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Fresh thinking about telecommunications
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Best of 2014


Here are the highlights from this year’s Future of Communications content. If you find value in what I write, the best gift you can give to me in return is to ask your colleagues to sign up.
 

Voice and messaging

Voice is the next big internet wave, with services like Talko leading the way. The hypervoice frontier is where the much action is at. Companies like Google are creating and using new channels of contact. New work tools will require new skills in virtual leadership. Meanwhile, the legacy phone system needs a new regulatory approach.
 

Policy and regulation

The hot subject of the year has been so-called ‘network neutrality’. The problem is that this doesn't technically exist, assumes a magical benevolent intentionality to networks, mistakes content and carriage, and offers the wrong sort of freedom. The debate is so lacking in scientific grounding it is like pigeons playing chess. However, a rational resolution to the conflict is possible.

For a (long) dose of counter-balancing regulatory insight and sense, see our response to a UK government policy consultation.
 

Network performance science

We’ve covered two key concepts: performance hazards and stationarity that are part of a (missing) curriculum in network performance. If you get this right you too can become a ‘software telco’ [PDF].
 

Network measurement

Get it wrong, and you’ll be mismanaging quality. But you won’t be doing that, will you? Because you’ll be smart enough to use high-fidelity quality metrics by X-raying your telecoms network.
 

Network technologies

We’ve covered a number of technologies in 2014, including RAN sharing, SDN, IPX, Active Queue Management, and small cells.
 

Limits of bandwidth

The telecoms industry is addicted to speed, which is a shame as ‘bandwidth’ doesn’t add up and over-provisioning is a capital killer and churn sinner.
 

Repent, ye bandwidth sinners!

The path to redemption is through demand attentive networks that are fit-for-business. If we focus on human needs, not just ‘bandwidth’, we can drive a new narrative for broadband.
 

Future network architectures

We’re moving to a new distributed computing paradigm of 'ultracomputing'. The core problem is resource trading at short and long timescales [PDF]. (Did I mention it’s not just about ever more bandwidth?)
 

Future of telecoms

Futurology is hard but the top challenges are clear. We need to get our structural engineering sorted out, and industrialise our operations.

You are also welcome to read the Best of 2012 and Best of 2013 newsletters, or the curated Geddes Think Tank articles.

Thanks for your support and feedback in 2014. I am off on holiday tomorrow to the Welsh desert to disconnect from all sources of digital distraction. I look forward to offering more fresh thinking next year. If there is anything you would particularly like me to write about in 2015, then I would be interested to know. Hit ‘reply’ to get in touch.

Martin Geddes
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