Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Look Back

At the end of each year it has been my custom to take a look into the year ahead and highlight what I feel will be some major developments in the digital world. Any prediction, be it the weather for the next day or the success on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium is, at best, a dangerous practice. Predictions about the digital world are no exception. So before looking ahead to next year, let’s see how I did with my crystal ball this year.

One of my major predictions had to do with the increase in “cloud computing” for both individuals and businesses. I said that more and more of our information, both public and personal, would 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.

For sure that has happened. Apple’s iCloud service is absolutely integral to several applications running on the iPhone and iPad. The new Kindle Fire, as well as the original Kindle models, all have cloud support hosted by The music we hear, the movies we watch and even the money we make are being stored in the cloud.

I predicted an increase in online access to movies and TV programs and a trending away from traditional cable and satellite services. Cable subscriptions are down especially among the younger more digitally aware generation. Even TV ownership numbers among the 20-something generation is flagging as they watch TV on their iPads and other tablets. This past year also saw missteps by NetFlix as they struggled with changing their company from a “snail mail” based DVD library to a delivery system using broadband Internet.

While the smart phone has not yet morphed into an electronic wallet as I had predicted, other non-traditional retailing applications have increased. For example, there is an increased use of electronic coupons. Price comparison apps for smart phones are commonplace.

So all in all my predictions were close. Next week I will go out on a limb and peer into 2012.

A reminder… In January I will be offering “A Digital Survivor’s Guide” at the Harrison Library. This 2-part presentation covers new technologies, services and devices. Part 1: Monday, January 16 and Part 2: Monday, January 23. Both run from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Please register in advance for both sessions. Call (513) 369-4442 or email

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