Australia's future technology headlines … for 2018!

Vulture South does the prediction thing and sees trouble on the horizon

Merry Christmas Australia

Today's the last day anyone from Vulture South will show up for work until January 3rd. So while we're at the beach, cricket and bottom of a beer glass, we leave you with our almost-traditional prediction for technology news in the year after next

Without any further ado, let's get into it.

Google dodges Google Tax

Australia’s about to legislate a “Google Tax” that will aim to reduce the impact of aggressive tax minimisation schemes and target the likes of Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon (which will get into full swing down under during 2017).

But by 2018 this effort to have multinationals pay a decent amounts of tax on profits made in Australia will emerge as a partial success at best. Receipts will be modest, certainly below numbers raised as possible when the legislation was triumphantly announced in 2017.

We’ll be told this was just the first year’s harvest and that things will improve. Which nobody will believe as details of freshly-minted tax workarounds are revealed.

Australia sniffs around the UK's Snooper's Charter

Australia has looked to the UK for tech policy in recent years and will do so again in 2018. As a fragile government heading to a 2019 election looks for new national security measures. Increased online defences won't be a hard case to argue by 2018, as 2017 saw a continuation of state-based hacking allegations around elections in Germany and France.

We'll be told that Australia needs further powers to secure the realm and to safeguard the following year's poll.

As ever, Australia's human rights and civil liberties lobbies will fail to make a dent on the debate.

NBN construction still up to speed. The network? Not so much, say ignorant users

nbn™, the organisation building and operating Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN), will continue to claim that everything is going exactly to plan. But users will be restive because when they use speed-testing services for their new 50Mbps services, they won't get anywhere near that number.

nbn™ will try to explain the difference between the speed for which a service is rated and what happens when you reach out over a network and try to connect to a server on the other side of the world.

Lobby groups will continue to say that if only we built fibre-to-the-premises none of this would be a problem and that a fully-fibred Australia would become a land of prancing unicorns, spiritual re-birth and universal happiness.

This position will continue to be advanced despite the government's utter disinterest in changing policy, the fact that by mid-2018 the NBN will be more than 50 per cent complete and any further redesigns meaning the last couple of million premises still without connections would have to wait even longer for their broadband upgrade.

Startup-land eats its own

By 2018 we'll have had nearly three years of prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's “Ideas Boom”, but results will be thin.

Prominent figures from startup-land will criticise the program as ill-designed and poorly overseen. That criticism will spill out into tabloid television which feasts on wacky startups for having sucked on the public teat in pursuit of idiotic business plans.

Niche clouds blow away

Yes, cloud is going to grow and grow and grow. But Vulture South is already hearing that a couple of niche clouds of which great things were expected are proving not to be rainmakers.

The underlying issue here is that a cloud that does not much more than managed services just isn't very interesting compared to a cloud that offers lots of services to developers. Even a special purpose cloud like Cisco's has already proven uninteresting.

By 2018 system integrators' clouds will also look pointless compared to the big players' offerings and we'll learn that one or two have been all-but switched off.

That Google, OVH and Aliyun all arrive in force during 2017 will hustle things along.

Ahem. What about your predictions, Reg?

Because we like to hold everyone to account, including ourselves, how did we go with our predictions for 2016's headlines?

We were right to predict video streaming outfits would spell trouble for Foxtel, as the Pay TV outfit shut its own streaming service Presto. We were wrong to predict the metadata retention databases would be hacked, because they're not yet up and running. We were also wrong to predict rumours Telstra might acquire the fibrous bits of the National Broadband Network, but 2016 did see Infrastructure Australia recommend the NBN be broken up and sold, in chunks determined by the technology deployed.

We were rubbish with everything else. Perhaps our predictions for 2017 will be more accurate? ®

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