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Australia's new year tech headlines … for 2015!

“NBN CO debates DOCSIS and G.fast upgrades” and other crystal-ballery

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Technology predictions are a dime a dozen at this time of year, because vendor-land stops even releasing press releases about version 6.3 of its products. With that news-making tactic abandoned, vendors and their PR armies move on to “predictions” offering searing insights.

Security vendors point out that our hyper-connected world will make securing a business a bit harder on our next journey around the sun. Cloud vendors helpfully suggest more clouds are the answer to whatever ails you. Anyone capable of deciphering a bar chart is predicting dire PC sales.

Rather than submit to such low-grade, self-serving, crystal-ball gazing, Vulture South wants to peer further into the future and try to predict the headlines not just of 2014 but of 2015!

Here are the stories we think we'll be writing in 2015.

“NBN Co debates DOCSIS 3.1 and G.fast upgrades”
In October 2013, Cable Labs signed off on version 3.1 of the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS), with a mooted capacity of 10 Gbit/s downstream and 1 Gbit/s upstream.

By 2015 there's also every chance that G.fast kit will be available, which will bring gigabit speeds to copper runs of around 250 metres. There's also every chance that the dozen or so NBN reviews currently in the works will ignore both standards because they're immature.

But what if by 2015 both have been shown to work in the real world? If that happens, the NBN debate will be turned on its head by the prospect of gigabit speeds on existing wires. Whoever is communications minister and NBN Co CEO by 2015, they'll face an interesting choice: proceed with the slower vectored DSL and DOCSIS 3.0 to deliver the multi-medium NBN Australia has been promised, or find a way – and the cojones – to adopt the newer standards. Even if the reviews currently under way and due in 2014 don't mention either.

Pressure to do so will come from the fibre-to-the-premises-or-nothing crowd, which may finally figure out that it needs to engage meaningfully and not just send in petitions.

“Australian cloud providers evaporate”
Those tier two ISPs and managed services outfits standing up wannabe AWS clones cobbled together out of bits of Xen, OpenStack and cable ties?

Roadkill.

As the industry matures, smaller local players will find they can't make it pay and go away. The survivors will move into roles as resellers and managed services providers who make public cloud easier for those who don't like to get hands on with the big boys. This is happening already. By 2015 we'll see exits from the cloud caper.

“Pay-by-bonk sent to sin bin”
Victoria Police recently complained that pay-by-bonk is creating a rash of complaints about fraudulent use, especially at liquor outlets. The force says the source of the problem is that some outlets allow small purchases without requiring any exchange of credentials.

By 2015 some classes of retailer – probably booze outlets – will insist punters enter a PIN for every transaction. The decision will be fuelled by rising fraud and also a little moral panic about pay-by-bonk making it a bit too easy to get one's hands on the demon drink.

“Turnbull proclaims Australia 'app-en for business'”
Current communications minister Malcolm Turnbull spends most of his time wrestling with the NBN. But he's also talked up a desire to use technology as a way to reform government service delivery. There's a clean and indisputable legacy to be had in being an agent of a revolution in that field and Vulture South feels NBN debate will always be so mucky that Turnbull will try very hard to write another and very different chapter in his personal history.

We're therefore predicting a big launch for government e-services in 2015, after 2014's budget identifies them as a way to save cash.

“Google to build bit barn down under”
With Amazon and Microsoft already present, Google will turn its attention down under, lest its rivals start making derogatory noises about latency.

“Data breach laws finally pass Parliament”
They've been kicking around Canberra for years and are a good idea but hardly a priority. They'll bumble through in 2015.

“Apple sues Australian government over tax recoup plans”
As the OECD's efforts to stop legal-but-tricky-tax-avoiding-money-shuffling accelerate, we'll see some laws to stop it. Once those laws are in place litigation will follow as companies faced with big new tax bills – and maybe a retroactive demand or three – attack the new regulations.

“ISPS challenge copyright liability laws in High Court”
Australia's new attorney-general George Brandis wants to crack down on copyright theft and will do so with laws making internet service providers gatekeepers. After the usual civil liberties media storm in 2014, 2015 will see ISPs band together to challenge the laws in the High Court.

What are your headlines for 2015? Drop us a line or go nuts in the comments. ®

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