It is always exciting to look back at significant landmarks in the last 12 months. We tend to look at the predicted trends we made for this year, and amazingly, many of the trends actually came to fruition – sort of. Here are our highlights:
Mobile Domination & Broadband Deployment
As expected, 2013 was the year mobile became king. More people are now using mobile devices than PCs to access the Internet. The number of mobile broadband connections worldwide rose to 2.1 billion in 2013, nearly three times the total of fixed-line subscriptions. However, broadband penetration is still limited in many parts of Africa and Latin America.
Government Surveillance & Civil Liberties
Cybersecurity and protection of online human rights continued to be a big issue this year in the least expected way. ”State-related threats will increase and make the headlines,” a 2012 McAfee report says. “Suspicions about government-sponsored attacks will grow.” While there were no attacks, per se, former NSA contractor Ed Snowden revealed to the world that the US government was pretty much spying on everyone. The leak of nearly 200,000 classified documents has fueled a larger discussion about civil liberties, privacy rights and protection of online identities.
Tech Entrepreneurship & Employment
This year’s GWA campaign was focused on making the digital economy more accessible to all. We received great responses from you guys about the importance of making the digital marketplace better. Check out a year’s worth of GWA articles on the subject, and look out for our new book on this topic on 6 January 2014!
Life’s Basic Necessities & Improving Infrastructure
We also spent a great deal of time discussing the right to basic life necessities. It is great to talk about all the fabulous new tech gadgets, but what if you don’t have regular electricity to power them? We specifically looked at why some people have to give up food to have access to a usable mobile phone or whether cyber redlining is happening in Africa. President Obama launched the Power Africa initiative this year, but there were already many exciting geothermal projects popping up in Kenya beforehand.
Environmental concerns continued to dominate tech discussions this year. We began the year with the release of our book Recharge E-waste and how entrepreneurs are finding creative ways to deal with the global electronic waste problem. We also revisited Rio + 20 plus one year, and began the discussions about the sustainable web.
Conferences, Seminars, Panel Discussions, Webinars etc…
We did a lot of traveling this year to conferences. We spent a lot of time in Washington, DC at the Tech@State conference on Internet Freedom, Global Diaspora Forum, the World Bank’s Citizen Engagement conference and the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Summit. We also made our yearly venture to UN Week events and Telecom World in Bangkok.
All kinds of great stuff happening in the GWA offices! Earlier this year, we launched Global Wire Books, our digital publishing imprint. We also started two new features on our blog, Ask Global Wire Associates and An In-Depth Look. In 2014, you will see drastic changes to our website and other great stuff so we can better serve our clients.
See you in the new year!
Talia, Marjane, Philip and Maria