The holidays are past, the Super Bowl is over, Valentine’s Day has come and gone, your diet is a memory and most companies have announced their 4Q11 results. But 2012 ain’t over until it’s over and, even though we’re almost into the second quarter, I have some predictions for this year that still are worth pondering.

These aren’t my prognostications for the coming months, but they do come from those who deal in forecasting. Here’s what they have to say, and there’s good news and bad news:

• The analysts at Juniper Research: The recession “likely will hit smart device sales, particularly in the case of unsubsidized devices. The effect will be most painful on the premium tablet sector, where device sales could plateau or even decline.” The silver lining? “Conversely, the reduction in average purchasing power could conceivably benefit players such as Amazon and ARCHOS, inasmuch as cash-strapped consumers may opt for the lower-priced Kindle Fire or an ARNOVA-branded device rather than the iPad.” 

“A major data loss from a smartphone or other mobile device, or a malware attack on an enterprise’s servers via a mobile appliance, will temporarily halt the ‘bring your own device’ trend.." — Ben Mendoza, MDSL


• Eric Moore, COO/CTO at Axis Teknologies
: “White space will be able to be used for rural and urban areas as Wi-Fi and wireless services are leveraged to fulfill the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan. Also, to support new and faster technology, backhaul services will be upgraded not only in capacity, but copper will be replaced with fiber because fiber allows operators greater flexibility in capacity management and faster speeds, supporting data rates customers expect.”

• Ben Mendoza, CEO at MDSL: “A major data loss from a smartphone or other mobile device, or a malware attack on an enterprise’s servers via a mobile appliance, will temporarily halt the ‘bring your own device’ trend. Despite frequent warnings, with so many IT departments not yet set up to guard against such an attack, it’s only a matter of time before a major data loss hits a large enterprise player hard. However, the huge proliferation of mobile devices will re-start the whole process again within weeks."

Steve Day, senior vice president/Marketing and Strategic Planning at Cheetah Technologies: “In 2012, network monitoring and deep content inspection will move from the NOC to the boardroom as executives begin to understand quality metrics are directly linked to retention of customers. Monitoring will become more important as competition with Telco TV and over-the-top solutions intensify this year.”

Atul Bhatnagar, president and CEO at Ixia: “2012 will see a doubling of commercial LTE networks, with North America and Asia leading the way. Operators will use multi-pronged approaches to solving capacity issues, including deployment of more spectrum-efficient technology, increased data offload using Wi-Fi and small cells, improved network traffic management, and new business models and charging plans. In addition, the very first implementations of voice over LTE (VoLTE) will begin to occur, but don’t expect wide deployment until 2013 or beyond. 2012 will see mobile data networks become a more fertile ground for security attacks, causing wireless security testing to ramp up.”

Jean Foster, vice president/Marketing and Channels at Neustar: “There will be more activity with Google, Twitter and Facebook as more businesses start to use them for marketing. The cloud isn’t going away any time soon, and more telecom providers will begin targeting small and mid-sized businesses that are willing to adopt new technology. And the rise of ‘big data’ will force companies to figure out how to use all that customer information their networks garner every day. Think of all the data that was gathered when we were doing number portability; we killed the buffalo for the horns and then threw the meat away. Companies must learn how to derive new services and revenue from the information they already have in house.”  

And what is my view from 36,000 feet? I think this is the year operators of all kinds wake up from their deep financial sleep. They’ve made the plans, they’ve consulted with the experts, they’ve contracted for more gear, and now it’s time to deploy. Some will rip and replace, and others will figure out ways to "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."

It’s time to move forward and quit waiting for things to change in Washington and on Wall Street. An ad that runs on my favorite local talk/news radio channel says in part, "not a sermon, just a suggestion." I like that.

Debra Baker, editor, dbaker@accessintel.com

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