2014 brought us a number of intriguing developments in business and consumer tech. Here’s a list of my Top Twenty trends and disruptions that I found most significant, not only during 2014, but providing pointers for 2015 and beyond.
Two far-reaching and inter-locking decisions are pending in Washington: Approval of the proposed Comcast/Time Warner cable/broadband merger, and a decision on whether or not to maintain the policy of net neutrality. With the stark exception of Netflix whose CEO, Reed Hastings, who has spoken out against the merger, traditional media companies like Disney, Viacom, HBO and Univision and video streaming services like Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu have remained disconcertingly silent, apparently intimidated by Comcast’s bullying tactics. As for net neutrality, it is looking increasingly likely that despite attempts by the FCC to soothe consumer concerns, internet broadband will be separated into fast and slow lanes based on differentiated pricing of what has hitherto been a public utility. Where will these controversial issues end up? Will businesses of all sizes as well as consumers have equal access to internet broadband? Or will cable and broadband become the sandbox of one dominant corporation?