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Forecasts for 1986: Your Hi-Tech Future Will Include More Say, More Pay, More Gray.

In our January issue each (now for the 22nd consecutive time), Communciations News has offered its readers a glimpse into the future in the hope that the information presented would assist then in doing their jobs better--and easier. These annual exercises have taken several forms, from staff-written analyses to external crystal-balling by experts--sometimes users, often researchers, occasionally consultants, and even vendors.

Obviously, if any of these contributors could foretell the future with certainty, their own futures would be totally secure. Yet all of the prophets called upon by CN over the past two decades have had to continue to work for a living just as you do, so their visions have not been unclouded. On the other hand, most everyone in every endeavor needs to look to their field's gurus for guidance.

This year, we've turned to some of the market-research and study firms that have established respectable track records in this field to help guide our readers through the maze that constitutes today's communications industry (see chart). And contrary to their normal forte (providing long-range forecasts that are of marginal value to the near-term decision-maker), we challenged them to call the shots for the immediate tomorrow, to aid communications managers in making choices today.

We wanted to know what your most-important concerns should be over the next 12 months. That is, what's most likely to impact you on the job? The impact might come from a new technology, a product advancement, a service pricing or a government regulation. As you'll read, each of our contributors sees the keys to the coming year somewhat differently.

As for us, we offer a small dbut perhaps meaningful observation: AT&T and the regional Bell operating companies have enjoyed a profitable two-year period since their breakup. Some of those profits came at the expense of their employees, whose pre-divestiture contract expire August 6. In negotiations, one might expect these personnel to argue for a bigger piece of the pie while the companies fight to keep their labor costs down in today's highly competitive environment. This could produce a classic rock-and-a-hard-place situation, resulting in a strike. Communications managers considering telco installations this year might be well advised to get their orders in early. That's our opinion.

What follows are the varied and valuable opinions of a number of our industry's notable research and study firms (in the interest of fairness and impartiality, we present them in reverse alphabetical order): the Yankee Group, Boston; Venture Development Corporation, Natick, Massachusetts; Newton-Evans Research, Ellicott City, Maryland; International Data Corporation, McLean, Virginia; and Input, Mountain View, California.
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Communications News
Date:Jan 1, 1986
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