It's late enough in the year that the Top 10, Top 25 or top something lists have begun. You know, these come from people of varying focus trying to predict what next year may bring, or to explain what happened over the past year. Or both.
This week I got a call from Rob Chimsky, VP and CTO at InCode Telecom, which is a professional services company with operations around the U.S. Rob wanted to tell me about his thoughts on the top 10 telecom predictions for 2010. Normally, I wouldn't care what someone thinks about their ideas for the top 10 of anything, except perhaps if it involved a chance to confirm the top 10 choices in single malt Scotch whisky. But Rob and his company are focused on telecom for the enterprise, and communications is taking on even greater importance every year for enterprises of all sizes.
First, I think it's great that Rob wants to share his vision on these things. You should check out what he predicts on his Web site here. Second, the list is worth reading, despite the fact that some of the items are obvious, some are wrong, and some are irrelevant. The reason it's worth reading is because the importance of such predictions may differ in their relevancy depending on who you are and where your company is in the process of making use of communications services. A second reason is that just because I think a prediction is obvious doesn't mean it actually is.
For example, the push by wireless carriers to get people to adopt netbooks is worth noting. These devices are certain to start showing up in your enterprise whether you want them or not, and users are going to need tech support. As Rob predicts, the carriers that are pushing them aren't going to be able to provide the support they should. This means your help desk will get even more work.
Chimsky also predicts that cloud computing will become a big deal for carriers. There's no question this is true, although one must wonder if carriers realize this. Providing the bandwidth for cloud services will be a real challenge, and it's not clear that they are up to the task.
But some things I have to wonder about. Chimsky suggests that game consoles will be the leaders in Internet video, for example. Well, maybe, but unless you manufacture game consoles, who cares? Yes, they'll drive Internet demand, but it's going to be for residential services. Whether or not it's correct, it simply won't affect you. You might feel the same way about his prediction that the FCC will remain stuck in neutral, which it is. But until this year it was stuck in reverse, so isn't neutral a little bit better?
And this is the case with many of those top 10 predictions you're going to be seeing this year. They may or may not be relevant, they may or may not be right, and they may or may not be without a conflict of interest from the list provider. In the case of InCode's top 10, I don't see any such conflict of interest, but I see other such lists every year, and some of them are just flat-out self-serving and otherwise useless.
So after you read Rob Chimsky's top ten list, here's a suggestion. Try to be as jaded and cynical as I am about top 10 lists. Maybe you should make your own list: 'The top 10 things I hate about top 10 lists.'