting higher on the radar due to PRISM and the NSA. European, Asian and Brazilian companies are more inclined to favor non-U.S. and non-Israeli companies.
- Application Security in the cloud has not been an issue yet! The first major hit to a vendor such as Salesforce or Microsoft office 365 may have dramatic impact on the IT industry.
- U.S. IT companies will see the effect of the NSA scandals. Their revenues will decline in Europe over time (especially in Germany).
- HTML5 will become a new standard for online games companies globally.
- In mobile gaming, the U.S. will continue to lag Europe (and of course remain way behind Asia).
- Consolidation among telecom operators
- France’s telecom sector wll continue to be under pressure due to the ongoing price war until political clarification takes place.
- Battery life will become a consumer battleground for smartphone manufacturers.
- The rise of the “Drive to Store” phenomen, and mobile will become a critical tool to compare, review, and create new customer experiences directly at retailers.
- 2014 will be the year of WiFi traffic monetization, not just on 3G. This is now achievable through a blend of more sophisticated used id recognition once applicable only to the desktop web and now available to mobile and thanks to a new set of APIs available at most innovative operators.
- The global economy gradually recovers from almost 6 years of crisis. The U.S. wil once again be leading and will benefit most from the overall recovery. Europe will gradually increase its growth rate during the year and France will also benefit as a bystander with a few quarters delay.
- Financial markets will continue their rally and IT companies will gradually be re-rated during the year.
- An economic downturn in the US towards Q3/ Q4. True inflation is higher than it is portrayed. Consumers with buying power are disappearing fast.
- 2014 is the year when “the baguette strikes back”. France will realize that it can be a global leader in innovation, such as in medical devices and big data, to name just two areas.
- A wake up call in Europe for the socialist governments. Where ever there are elections , the countries will move to the right. Unfortunately it will be the same circus with other clowns. The entrepreneurial spirit will come back (out of necessity) as our younger generation will have to switch from job seekers to subsidy seekers.
- A bad year for China, where no true reforms will take place, despite of all the propaganda we will read. The pollution problem will force them to outsource a lot of their manufacturing to Africa over time. Australia will have a difficult year as a result of China’s problems.
- A very good year in the Midlle-East, where the rich will become more entrepreneurial, due to the shale oil competition in the USA. Watch them venture out into other areas like IT.
The above insight comes from the following individuals. To derive further benefit from their wisdom, consider subscribing to their newsletters or following them on Twitter.
Gianluca D’Agostino, Founder and CEO of Neomobile (@Neomobile_Group)
Stéphane Darracq, Founder and CEO of Makazi (@MakaziGroup)
Herman Delatte, Partner at Big Bang Ventures (@HummingbirdVC)
Philippe Houdouin, founder and CEO of Keyyo (@Keyyo_Business)
Olivier Milcent, VP Product at Momac (@OMilcent)
Dave Moreau, Repeat entrepreneur in mobile technology (@DaveMoreau)
Jacques Sebag, CEO of DenyAll (@DenyAllSecurity)
Stay tuned for more predictions in the coming week.