What are the major trends for the future of IT and the Web seen from Silicon Valley?The Orange Blogger bus tour – of which I am the organiser on behalf of Orange – was stopping by San Francisco today and the whole day was hosted by Orange Silicon Valley.
Georges Nahon delivered a very inspiring keynote today before our panel of bloggers in which he shared his vision with regard to what is happening in IT in general, and in the Valley in particular.
I will begin my account of Georges’s visionary presentation by detailing his conclusions. As I always do, I have taken detailed notes of the pitch and they are made available at the end of this piece. If there is one thing that should be remembered from that pitch is that the Web is everywhere and in everything that will be happening in the future. Something which established players don’t like according to the Head of Orange Silicon Valley. However, Nahon insisted on the fact that it won’t be the same Internet we used to know.
Facebook will be “Yahooed!”
“Social” has been going through a rough patch over the Summer, with the now infamous Facebook IPO, dubbed “IPOcalypse”, IPO meaning “It’s Probably Overpriced” Nahon said facetiously. Yet, Europeans are wrong when they interpret these issues as the end of social media, Georges Nahon said in essence. Social is here to stay, and beyond, it will change everything which takes place on the Web, even though Facebook itself will probably be “Yahooed!” Georges added.
But the worrying thing I got from his pitch is that, according to his analysis, next to the World Wide Web that we all know, an increasing number of companies, including Amazon, are creating a “non-searchable adjacent Web” which sounds very much like the end of the Web as Chris Anderson announced in Wired a few years ago. I think Georges is right indeed, there is a growing concern that Net neutrality is being sacrificed for the sake of user experience. Time will tell, but there are indeed worrying signs.
Georges Nahon, head of Orange Silicon Valley, on the first day of the blogger bus tour
Here is how I summed up Georges’s 5 trends for the future of IT:
- Tech is all about mobile: “Twitter is a mobile-first company” and thriving he said, “Facebook isn’t and is suffering”. 10% of Internet traffic is made of mobile traffic. Yet, 25% of US users are using the Web from mobile only, but in Egypt, this number soars up to 70%, and India is close to 60%! And 68% place their mobile next to their bed while sleeping at night.
- The default is now social: and social meets mobile (over 50% of smartphones connect to Facebook). Social graph (Facebook), interest graph (Twitter) and influence graph (Klout) are the new frontiers of the Web and “they are here to stay … for a long time” Nahon said. For many, Facebook is the new web (“find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter). What is the future of search? it is social and both Google and Microsoft are working on it… “and Facebook search is coming fast” Nahon added.
- Another Web: At the same time, traditional web development is slowing down, and Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Mobile will continue develop their “non-searchable adjacent webs” as Nahon called it.
- The Cloud as a new frontier: “The new guys are Amazon, Zynga, Rackspace and even people like Google were taken by surprise” Nahon said. But there are even newer guys you may never heard of such as Bluejeans, Alfresco, Joyent and many many more. Explosive data growth is also forcing companies to develop solutions for data reduction. And “the next big thing isn’t Software, it’s data” Nahon concluded on that subject.
- All video will be on the Net: most players in that field are coming from the Internet world, not the media world. “We think that the future of TV is to be streamed” Nahon said. There is more innovation than ever before in that area he said. Nahon added though that the concept of app-centric TV on smart TVs wasn’t entirely convincing. Time Warner see their future in apps but another trend is Social TV (described by Nahon as “a descendant of interactive TV which never worked”. 85% of tablet owners use their device while watching TV he said. What are they doing? Social websites, Zynga, Search, Craigslits (an old web survivor!) according to Nielsen.
the future of the World Wide Web
So, what is the future of the Web? Georges Nahon highlighted 10 trends in that area too:
- the web is becoming data centric
- apps will rule consumer and entreprise innovations and html5 will infiltrate apps and web services
- non searchable adjacent webs will continue to develop and the web will be fragmented and site-less (mobile, apps)
- the web of sites is dead and Facebook like buttons are the new hyper links
- Real-time multi-user game cloud platforms will influence enterprise cloud technologies: the main issue will be “latency” ‘as already explained on that blog)
- 4G/LTE (which we all were using to day via local mifi devives) will trigger innovation
- mobile payment will kick off from 2015
- all video will be on the web
- Enterprise IT will shift to the cloud.
- Facebook will rule the web during the next 2 years and Google will be in catch-up mode and within 3 years they will be “Yahooed!” Nahon said
- Amazon will continue to diversify and will create more online commerce/entertainment clouds and mobile devices (tablets/phones). “Amazon is belittled in Europe” Nahon added, “and it should be considered as a major player, for Bezos is the new Steve Jobs”.
Started as an R&D organisation and evolved towards what they are today (scouting organisation). 60 people, 40 of which are in a position to file patents and they file 20 per annum. Often, it’s about reviewing the strategy. Statement from Prussian general “no plan survives contact with the enemy” e.g. 5 years ago, no one had seen the iPhone coming. Even analysts. An none of these people has seen Apple becoming a major player in the Telecom industry => be prepared for the unexpected. There were times in which you telcos could go to the ITU organisation and get things sorted but this isn’t the case anymore.
Essentially Orange wants to get prepared for the future. One of the key elements for Silicon Valley is capital investment. In Bay Area only, venture investments represent $3.2 bn 46% of total investments in the USA (San Jose chronicle on Q2 results). Texas only represents $ 179 m (3%) despite the huge tech firms in that state. The core subjects is ICT and media but not only.
The software industry in Q2 of this year received the highest level of funding. (34 out of 39% other source) $2.37 bn i.e. 32% of the total.
Market definition in B2B and B2C - The very notion of "market" is at the heart of any marketing approach. A market can be defined... capitalisation: Apple + Cisco +Oracle +Google +Intel have a total of $ 1,261.82 bn (IBM is only $236b or FTE $37b). What this hides is the myriad of small companies which help these companies become what they are.
This is the detailed analysis of the situation according to Georges Nahon. I am leaving my notes in raw format. They are useful if you want to understand where the above trends are coming from. Each bullet point sums up a weak or strong signal which add up in order to form trends:
- after 244 years, encyclopaedia Britannica disappeared. The same thing happened with regard to advertising revenues in freefall since 2000. One sees destruction of value.
- Nintendo fades, Zynga emerges: it’s a different world which “doesn grow on $60 games and consoles” in Georges Nahon’s words.
- RIM posted huge Q1 miss and huge losses. Nokia is in bad shape too: Amazon and Apple are thriving, Google is almost stable and RIM and Nokia are having serious difficulties. And so are Sony, Panasonic and Sharp Nahon added.
- TV makers see phone manufacturers as competitors. Originally, phones were used for voice Georges Nahon said and now phones are made by computer manufacturers, the world has shifted. Voice time usage is indeed down by 50% in the US Nahon added. Adoption rates for smartphones are growing exponentially and adoption is much faster than for previous technology including first generation mobile phones.
- Similarly, 2012 is the first year in which online film watching overtook DVD revenues. Junio Nakamura, former president and chairman at Panasonic announced that “the golden age of TV is over” and broadband is becoming the core service.
- Intel confirms the decline of server manufacturers IBM Dell and HP and Quanta, Supermicro, Wiwynn and Huawei are the new stars.
- The end of the PC era? The world of IT is moving from desktops to cloud and online storage. Dell’s business (for instance) is indeed very much endangered by the rise of tablet computing. Intel is moving to Android and Microsoft is resorting to ARM chips, and the world is more open Georges said: Discs, Ethernet, hard drives (vs SSD) are gone and here comes ‘speech recognition’. At the same time, the graphical user interface is being replaced by the touch
- Amazon’s Bezos announced a few weeks ago that “hardware becomes irrelevant” and that his business model was based on pay-per-use vs. the sale of devices.
- Wave of changes from all areas coming together, happening at all layers of the technology stack. It’s happening all over the world. “the entire world economy is moving on the Web” he said. For instance, Apple sold 67 million of iPads in just 3 years, whereas it had taken them 24 years to reach that number with computers.
- Start-up world: the cost of start-up creation is down from $ 5 m in 2000 to $ 5 k in 2011 because of cloud computing.
- One of the conclusion is that there is one critical element one needs to understand is “scale”. Everything needs to scale, and scale is pushing technology Georges Nahon said (e.g. there are more than 400 m app store accounts; Facebook is collecting 500 terabytes of data each day; Twitter generates 8 TB per day vs. 1 TB for the NYSE). Super giants are being created, massive numbers are essential for growing business and if you can’t scale there is no interest for being in that business Nahon said.
- Established giants have established so much on R&D do not want to enforce change too soon but the news guys are bring innovation in the market Georges Nahon said in essence.
- Mobile Internet usage uptake is unprecedented and it’s impossible to rely on past experience and the world bank is also showing that we are in a world where there a more phones than people. E.g. 30% of searches on restaurants are made from mobiles.
“The establishment doesn’t know how to handle that” Nahon said. Giants – of which Facebook is a new member – are becoming acquisition monsters and therefore Silicon Valley is dominated by the power of money and those new acquisition giants. There is therefore a race for talent and “start-ups are getting snapped for their talent”. This new world is being called “Acqui-Hire” “this is one of the new buzzwords in the Valley” Georges said.
- Microsoft bought Yammer, Facebook acquired Instagram, NDS was bought by Cisco ($ 5bn), Ariba by SAP ($4.3 bn), Quest by Dell, Taleo by Oracle and Nicira by Dell ($ 1.1 bn), “all for more than a billion dollars” Nahon said. Nicira were almost bought overnight he added.
- IPOcalypse (IPO= It’s Probably Overpriced). There were Summer discussions about the “so-called social media meltdown”. The total market value of Facebook is down 55%, 76% for Zynga and 74% down for Groupon. Journalists are even talking of a “life after Facebook” but Nahon said that social is part of the fabric he said. “The entire IT industry is moving to the cloud in quasi panic mode” he added. Jim Goetz from Sequoia Capital mentions that enterprise start-ups are a lot more of a dynamic and interesting space than the consumer space.