INTRODUCTION:

I will not get into legalese, as this is but a conceptual take on the topic.  I came across the following New York Times article,[1] which posed the question “Is It Time to Break Up Google?”  That article had been cited by a more recent one that spoke of the dominant market positions of the so-called FAAAN stocks (described as Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, Apple and Netflix) or sometimes FAANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google), and the potential need to limit or dismantle them for such reasons as to protect the consumer, or to better protect against the loss or misuse of personal data, or to maintain market integrity, investment and productivity, and dynamism through vigorous multiparty competition.[2]  I will use FAAAN and FAANG interchangeably.

 

This is the language of competition regulators – avoiding monopolies, carefully watching oligopolies, and protecting the consumer from any entity that would abuse its dominant position in the market to take advantage of them.  There are competing schools in different regulator domains, however, as one side says that competition spurs innovation (European Union stance), whilst the other side appears more comfortable with FAAAN entity market shares than it was with those in telecommunications, oil and gas, and railways (United States stance).[3]  The Standard Oil Company, which maintained a 90% market share for twenty years, is often cited as the posterboy for monopoly power in the United States – but was it really so villainous?[4]  In any case, before we apply a solution, we must first answer 3 essential questions:

 

  1. What, exactly, are these FAAAN entities allegedly dominant in?
  • Facebook has a leading position in social media, through its control of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram (and now sharing control, with Alphabet/Google, of approximately 56% of the U.S. market for mobile advertising).[5]
  • Amazon has a leading position in e-commerce, with its ubiquitous shopping portal (now handling approximately 30% of all U.S. e-commerce sales),[6] and in the provision of cloud hosting and data centre services.
  • Alphabet/Google has a leading position in online search, online video through its control of Youtube, and in the revenue yield from online advertising (now earning approximately 78% of all U.S. search advertising revenues).[7]
  • Apple has a leading position in smartphones wearables, and tablets, through its iPhone (now accounting for approximately 60% of global smartphone sales),[8] iPad, Watch, Mac, and MacBook lines.
  • Netflix also has a leading position in “over the top” (OTT) movie, performance, and documentary streaming (now reaching approximately 75% of all U.S. streaming service viewers).[9]

 

Are these indications of dominance, we ask, or just a solid and perhaps (for now) unassailable lead in markets resoundingly disrupted?

 

“Movies and television could become like opera and novels, because there are so many other forms of entertainment. Someday, movies and TV shows will be historic relics. But that might not be for another 100 years.”[10]

 

For example, all of these FAAAN stocks, other than Apple, may be especially dominant in the United States, but with the U.S. share of global e-commerce expected to fall from 20.7% in 2016 to 16.9% in 2020, while China’s share of it rises from 47% to 59.5% in the same period,[11] then given the restrictions on market entry into China,[12] how can any current such “dominance”, persist?

 

Microsoft is also sometimes mentioned as a market dominator, with its leading positions in operating system software, desktops and mobile, cloud hosting, big data, analytics, and online storage through its data centres; as is Uber, with its stated goal to dominate the ride-hailing space on a global scale.

 

  1. What, precisely, is the market or who, precisely, is the consumer that these FAANG entities are allegedly dominating?

Let us now start to break things down a little further, step by step.

 

VERTICALS –

I think we can all agree that there are three consumer verticals: government, business, and generic consumers – meaning neither of the preceding two verticals.  From there, however, things can get quite tricky, with this hierarchy of 3 verticals, then 5 sectors, then 30 groups, and finally, their many included elements.  Of course, each regulator or group of regulators assessing these entities, has its own domain, such as the United States (with its long tradition of Antitrust regulation), Canada (with its long experience in near oligopolies for financial services and telecommunications), Russia and China (with growing experience in competition regulation, and where Uber recently partnered with Yandex in Russia,[13] and earlier with Didi Chuxing in China,[14] for ride-hailing, or “on-demand transportation”), and the European Union (where Facebook,[15] Alphabet/Google,[16] Apple,[17] and Microsoft,[18] have all had run-ins with the local Competition regulator).

 

In the investing community, there are a number of ways to segment the market.  The diversified Standard & Poor’s 500 Index uses 11 market sectors,[19] and the NASDAQ (technology-heavy) index follows the Industry Classifications Benchmark (ICB) system, to create ten market sectors.[20]  There is some overlap between these two, but the Toronto Stock Exchange (energy and financial services- heavy) index has just seven market sectors.[21]  Personally, I have long used a modified schema of about 16 sectors, but I think it is time to change the whole approach because these FAAAN / FAANG entities have disrupted much, will continue to do so, and have spawned a whole series of ecosystems of disruptors that cross sectoral boundaries, serve multiple verticals, and make a mockery of most if not all commonly used methods of market and competition analysis, including clear regulatory categorization, for purposes of finding and assessing the impact of a dominant position.  This is collectively the “gig” -economy of on-demand piecework, tempwork, and peer-to-peer transacting that circumvents big businesses, with “gig” now having a U.S. labor market share now estimated at 34% and projected to rise to 43% by 2020.[22]

 

Hence, my analytical proposal is this:

 

 

SECTORS –

We start with 5 very broad sectors, and then break things down further.  Those five sectors, are: General Goods and Services; Specialized Goods and Services; Digital Tools, Applications and Services; Social Infotainment; and the Gig e-conomy.

 

GENERAL GOODS AND SERVICES SECTOR:

Here, I have placed the 8 key groups of Government, Manufacturing and Industry, Materials, Oil and Gas, Retail and Wholesale, Security, Transportation, and Utilities.

Government, is further divided across the 5 elements of: regulation; education and tutoring; standard setting; libraries and archives; and dispute resolution and keeping the peace.

Manufacturing and Industry, are further divided across the 5 elements of: aerospace and defence; construction and engineering; transportation and utilities infrastructure; technology, hardware, communications equipment and components and peripherals; and services.

Materials, are further divided across the 5 elements of: paper and forest products; metals and mining; construction materials and components; advanced materials; and CAD-CAM, and GIS and other services.

Oil and Gas, are further divided across the 5 elements of: oil and gas services; drilling and equipment; transportation and storage; refining, trade, plastics and chemicals; and other.

Retail and Wholesale, are further divided across the 5 elements of: leisure; household durable and furniture; household discretionary and personal products; retail (multiline and specialty); and luxury goods, apparel, and textiles.

Security, is further divided across the 5 elements of: national security and defence; societal security and emergency management; physical and industrial safety and security, and emergency management; personal safety and security, and incident response; and virtual security, and incident and event management.

Transportation, is further divided across the 5 elements of: public transportation networks; commercial transportation networks; carriage for hire and ride-hailing; personal and shared mobility properties; and drones and autonomous vehicles.

Utilities, are further divided across the 5 elements of: electric and gas; wind, solar, and water; nuclear; biomass and multi-utility; and other.

 

 

SPECIALIZED GOODS AND SERVICES SECTOR:

Here, I have placed the 8 key groups of Conglomerates, Financial Services, Food, Health and Wellness, Information Communications Technologies, Information and Data Techniques, Personal Services,  and Shelter.

Conglomerates, are further divided across the 5 elements/variants of: food, beverage, and consumer products; information communications technologies and information and data techniques; leisure, property, and transportation; technology, industry, and manufacturing; and services.

Financial Services, are further divided across the 5 elements of: consumer, trade, and business banking and finance, and cash and payment provision and processing; mortgages, home equity lines of credit, and real estate investment trusts; financial planning and advising, and portfolio and asset management; trusts and estates; and insurance and reinsurance.

Food, is further divided across the 5 elements of: crops; kept animals and kept animal products; beverages and other consumables; wholesale, retail, and restaurant; and processing, packaging, and distribution.

Health and Wellness, is further divided across the 5 elements of: medical and surgical services; medical and surgical equipment; pharmacology; mental and spiritual health; and fitness and alternatives.

Information Communications Technologies, are further divided across the 5 elements of: publishing, and printed media; cable, over-air, over the top, and satellite television; radio and satellite radio; fiber optics, telephone, and voice over internet protocol; and audio-visual and peripherals.

Information and Data Techniques, are further divided across the 5 elements of: collection and collation; privacy, security, and anonymization; storage and retrieval; transactions and analysis; and disposal.

Personal Services, are further divided across the 5 elements of: professional services; personal assistants, managers, and agents; virtual assistants; crisis, wardrobe, image and media consultants; and household staff.

Shelter, is further divided across the 5 elements of: single family; multi-family; mobile accommodations; hotel, motel, cruise and resort; and plant, office, maintenance and janitorial.

 

 

DIGITAL TOOLS, APPLICATIONS, AND SERVICES SECTOR:

Here, I have placed 8 key groups, and without any further division across elements because the developed and developing options are still far too broad to be coherently and comprehensively captured, if ever.  These 8, are:

  • Consumer Software, and Productivity applications.
  • eBooks, eNews, and other eMedia.
  • eCommerce.
  • eLearning.
  • Employment and Contracting.[23]
  • Entity Clouds and data centres for Big Data, storage, hosting, managed solutions, and analytics.
  • Online advertising, including by profile, location, nearfield communication, and radiofrequency identification;
  • Online search, mapping and geo-tagging or tracking, and navigation.

 

 

SOCIAL INFOTAINMENT SECTOR:

Here, I have placed the 2 key groups of Hardware; and Services.

Hardware, is further divided across the 5 elements of: phones; tablets; desktop devices; virtual and augmented reality; and content creation through interactive and autonomous devices with and without artificial intelligence.

Services, are further divided across the 5 elements of: standard and streaming live theatre, motion pictures, and video; standard and streaming live concerts, performance arts, and audio; social and chat, and introductions and networking; gaming, group casts, and similar interactions; and content creation, experiential learning, and immersive transactions.

 

 

GIG E-CONOMY SECTOR:

So now, let us use a “gig” e-conomy approach to assess the dominance issue across the preceding market sectors.  I think that you may well find yourself agreeing that there is no dominance at play, and that the competition is still quite healthy across the board.  Here, I have placed those “on demand” goods and services available through rapidly advancing technology that are or may be applicable.  Please note that no single person can possibly name all members of any subgroup and the Apps and Bots of competitors, as they multiply, morph, and merge on both daily and intraday bases; but I will, however, try to give sufficient coverage to convey the depth, breadth, and scope of offerings available.[24]

 

On-demand General Goods and Services, and their related providers or aggregators would be found here, such as Baidu Baike, The Canadian Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia.com, The Free Dictionary.com, Wikipedia and World Book Online (Government: libraries and archives); 3D printers (Materials: CAD-CAM, and GIS and other services); Alibaba, Amazon, Costco, WalMart, and Yandex (Retail and Wholesalewhole group); AppRiver, Bitdefender, Symantec/Norton, Kaspersky, McAfee, and Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus (Security: virtual security); and Uber, Lyft, Ourbus, Didi Chuxing, BlaBlaCar, and Yandex (Transportation: carriage for hire and ride-hailing).

 

On-demand Specialized Goods and Services, and their related providers or aggregators would be found here, such as Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft (Conglomerates: Information communications technologies – smartphones of iPhone, Pixel and Lumia, along with Watch, Mac, iPad, Surface, OneNote, and the operating systems of iOS, macOS, Linux, Android, Windows, and other solutions based on non-proprietary or open-source code); Amazon and Microsoft (Conglomerates: information and data techniques – cloud services); Consumer, trade, and business banking and finance (Financial Services: portals and standalone Apps of the major banks, worldwide, along with Fintech disruptors like rate.com and Kreditech); Android Pay, Apple Wallet, Bitcoin, Etherium, LG Pay, Microsoft Wallet, Samsung Pay or Samsung Pay Mini, Yandex Money, Alipay, PayPal and Stripe[25] (Financial Services: smartphone-based and web-based cash and payment provision and processing); Fund Razr, Indiegogo, Kickstarter, GoFundMe, AngelList, and CrowdCube (Financial Services: Consumer, trade, and business banking and finance); AlphaStreet, MyLo, Robinhood, and WealthBar (Financial Services: financial planning and advising, and portfolio and asset management); Deliveroo, Grubhub, Just-eat, Postmates, Door-Dash, UberEATS, Amazon, and Instacart (Food: processing, packaging, and distribution); SiriusXM and free AM/FM radio around the world[26] (Information Communications Technologies: radio and satellite radio); Netflix, Spotify, NotJustOk, YouTube, Hulu, Sling, HBO, and Amazon (Information Communications Technologies: cable, over-air, over the top, and satellite television); Google, Alibaba, Yandex, Amazon Web Services, Facebook, Tencent, Microsoft Cloud/Azure (Information and Data Techniqueswhole group, as also listed in Conglomerates, above); Monster, LinkedIn, Upwork, TaskRabbit (Personal Services: – whole group); Airbnb, Love Home Swap, Onefinestay (Shelter: hotel, motel, cruise and resort); and Handy, Homejoy, Merry Maids, Molly Maid, Life Maid Easy, and Bee Clean (Shelter: plant, office, maintenance and janitorial).

 

On-demand Digital Tools, Applications, and Services, and their related providers or aggregators would be found here, such as Apple’s App Store, Google’s Play Store, Adobe, Corel, Microsoft/Windows, Etherium, Intuit and QuickBooks (Consumer software and productivity applications); Amazon Kindle, Voyage, and Oasis, Barnes & Noble Glowlight, Nook, and Touch, and the Kobo and Aura (eBooks); Amazon, Alibaba, Costco, Craigslist, DaWanda, eBay, Etsy, Shopify, WalMart and Yandex (eCommerce); ADrive, Apple iCloud, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, iDrive, Media Fire, Mozy, Microsoft OneDrive, and PhotoBucket (Entity Clouds – storage); Accenture Cloud Hosting Services, Amazon Web Services, CSC Cloud Computing Services, Canadian Cloud Hosting, Canadian Web Hosting, CenturyLink, Cloud Sigma, Dimension Data Cloud Surround, Distil Networks, Fujitsu Cloud Solutions, Google App Engine/Cloud Platform, Helion Public Cloud, Lunacloud, Microsoft Azure/Cloud, OpenShift, OpenStack Cloud, Rackspace, Softlayer, Verizon Terremark, ViaWest KINECTed Cloud, and VMware (Entity Clouds and Data Centres for Big Data, hosting, managed solutions, and analytics); Google, Facebook, Snap, Twitter and Youtube (online advertising, including by profile, location, nearfield communication, and radiofrequency identification); and Google, Baidu, and Yandex (online search, mapping and geo-tagging or tracking, and navigation).

 

On-demand Social Infotainment, and their related providers or aggregators would be found here, such as Apple iOS/macOS ecosystems, Blackberry smartphones and data centres, Facebook Oculus Rift, Google Android ecosystem along with Cardboard, Daydream Viewer, and robotics and autonomy, HTC Vive, Huawei smartphones, LG smartphones, Microsoft Windows ecosystem along with HoloLens and Windows Mixed reality, Samsung Gear and robotics and autonomy, Sony Playstation VR and robotics and autonomy, Linux, and other environments and platforms created using open source or non-proprietary code (Hardwarewhole group); Netflix, NotJustOk, Spotify, YouTube, Hulu, Sling, HBO, Pokemon, and Amazon (Serviceswhole group); and Facebook, WhatsApp, Tencent, WeChat, Vodi, Instagram, LinkedIn, Monster, Match.com, Lavalife, eHarmony, and Zoosk (Services – social, chat, and introductions and networking; gaming, group casts, and similar interactions; and content creation, experiential learning and immersive transactions.  You may have noticed that “on-demand Social Infotainment” anticipates content creation by both the hardware makers and the service providers with ever more collaboration, hence the lines become consumers and producers of content have become irrevocably blurred and blended.  Similarly, the gig e-conomy’s “on-demand social infotainment” and “on-demand digital tools, applications, and services” sectors rely upon one another for continuity – the social infotainment needs all that the digital has to offer, and the digital feeds the rising ubiquity of the social infotainment.

 

  1. Considering the above and now fuller picture of the competitive landscape, is any one of these FAAN/FAANG entities really dominant in any meaningful way?

The answer to this, must therefore be a resounding No. There are a number of groups in which a few players have literally occupied the entire field.  However, in no place is there only one entity.  Clearly, then, competition is alive and fierce in all sectors and groups, as laid out in this analytical scheme.

Any Facebook domination alleged for social media fades away with the diversity of competitors and offerings found within the converged gig e-conomy’s “on-demand social infotainment”;

Any Amazon domination alleged for e-commerce and for search, fades away with the diversity of competitors and offerings under the converged gig e-conomy Sector’s “on-demand general goods and services”, and “on-demand specialized goods and services”.

Any Alphabet/Google domination alleged for online search, online video, and online advertising revenue yield, fades away with the diversity of competitors and offerings under the converged gig e-conomy’s “on demand digital tools, applications, and services”.

Similarly, any Apple domination alleged in smartphones, wearables and tablets, fades away with the diversity of manufacturers and operators found in the converged gig e-conomy sector’s “on-demand specialized goods and services”, as conglomerates offering information and communications technologies, and undertaking information and data techniques.

Finally, any Netflix domination alleged for “over-the-top” (OTT) movie, performance, and documentary streaming, fades away with the diversity of entities competing to deliver services within the converged gig e-conomy’s “on-demand social infotainment”.

 

 

SUMMARY:

It is only if, and when, well-funded market operators start to occupy whole sectors (in the new schema laid out here), taking out whole swathes of their competitors and content providers[27] in Pacman “gig”-abites to become the sole players in many of the specific groups within those sectors, that we should start to worry about abuse of dominant positions, monopolies, and over-concentration in the control of personal data[28] – incessant data breaches[29] and global ransomware events,[30] notwithstanding.

 

Perhaps, you agree now?!

 

********************************************************************

 

Author:

Ekundayo George is a lawyer and sociologist.  He has also taken courses in organizational and micro-organizational behavior, and gained significant experience in regulatory compliance, litigation, and business law and counseling.  He has been licensed to practise law in Ontario and Alberta, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America.  See, for example: http://www.ogalaws.com.  A writer, blogger, and avid reader, Mr. George has sector experience in Technology (Telecommunications, e-commerce, Outsourcing, Cloud), Financial Services, Healthcare, Entertainment, Real Estate and Zoning, International/cross-border trade, other services, and Environmental Law and Policy; working with equal ease and effectiveness in his transitions to and from the public and private sectors.  He is a published author on the National Security aspects of Environmental Law, has represented clients in courts and before regulatory bodies in both Canada and the United States, and he enjoys complex systems analysis in legal, technological, and societal milieux.

 

Trained in Legal Project Management (and having organized and managed several complex projects before practising law), Mr. George is also an experienced negotiator, facilitator, team leader, and strategic consultant – sourcing, managing, and delivering on complex engagements with multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary teams.  Team consulting competencies include program investigation, sub-contracted procurement of personnel and materials, and such diverse project deliverables as business process re-engineering, devising and delivering tailored training, and other targeted engagements through tapping a highly-credentialed resource pool of contract professionals with several hundred years of combined expertise, in: healthcare; education and training; law and regulation; policy and plans; statistics, economics, and evaluations including feasibility studies and business cases; infrastructure; and information technology/information systems (IT/IS) – also sometimes termed information communications technologies (ICT).  See, for example: http://www.simprime-ca.com.

 

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”) including employees, agents, directors, officers, successors & assigns, in whole or in part for their content, accuracy, or availability.

 

This article creates no lawyer-client relationship, and is not intended or deemed legal advice, business advice, the rendering of any professional service, or attorney advertising where restricted or barred.  The author and affiliated entities specifically disclaim and reject any and all loss claimed, no matter howsoever resulting as alleged, due to any action or inaction done in reliance on the contents herein.  Past results are no guarantee of future success, and specific legal advice should be sought for particular matters through counsel of your choosing, based on such factors as you deem appropriate.

 

[1] Jonathan Taplin.  Is It Time to Break Up Google?  Published on nytimes.com, April 22, 2017.  Web: >https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/22/opinion/sunday/is-it-time-to-break-up-google.html?_r=2<

[2] David McLaughlin.  Are Facebook and Google the New Monopolies?: QuickTake Q&A.  Published on Bloomberg.com, July 12, 2017. Web: >https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-13/antitrust-built-for-rockefeller-baffled-by-bezos-quicktake-q-a<  See also Ayanna Alexander.  Mobile App Location Sharing Brings Awesome Opportunities, Privacy Fears.  Published on bna.com, July 11, 2017.  Web: >https://www.bna.com/mobile-app-location-b73014461529/<

[3] Ramsi Woodcock.  EU’s Antitrust ‘War’ on Google and Facebook Uses Abandoned American Playbook.  Published on observer.com, July 14, 2017.  >http://observer.com/2017/07/eus-antitrust-war-google-facebook-uses-american-playbook-margrethe-vestager-european-union/<

[4] Alex Epstein.  Vindicating Standard Oil, 100 years later.  Published on dailycaller.com, May 13, 2011.  Web: >http://dailycaller.com/2011/05/13/vindicating-standard-oil-100-years-later/2/<

[5] David McLaughlin.  Are Facebook and Google the New Monopolies?: QuickTake Q&A.  Published on Bloomberg.com, July 12, 2017. Web: >https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-13/antitrust-built-for-rockefeller-baffled-by-bezos-quicktake-q-a<

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Sarah Perez.  Netflix reaches 75% of US streaming service viewers, but YouTube is catching up.  Published on techcrunch.com, April 10, 2017.  Web: >https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/10/netflix-reaches-75-of-u-s-streaming-service-viewers-but-youtube-is-catching-up/<

[10] Joe Nocera.  Can Netflix Survive in the New World It Created?  Published on nytimes.com, June 15, 2016.  Web: >https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/19/magazine/can-netflix-survive-in-the-new-world-it-created.html<

Quoting Reed Hastings – Chairman of the Board, President, Chief Executive Officer, Netflix.

[11] Patrick Seitz.  Move Over FANGs, China’s BAT Stocks Go From Copycats To Fat Cats.  Published on investors.com, July 14, 2017.  Web: >http://www.investors.com/research/industry-snapshot/move-over-fangs-chinas-bat-stocks-go-from-copycats-to-fat-cats/?src=A00220&yptr=yahoo<

[12] IdSee also infra, note 14.

[13] Eric Auchard and Anastasia Teterevleva.  Uber and Yandex to combine ride-hailing in Russia and beyond.  Published on reuters.com, July 13, 2017.  Web: >http://www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-tech-m-a-yandex-idUSKBN19Y10V<  The new entity will operate regionally, in Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Kazakhstan.

[14] Scott Cendrowski.  Uber Had No Way Out of China Except Through a Merger With Didi.  Published on fortune.com, July 31, 2016.  Web: >http://fortune.com/2016/08/01/uber-didi-merger/<

[15] Jason Aycock.  Facebook eases into crosshairs of EU antitrust watchdogs.  Published on seekingalpha.com, July 3, 2017.  Web: >https://seekingalpha.com/news/3276761-facebook-eases-crosshairs-eu-antitrust-watchdogs<

[16] Peter Sayer.  EU Competition Commissioner spells out priorities: Google as Alphabet is still under investigation.  Published on pcworld.com, October 26, 2015.  Web: >http://www.pcworld.com/article/2997529/android/eu-competition-commissioner-spells-out-priorities-google-as-alphabet-is-still-under-investigation.html<

[17] Sean Farrell and Henry McDonald.  Apple ordered to pay €13bn after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws.  Published on theguardian.com, August 30, 2016.  Web: >https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/aug/30/apple-pay-back-taxes-eu-ruling-ireland-state-aid<

[18] Charles Arthur.  Microsoft loses EU antitrust fine appeal.  Published on theguardian.com, June 27, 2012.  Web: >https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/jun/27/microsoft-loses-eu-antitrust-fine-appeal<

[19] These 11 S&P 500 market sectors are: Energy, Materials, Industrials, Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, Health care, Financials, Real Estate, Information Technology, Telecommunications Services, and Utilities.

See S&P 500 Factsheet – Sector Breakdown.  Published on ca.spindices.com and visited on July 13, 2017.  Web: >http://ca.spindices.com/indices/equity/sp-500<

[20] These 10 NASDAQ market sectors are: Oil and Gas, Basic materials, Industrials, Consumer Services, Consumer Goods, Healthcare/Financials, Technology, Telecommunications, and Utilities.  See NASDAQ Composite Index – COMP Fact Sheet – Industry Breakdown.  Published on nasdaqomx.com and visited July 13, 2017.  Web: >https://indexes.nasdaqomx.com/Index/Overview/COMP<

[21] These 7 TSE market sectors are: Clean Technology, Diversified Industries, Energy and Energy Services, Life Sciences, Mining, Real Estate, and Technology.  See The Toronto Stock Exchange, Sector and Product Profiles.  Published on tsx.com and visited July 13, 2017.  Web: >http://tsx.com/listings/listing-with-us/sector-and-product-profiles<

[22] Patrick Gillespie.  Intuit: Gig economy is 34% of US workforce.  Published on money.cnn.com, May 24, 2017.  Web: >http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/24/news/economy/gig-economy-intuit/index.html<

[23] Including this as a standalone group has become a necessity, thanks to the enabling rise of the “gig” e-conomy.  See e.g. Nick Wells. The ‘gig economy’ is growing — and now we know by how much.  Published on cnbc.com, October 13, 2016.  Web: >http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/13/gig-economy-is-growing-heres-how-much.html<

[24] All names and marks mentioned herein are and remain the property of their respective owners, and no good or service or provider of same that is mentioned or omitted or referenced whether in whole or in part within this article or within its attached notes is either endorsed or disdained.

[25] Memberful.  Stripe vs PayPal: Who should you choose?  Published on memberful.com and visited on July 15, 2017.  Web: >https://memberful.com/blog/stripe-vs-paypal/<

[26] John-Erik Koslosky.  Sirius XM’s Strongest Competition May Surprise You.  Published on fool.com, September 12, 2015.  Web: >https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/09/12/sirius-xms-strongest-competition-may-surprise-you.aspx<

[27] Nick Wingfield and Michael J. de la Merced.  Amazon to Buy Whole Foods for $13.4 Billion.  Published on nytimes.com, June 16, 2017.  Web: >https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/16/business/dealbook/amazon-whole-foods.html<

[28] Business Leader.  Google dominates search. But the real problem is its monopoly on data.  Published on theguardian.com, April 19, 2015.  Web: >https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/apr/19/google-dominates-search-real-problem-monopoly-dataSee also Ben Thompson.  Facebook and the Cost of Monopoly.  Published on stratechery.com, April 19, 2017.  Web: >https://stratechery.com/2017/facebook-and-the-cost-of-monopoly/<

[29] Dave Burton.  Minimize “Dwell Time” to Cut the Cost of Data Center Breaches.  Published on infosecisland.com, October 20, 2016.  Web: >http://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/24835-Minimize-Dwell-Time-to-Cut-the-Cost-of-Data-Center-Breaches.htmlSee also Jessica Davis.  Former Bupa employee posts 1 million records for sale on dark web.  Published on healthcareitnews.com, July 14, 2017.  Web: >http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/former-bupa-employee-posts-1-million-records-sale-dark-web<   See Generally Ekundayo George.  Cybersecurity: Its not just about “B” for Bob, but also eCommerce, Structure, and Trust.  Published on ogalaws.wordpress.com, November 3, 2014  Web: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/cybersecurity-its-not-just-about-b-for-bob-but-also-ecommerce-structure-and-trust/<

[30] Jesse McKenna.  WannaCry: How We Created an Ideal Environment for Malware to Thrive, and How to Fix It.  Published on infosecisland.com, July 12, 2017.  Web: >http://www.infosecisland.com/blogview/24941-WannaCry-How-We-Created-an-Ideal-Environment-for-Malware-to-Thrive-and-How-to-Fix-It.html<

Looking back to 2013, I had predicted the 5 top technology trends (specifically for consumers) in that year, to be:

(i) Accelerated lived experience;

(ii) Bring Your Own Device (BYOD);

(iii) Crowdsourcing;

(iv) Distance education; and

(v) End-User legal authority/license autonomy/leveraged ability (EULA3). [1]

These pretty much held true, and even lasted both into and through 2014. The pace of instantaneous news, social tweets and alerts, and all manner of reality TV from financing pitches, through entire shows that are literally “celebrity selfie-cams”, to instantaneous gratification through crowd sourcing of funding, business and consumer information, and general gossip, have created this ever accelerating lived experience. Ever greater sales of handheld devices have forced employers to draft BYOD policies for employees too attached to their own devices to let them go, and all manner of distance education is now available for a fee, or for free in the ever-expanding offerings of Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).[2] As well, immersive gaming, as it develops with optional story lines, the move to taking software bits as building blocks for people to create their own widgets and full applications, and the myriad of customizable self-help, professional, and practical document templates available online, taken together, will only further speed EULA3.[3]

Fully justified then (and thankfully so) in my predictions, let us now move on to 2015-16, then. Here, in the midst of technology and its relentless forward motion, all I see – is “Paper”! This stands for:

Personalization;

A3 (aggregation, analytics, and advising);

Protection;

eMoney; and

Remoting. We will consider them in turn, and in that order.

Personalization:

Whether it is widgets, backgrounds, wallpapers, icons, ringtones, and home screen layouts of the ipod, android, iphone, desktop, laptop, or tablet,[4] personalization and customization are all the rage for maximizing the user-centric experience.

“The constantly connected consumers of today are extremely savvy, using all available channels and devices to research, review, compare prices and ultimately purchase products. Basic personalization (such as name and account personalization and dynamic interest or product content) no longer serves consumers’ demand for deeper levels of real-time personalized information. Increasingly, these savvy consumers are taking their business to companies that provide more than basic personalization and automated lifecycle campaigns. Customers now prefer brands that deliver individualized experiences that match their needs in the present moment”.[5]

Even giants of the online world, such as Yahoo,[6] have now realized that the way to truly reach and engage your customer, it to intimately know your customer for and through, “Real-time Marketing[7] and personalization practices. Personalization is based on gathering and analyzing observation data, to analyze and make predictions based upon what you know. This is why A3, which underlies real-time marketing, will also be a top trend for 2015-16, in my prediction.

A3 (Aggregation, Analytics, and Advising):

The SAS Institute, Inc., put out a 2013 white paper on demand sensing and shaping through big data analytics,[8] which perfectly sums-up the first stage of the real-time marketing process. In the second stage, I would add demand supporting and serving, which sustains that demand in existence by providing those cues to trigger it (familiarity, emotional advertising triggers, positive associations in product placement, and so forth), and thence return customers to your established, satisfaction-source.

Big Data (and its means of collection)[9] do have other applications beyond the pure consumer, however. These include generic disaster management applications,[10] and estimating or better “guess”-timating the true incremental and future impacts of climate change on humans and the environment.[11]

Protection:

With all of this data and its very many faces,[12] along with the potential to gather and analyze it, and the undisputed value of the end result in the predictive analytics space, there is a growing need at all levels, for more robust protective mechanisms – wherever it falls on the spectrum of privacy practices,[13] data governance and document preservation, or cybersecurity. IT in general, is looking forward to a banner year in 2015.[14] The IT security sub-sector, for its part, is not too far off, either, with a spate of increasingly spectacular, recent[15] and historical[16] hacks and cyberattacks drawing the attention of the risk management industry,[17] regulators,[18] private businesses,[19] and concerned citizens in an ongoing and multi-sided tussle,[20] both amongst themselves and with criminal elements. A very large data breach was just disclosed at Anthem Inc. (a health insurer with operations across 14 states), in which up to 80 million records of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) – but apparently no Personal Health Information (PHI), according to initial evaluations – are suspected to have been compromised.[21]

eMoney:

Despite the dangers and concerns, however, the pace of progress continues to pick-up, with electronic payments of the Paypal variety moving to Square and eMoney, in the largely unregulated (and hacked)[22] Bitcoin, and the more mainstream proposed and competing offerings of CurrentC from the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) – which was also hacked,[23] and Google Wallet, Softcard, and Apple Pay.

Remoting:

With ever-more personalized experiences being available through more and more interconnected devices, we are moving towards an Internet of Things (IoT) that raises even more cybersecurity concerns that now include remote access and remote control/takeover,[24] whether or not authorized or even traceable back to source.[25] This has led one commentator to describe this future state as the “Internet of Bad Things”.[26] Going further to consider the impetus for a change in our security mindset, consider the words of Dr. Arati Prabhakar, the director of the United States Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), when she said:

“The largest explosion of millisecond machine actions will take place when billions of IoT devices are deployed. Until we find a way to authenticate, view, audit, analyze and block IoT devices often connected to cloud computing, we frankly shouldn’t be putting IoT out there. As the security industry saying goes, “money trumps security,” and as increasingly more of these IoT product (sic) are released, cybersecurity will just be playing catch-up. With potentially billions of these devices being deployed all over the world, this could lead to a cyber attack free-for-all of catastrophic proportions.”[27]

However, remoting is not all doom and gloom. Witness the growing use of crowdfunding to raise money for important events, popular initiatives, or proposed or emerging or growing business ventures; and even the burgeoning business of “pay to watch” that has now gone from the original voyeur cams, through specialized YouTube channels where you can pay to watch people play video games,[28] or modern day South Korea, where people will pay to remotely watch someone – a “broadcast jockey” – do something as mundane as eating.[29] Drones, scene capture devices, and wearable devices in ever-lighter cameras (from glass and its successors, through GoPro, police cam, dash cam, spy cam, home surveillance, commercial and industrial surveillance, government surveillance, and mobile devices in any and all form factors now known or yet to come, and from the clunky to the micro- or nano-scale), will combine[30] to bring more, and ever uniquer, shareable, monetizable remoting experiences to come![31]

CONCLUSION

These then, are my PAPER predictions for technology in 2015-16 – Personalization, A3 (aggregation, analytics, and advising), Protections, eMoney, and Remoting. I think they will come to fruition, just as predicted, but we have to wait and see. Enjoy the view!

*****************************************************************

Author:

Ekundayo George is a lawyer and sociologist. He has also taken courses in organizational and micro-organizational behavior, and gained significant experiences in business law and counseling, diverse litigation, and regulatory compliance practice. He is licensed to practice law in Ontario and Alberta, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America. See, for example: http://www.ogalaws.com. A writer, blogger, and avid reader, Mr. George has sector experience in Technology (Telecommunications, eCommerce, Outsourcing, Cloud), Financial Services, Healthcare, Entertainment, Real Estate and Zoning, International/cross-border trade, other services, and Environmental Law and Policy. He is a published author on the National Security aspects of Environmental Law, has represented clients in courts and before regulatory bodies in both Canada and the United States, and he enjoys complex systems analysis in legal, technological, and societal milieux.

Trained in Legal Project Management (and having organized and managed several complex projects before practicing law), Mr. George is also an experienced negotiator, facilitator, team leader, and strategic consultant – sourcing, managing, and delivering on complex engagements with multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary teams. Team consulting competencies include program investigation, sub-contracted procurement of personnel and materials, and such diverse project deliverables as business process re-engineering, devising and delivering tailored training, and other targeted engagements through tapping a highly-credentialed resource pool of contract professionals with several hundred years of combined expertise, in: Healthcare; Education & Training; Law & Regulation; Policy & Plans; Statistics, Economics, & Evaluations including feasibility studies; Infrastructure; and Information Technology/Information Systems (IT/IS) – also sometimes termed Information Communications Technologies (ICT). See, for example: http://www.simprime-ca.com.

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”) including employees, agents, directors, officers, successors & assigns, in whole or in part for their content, accuracy, or availability.

This article creates no lawyer-client relationship, and is not intended or deemed legal advice, business advice, the rendering of any professional service, or attorney advertising where restricted or barred. The author and affiliated entities specifically disclaim and reject any and all loss claimed, no matter howsoever resulting as alleged, due to any action or inaction done in reliance on the contents herein. Past results are no guarantee of future success, and specific legal advice should be sought for particular matters through counsel of your choosing, based on such factors as you deem appropriate.

[1] Ekundayo George. Ctrl-Shift-Del: 2013’s Top 5 Technology Trends for Consumers. Posted March 16, 2013, on ogalaws.wordpress.com. Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/ctrl-shift-del-2013s-top-5-technology-trends-for-consumers/<

[2] Wikipedia.org. Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), a definition. Online: >http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course<

[3] Supra note 1.

[4] See e.g. selected Android personalization offerings, on display for download at the google store. Online:

>https://play.google.com/store/apps/category/PERSONALIZATION<

[5] Katrina Conn. Moving Beyond Basic Personalization to Real-Time Marketing. Posted January 7, 2014, on Clickz.com. Online: >http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2321243/moving-beyond-basic-personalization-to-real-time-marketing<

[6] Yahoo. The Balancing Act: Getting Personalization Right. Posted on yahoo.com. Online: >https://advertising.yahoo.com/Insights/BALANCING-ACT.html<

[7] Supra note 5. “Real-time marketing is the ongoing cycle of engagement, data management, analytical insights and optimization – performed continuously and immediately. In other words, it’s the streamlined management of data, transformed into actionable insight that is used to enhance your customer’s experience.”

[8] The SAS Institute. White Paper: Unlocking the Promise of Demand Sensing and Shaping Through Big Data Analytics – How to Apply High-Performance Analytics in Your Supply Chain. Published on idgenterprise.com, and visited February 2, 2015. Online: >http://resources.idgenterprise.com/original/AST-0112051_UnlockingPromise.pdf<

[9] Dennis Keohane. Aaron Levie, Box see drones and Internet of Things as data sources of the future. Posted September 23, 2014, on betaboston.com. Online: >http://betaboston.com/news/2014/09/23/aaron-levie-box-data-drones-internet-of-things/<

[10] See e.g. Robert A. Runge and Isabel Runge. Data-Driven Disaster Management. Posted October 29, 2014, on nextgov.com. Online: >http://www.nextgov.com/technology-news/tech-insider/2014/10/data-driven-disaster-management/97700/?oref=voicesmodule<

[11] See e.g. Chelsea Harvey. UN REPORT: Our Climate Change Future Is Terrifying And Emissions Need To Stop Completely As Soon As Possible. Posted November 4, 2014, on businessinsider.com. Online: >

http://www.businessinsider.com/un-climate-report-stop-all-greenhouse-emissions-2014-11

< ; See also Carl Zimmer. Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says. Posted January 15, 2015, on nytimes.com. Online: >http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/16/science/earth/study-raises-alarm-for-health-of-ocean-life.html?_r=0<

[12] Ekundayo George. The 100 “FACES” of Data: a 5-part Complex Systems Study (Part 1 – Form Factors). Posted November 1, 2013, on ogalaws.wordpress.com. Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/the-100-faces-of-data-a-5-part-complex-systems-study-part-1/<

[13] Amber Hunt, The Cincinnati Enquirer. Experts: Wearable tech tests our privacy limits. Posted February 5, 2015, on usatoday.com. Online: >http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/02/05/tech-wearables-privacy/22955707/< In one of my earlier blogs (if updated), the “User-Generated Legality Issues” (UGLIs) created by these treasure troves of “quantified self” data available through wearable devices, would be “self-outing 104”.

See e.g. Ekundayo George. The Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) Amendment of 2012 – Self-Outing 103? Posted January 11, 2013, on ogalaws.wordpress.com. Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/the-video-privacy-protection-act-vppa-amendment-of-2013-self-outing-103/<

[14] Steve Ranger. Bigger budgets, better tech: Why 2015 is a good year to be working in IT. Posted February 4, 2015, on techrepublic.com. Online: >http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/european-technology/bigger-budgets-better-tech-why-2015-is-a-good-year-to-be-working-in-it/?tag=nl.e101&s_cid=e101&ttag=e101&ftag=TRE684d531<

[15] Pedro Hernandez. Xbox Live, PSN Back Online After Holiday DDoS Attacks. Posted December 29, 2014, on eweek.com. Online: >http://www.eweek.com/security/xbox-live-psn-back-online-after-holiday-ddos-attacks.html< See also the comprehensive hacking and public shaming of Sony, through compromised emails.

[16] I referenced several of the more historical, spectacular hacks in this earlier blog post. Ekundayo George. Cybersecurity: Its not just about “B” for Bob, but also eCommerce, Structure, and Trust. Posted November 3, 2014, on ogalaws.wordpress.com. Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/cybersecurity-its-not-just-about-b-for-bob-but-also-ecommerce-structure-and-trust/<

[17] Pinsent Masons (out-law.com), citing the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

Cyber risks evolving faster than business capabilities, says accountancy body. Posted October 30, 2014, on out-law.com. Online: >http://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2014/october/cyber-risks-evolving-faster-than-business-capabilities-says-accountancy-body/<

[18] Aliya Sternstein. Report: Agencies Aren’t Properly Vetting All Cyber Contractors. Published September 9, 2014, on nextgov.com. Online: >http://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2014/09/agencies-contractor-employees-cyber-workforce/93620/<

[19] Aliya Sternstein. 97 Percent of Key Industries Doubt Security Compliance Can Defy Hackers. Posted July 10, 2014, on nextgov.com. Online: >http://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2014/07/97-percent-key-industries-doubt-security-compliance-can-defy-hackers/88324/?oref=ng-relatedstories<

[20] See e.g. In the Matter of a Warrant to Search a Certain email Account Controlled and Maintained by Microsoft Corporation. Memorandum and Order of James C. Francis IV, United States Magistrate Judge, released April 25, 2014. 13 Mag. 3814, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). Online: >https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1149373/in-re-matter-of-warrant.pdf<

Just reading through this decision, which from the first paragraph defines the complexity of this issue, shows the many interests, laws and policies, and considerations at stake in that constant tussle between individual rights and privacy, business interests (including the personalization push), and the mandates of law enforcement and national security – whether nationally and across borders, or when multiple nations do or claim to have a primary stake.

The further steps since taken in that ongoing effort by the United States government to access emails stored on servers that are physically located in Ireland, only further underline the complexities and interests at stake. See also Mark Scott. Ireland Lends Support to Microsoft in Email Privacy Case. Posted December 25, 2014, on bits.blogs.nytimes.com. Online:>http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/24/ireland-lends-support-to-microsoft-in-email-privacy-case/?_r=0&module=ArrowsNav&contentCollection=Technology&action=keypress&region=FixedLeft&pgtype=Blogs<

[21] Elizabeth Weise, USA Today. Massive breach at health care company Anthem Inc. Posted February 5, 2015, on usatoday.com. Online: >http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/02/04/health-care-anthem-hacked/22900925/<

[22] Zack Whittaker for Zero Day. Bitstamp exchange hacked, $5M worth of bitcoin stolen. Posted January 5, 2015, on zdnet.com. Online: >http://www.zdnet.com/article/bitstamp-bitcoin-exchange-suspended-amid-hack-concerns-heres-what-we-know/<

[23] Ryan Mac, Forbes Staff. Apple Pay Rival and Walmart-backed MCX Hacked, User Emails Snatched. Posted October 29, 2014, on forbes.com. Online: >http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanmac/2014/10/29/apple-pay-rival-and-walmart-backed-mcx-hacked-user-emails-compromised/<

[24] Katie Fehrenbacher. The real breakthrough of Google Glass: controlling the internet of things. Posted March 23, 2013, on gigacom.com. Online: >https://gigaom.com/2013/03/23/the-real-breakthrough-of-google-glass-controlling-the-internet-of-things/<

[25] Larry Karisny. Getting Cybersecurity to Actually Work: More Connections, More Problems. Posted September 15, 2014, on digitalcommunities.com. >http://www.digitalcommunities.com/articles/Getting-Cybersecurity-to-Actually-Work.html<

“Before we discuss solutions to these cybersecurity problems, let’s take a look at what the future looks like in our continually interconnected world. From social media to smart phones apps to the IoT promise of smart everything, we are reaching a point of truly not knowing what is connect to what — and hackers know this. Take the Target breach — the attacker used backdoor access to the company’s energy management systems to then access a server containing confidential customer information. We are increasing (sic) digitizing our people and machine processes, and are beginning to lose control of what we are doing.”  

[26] Zach Ferres. The Internet of (Bad) Things. Posted November 5, 2014, on linkedin.com. Online: >https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141105140616-28760747-the-internet-of-bad-things<

[27] Larry Karisny. DARPA Director Calls for Cybersecurity Change. Posted November 7, 2014, on digitalcommunities.com. Online: >http://www.digitalcommunities.com/articles/DARPA-Director-Calls-for-Cybersecurity-Change.html<

[28] By Josh Warwick, video by Phil Allen. Meet the 21-year-old YouTuber who made millions playing video games. Posted October 16, 2014, on telegraph.co.uk. Online: >http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/the-filter/11139724/Meet-the-21-year-old-YouTuber-who-made-millions-playing-video-games.html<

[29] Stephen Evans. The Koreans who televise themselves eating dinner. Posted February 4, 2015, on BBC.com. Online: >http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31130947<

[30] Luisa Rollenhagen. Guy Hacks Google Glass to Steer Drone. Posted August 23, 2013 on mashable.com. Online:

>http://mashable.com/2013/08/24/drone-pilots-google-glass/<

[31] See e.g. Erin Carson. 2015: 4 IT job skills for the new year. Posted January 8, 2015, on techrepublic.com. Online: >http://www.techrepublic.com/article/2015-4-it-job-skills-for-the-new-year/<

Canvassing conventional and learned wisdom, I would humbly say that at least one of my predictions (protections) is echoed and supported in the focus here on “security skills” in this piece by HR and IT professionals. Three of my other predictions (Remoting, A3, and Personalization) are at least strongly implicated, in the call for “versatility” and skills in “project management”. “Desktop support” is the fourth 2015 IT job skill set listed by Techrepublic.

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