Sunday, January 02, 2011

Looking Ahead

As has been my custom for the last few years, I am going to take a look into the year ahead and highlight what I feel will be some major developments in the digital world. My track record of being correct is running at about 75%. My confidence level for the predictions for 2011 is about at that level.

The New Year will be increasingly cloudy. Jim Cantore and his Weather Channel colleagues can rest easy since these clouds will not be meteorological but digital. Look for more and more of our information, both public and personal, to be stored on and retrieved from large centrally located cloud servers. Our personal calendars, contact lists, correspondence, medical history, entertainment and embarrassing party videos will reside not on our personal computer’s hard drive, but on drives shared by our neighbors.

You need only drive down to New Haven Road to see first hand evidence of changes in the way we will obtain movies for viewing at home. Hollywood Video has been closed for several months. Blockbuster has announced the immediate closing of several hundred stores in the US and Canada and more are predicted to be shuttered. The closings have little to do with any decrease in our collective appetite for watching movies. In fact, Nielsen will tell you that we are spending more time watching movies and DVR programming than ever. The change will be in the way we access the titles.

2011 will see the continued expansion of Internet bandwidth allowing for more of us to easily download full length HD movies to our computer or Internet-ready flat screen TV. Companies like Blockbuster and Netflix will move away from the old distribution model of handling hard copies of DVDs. Finding a Blockbuster store or kiosk will be akin to searching for a phone booth and Netflix’s use of the post office will conjure thoughts of the pony express.

The cloud will provide for more powerful and useful wireless devices. The smart phone has already morphed into a powerful computer; book stores and libraries will continue to embrace the eReader phenomenon. After almost ten years of commercial success in Europe and the Far East, look for your mobile phone to serve as an electronic wallet. Press a code on your phone and your meal at Market Street Grille is paid for complete with tip.

Look for more newspapers and magazines to make the transition from paper and ink to emedia. Full editions will be available on a variety of platforms like the iPad and various types of eReaders.

On the hardware side, I look for 3D TVs to continue to move slowly off retailer’s shelves. 3D games however will grow in popularity as they allow for a more realistic personal connection to the action on the screen.


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