Raise A Glass: Pairing Technology Trends With Wine In The New Year

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The end of the year is a fitting time to consider future technology trends, and it’s a time for celebration. As we say goodbye to 2022 and welcome 2023, I thought it would be fun to pair wines with a select set of technology trends. So, let’s raise a glass, shall we?

Technology can be complex and intimidating. It’s ever-changing, the options seem endless and your work success may depend on it.

Wine can be complex and intimidating, too. And like technology, there are many types to choose from at various price points. Which bottle should you bring to your friend’s party, enjoy at home or select to toast a special occasion? How do you avoid looking like a fool for bringing the wrong wine? Perhaps most importantly, how do you avoid looking pretentious like the character Miles from the wine buddy film Sideways telling his friend Jack that he won’t drink merlot?

I love technology, and I love wine. I even won a wine-tasting competition at the Wine Museum in France, mainly because I bantered with the knowledgeable staff and remembered a few things I’d learned in a college course about wine—tuition money well spent!

5G: The Rosé Of Technology

So, what kind of wine is super trendy to talk about at parties—a wine that no one really understands—and is generally unsatisfying no matter how much you consume? The answer is rosé—it’s not red, it’s not white, and, like 5G, I keep asking, why do we need it?

The buildup of hype around 5G seems to be unending. 5G is elusive—there are many claims it’s out there, but it’s almost impossible to tell. Researchers say 5G will cover roughly 1.5 billion people by 2024, and mobile data consumption will hit more than 21 gigabytes monthly. But we have yet to see a use case in the real world that demands the high-bandwidth, low-latency promise of 5G.

I won’t do a deep dive into actual 5G technology because, let’s be honest, who hasn’t heard it already? By now, my dog knows the difference between 4G and 5G. If you’re waiting for your 5G devices to change your life and your next car to drive you around town, you have a wait ahead of you.

I upgraded my phone and can’t tell any difference, and I keep wondering, what is the problem this technology solves for the masses? I don’t intend to be too negative—there will be applications that require 5G; the first will probably happen on private 5G networks. But, like rosé, this isn’t something I need right now.

The Cybersecure Chardonnay Bet

For CIOs, colocation and data center operators, and IT channel partners, the cybersecurity of their IT infrastructure is always top-of-mind. Do a quick Google search, and you can see the number of customers affected by a breach and how much it can cost a company. Cyber risk topped the Allianz Risk Barometer for the first time in 2020, ranking No. 1.

Most cyberattacks come from well-known methods and can be defended against by doing the basics well. Apply the latest updates, don’t click on links from unknown emails, don’t respond to the guy from Nigeria who is trying to move money around bank accounts and more.

So, which wine is most like cybersecurity policies and technology? What kind is well-rounded, palatable for a broad set of people and has subtle complexity?

Chardonnay! A good chardonnay wine is velvety smooth but full-bodied at the same time. It is liked (or at least tolerated) by almost everyone, but it’s truly appreciated by the most sophisticated experts.

Next time you think of your cybersecurity policies, strive to be like a really good chardonnay.

The Metaverse: Drink No Cabernet Before Its Time

Metaverse technology is endlessly interesting (exhausting?) to consider. In the words of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “It’s really this kind of very magical sensation, and it’s extremely human, and in a lot of ways, it’s like the Holy Grail of the types of social experiences that a lot of people at Meta have wanted to build for a long time. And now the technologies are at a starting point where it’s possible.”

But even he acknowledged that a lot of the technology is still being developed. Experts say it will be years, even decades, before the metaverse will be realized and a part of daily life for most people.

How much of this is pure hype? I may be dating myself, but the last time I wore a VR headset, I ended up feeling seasick while standing on stable, land-locked ground.

The best wine analogy for the metaverse? Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernets get a lot of attention and a lot of hype. However, if you drink one that is too young, it’s really not palatable. But, like the metaverse, you may feel the urge to tell your friend, “This is great!” But it’s really a bitter and disappointing experience. However, wait enough time, and cabernet becomes robust, complex and exceptionally enjoyable.

The only problem? It’s difficult to know how long you need to let it mature. Just like the metaverse.

Raise A Glass And Share Your Perspective On Wine And Tech

I hope my enthusiasm for wine and technology have merged in a lighthearted, unpretentious way. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my views on wine or technology, but as 2022 comes to a close, I’d really enjoy hearing other people’s perspectives.

Will 5G live up to the hype? Convince me why the metaverse will be worth the wait. Tell me why rosé is underrated or why you hate chardonnay.

Or perhaps we could raise our glasses and share a perfectly aged cabernet while watching the adventures of Miles and Jack in Sideways.

This article was previously published in Forbes.

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