As promised yesterday, today we bring you the second half of our list of the top stories in telecom this year. So, without further ado …
6. Not So Open Internet
One of the founding principles of the Internet is the idea that users have unprecedented access to information in all forms and from all parts of the known universe – what’s often called the Open Internet. In 2013, while many industry leaders worked to further extend these principles, a handful of countries simultaneously began to move toward what amount to country-wide Intranets as a means of protecting their interests in the wake of government monitoring revelations. Should these initiatives be brought to bear, they would fundamentally change online communications, strike a significant blow to Cloud computing, and make for significant economic upheaval.
Between the continued growth of EHRs, rapid rise in demand for mHealth solutions, and the Affordable Care Act implementation, changes to healthcare was at the forefront of many minds. This year, we saw an uptick in EHR implementation – with nearly threefold growth since 2009 – while consumers have simultaneously begun to turn to their phones for health information. Today, nearly 38 percent of smartphone users view their device as an essential tool in making healthcare decisions. Of course, what got the most ink this year was the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and subsequent trouble around Healthcare.gov, with some calling it the “most public software failure of the decade.” The storyline in healthcare has everything these days: security threats, noteworthy cultural shifts, dubious sound bites, and more, but the trendline is firmly toward digitization and healthcare providers everywhere are beginning to imagine a future that (hopefully) makes life easier for all of us.
8. Women in STEM
Starting with Marissa Mayer’s appointment as CEO at Yahoo! last year and ramping up with Sheryl Sandberg’s March release of Lean In, people are once again discussing the role of women in the workplace. That chatter reached fever pitch this past fall when Twitter published its IPO documents revealing no women sat on its board. Things got a little heated from there (appropriate enough, on Twitter). All this has led to a lot of talk about the importance of including different perspectives in varying leadership roles. What remains to be seen, however, is if it influences any long-term, meaningful change. As of today, women helm less than 1 percent of the Fortune 500 – with congrats to Mary Barra on her recent GM appointment.
9. Connectivity for Everyone, Everywhere
Some of the biggest names in Internetdom came together over the summer to launch Internet.org, a consortium dedicated to bringing connectivity to all 7 billion on Earth, saying that access to the Internet is a human rights issue. The initiative certainly has its detractors. However, regardless of where you personally land on this issue, the opportunity to bring the Internet’s vast wealth of knowledge (and cat videos) to the most remote places on Earth has far-reaching sociological / anthropological / economical / financial / historical implications and has pundits from all across the globe talking.
10. Data Security
ZDNet recently released its top data breaches of the past year. Good list. The key takeaway is this: Cyberthreats come in all shapes and sizes and target organizations across all industries – not just the big content companies, or big banks, or big governments. If you think your company or your personal data is immune, you’re probably wrong. Expect more of the same in 2014.
What else would you add to the list? What do you predict will happen in telecom in 2014? Tell us in the comments below.
And here’s to a productive and innovative year ahead for us all!
Latest posts by Stacey Sayer (see all)
- Social Media is Changing Everything - April 30, 2014
- No Coder Left Behind: The Power of Programming in the Classroom - March 4, 2014
- Three (of the Many) Ways Technology is Taking the Chill out of the Polar Vortex - January 28, 2014