In many ways the late naughties and the early part of this decade (what are we calling this one by the way?) have been characterised by what’s wrong with this country: the recession, the riots, union strikes, press misdemeanours and expenses scandals. And while 2012 has not been bereft of such of problems, it has been punctuated by events – The Jubilee, The Olympics and the Paralympics - that to many people’s surprise and even more’s delight, cut a swathe through all the gloom and cynicism and for a few short, golden weeks made everyone feel… well a bit better; about life and about Britain - Great Britain.
Those events resonated with us here at Fluidata on a personal level but also a professional one too. The Olympics in particular had a significant impact on us; affecting many fibre installations across London (due the Olympic Route Embargo), providing a test for our network and giving us an exercise in company wide flexible and remote working practices. The Jubilee, well we just watched that from a rather convenient spot in our office.
The Olympic Games' influence across our industry was also notable. The advent of the games triggered both the deployment of Wi-Fi connectivity within London tube stations and 3G access within the channel tunnel. While The Olympics media centre, which Cisco endowed with some serious technology infrastructure, has now become a technology centre; one that has already attracted the likes of Facebook to invest and has high hopes of becoming London’s answer to Silicon Valley.
On the subject of Facebook, 2012 witnessed the long anticipated flotation of the company’s shares. Initially the move had Facebook valued at £100 billion, but within 7 days shares had plummeted by 24% - proof that valuing technology companies remains an inexact science. Other big players were also busy in 2012; C&W sold to Vodafone for over £1 billion and Microsoft launched a new operating system with a clear eye on the touch screen/mobile market, Windows 8.
In broadband circles the biggest development on the year was 4G , which despite receiving somewhat underwhelming initial reviews still represents a marked step forward for mobile Internet connectivity.
There was also much discussion this year over Internet governance - culminating in the WCIT Conference in December. With most western nations refusing to sign a proposition that would allow for the International Telecommunications Union to have any major control, for now the openness of the World Wide Web is protected; though don't expect that to be the end of the debate...
All in all, it's been a pretty exciting year; for Britain, for the technology industry across the globe and not least for us here at Fluidata.