Looking back on that last look ahead

It's time for my self-assessment again. Nope, I'm not talking about hopping on the scale and doing a double-take at the poundage the holidays managed to pack on. I'm talking about reviewing my 2007 Eye on the Carrier predictions, and seeing how well they held up. In order, this is what I predicted:

MPLS goes mainstream. Check. MPLS service providers, including AT&T and Verizon, saw double-digit percentage increases in their stock prices. AT&T also announced a return to profitability for its enterprise group ahead of schedule. And smaller firms, such as Masergy, Megapath and New Edge, report winning MPLS deals with mid-tier enterprise organizations. For example, New Edge inked a US$2.1 million deal to offer MPLS (and other) services to FinishMaster, an independent distributor of automotive paints.

Mobility takes wing. Again, ditto. The average enterprise growth in 2007 was in the mid-triple digits -- the companies Nemertes benchmarked told me they expected to increase the number of mobile-enabled workers by a whopping 411%. Verizon, among others, benefited from this trend. And expect it to continue --most of the predictions I've seen for 2008 and beyond are "hockey-stick-shaped," meaning that the growth continues in the exponential range.

Keep an eye on IPTV. Ah... not so much. There's been a lot of smoke around IPTV, but precious little fire. In a recent research project that we tackled, vendor predictions on IPTV don't even make a significant dent until close to the end of the decade.

BRIC broadband. I said last year: "Speaking of China, the telecom action in 2007 will increasingly be dominated by the so-called "BRIC" countries: Brazil, Russia India, and China." Damn straight. Not only am I seeing dramatic increases in broadband infrastructure in these countries, one of the most common requests I hear from enterprise organizations centers on gaining broadband connectivity in these regions.

Telepresence takes off. Another thumbs up. Although Polycom -- a key vendor of telepresence -- had a year that was merely so-so, Cisco just sold telepresence gear to its 100th customer (Proctor & Gamble), and the company claims the telepresence product line is the fastest-growing in Cisco history. That may be questionable (anybody remember this thing called a multiprotocol router?) but what's not debatable is the fact that telepresence uptake is growing -- and interest is growing even faster.

Finally, my overall prediction for the year: "The convergence of all these trends points to some serious investments in telecom services and gear in '07." I'll give myself that one: bellwether service providers such as Verizon and AT&T had stellar years; Cisco's was a bit rockier, but the company ended '07 higher than when it started; and Juniper did best of all, with its shares nearly doubling in '07, along with record profits.

The net-net? I'll give myself 90% -- five out of six, with some extra points thrown in for calling the overall trend correctly. Now let's see about that post-holiday poundage...

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