Upon reflection, 2013, feels less of a momentous year than previous ones, both inside and outside of our industry. It wasn't sprinkled with the added piquancy a London Olympics brings, it wasn't a year of new products launches or technologies. The 'cloud' continued to gather pace, to a point where it has now entered the mainstream. 'Big Data' and the 'Internet of things' progressed from new fangled industry terms to something more tangible; where their impact can be observed and understood by everyday users. They could soon be developments that change everyday lives - with Allseen Alliance close to establishing an open source framework capable of connecting almost anything to the Internet. BYOD exploded; with 7/10 employees now using their own devices.
Most controversially this year we witnessed the Prism Scandal; Edward Snowden's whistle blowing on the NSA highlighting the scale of surveillance companies and individuals may be subject to online, as well as the levels of co-operation from some of the largest web companies - Google, Facebook, Microsoft. Whether you agree with Snowden's actions (and there are many who don't) it opened up conversation on the behavior of the NSA (and said companies) and made people question how safe their data is on US shores. It was of course just one of many instances of state sponsored electronic espionage; which continues to grow at a troubling rate.
Closer to home, points of tension began to surface over the roll out of super fast broadband in the UK. The likes of B4RN got fed up with the pace of government development and went and built their own fibre network. Debate over BT's monopoly of the industry and there use of public subsidies culminated in a very public grilling by MP's, in July. Then the Government's directive to have ISP's install porn filters lead to an industry backlash.
Further big name high street casualties were testimony to the disruptive nature of the Internet and need for companies to embrace and use the best technologies available in order to keep with the times.
2013 has been an intriguing year with exciting developments and technologies gathering pace and arguments over the openness and freedom of the Internet (which have rumbled for sometime) beginning to come to a head. It might just be the year that made people see the Internet in a different light, use it more watchfully. With the economy recovering and the government lending support to tech start ups, fertile ground exists for the UK to find it's Google or Facebook equivalent. However the super-fast broadband roll out remains behind schedule; stymieing growth across the UK. Fluidata for one will continue to support the Service Exchange Platform and the building of networks by independent companies who understand the commercial benefit from rolling out faster internet connectivity for the whole of the UK.
If 2013 wasn't year potted with headline grabbing action, it might just be a year that began the ball rolling on more seismic changes we'll be witnessing in the near future.