Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days

Top of Mind

Wild Nights, Hot & Crazy Days

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  December 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

Another wild and crazy year is now coming to a close. And, boy, was it a doozy.

Headlines regularly pronounced 2011 as the year of the tablet and the year of the cloud. I won’t dispute such pronouncements on either front.

Apple sold 9.25 million iPads in its fiscal third quarter alone. It owns the tablet space, of course, but Amazon, BlackBerry, HP and Samsung (News - Alert), among others, have introduced tablets of their own in an attempt to get a piece of the action.

Competing with the iPad is no small feat, of course, but Amazon with its new, relatively low-cost Fire, looks like a winner. However, many of us, particularly long-time Apple (News - Alert) fans, repeatedly find ourselves at Apple stores opening our wallets and handing over large amounts our hard-earned money again and again.

Just a few short months ago we didn’t have an iPad at my house, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to pony up the money to buy one. But now, just a few short months after I broke down and laid out the dough for Apple’s iconic tablet, my husband, daughter and I compete nightly for “the precious.”

We have Steve Jobs (News - Alert), and the team he put together at Apple, to thank for that, of course – that being the transformation of computers and phones from utilitarian devices to objects of beauty and desire. Apple’s founder and two-time leader, who we lost in 2011, will forever be remembered for making computers and connectivity fun and easy, and for realizing the dream of making applications, music and video available to buy, rent and enjoy anywhere, anytime.

Apple also this year launched its iCloud service, in yet another signal that cloud computing truly has arrived. This was just one of the many cloud-based initiatives launched or advanced in the past year. Although the uncertain economy stalled tech spending on some fronts, Apple continued to see great success with the sales of its alluring products, and cloud services had strong appeal due to the significant opex savings they can deliver.

The move to cloud computing is expected to see continued strong growth. In Morgan Stanley Research’s recently AlphaWise survey, 28 percent of respondents said they run workloads in a public cloud. That percentage is expected to expand by more than 80 percent to 51 percent in three years. (As an aside, I’d like to use this opportunity to put in a plug for one of TMC’s latest initiatives: TMC is launching Cloud Computing Magazine next month. For more information on editorial matters on that magazine, contact Erik Linask, [email protected].)

“Accompanying this is an expansion in the depth of penetration, with the percentage of overall workloads running in the public cloud growing at a 29 percent CAGR to 22 percent from 10 percent today,” according to the Morgan Stanley Research report.

Speaking of an expansion in depth of penetration, we’ve obviously seen that this on the social networking front as well. That’s become true for everything from sharing vacation photos among friends to leveraging Facebook and Twitter (News - Alert) to foment social and political change. We saw this again and again this year during the Arab Spring as social media provided the glue to connect revolutionaries to express their concerns and organize their efforts.

Google executive Wael Ghonim became a current-day folk hero of sorts for creating the Facebook group that became the central meeting place for anti-government efforts in Egypt. That was considered a key contributor to the uprising that led Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down on Feb. 11.

Things may have turned out better for Muammar Gaddhafi had he done the same. Instead, the Libyan leader fought the resistance to the end, and his untimely demise at the hands of Libyan fighters was captured on video that was broadcast and available online for on-demand consumer around the world.

Digital technology and social networks also played central roles in the story of the capture and death of Osama bin Laden.

Sohaid Athar unwittingly broke the news of the U.S. military’s raid on the al Qaeda leader’s hideout in Pakistan when the IT consultant tweeted that there was a helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1 a.m. Only later did Athar and his Twitter followers learn that the helicopter was part of a top-secret attempt to kill the man behind the 911 terrorist attacks.

The Obama administration and U.S. military, meanwhile, leveraged video communications to share footage of Osama bin Laden being dispatched of to ensure there was no question of his ultimate demise.

Speaking of demise, 2011 also marked the end of AT&T’s exclusive iPhone deal (both Verizon (News - Alert) Wireless and Sprint now offer the smartphone); the end of Carol Bartz’s reign at Yahoo!; and the ouster of yet another leader at HP.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi