If you like numbers, 2018 will surely be a year to remember.
In 2018, the Dow Jones Industrial Average blasted not just through the 25,000 closing-level threshold but also the 26,000 one as well.
This year, the unemployment level fell to 3.9 percent nationally — the lowest level in almost 50 years.
While we are at it, let’s highlight one other truly remarkable number from 2018, 2:01.39. While that may not mean a lot to most readers, to runners it’s a milestone for the ages. It’s the new world-record time that Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge posted in Berlin in mid-September. Kipchoge shattered the existing marathon world standard by more than a minute, which is a stunning accomplishment in elite running.
Looking ahead to 2019 and beyond, what numbers will resonate in the technology industry? That’s a question my colleague, Lorna Garey, and I address herein.
Consider just a few of the data points we ponder — and will showcase at the 2018 Channel Partners Evolution event this week in Philadelphia:
- 21 billion: That’s the number of endpoints that will be connected to the internet by the time 2019 is through. For perspective, that’s more than three things for every person on earth. It’s also 10 times the number of active users Facebook has. It’s a staggering sum, in other words. It’s also an immense burden for the men and women who have to install, manage and secure IoT devices. They are burdened by the fact that billions of the devices now being added to computer networks the world over have no built-in security, were never designed to be upgraded, rely on different network standards and often do not produce reliable data without human intervention. The IoT represents the next great tranche of technological advance. But the road to IoT glory will be bumpy and claim some casualties along the way.
- One in three. That’s the percentage of internet users who visit an AWS site or use an AWS-hosted app every month. No wonder Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is worth $100 billion more than all but three other Americans. The amount of influence that AWS wields in tech today rivals what its parent holds in retail. Truth be told, it might be even more. Though it accounts for just 12 percent of Amazon’s revenue, AWS generates 55 percent of Amazon's consolidated operating income. That makes AWS an undeniably powerful force to be reckoned with. If you’re one of the tens of thousands of independent companies that provides technology services to small-and-mid-sized customers, what do you do when AWS offers affordable, easy-to-use managed services at scale to your everyday customers? What if you’re Rackspace, GoDaddy and others that already operate at scale? Can you compete with AWS? The rapid rise of the Amazon business unit is something we simply don’t see in business that often. (Standard Oil, Facebook and only a handful of other organizations come to mind.) If you stand in its way, you have time to adjust. But 2019 will compel you to make some big decisions.
- $1.3 trillion: The amount of IT spending that will be influenced by the cloud. That’s roughly the amount of the GDPs of Saudi Arabia and Switzerland. It’s a big number. Researcher Gartner said in September 2018 that 28 percent of spending within key enterprise IT markets will shift to the cloud by 2022, up from 19 percent in 2018. Read this quote: “The shift of enterprise IT spending to new, cloud-based alternatives is relentless, although it’s occurring over the course of many years due to the nature of traditional enterprise IT,” said Michael Warrilow, research vice president at Gartner. “Relentless?” Wowsa. You don’t hear button-down market researchers use the word “relentless” about technology transformation very often. Whether you buy technology services for a living, or sell and support them, the relentless shift to the cloud should rock your world in 2019.
- 65 percent: That’s the number of current elementary school-aged children who are expected to work in jobs that currently do not exist. That’s according to the World Economic Forum. If true, the era of “following in the footsteps” of a previous generation will seem antiquated. The ramifications of this go well beyond economics. Imagine an entire nation of people dependent on a younger generation of workers whose economies they don’t understand and whose opportunities and vulnerabilities they cannot imagine? It’s entirely reasonable that this could happen within your lifetime. It might even happen to you. Rather than view this as an existential threat, think of it as your children’s best opportunity for social mobility. Thanks to technological advancement, we could eradicate crippling diseases, burdensome poverty and economic disparity in a generation. It’ll take massive amounts of work and new thinking on behalf of millions. How will we make this happen? Education is our best hope. If the adage often ascribed to physicist Albert Einstein is right — i.e., that we will not solve our current problems with the same level of thinking that went into creating them in the first place — then we must invest in the education of those whose fates or even careers we do not know. The next generation of workers is literally depending on it
If you’re wondering why we didn’t mention cybersecurity, please don’t think we overlooked the subject. Quite the contrary. There are scores of security data points that will make you want to hide under a rock. But this one astounds: AV-Test institute registers over 350,000 new malicious programs (malware) and potentially unwanted applications (PUA) every day.
Of all the data points we looked at this year, this one leaves us breathless.
Looking ahead to 2019, there’s money to be made for sure, but plenty of work, not to mention big thinking, to do first.