What lies ahead for technology in 2016?” I asked myself the other day and decided to write some thoughts down around 4 main interests. Guessing it is probably easier at looking what happened during the last year, and with some “wishful thinking“emphasise the general pattern for 2016.

1. Blockchain concepts got more attention than bitcoin, but (for now) still joined at the hip

Internet of Things

  • Recap: The blockchain (the ledger)1Blockchain definition by BitcoinWiki (https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Block_chain) provides a permanent pseudo anonymous audit trail / log of ALL transactions (on the blockchain), whilst bitcoin (the money)2”bitcoin” definition by Bitcoin Wiki (https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Bitcoin) provides incentives for the management and use of the blockchain and act as an active deterrent for the abuser
  • The financial sector3R3 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R3_(company)) realized cost savings, “possibly” cutting out the middle men and “easing” on regulatory requirements4Global Landscape of Blockchain Companies in Financial Services (http://startupmanagement.org/2015/12/08/update-to-the-global-landscape-of-blockchain-companies-in-financial-services/). But is this just a way to keep costs down, or a shift to a “faster, transparent” delivery of customer needs / requirements?5Read the Coindesk Report 2015 (http://www.coindesk.com/coindesks-report-on-banking-and-the-blockchain-now-available/)
  • For the rest of the “developing” world none has “yet” delivered tangible benefits, recalling 1996 “unassuming” benefit to the same markets. Yet today remittance in large parts of the world is dependent on SMS and other transactions over open networks…
  • Will sidechains 6Reddit on Sidechains and Colored Coins (https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/2pxy7a/eli5_whats_the_difference_between_sidechains_and/), colored coins7Gendal on Sidechains + see comments (http://gendal.me/2014/10/26/a-simple-explanation-of-bitcoin-sidechains/) or Bitcoin 2.08Investopedia on Bitcoin 2.0 (http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/042015/bitcoin-20-applications.asp) deliver the required services, while the blockchain+bitcoin provides the infrastructure framework, like TCP/IP is for HTTP/SMTP/FTP etc.9See William Mougayar on TCP/IP (http://startupmanagement.org/2015/01/13/the-crypto-tech-platforms-landscape-via-a-network-effects-lens/)
  • So will the blockchain (the ledger) with bitcoin (the money) deliver micro-transactions10Microtransactions OFF-chain vs ON-chain (https://medium.com/blockcypher-blog/why-can-t-i-send-1-over-the-internet-c90d2773fd9a#.97q3a7r9y)11You Can Now Send Micro-Transactions With Zero Fees (https://blog.coinbase.com/2013/08/06/you-can-now-send-micro-transactions-with-zero-fees/) for the millions of microservices12Microservices (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microservices) coming online

2. Apple is doomed – long live Apple

  • As when the iPad was first mentioned, the same sneers was again directed at the watch, yet Apple has effectively set a new standard for personal devices
  • Question: Apple seems to be “future proofing / preparing” the iPhone (6s, not a 7?), the watch and bigger tablet in conjunction with Apple Pay, HealthKit, HomeKit and CarKit (consolidated under an open Swift environment)13Mashable Apple Guide to Kits (http://mashable.com/2015/06/09/apple-developer-kits/#yhLLhU17UqqS), begging the question: where is Apple “boldly” taking us tomorrow?
  • Is the AppleTV AppStore a sign of consolidation or a push for a yet-to-be-realized future roadmap?14MacRumors AppleTV Roundup (http://www.macrumors.com/roundup/apple-tv/)

3. IoT (Internet of Things) are shaking the tree, and the fruit is starting to show (and fall)

  • Personal devices to measure, monitor, manage and report is proliferating our world at every possible level15Goldman-Sachs on Internet of Things Infographic (http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/internet-of-things/)
  • No clear leader has yet been identified to set future direction for implementation and inter-/re-action
  • Yet IBM and Apple (here we go again)16IBM Center for Applied Insights (http://ibmcai.com/2015/01/27/twenty-internet-of-things-trends-to-watch-in-2015/) has been addressing IoT from the top, utilizing their enterprise clients to service particular needs, whilst the thousands of startups around the world is building every conceivable gadget possible from the bottom up (e.g. Kickstarter17KickStarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/), Indiegogo18Indiegogo (https://www.indiegogo.com/), Anglelist19Anglelist (https://angel.co/), Y-Combinator20Y-Combinator (https://www.ycombinator.com/)…)
  • And then there is Microsoft, effectively opening up the cloud, potentially achieving what Office did for the “enterprise”,  maybe “Azure cloud” can do for IoT 21Microsoft Internet of Things and Azure (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/internet-of-things/default.aspx)

4. The internet is forced to grow up – encryption, security, availability (reliability) and open technologies sets the pace

  • Microsoft buckled under pressure and opened up, delivered Windows 10, embraced the cloud and starting to interact on the open market22Microsoft IoT of Your Things (https://dev.windows.com/en-us/iot)23Microsoft and Ethereum (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/ethereum-blockchain-as-a-service-now-on-azure/)
  • But encryption and security has been an issue; back doors closed (read NSA/GCHQ/hackers)24US and UK Government Spying (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/05/nsa-gchq-encryption-codes-security) and the slow convoluted path to constructive dialog is starting (e.g. the “teenagers” demanding ALL the toys and “shopkeepers” defering to the “guardians” to concent). Don’t we love politicians / totalitarians / dictators / thieves…25Apple’s Tim Cook on Encryption and Privacy (http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/02/apples-tim-cook-delivers-blistering-speech-on-encryption-privacy/#.mdlfktm:kVGu)
  • IoT devices are appearing everywhere, but who’s allowed to access what, when, where and how?26TechCrunch Who will secure the IoT (http://techcrunch.com/2015/10/02/who-will-step-up-to-secure-the-internet-of-things/)
  • Can we manage access, availability etc. with micro-transactions (e.g. bitcoin – not to confuse with micro-payments27Coindesk: The Promise of Bitcoin Micropayments (http://www.coindesk.com/promise-bitcoin-micropayments-corporations-incentives-altcoins/))? If it costs me less than US$0.0001 to access an IoT device, will a spammer / hacker / government want to hack thousands of devices every hour of everyday – with a potential ledger trail?28IBM Blockchain-Power IoT (http://www.coindesk.com/ibm-reveals-proof-concept-blockchain-powered-internet-things/)

Future Dreams

In four broad brush strokes the “impossible dreams” for 2016 might be fulfilled:

  1. The blockchain and bitcoin becomes the foundation for micro-services and micro-transactions to address hard-to-fix problems
  2. Apple sets the roadmap how enterprise delivers and manage secure technology and enables everybody to profit / benefit by building on-top of it
  3. IoT grows up by standardizing (communication / interaction) and delivers a flood of micro (web) services, and someone creates an AppStore for that
  4. And by year end all parties realized and agree that a “mature” internet will benefit commerce and governments, providing secure reliable web services

What a beautiful world“…

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References   [ + ]

1. Blockchain definition by BitcoinWiki (https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Block_chain)
2. ”bitcoin” definition by Bitcoin Wiki (https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Bitcoin)
3. R3 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R3_(company))
4. Global Landscape of Blockchain Companies in Financial Services (http://startupmanagement.org/2015/12/08/update-to-the-global-landscape-of-blockchain-companies-in-financial-services/)
5. Read the Coindesk Report 2015 (http://www.coindesk.com/coindesks-report-on-banking-and-the-blockchain-now-available/)
6. Reddit on Sidechains and Colored Coins (https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/2pxy7a/eli5_whats_the_difference_between_sidechains_and/)
7. Gendal on Sidechains + see comments (http://gendal.me/2014/10/26/a-simple-explanation-of-bitcoin-sidechains/)
8. Investopedia on Bitcoin 2.0 (http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/042015/bitcoin-20-applications.asp)
9. See William Mougayar on TCP/IP (http://startupmanagement.org/2015/01/13/the-crypto-tech-platforms-landscape-via-a-network-effects-lens/)
10. Microtransactions OFF-chain vs ON-chain (https://medium.com/blockcypher-blog/why-can-t-i-send-1-over-the-internet-c90d2773fd9a#.97q3a7r9y)
11. You Can Now Send Micro-Transactions With Zero Fees (https://blog.coinbase.com/2013/08/06/you-can-now-send-micro-transactions-with-zero-fees/)
12. Microservices (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microservices)
13. Mashable Apple Guide to Kits (http://mashable.com/2015/06/09/apple-developer-kits/#yhLLhU17UqqS)
14. MacRumors AppleTV Roundup (http://www.macrumors.com/roundup/apple-tv/)
15. Goldman-Sachs on Internet of Things Infographic (http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/internet-of-things/)
16. IBM Center for Applied Insights (http://ibmcai.com/2015/01/27/twenty-internet-of-things-trends-to-watch-in-2015/)
17. KickStarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/)
18. Indiegogo (https://www.indiegogo.com/)
19. Anglelist (https://angel.co/)
20. Y-Combinator (https://www.ycombinator.com/)
21. Microsoft Internet of Things and Azure (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/internet-of-things/default.aspx)
22. Microsoft IoT of Your Things (https://dev.windows.com/en-us/iot)
23. Microsoft and Ethereum (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/ethereum-blockchain-as-a-service-now-on-azure/)
24. US and UK Government Spying (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/05/nsa-gchq-encryption-codes-security)
25. Apple’s Tim Cook on Encryption and Privacy (http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/02/apples-tim-cook-delivers-blistering-speech-on-encryption-privacy/#.mdlfktm:kVGu)
26. TechCrunch Who will secure the IoT (http://techcrunch.com/2015/10/02/who-will-step-up-to-secure-the-internet-of-things/)
27. Coindesk: The Promise of Bitcoin Micropayments (http://www.coindesk.com/promise-bitcoin-micropayments-corporations-incentives-altcoins/)
28. IBM Blockchain-Power IoT (http://www.coindesk.com/ibm-reveals-proof-concept-blockchain-powered-internet-things/)