The Futurum 2019 Crystal Ball – it’s no Grand Illusion–Futurum Tech Podcast Episode 025
by Fred McClimans | December 27, 2018

In this edition of Futurum Tech Podcast, Fred McClimans, Daniel Newman, Olivier Blanchard take to the future as we look into our crystal ball. We will discuss where things are heading with AI, autonomous vehicles, privacy, edge computing, and so much more. So tune in now to The Futurum Tech Podcast.

Our Main Dive

From technology to business and politics to culture, we’re eager to put the trade wars, the corporate hacks, and the shutdown brouhaha behind us to purge the old and usher the new into 2019.

We dive into the top trends we’re tracking and offer our predictions for what the new year might bring for Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles, the Blockchain, China (from trade to hacks to privacy), the IoT and Edge Computing, 5G, and why we need to stuff an M (for Microsoft) into the FAANG of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google (or should it be Alphabet?).


Fred McClimans: I’m Fred McClimans and this is the 2019 Crystal Ball Edition of The Futurum Tech Podcast. Joining me today, Daniel Newman, Olivier Blanchard, my co-hosts on The Futurum Tech Podcast for 2018.

Gentlemen, welcome to the Crystal Ball Edition. How are we today?

Olivier Blanchard: We’re great.

Daniel Newman: Always looking forward to talking about the future.

Fred McClimans: Yes. Well, we are Futurum Research after all.

So before we dig into this, a couple of quick notes. First of all, the focus of today’s podcast is literally on the crystal ball aspect of what we do as analysts in the industry. So we’re going to take a look at some of the major trend areas that we see, and offer some quick predictions on what we think might be happening in 2019. As part of that, we’ll be taking a look back at some of the topics that we’ve talked about over the first 26 episodes of FTP, The Futurum Tech Podcast. And before we get into any of that, I do want to remind everybody that The Futurum Tech Podcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. We hope you find it enjoyable, we hope you find it informative, and entertaining. But it is not a stock recommendation podcast. So with that, gentlemen, can you believe it, 24 formal podcast episodes, plus two interview series this year? Dan, did you think we’d make it this far?

Daniel Newman: It takes commitment. Any one of these shows, and I’ve done a podcast that’s done over 100 episodes in SMACtalk, Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud talk that I did with Brian Fanzo. And it took a while to get there, but these shows are all about commitment. But I think what we do as analysts, you have to remember, we’re beyond just writing blog posts and putting sites in journalist articles nowadays. It really does come down to using new media channels. I mean, how the heck do you call yourself an analyst and high tech if the only way you communicate is through written articles and through talking to reporters and publishing in newspapers? We really do have to move beyond. And in my crystal ball the future is, we have to be in every channel where people find value. And I think podcasting is definitely one of those channels.

Fred McClimans: Yeah. Olivier, so 24 episodes in, and we’re still working on getting you a high quality microphone.

Olivier Blanchard: Well, we as in I. I don’t know, I kind of like my gamer headset. But yeah, that I guess one of my New Year’s resolutions is to get a real grown mic .

Daniel Newman: Maybe Fred, we can all chip in together and we win a big deal or something. We’ll set aside the $37 to get him a Shure PG48 microphone.

Olivier Blanchard: To start a GoFundMe page.

Fred McClimans: I’m almost to the point of digging into my audio kit and-

Daniel Newman: Just tell them you’re going to build a wall around your house.

Fred McClimans: There you go.

Daniel Newman: That will bring dollars in donations real quick.

Fred McClimans: There you go. So gentlemen, The Futurum Tech Podcast, this is something that we’ve certainly had a lot of fun doing through 2018. And we have touched on an incredibly broad number of topics and conversations.

Everything from pure tech, to social, to a bit of politics, to the global economy, as well as some of the digital privacy, and some of the challenges that we see on a global scale as our world becomes more tech enabled and privacy starts to wind down a little bit. But just, kind of a quick flashback, I mean, the first real episode that we did was on Walmart and Microsoft wondering if they could challenge Amazon. We’ve talked a lot about Apple, we’ve talked about Facebook, we’ve talked about valuations, Snapchat. We’ve talked about how Australia hung up the phone on Huawei and ZTE with 5G.

Daniel Newman: We’ve certainly covered some ground too, Fred. We’ve talked a lot about Apple, we’ve talked a lot about disputes going out with Qualcomm. We’ve given more than a few praises to Satya Nadella for great work at Microsoft. And with all those companies we’ve also had to smack them across the face a few times. Because our job as analysts isn’t to just praise, it’s to be fully engaged in assessing every company, and finding the good, and the bad, and the ugly. And letting the market know, for informational purposes only, what it is that we see.

Fred McClimans: Exactly. And that’s a good point, because it’s not just about providing insights and advice and counsel to our clients, but it’s about reaching out to the larger industry. And we do want to take a moment and thank our loyal subscribers and our listeners. And if you’re hearing this for the first time, please go ahead, as my son likes to say on YouTube, smash that like button, subscribe, and share the goodness that we’re putting forth hopefully with your friends. So guys, let’s take a look crystal ball addition here 2019. 2018 has been, if nothing else, a predictably unpredictable year. We’ve seen a number of big trends. We’ve seen a number of the challenges that were somewhat predictable. And we’ve seen some responses on the part of some companies and some governments out there, that perhaps also a bit predictable, but in an unpredictable way.

So let’s just kind of run through some of the major technology and theme issues that we saw in 2018. And I’m just going to put the spotlight on you guys and say, what do you think is going to happen in 2019? So let’s kick it off with a, the first letter of the alphabet, in artificial intelligence. All the way back in episode 16, we talked about the issue of bias in AI, and whether or not we could actually trust what’s going on with AI Systems. Dan, what do you see happening in the world of AI in 2019?

Daniel Newman: Well, I think there’s the marketing component of AI, and then I think there’s the practical and executable component of AI. So remember Intel Inside was like the buzz word at one point for high levels of compute power going inside of a computer. Well now what you have the marketecture of things is AI inside. AI is inside everything. AI is inside your robotic process automation. AI is inside your analytics software tools. AI is in your Salesforce. AI is in SAP. AI is running your cloud. Cisco has self-healing cloud capabilities. AI powered, machine learning powered that understands your behaviors, and can determine if you have anomalies. And then fix your anomalies using machine learning and AI. So I think the marketecture of AI is, AI is everywhere and AI is everything.

I think the reality of AI is we still have a lot of hurdles, but it will succeed. We have hurdles in compute, we have hurdles in memory, storage, and capacity. We have hurdles in physical location of computing, meaning for things like autonomous vehicle and deploying the edge.

So I think as a whole, and trying to keep this from being an episode in itself and a 45-minute dissertation on AI, I think from a standpoint of AI functionally participating in a vast aspect of future of work and future of technology and current technology activities, it’s real. I think in terms of doing what we think it’s doing, it’s a little bit smoke and mirrors. Meaning there’s still a lot of cumin interaction and involvement in making AI do what AI does. And until a lot more learning has taken place, until networks have grown a lot bigger, and compute and all the other things I’ve mentioned become more capable, AI is still only going to be actually completing a percentage of the tasks that these companies have led us to believe that it is doing.

Olivier Blanchard: I concur and I will add some insights from my own end on this. But yeah, I think Dan is 100% right on everything. I think if we really want to kind of look at where AI or how to better understand AI in 2019, I think 2019 is the year that we start talking about two types of AI. And there are more than just two types, but I think we start to see a split in the AI world that consumers and the general public can easily understand. On the one hand you have your higher level AI, your cognitive computing. The stuff that actually lives on the cloud, and that requires a lot of computing power. AIs like Watson for instance with IBM, or a AI like Leonardo, that where bias actually becomes a bigger issue for us to address. And I’ll talk about that really briefly in a second. And then you have your lower tier AI, which is the kind of stuff that lives on the edge. The type of AI lives in your devices.

So the AI, for example, that powers smart cameras or smart speakers. The AI that you’re going to have on board in, not an autonomous vehicle yet, but at least a vehicle that has driver assist features like automated breaking, smart parking, et cetera. So if we have that division of high level and low level AI, I think in 2019 we’ll have a better platform with which to discuss AI challenges and new AI technologies. On the issue of bias, since you bring it up, I think that it kind of … That the problem of bias is essentially this, with high level AI what you have is this kind of like this child prodigy that still has many years to go before it can really be trusted to function like an adult. With the right degree of reason and decision making that we can actually trust. So right now we have the potential and the capabilities, the capacity, for genius type applications. But we still have years ahead of us to teach AIs of that level how to actually think and perform in a way that it can be trusted to do so autonomously.

And during that time we’re going to have to essentially have humans there to double check and guide and essentially create guardrails for AI to be able to learn things in the right way, and to learn how to not make mistakes. And the issue of bias is not so much right now a engineering or a software challenge, it’s actually a human challenge. Of having the right people in place to establish those guidelines and help AIs learn better. So I think that’s where we are in 2019.

Fred McClimans: Yeah. It’s going to be a really tricky year, I think. Dan, as you pointed out, AI which if you break it apart, touches on everything from machine learning, to deep learning, to predictive analytics, to the cognitive aspects, it’s in our chatbots. I mean, literally it is everywhere. It powers a lot of our technology today, and a lot of the decisions we make. And I don’t think that people really realize just how widespread this underlying capability of artificial intelligence really is out there. And unfortunately I think 2019 is probably the year that we see a bit more of the negative impact perhaps of AI coming out. Some of the challenges that we need to face, bias being one, and its ability to kind of fuel and transform the workplace and the work technologies that are out there. I think we might see a little bit of conflict there. But moving on from AI to AVs, real quick, is 2019 the year that we actually start to see autonomous vehicles?

And I’ll preface this by saying, we’ve talked about AVs a number of times in the past, sometimes related to Tesla, sometimes just related to well to the movement in China. Where they’re already using Avs to shuttle people around airport and industrial locations. And Kroger just a week ago announced their AV grocery delivery services. So Olivier, I’ll throw this at you. Real quick, what do you think we actually see in 2019 in terms of AI? Do we have widespread adoption starting to appear, or is it still just way too early?

Olivier Blanchard: It’s way too early. So I think I’m going to fall back on, and this may end up being a common theme for all of these technologies for 2019. But just like with AI and the segmentation between kind of higher level AIs and lower level AIs, I think there’s segmentation in the AV market as well. What you’re going to start to see in 2008 or 2019, sorry, is more of that segmentation. So what you may see is a more widespread deployment of what we like to call geo-fenced AV application. So geo-fencing essentially is where you have I mean, automated vehicles or self-driving vehicles that are confined to a particular space that’s more controlled. So for instance, a factory floor it could be considered geo-fenced. The inside of an airport could be considered geo-fenced. As opposed to being out in the wild on the interstates and the streets of our cities. So I think that we’re still years away from the reality or the promise anyway of how we think of purely automated vehicles or self-driving vehicles that can drive around and do the things that human drivers can do.

But I think that with the start of 5G networks and the early deployments already of 5G networks and private 4G LTE networks in industrial applications, 2019 is very likely to be the year that we start seeing a lot more self-driving automated vehicles or robots essentially. Whether they’re buses or taxis or shelving being deployed in geo-fenced applications.

Fred McClimans: Well, 2019 is the year that General Motors has said they will be launching their robot autonomous taxi service on the west coast. But as we all know, if you ever want to stop a robot vehicle or an autonomous vehicle, all you have to do is stand in front of it, and that becomes your new wave of social protest. So maybe you’re right, maybe it’s really in the industrial space where we see enterprises having the ability to autonomously transform themselves there. So Dan, is 2019 the year that you buy an AV?

Daniel Newman: Not a chance, I’m not buying anything. It might be a year that we start to buy into it being part of our lives in very limited capacities. I think you’ve got a couple of major challenges. An article in The New York Times summed it up pretty well. It said Uber’s driverless cars return to the road after a fatal crash. And the first few sentences are, essentially Uber said it’s autonomous vehicles return to public roads Thursday, nine months after one of its self-driving cars killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. But Uber’s driverless vehicles are operating at drastically reduced speed and in less challenging environments than before. The company said, as it eases back into testing and tries to ensure people’s safety. I think the thing is, is like all ebbs and flows of technology, what you have here is a technology that we ebbed very quickly and it flowed back. And you’ll continue to see trial and error, just like drones. Drones work, but we’re not necessarily seeing unmanned small drones dropping our packages off at our doorstep just yet.

Just because the technology is there, it doesn’t mean we’re going to see it. Because the real challenge for AVs really comes down to civil engineering. It comes down to the fact that our cities, communities have not been designed, planned in such a way that really accommodates this proliferation in this available technology. So what we’re going to see here, is we’re going to have to see new legislation, new civil engineering design. We’re going to have to see thought processes of how to accommodate these technologies. I think what we’re going to see is robotics stocking machines stocking the shelves in a Walmart. I think we might see, like Olivier said, I thought it was very smart, some geo-fenced capabilities inside of a theme park, or around a casino. Maybe in Las Vegas that can get you up and down a strip on a predetermined unmanned. But let’s face it, how different is that than that little railway that’s an unmanned … The only difference now is, the programming is a little bit different.

But we’re not going to be hopping into our 5 Series BMWs any time soon, and pressing a location on the map, and then laying back, taking a nap, and getting dropped off. That’s not happening anytime soon. The sooner we get this through our heads, the better off we will be. Five years would be the absolute minimum, I think, before you’re going to see that stuff in any sort of mainstream. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s closer to 10.

Fred McClimans: Yeah. The autonomous bar crawl, I think is what you’re referring to there in the Vegas Strip. So moving along your guys, we’re to the letter b. And we’re not going to hit every letter in the alphabet. We just simply don’t have that many years of life expectancy left. But back in episode eight, we talked about North Korea unchained, and block chain within the hermit kingdom. So it’s kind of just a quick hit on that. Dan, I know you’ve been kind of up and a little down perhaps on blockchain. Personally I think it is starting to reach the point where people can actually envision how it might be used out there. We’re definitely sort of in the second wave of blockchain here. And we’re seeing companies now like Amazon finally stepping up and saying, “Yes, we’re going to offer blockchain services.” But Dan, in 25 words or less, what do you see happening in blockchain in 2019? Is this the year that it actually starts to have some type of an impact in the enterprise or not?

Daniel Newman: I just read a CIO survey that said, CIOs expect more of the same from blockchain in 2019. I think we’re still two to three years away. That’s my prediction I put on Forbes. That’s my less than 50 words, but more than 25 words summation. We’re just not there yet. It’s coming, but not yet.

Fred McClimans: Olivier?

Olivier Blanchard: Yeah. No. I don’t think blockchain is going to have really a huge impact in 2019. I mean, I think it’s going to just start getting a little bit more integrated into systems. But I think there’s still a huge potential for what I think is a very narrow used technology. I mean, it’s great for chain of custody, and essentially will be able to track where things come from and how transactions were made. I’d like to see the blockchain used more in retail, for instance. To be able to allow consumers to be able to have visibility to where the products come from. And so for activist consumers who don’t want, for instance, the sneakers they buy to come from places where they might be manufactured by slave labor, or a slave labor adjacent. I could see definitely uses for that. And I can see how brands and businesses would use the technology for that type of purpose. But otherwise, I’m not really seeing it making a huge impact.

Fred McClimans: Yeah. I’m with you on the retail side. I think there’s also a great opportunity specifically within the food chain and within the pharma space. To be able to much more rapidly identify the source and state of product as it moves through most of the value chain there. But I think what we’re seeing as well in, or what we’ve seen in 2018 and we’ll continue to see in 2019 is, if you look at the underpinnings of blockchain, it was really as an enabler for Bitcoin. And blockchain and cryptocurrencies they are inherently decentralized and non-standardized.

And what we’re seeing with all of the blockchain services coming out is that, they’re all slightly different flavors out there. And I think until we can resolve that, blockchain kind of sits as an interesting and a good place to kind of speculate and play in. And there are some really rapidly moving business models for that. But I think for the larger enterprise, 2019 is probably the year that people should be thinking all these things that we talked about in terms of quality of product, improving customer service, improving brand and product sourcing awareness.

Do we really want to do those? And if we do, and I think they should, how do we want to do them? And does blockchain make sense for that particular application? So I think that’s going to be a fun one. So moving along to the c’s, and again, I said we’re not going to touch on every letter. But China. China had a huge year. We talked about the impact of China with Apple’s iCloud service. We’ve talked about China with Huawei and ZTE. We’ve talked about China with corporate espionage, embedded devices into Bloomberg fabric stories. What happens with China? And I know this is a big one. But we look at the trade issues that we’re having, we look at the political issues. Is there a chance that we reach some type of normalized state with China in 2019? Dan, what’s your thought?

Daniel Newman: No.

Fred McClimans: Perfect.

Daniel Newman: You want a reason?

Fred McClimans: No, that’s fine.

Daniel Newman: I’ll be very brief though on this one. I think this is more political than it is technological. From a political standpoint, I think we are at far polar opposite ends of the scale in the way we see things working. I think even the proliferation of new tech is highly politicized. And right now there’s an arms race in the arms tech race. And there’s just too many things that were too far apart on. So while we definitely have to be collaborative and cooperative at certain parts of ongoing economic growth, right now I just see us as too far apart to really work together in any meaningful way right now. So I think we’ve got our ways to go, and I think we’re going to need a new regime before we’re going to make a lot of progress with China.

Fred McClimans: Is that a new regime on our side or theirs?

Daniel Newman: Yes.

Fred McClimans: I had a hunch that would be the answer. Olivier?

Olivier Blanchard: Yeah, I agree with that. I’d also add that, if you want to take a 10,000 foot view of what we’re dealing with for the next, not just the next six months of next year, but the next 10 years and perhaps beyond. Is we’ve up until now thought about superpowers around the world in terms of geostrategy as military and economic superpowers. I think we also need to start thinking about technology superpowers in 2019. And if you think about it that way, there are only two. There’s the US and there’s China. And so you can start to divide the world between these two major players in technology, which is embedded in everything. It’s not just 5G, it’s everything that we talk about. Everything that we touch now has some kind of technology component to it. If you don’t look at the push and pull of US versus China through that prism, I think you’re missing out on the bigger game here. And so I don’t think that we’ll ever have truly normalized relations with China.

They don’t necessarily have to be adversarial either on any other level. We don’t have to go to war with them. We don’t have to an economic enemies. We can be frenemies and partners. But I think that there’s always going to be this weird tug of war and competition between the US and China.

Fred McClimans: Right. The interesting thing from my perspective is, if you look at just the size of China, four times as many consumers in China than the US. Four times as many engineers, or perhaps even more than four times as many engineers. Anything that we have been doing in the Western world with technology. I think China is at that point where just through technical capabilities perhaps through things that they have acquired from other nations. But certainly just looking at their basic business model in China, and the partnership aspects that they stress, I think we’re at that point where China really in 2019 starts to flex some more muscle. And if their economy can keep going without significantly retrenching here, I think the conflict continues, and we do need to find a way to make it work.

Because the US and China and India and other countries, we need to find a way to work together. There’s just too much goodness that can happen when that does. So let’s talk about some of those companies that are having some challenges there, and in particular FAANG. So we’ll look at Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google.

And the one that’s missing from the FAANG description of course, is Microsoft. So let’s use FAANG as an opportunity. Microsoft is 2019 the year that finally Microsoft gets the respect it deserves, and we find a way to stuff an M into the FAANG? Dan?

Daniel Newman: In China specifically?

Fred McClimans: No, just globally. Not in China.

Daniel Newman: That’s a joke of an acronym if Microsoft is not in it. Because I pretty sure I wrote something in MarketWatch lately of how they are the number one most valuable market cap company in the United States right now. Surpassing Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google. So I don’t even know if we need to discuss this. I think the results speak for themselves, not to mention their billion daily users of their products.

Fred McClimans: Yeah, I think it’s more a public perception. We don’t see them necessarily painted in the same light that we do the other big tech firms out there.

Daniel Newman: It’s consumer versus business. I mean what you’re really looking at is historically the FAANG is about companies that have become consumer icons. And the bottom line of it is, is that, while those companies maybe have shown some disruptive qualities, the business results speak for themselves. And for most people, unless you have a 100% Mac, Apple, iOS environment, you’re using Microsoft products every single day. You probably have a little bit of an image challenge that came from Steve Ballmer’s tenure as being one of the most boring stocks on the planet to own, while still making money and a healthy dividend. But Nadella has completely changed that. I mean, he’s brought the company into the cloud. He’s made their cloud business and Azure relevant. They’ve got Xbox, which is a pretty darn cool consumer product that people really, really dig. They’ve got collaboration tools, they’ve got productivity tools, calendaring tools. There’s a pretty good chance that if you get up and go to work in a given day, you are interacting with Microsoft in some capacity every day of your life.

I think the respect is earned. I think if anything, the journalists that haven’t put the M in it are lazy. And if I had to be totally honest, they deserve it more than that Netflix. Because I think Netflix has had their breakthrough, they become relevant, but I’m really not sure what they’re doing anymore that makes them deservedly a standout name.

They certainly aren’t, from a revenue standpoint, even in the same park as some of those other companies.

Fred McClimans: Right. Yeah. It’s interesting because to me, Microsoft when we compare it to a lot of the other tech giants there, Microsoft has more of that complete growth engine. And the diversity in product that I think bodes very well for them moving forward. But it is interesting, while we think of them as the enterprise kind of company. As you mentioned with Bing, with Xbox in the gaming, so many other initiatives out there, they really are very consumer facing. And yet we don’t hear them mentioned in the same way when it comes to privacy. So Olivier, do you think Microsoft in 2019 perhaps gets tripped up a little bit on privacy, or do they really continue to be a standout firm?

Olivier Blanchard: I have no idea. That’s actually one where my crystal ball is very murky. Honestly, I don’t see why. If anything, Facebook and Google are so much more in the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to privacy and privacy concerns. Even if Microsoft trips up on that a little bit, they’ll be way in the background of these other players. So I think, in a way Microsoft salvation in this, is that they’re not really doing anything that’s anywhere close to being as egregious or as obviously egregious as what some of these other tech companies are doing. But at the same time, the negative part of that is, even though they’re doing everything right very well, and obviously … And I recommend that everybody read that Dan’s article in MarketWatch, because it was pretty spot on.

Daniel Newman: Thanks.

Olivier Blanchard: Yeah. One of the problems with Microsoft is that, even though it doesn’t get a lot bad publicity, it doesn’t necessarily get the good publicity that it probably deserves. And so it’s unfortunate but it’s reality.

Daniel Newman: They don’t get that disruptive label that they probably deserve. I mean, I see that like, how many companies out there can simultaneously be a threat to Amazon, Apple, Oracle, IBM, Cisco, Salesforce? I mean there really isn’t. And then you can go down the line to all the smaller players, they make tons of acquisitions. I mean, they have a gillion revenue streams. And that’s why I said like they really don’t have to worry too much even if something does trip them up, because they have 100 other ways. And then even the other companies they are competing with, the HPs, and Asus, and these Dells, they are also partners with. So if they don’t get the business through selling you the machine, they get the business through selling the licensing and the software that goes on the machine. They have a really, really difficult to break business model, and you’ve got to give them credit for that. And they’re a company on the rise. And to their credit maybe, I think if they wanted more PR they could have it. I think Satya’s leadership is kind of a heads down leadership.

Let’s talk less. Let’s do more. Let’s get results. Let’s let the numbers speak for themselves. And then the people will want to write the stories. I kind of wish to some extent that more marketing was done that way. And if that’s not his plan, then I’m just giving him the extra kudos. Because somewhere in his plan he’s created that perception in my mind.

Fred McClimans: Right. It’s interesting. With Microsoft, a lot of people that I run into, they have forgotten or just really never paid attention to the fact that Microsoft owns the biggest social business network in LinkedIn. They compete against Sony with the Xbox and the PlayStation. People just don’t think about that in the same way. Perhaps the same way that people don’t realize Amazon owns Twitch, which is a massive gamer streaming network out there.

But yeah, I really do like Microsoft. Everything from the way they’ve migrated the OfficeSuite online, to the applications on the gamer consoles, to Bing which just gets better and better. Still not competitive quite with Google necessarily, but I think that’s perhaps a good thing. So let’s move on from the f’s, and actually I’m going to take a step back to the e’s. Edge computing, we published a couple of in depth pieces on edge computing this year. A couple of pretty deep research and analysis pieces.

Olivier, if you had to pick out one trend in 2019 for edge computing as it impacts the enterprise … And then I’ll even fold IoT in there together, because it’s hard to talk about edge without talking about IoT. What would that one trend be? What should people be looking for in 2019 out of edge computing?

Olivier Blanchard: That’s easy. Here it is. Edge is the new cloud. No, I mean really, get ready to see a lot of articles that claim that edge is the new cloud. It’s completely wrong, it’s not true. But in terms of what’s popular, what the buzzwords are, what everybody want to talk about, I think that, a year ago, or two years ago, everything was about cloud. I think in 2019, everything starts being about edge. Part of that is the start of the 5G era which is going to be make edge a lot more widespread than we thought. There’s huge improvements in Silicon that allows edge to get into every device. So your smartphone is already powered by a lot of AI, which is in the edge, your smart cameras, your smart doorbell, your car, everything. So on the one hand, there’s a practical kind of institutional establishment of edge computing and everything that we use, and everything that we interact with. But at the same time, there’s also a marketing component to it.

And I think that, while the edge portion of the technology, the institutional component of it is already becoming embedded in our environments, I think that the media coverage of edge compute is going to be massive in 2019.

We’re going to be sick of it this time next year.

Fred McClimans: Dan? Not only have we published some good pieces on the edge, we’ve also done some really good webinars together talking about edge computing. What’s the one thing that you think people should look for in 2019?

Daniel Newman: Let me give you something that’s a little more obscure but going to be a big point of discussion around edge computing, and that’s security. We’ve done a pretty good job of securing our data centers. And don’t get me wrong, we hear about a lot of breaches. But if you actually think about the number of major breaches to the number of big companies, data centers, servers, computers out there that store our personal, or private and most critical data, it’s still pretty small. The work has been done. The edge is like a whole new wild west for security. And I think this year … The hackers move fast. And I think as we start to try to roll out, typically what happens is, you roll out with growth pretenses. I mean, you roll out in order to add capabilities, to increase experiences, to improve capacity. Security is usually something you start to patch up later.

So it’s going to be a really interesting thing to see how well and how fluidly we’re able to secure the edge. Because as Olivier said, while the edge isn’t the new cloud, the edge does have all the same compute as the cloud. And in fact, the most critical data being created at the edge is being processed, managed, utilized, deployed, at the edge. And then the rest of that data is being shared with the cloud in most cases, according to our research, more than 70% of the time. And therefore there is a connection between those edges and those clouds, and hackers will look for vulnerabilities there. So it’s going to be interesting to watch how those two align and move along together.

Fred McClimans: Yeah. I agree with you 100% on the security aspect. And it’s kind of interesting. Perhaps it hasn’t gotten as much attention as cloud has, because to a large extent, edge computing has been sort of a stealth technology push. It’s not being driven by the centralized IT organizations. It’s being driven by the operational needs that are out there on the manufacturing floor, in the distribution systems, in the quality control systems. So it’s a little bit quieter, but the growth as we’ve talked about in the past, I think the growth is tracking very nicely alongside IoT. And as big as we expect IoT to be, I expect edge computing to kind of follow suit with that. And that kind of gets to my thought for 2019. I think 2019 is the year that we actually start to see edge computing devices as they come down in price, start to meld a little bit with the IoT devices.

So rather than lots of little IoT devices that you buy from x and edge computing, you buy from y. I think there’s a bit more synergy there between those devices as IoT and edge starts to merge a little bit. And maybe that comes through smarter IoT devices, or maybe it comes through better management of edge into the IoT devices. But if you’re analyzing data at the edge to get insights in real time, you’ve got to be able to feed that back to the IoT devices that are actually monitoring. And to the control systems that are controlling the production and the manufacturing and the distribution systems that are so critical to our nation’s infrastructure, or to the global infrastructure. So Olivier, you talked briefly on 5G. Way back in April, I believe, there was an article that talked about the initial trials with gigabits speeds and nine millisecond latency. And then just recently in November, AT&T CFO comes out and says, “Hey, yeah, this is all good, but don’t expect any 5G revenues anytime soon.”

So Olivier, if there’s a way that you can kind of boil down 5G, the state of 5G in 2019, what should enterprises and consumers expect realistically from 5G?

Olivier Blanchard: Wow. Well, first it’s complicated. So the first thing is, we’re going to have to … And actually I think that we have a role to play in this. And we are going to sometime in the month of January, publish a handy little guide to 5G. Because right now, whether you’re looking at Verizon, AT&T, and handset makers, it’s a little bit of the wild west as well. And there’s 5G and there’s quote unquote 5G, and there is 5G asterisk. So there’s 5G and there’s not quite 5G. And we’re going to have to start differentiating between actual real 5G and all of the 5G adjacent technologies that will be branded as 5G even though they’re not. So that’s number one in 2019 to do. Number two, so far, nobody knows how much 5G services are going to cost yet, because no one wants to be the first to announce what their prices are going to be. It’s a little bit like the 2020 presidential election. You’re waiting for all the Democrats to announce their candidacy. And right now we’re waiting for Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, et cetera to tell us how much this service would cost.

Right now going into 2019, nobody has any idea what that stuff is going to cost. So that’s item number two for 2019.

And then item number three is, understanding that 5G is a revolutionary technology. It’s much more revolutionary, I think, than the transition from 3G to 4G. But at the same time, 5G doesn’t replace 4G. So you’re going to have all the G’s essentially. In areas that serve 5G or that provide 5G services, you’re going to have, 5G, 4G, 3G, 2G, kind of all stacked on top of each other. And your devices will know which one to use. And the networks will also know which one to use for the right types of applications. So if you’re streaming a 4K video on your new smartphone, you might be tapping into the 5G network. If you’re just grabbing emails or posting pictures to Instagram, 4G is fine. And they’ll be able to do those two things or those three things simultaneously. So people need to understand that 5G is not a replacement, it’s just another layer and another type of capacity for devices to transmit information.

So I think that we’ll get a little bit more clarity, I think, when it comes to 5G. What it is and what it isn’t. We’ll start seeing deployments in major population centers, and also in big stadiums, big airports, things of that nature. Places where there’s actually a need for it. And I think 5G deployments to second tier and third tier service areas will come much later. So for 2019, if you’re living in a small town, don’t expect 5G anywhere near you. But if you live in New York City, or Washington, D.C, or LA, absolutely.

Fred McClimans: It’s interesting because, thanks to some of the privacy breaches that we’ve had, and the rise of, I think the best way to say this is perhaps, informed consent about privacy policies and cookies and so forth and GDPR. Even when we get 5G, they still haven’t figured out a way to get rid of that little pop up screen. You get to the website fast, but then you’ve got to go, “You understand by using this site that you are subject to the terms and conditions on our cookie policy.” Which it kind of defeats the purpose of getting fast access initially. But Dan, what do you see for 5G? Do you think 5G actually make some material impact on enterprises and consumers in 2019, or is that a 2020 beyond?

Daniel Newman: I like cookies.

Fred McClimans: Can somebody get Dan some milk.

Daniel Newman: … sort of rundown. So I’m going to try to keep my assessment pretty brief. I think first of all, we’re going to see a lot of fake 5G, and a little bit of real 5G. I think marketecture is still king. I’ve used that word earlier when we were talking about AI, I’m going to use that word again here. I saw an advertisement last night for AT&T’s 5GE. I have no idea how much real 5G is there, I have no idea if people have any clue. It makes me think of those old robot videos that talked about the iPhone versus the Evo. Remember that video it would be like, “But the Evo will build its own island and it will blast you into space and it will protect you from … No, no, no, I want the iPhone 4.” It’s all this marketing thing that’s going on right now, and whatever it is that people want to believe, they just want to give it to you. I think you’re going to see those dozen to two dozen major market rollouts of 5G.

What that means from a consumer standpoint, I think is still pretty limited. Because of all the directional requirements, the telco edge that needs to be created to support it. I just think what I’m saying is we may momentarily be accessing 5G or getting 5G speed one way up or down. But I don’t know that we’re going to be getting fully enabled 5G consumer grade data transport anytime in the year 2019. Even in the markets where they’re talking about it being deployed in real 5G. I think to what Olivier said, I’ll just touch quickly is I think fixed deployments of 5G inside … I know when I’m inside Soldier Field catching a Bears game, you can’t get connection at all. You can get no connection, and 5G will solve that. So seeing locations like that, I think inside of cities moving towards smart city deployments that are trying to improve engineering, improved traffic quality inside of the small coordinates inside of a city, 5G will help that.

Because it’s going to allow for that vehicle to vehicle, and vehicle to government type of communication that’s required to improve traffic [inaudible 00:41:38]. So those are areas where I think we’ll see 5G first. I think, like you said, as you go to more rural and suburban type communities, I think the networks are actually plenty fast for most people’s needs. I do think the other thing too is with … And we’re not going to have time to go into net neutrality as a whole. But I think with net neutrality type rules is, just because 5G becomes available, does everybody on a plan get 5G? Or are you going to have to buy a special plan that’s going to give you full 5G? And I think with the way things are going, you could very realistically see the haves and have-nots for 5G being a thing. And especially as it first comes out, why not only make it available to people who can actually afford or want to afford to pay for it.

Fred McClimans: Sort of a resurgence of the digital divide, the 5G divide, haves and have-nots.

Daniel Newman: Why not?

Olivier Blanchard: Yeah. And I think that’s going to be driven by handset makers. So as 5G phones, which we have to have a separate conversation about what a 5G phone actually means. But phones that are 5G ready, and they were going to be equipped with the new Snapdragon SOC that allows for blistering speeds both on the processing and also on the connection end, will allow super high end and very fast live gaming for certain types of phones. Phones that are designed specifically for gamers, also will allow for a lot more live AI. I’m sorry, not AI. AR applications rather.

And also with, like I said, you’ve got phone’s coming out that’ll be able to stream 8K video. And that’s difficult to do unless you have the right network to do it. And so as people start purchasing new smart phones that are equipped with those capabilities that provide those abilities, it will create, I think a demand with certain members of the public who can afford those phones and who can afford those services to try to access them. And that I think will help drive investment in.

Fred McClimans: Yeah. Even still it comes down to, will consumers and will businesses continue to be willing to pay premium for these technologies and services. And so far I’m not seeing a lot of killer apps.

Olivier Blanchard: You’re right. And so you just have to build it.

Fred McClimans: Yeah.

Olivier Blanchard: … and they will come.

Fred McClimans: Yeah. Something like that. But speaking of apps, just real quick, AR and VR you mentioned that earlier. And I’m not even going to toss this one out there, I’m just going to lay it out here on the table. VR, yeah, there’s some really specialized cases where VR can make a lot of sense. But I just don’t see any killer apps for VR.

And even AR, I think that we’re still at that point where there’s a significant role for AR to play in training, in medical, their training techniques as an example. There’s a whole nother area where it just starts to affect everything that we’re doing on gaming and everything that we see through the phone. But I think the real app for AR, it’s industrial, it’s safety, it’s manpower management. I think those are areas where we can use AR to help people work much more efficiently. And I hate to say it, but I’ll probably never wear a pair of snap glasses with AR stuff on them.

But two topics that I want to hit on before we wrap this 2019 crystal ball edition.

The first, litigation. We have seen a lot of litigation in 2018. And it’s important to point out that the technology that we’re talking about, all the companies that we’ve mentioned here, from Snapchat to Cisco to Huawei … Who rightly, if Huawei had access to the full global market, and did not have restrictions in China or in, sorry, in Australia, in Europe, and the US, they could be the dominant phone manufacturer out there. But what we’re seeing is, it’s impossible for anyone company to own 100%, or even more than perhaps 20% of the technology that goes into their products and services. And as a result, that has resulted in some very sticky contractual issues. Recently we saw Qualcomm versus Apple in China. Where the iPhone has been technically put on hold for sale. We’ve seen something similar emerging in Germany. What happens to litigation and intellectual property in … I’ll give you 45 words or less for this. Olivier, what do you think happens with some of the big lawsuits that we see playing out in the courts globally here? Do they resolve in 2019, or do we just more of the same?

Olivier Blanchard: 45 words or less. Well you have two aspects of this. On the one hand you have the actual courts where companies like Qualcomm and Apple are going to battle each other over IP issues. And then also you have regulators, which are more kind of like the federal agencies around the world that kind of try to police the space a little bit. And sometimes exert political power against certain companies or companies from certain countries in order to achieve political objectives. So you have those two universes that are kind of intertwined it seems, but they’re actually very separate. So on the regulatory front, I don’t think you’re going to see much of a difference around the world. China uses its regulators or regulatory agencies to kind of do it’s bidding and shape its own economy and its power around the world. And you have the EU-

Fred McClimans: And it’s a competitive edge for them.

Olivier Blanchard: Yeah, absolutely. And more power to them. They have a big market, and they have a lot of leverage, and it’s the only right that they should. And to that point, I don’t think that China is all that weird, at least they’re consistent. You know what to expect, you know what you get. They don’t necessarily play favorites outside of favoring their own companies over the competition. They have a protective kind of approach to that endeavor. The EU on the other hand is also protective, but it tends to use its regulatory agencies as a toll booth. So if you’re a US tech company, especially a big one, they will find ways to fine you billions of dollars. To one, exert their authority, or at least express their authority in the eyes of the world. And also grab as much money as they can on the way in. In the US it’s a little bit different, and I would definitely be looking at two particular cases. Or they’re not exactly cases, but two news items that you should look for.

One of them is the FTC case against Qualcomm that’s going to touch on fair practices and IP. And also the ITC case that Qualcomm has against Apple with regard to IP theft. So those are going to be pretty important on the regulatory front. I think that for anything else, companies suing each other over breaches of contract or licensing disputes, I don’t think you’re going to see much change there. As long as companies like Apple, for instance, keep infringing on patents from companies that develop the technologies that companies like Apple have to use in their devices, you’re going to see lawsuits like the ones resulted in the partial iPhone ban in China and in Germany.

Fred McClimans: Very good. Dan, do you see any resolution or any slowing down of litigation? Or do you think as the world gets smaller, as tech becomes more pervasive, we’re just seeing the beginning of a massive wave of ongoing litigation?

Daniel Newman: I think the real question is, high profile litigation. Because I think in the world of high tech, it’s going on every minute of every day. I think people are protecting their patents. I think what you have in the case that Olivier discussed and that we discussed a lot with Qualcomm and Apple, it’s just a massively high profile piece of litigation around innovators versus implementers. And we really have this issue going on right now of deciding when a company like Qualcomm invent something, they’re the innovators, they’re the inventors of the technology, how much of a right do they have to dictate the price of which that is sold and who they sell it to. And when you have a patent on something, how much does the law actually protect that patent? And I think that’s been one of the hardest things to palate. When you see how a lot of this litigation is handled, is how much the inventor is penalized for inventing.

If Qualcomm had been a Futurum Research sized company like us that invented something really awesome, decided to license it to Apple, and then Apple one day decided to not pay us and take us to court, we would have zero chance to fight it. It doesn’t matter how right we even are. Because the way patent law works, it doesn’t really protect the inventors well enough. So down to the hypocrisy in my mind of Apple or most of the companies complaining, when Apple makes 80% margins from selling an iPhone, and I don’t know if 80 is the exact number, I want to be clear, but they’re very, very high margins per device. And then they’re upset about how much of a toll or a tax that the inventor of a technology that’s enabling them to build an iPhone charges, that to me is more hypocritical than then the overall complaint of how abusive is the company of holding its patents. It’s what’s the right to make a profit. So we’re in this country, we’re capitalistic, we run our world on the ability to make money.

And we can then make that money, and then hire people, and grow our businesses. So it becomes our claim. And then you have all kinds of government regulators now penalizing companies, and then favoring another company who does the exact same thing. So the problem for me is that the system is so broken that it causes this stir of litigation. But the actual progress that gets made is so minimal in comparison to what actually needs to be done. If I knew the answer of exactly what needs to be done, I would be doing something else. But what I can tell you is, right now the best thing in the world that could happen are the two companies could work together. Because Apple unquestionably can design and develop a beautiful product that people love to use. But when it comes to modem technology, when it comes to many specialized patents that help enable that design, Qualcomm is the best answer, or has been historically the best answer for Apple.

And leveraging, and utilizing, and paying for those patents is the fair thing to do. And right now that’s my last thought is, if they’re going to continue to use that technology, they need to pay for it. I think that’s just reasonable. That’s not even really taking a side, that’s just goes back to the, you can’t put the gas in your car and drive off and not pay the gas station just because you don’t agree with the price.

Fred McClimans: Yeah. I think at this point we definitely could use some, not minor, but maybe some major patent reform and the way we treat intellectual property in the country and around the world. But I see the chances of that happening as being pretty slim. The system is just so big, so complex at this point. There’s no real incentive to upend the system and move forward. But there is an area where there is an incentive to take action. Over the course of the year, we have seen the Facebook, Twitter, Google, and others testifying in front of Congress in the US and testifying in front of the EU. We have seen and learned some very interesting things about just how technically adept some of our politicians are or are not in the process here. We’ve seen some major data breaches. We’ve seen probably even more disappointing the rise of fake news, the rise of misinformation campaigns. All of which the digital world just seems incredibly uncapable of controlling. And that of course has put individuals, consumers, citizens, take your pick, at a significant level of risk.

One of the things that we’ve been looking at over the course of the year is the impact of GDPR on consumers and on the businesses and brands. Is 2019 the year that we actually start to see some action in that space. And I’m not going to link this directly to it, but sort of as a sub question. So question a, do we see a push to actually get some type of data protection regulation for consumers and businesses in the US in 2019? And does that in any way involve the ouster of Mark Zuckerberg from either the CEO ship or the chairmanship of Facebook? And by the way, just so you know, I have not been on Facebook now in over two months coming up on three months here.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, I’ll go first. I mean, first of all, I guess putting independent new leaders on your board doesn’t really insinuate anything or mean anything. What did Tesla do? They put Larry Ellison on his board, he put his buddy on the board of his company. So you put the guy that hasn’t innovated anything in a decade on your board of the world’s most innovation company. With a culture problems, you put the guy that maybe has the worst company culture on the planet on your board. I don’t mean to beat Oracle, but I’ve never met a person that works at Oracle that’s happy, ever. So not to say they’re not out there, I’ve just never met one.

Fred McClimans: A lot of ex Oracle employees perhaps.

Daniel Newman: Yeah. And they’re very happy to be ex. Anyway, like I said, I’m sure they’re out there, I just don’t find them. But all joking aside, governance, a change of role, a setback to just a pure CEO role, or getting a CEO and stepping into a chairman, or a Steve jobs moment, a chief designer role, I think all that’s fine. I think the problem is that the issues of Facebook runs so much deeper than Mark and Sheryl. I think culturally they went from a company who, Olivier, you and I, when we wrote Building Dragons and Futureproof, really looked as a future proof company that had all those characteristics of culture, of innovation, of change, and leadership.

And all of a sudden you peel this onion back a couple of layers and you go, “Holy crap, this company is screwed.” This company has so much benevolence, so much ignorance, so much.

Fred McClimans: Do you mean a lack of benevolence.

Daniel Newman: What’s that?

Fred McClimans: A lack of benevolence in there.

Daniel Newman: Yes, thank you. You flipped that. But they have so much of this all going on simultaneously that you have to say to yourself, “What the heck is going on deep inside of the arteries and veins of this organization? And does making one single change at the top fix it?” It’s kind of like Uber. I look a little bit like Uber has made the big change, but has it actually fixed them? Are they going to make money anytime soon? Has their culture changed meaningfully? Unfortunately, I don’t know. I mean, so to quickly come to a conclusion here, because we have gone a lot longer than I think we’ve hoped because we always do.

Fred McClimans: It’s the end of the year.

Daniel Newman: A, they have to try it. They have to try new leadership. They have to make that change, because to do nothing would be the most fatal flaw. But secondly, I actually think Facebook has opened the doors wide open to another player, to another technology coming in, and meaningfully disrupting their model. Now this doesn’t mean that their entire business, Instagram and WhatsApp all get impacted. I just mean as a whole that everyday place for sharing, communicating, building community, it’ll take some time. But I think Facebook is more vulnerable than ever before, people don’t trust them. And there was a period of time when people don’t trust or lose interest that you do lose community. And I think even the Microsoft has positively talked about them as, when they’re search didn’t work well for a long enough period of time, when their browsers didn’t browse well, people moved on.

And when Facebook, when you have the brand, and the company that you’ve trusted your most personal details, conversations, messages, family, intimate details, et cetera, et cetera, and you find out that they’ve completely abused your data, you will see a fallout. Whether it will be big or small will be seen. But they have to try something new at the top.

Fred McClimans: Yeah. Do you think that there’s a chance that we have any meaningful regulation that comes through in 2019? And I’ll be very clear, I think we need it desperately. We also need to rethink the idea of just because we can, it doesn’t mean we should. I mean, going back, if you had said, here’s what Facebook is going to look like in five years or in seven, eight years after we start this business, is that something that we really want? I would think a lot of people would step back and say, “No, it’s not.” But I don’t think that the regulatory environment is ripe in 2019. Although, we’ll see with the turnover in the US in the House of Representatives. But I just don’t see meaningful legislation in 2019 that fundamentally moves the dial one way or the other. So your thought, do we see regulation or not?

Daniel Newman: So my answer was a little bit benevolent that was used correctly. Sorry, I flipped it that time. And I didn’t actually answer your question though. I don’t think it matters, Fred. I don’t believe it matters. I think we are so far off in the state. I’m so skeptical. And Olivier, I’m sorry to jump on you. I just wanted to come back, and say that regulation will swing with the political climate. And all I’m saying right now is that in the climate we’re in, I doubt this will be addressed in any meaningful way. I mean, we have the king of anti-fake news, but he’s really not doing anything to change the behavior. So even though Trump hates all this so much, and he hates all these companies and the media that does all this, it’s all show. Because he could actually be trying to move legislation forward that changes the way any of these companies operate. But all he does is take his morning poop and tweet about what he thinks is going on. He loves the channel.

He loves the ability to not only claim fake news but perpetuate it. So not to turn this into politics, but whether or not this gets regulated is a political issue, not a technological issue. And the politics of it are, is the people who get it, use it most effectively and efficiently are the ones that end up getting elected. So why in the world would they throttle something that they’re using deftly to their advantage to get elected and to maintain their roles in office?

Fred McClimans: Yeah, I think there’s a better chance of them winding down National Airport in DC as their go to get home vehicle than there is some type of meaningful regulation. But what this does say is, it kind of puts the challenge squarely in front of the businesses. And I bring up businesses here are businesses, brands, and enterprises, again, because I think there is an opportunity for somebody out there to kind of take that step forward. And a while I’m not a big fan of self-regulation, literally to self-regulate in such a stark way that it becomes meaningful and perhaps others will follow suit with that. And maybe that comes at the expense of gobs of profits down the road. But Olivier, 2019, do we see meaningful privacy reform in the US or anywhere in the world for that matter? I mean, we’re all following kind of the EU on this, but what’s your take?

Olivier Blanchard: I think it’s possible. So on the first hand, I just want to address your earlier comment. I think that if you believe in self-regulation of these types of companies at this point, I have an awesome bridge to sell you. It’s gorgeous, it’s tremendous.

Fred McClimans: Does it connect me to the Siberia?

Olivier Blanchard: It does. It connects you to-

Fred McClimans: Well, like I said, I don’t believe in self-regulation, but I do believe in companies being proactive.

Olivier Blanchard: No, I believe it’s-

Fred McClimans: … what they’re doing.

Olivier Blanchard: … you could see that. And in a competitive environment where you have like an Uber versus Lyft for instance, you can see clear differences between the way that Lyft conducts its business versus the way that Uber has traditionally conducted its business. So if you have competition, yes. Facebook has no competition currently, or at least not in the social media, and kind of media in general domain. Because it doesn’t have competition, there’s no reason or incentive for it to self-correct. So I don’t think we need to look towards that. And I also think that whenever we talk about regulation, the term regulation now is almost like a four letter word for a lot of people. Whether they’re on the left or on the right or independent, with people who tend to be more libertarian minded, it’s heresy. That the mere sound of the word regulation being uttered by anyone at 100 mile radius creates a problem.

So I think we need to maybe not use the term regulation so much. But we have seen … And I think we also need to separate privacy from fake news. And the two kind of get intertwined a little bit too easily. And so we’ve seen in the EU the new internet privacy laws, the GDPR. Which I think are kind of a good model, a good starting point for the US to follow. On the other hand, and that’s actually a lot easier to follow than some kind of regulation that would somehow restrict speech, which would become the main issue with fake news. So I think that what we could see in 2019 … In spite of the fact that the new congress is probably going to be the very busy with investigations and all kinds of political churn that’s going to happen over the last two years of the Trump presidency and potentially of the 2016 elections. I think that the reason why we might see privacy laws actually move forward is, on the one hand, it doesn’t take that much.

All it takes is just a few lawmakers to put something together that’s very similar to GDPR and put it up for a vote. It’s not something that needs to be debated over. It’s not necessarily a political issue. I also think that it’s a good bipartisan issue. I don’t think there’s any reason why conservatives, liberals, and everybody in between would argue against better privacy laws, better cybersecurity laws with regard to the internet. It’s something that Republicans and Democrats have agreed on pretty traditionally in the last few years. So if anything, where you’re going to have a divided house in Senate, more partisan bickering than we’ve seen up until now. I think this is a really good opportunity for the political powers that be in the US to actually come together and do something positive. And I think they will seize on that opportunity if it comes. So yes, I think that we could see the beginning of meaningful legislation with regards to internet privacy.

Fred McClimans: Well, and I like the way you broke that apart there too, because I agree. I think there are things that we should be doing to help literally change the order of the business first, consumer first. I mean, if we really are going to be consumer first, let’s put consumer privacy and consumer data first. Let’s give the consumer more ownership of that data and more opt in rather than opt out control over how that data. And its subsequent aggregate creations folding this data source with that one, and this one and the other one altogether. That new data, that new value data which I think is going to be very important if we have any chance of building any sense of trust ongoing in the digital systems. But as for the fake news, for misinformation campaigns, that’s almost a business model, and a consumer behavior issue. I don’t see any realistic way to curb that, especially as we’re gearing up into a 2020 election cycle.

And even with GDPR in Europe, we’re still seeing misinformation. We’re seeing fake news that’s still running rampant there. So gentlemen, 2018 has been quite a year. I think 2019 is going to be an even more amazing year. We have 26 editions of The Futurum Tech Podcast out. My prediction for next year is we hit an even 52.

Olivier Blanchard: All right.

Fred McClimans: So with that, Dan, Olivier, my co-hosts my partners in the podcast here, I want to personally thank you guys for everything that you have done and contributed this year to make The Futurum Tech Podcast the quality piece of work that it is. And it is a piece of work sometimes.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, it’s been a pleasure, Fred, and team, and a great year of work supporting the industry and educating people. And I want to thank everybody for sticking with us. And Futurum will turn three this year, and we’re growing. And we appreciate all of our clients and everyone out there that stays with us, reads our content on, listens to the podcast, reads our columns on Forbes, or even maybe catches Fred on chatter from time to time. We look forward to another great year ahead, and lots of travel, insane on a plane. And we will see everybody in 2019. And on behalf of Futurum, Fred, and Olivier, and I’m going to step up here and just thank everybody one more time. Have a great year.

Fred McClimans: Fantastic. Olivier, this is the year you finally get a microphone.

Olivier Blanchard: It is. It’s going to be a … And happy new year, everybody, by the way. But yes, 2019 is the year that I get a grown up microphone.

Fred McClimans: Absolutely. Okay. So with that, our final edition of The Futurum Tech Podcast for 2018. Our 2019 crystal ball edition is a wrap. Thank you very much for listening. If you have any questions, if you have topics that you’d like us to discuss, please drop us a line. And you can see us on Twitter, we are FuturumPodcast on Twitter. You can follow us as Futurum Research @futurumxyz. You can find more information on us and the podcast on our website, Hit the subscribe button, share with your friends. Let us know what you’d like to hear about and we will be back next week with a new edition of FTP, The Futurum Tech Podcast.And with that, thank you for being loyal listeners. We’ll see you in the new year.

Disclaimer: The Futurum Tech Podcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this podcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors and we do not ask that you treat us as such.


About the Author

Fred is an experienced analyst and advisor, with over 30 years of experience in the digital and technology markets. Fred launched the equity research team at Samadhi Partners and provides marketing strategy through the Wasabi Rabbit digital agency. He previously served as an EVP and Research Vice President at HfS Research, launching its Digital Trust practice and coverage of emerging “trust-enabling” technologies. Read Full Bio.