5 Tech Observations: 5 Jan 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology observations, news items, rumors, gossip and insight to start your day for Monday, Jan. 5, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 12 items.

12. Productizing Big DataGigaOm argues that the Big Data market needs a product akin to Microsoft Access to really drive the market forward. In some ways, I'd argue that Big Data product already exists for some users. It's called Google Analytics.

11. Big Growth: The cloud analytics market will reach $16.5 billion in 2018, a 25.8 CAGR (compound annual growth rate), according to Markets and Markets research. Much of that growth involves born-in-the-cloud analytics offerings. But don't forget, classic business intelligence suites from IBM (Cognos) and others have been shifting to the cloud as well. 

10. Network Controversy: Huawei, the Chinese telecom equipment maker, says 2014 sales grew 15 percent to $46 billion. And the company is striving to reach $70 billion in revenues by 2018, growing 10 percent annually toward that goal. In stark contrast, Cisco Systems' 2014 fiscal revenue was $47.1 billion -- down 3 percent from fiscal 2013. Cisco, the U.S. government and other critics have, from time to time, alleged that Huawei's technology infringes on patents and/or allows China to spy on foreign countries. Huawei has dismissed such claims. Ironically, leaked NSA government documents suggest that the U.S. actually spied on Huawei. Amid the international friction, I wonder if Cisco and Huawei will ever compete on a level playing field focused purely on product quality...

9. Painful Reality: Roughly 70 percent of small business owners have no exit strategy, according to Securian Financial Group. At some point, I suspect I'll have a lot more to say about that...

8. The Other Guys: Here's another reminder that the smartphone market is far more than an Apple vs. Samsung battle. Micromax, India's second-largest smartphone maker, is striving to launch a $500 million IPO in April or so. Key rivals include Samsung, Motorola and Xiaomi. India's smartphone market grew nearly 65 percent in September 2014, Reuters reported. 

7. Falling for Apple?: Apple Watch is expected to launch in early 2015. An exact date has yet to be disclosed. But some pundits think February 14 -- Valentine's Day -- would be the perfect launch date, since Apple Watch is positioned as a fashion statement as well as a piece of jewelry. More than a smart device, Apple Watch is worth watching because of WatchKit -- a software development kit that could spark the next App revolution. 

6. Hotel WiFi: Marriott says it only wants to block personal WiFi connections in conference and meeting halls -- not in hotel rooms. The more Marriott says the worse the hotel chain looks with its WiFi stance. In my mind, Marriott's stance is nothing more than an attempt to make Road Warriors and Conference Attendees pay big fees for hotel-supplied WiFi. Microsoft and Google have united to fight Marriott's stance. 

5. CES: The Internet of Things (IoT) dominates chatter at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Google's NEST division has already announced 13 new partnerships. More thoughts on IOT standards are now here.

4. Hurd His Own Words?: Oracle Co-CEO Mark Hurd says Digital Disruption is real. I certainly agree. And it's one reason why Oracle is so busy buying up cloud and SaaS vendors to offset pressure in the traditional on-premises IT hardware and software markets... In my mind, Digital Disruption certainly impacts entrenched digital companies...

3. Fresh Funding: iRule, which develops smartphone apps that network high-end home and corporate entertainment systems, has scored $2.5 million in new VC funding, according to Crain's Detroit Business. The company apparently won a Google Demo Day event in February 2014, which attracted the attention of AOL Founder Steve Case.

2. Euro Taxes: So you're an I.T. entrepreneur building a digital business in Europe. Manage your customer support extra carefully in the days and weeks ahead -- especially as customers discover new taxes for cloud storage and other services based on where they live.

1. Changes: If you're a loyal reader, you know our "Five Tech Observations" headline has evolved a few times in recent months. The latest change arrives today and it's designed to bridge the gap between our U.S. and international readers -- many of whom use different day/date naming conventions. Special thanks to one of our readers ("Ian"), who suggested the new headline approach plus some tweaks to our newsletter and Google+ page. Keep the feedback coming.

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