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Time to Pop the Bubble: Intellyx Retrospective and Predictions for 2018

Following a tradition dating back to 2002 at ZapThink and continuing at Intellyx since 2014, it’s time for Intellyx’s annual predictions for the coming year.

If you’re a long-time fan, you know we have a twist to the typical annual prediction post: we actually critique our predictions from the previous year.

To make things even more interesting, Charlie and I switch off, judging the other’s predictions. And now that he’s been with Intellyx for more than a year, this Cortex represents my first opportunity to see if his auguries made the cut.

Charlie’s Predictions for 2017

In last year’s retrospective and predictions for the coming year, Charlie made three predictions: DevOps loses its religion but gets real, AI and machine learning (ML) become strategic, and the edge comes back into vogue.

I’m pleased to report that Charlie nailed all three. The “near-religious fervor” around DevOps that Charlie reported has died down, but successful shifts to a DevOps culture are unquestionably on the upswing – and an increasing number of enterprises are realizing that DevOps is but one part of the IT transformational operating model, just as he predicted.

AI and ML have also turned a corner of sorts, as executives are now coming to realize the strategic importance of these technologies – and furthermore, AI is finding its way into a wide variety of enterprise niches, from IT operations analytics to marketing automation.

As to Charlie’s third prediction about the edge, look no further than what Amazon’s recently announced AWS Greengrass. What is Greengrass? According to the AWS web site, it consists of “local compute, messaging, data caching, sync, and ML inference capabilities for connected devices.”

What can you do with it? “Run IoT applications seamlessly across the AWS cloud and local devices using AWS Lambda and AWS IoT Core.”

And where AWS goes, so goes the industry. In other words, the edge is back, with a vengeance.

My Three Predictions for 2018

Here, then, are the results of my crystal ball gazing for the upcoming year.

Major AI Breakthrough

Artificial Intelligence may have turned a corner with respect to its strategic positioning in the enterprise, but such progress belies a little-known fact: the field hasn’t seen any dramatic innovations since researchers figured out how to successfully train deep learning technology in 2006. Deep learning itself dates to 1986, a surprisingly long time since we’ve seen any fundamentally disruptive innovations.

My prediction for 2018 is that AI researchers will achieve a breakthrough. Not simply better deep learning, ML, or other now-established parts of the AI story, but some kind of truly novel innovation that will turn the AI world on its head.

But no, I’m not talking about Skynet. I hope.

GDPR Hullabaloo on This Side of the Pond

Prediction number two centers on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new set of European Union (EU) regulations that supersede and expand the privacy rules that protect EU citizens.

GDPR is set to go into force in May, and companies that remain out of compliance face draconian penalties.

My prediction, however, doesn’t focus on European organizations. In fact, any company with private data about EU citizens must comply with the regulations, regardless of where they are located.

My prediction, therefore, centers on American companies, many of whom may not be paying sufficient attention to GDPR. Before the end of 2018, there will be at least one US-based enterprise that runs afoul of GDPR enforcement, thus facing a fine that may even take the company down.

As a direct result, other companies around the world will suddenly start scrambling to comply, creating a relatively short-lived, but dramatic hullabaloo.

Bubble Popping in Spectacular Fashion

If you’ve been following my contrarian writing about Bitcoin and blockchain for Forbes (see this article, for example), you can probably guess my third prediction: The Bitcoin speculative bubble will pop, and furthermore, will pop in spectacular fashion.

Simply predicting the end of the bubble, however, is too easy a target – so I’m going to embellish my prediction in two fundamental ways.

First, the precipitating event that leads to the crash will be something no one expects. It won’t simply be a runaway downturn, but rather some singular occurrence that may perhaps be unique to Bitcoin.

I’m reluctant to be specific, but here’s one possibility. Once the IRS has a chance to review federal returns after April 15th, it will mount a massive dragnet, arresting thousands of Bitcoin tax evaders in a short period of time, precipitating a dramatic and sudden crash in the value of Bitcoin.

You heard it here first, folks.

My second twist to the bubble popping prediction: secondary effects. I’ve written about the collateral damage from the Bitcoin crash before, but I’m all too happy to stick my neck out even further here. I hereby predict that the Bitcoin crash will take down the entire initial coin offering (ICO) marketplace, revealing the scammers to be the scumbags they are while taking down their honest, but deluded marks in the process.

My advice? Get out while you still can. Not in? Keep it that way. Remember, if you look around the room and you don’t see the mark, then it’s you.

The Intellyx Take

I usually attempt to be upbeat with my annual predictions, but this time around, two out of three are decidedly negative – or at the least, harbingers of downside turbulence to come.

Such is the nature of disruption, however – while a few have the best surfing of their lives, far more sink under the waves.

Furthermore, every downside cloud has an upside silver lining. Once American companies have fully gotten on board the GDPR bandwagon, there will be better privacy for everyone – EU citizen or no.

As for the popping of a speculative bubble, such turmoil clears out the hype and nonsense, allowing real business models to grow. Just as a forest fire is an opportunity for new growth, so too with the Bitcoin crash.

Given the hype, insanity, criminal behavior, and extremism of the broader cryptocurrency movement, such catharsis is overdue. Time to start some fires.

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, none of the organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Image credit: Steve Snodgrass.

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More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.