Personal Society & Culture Technology

2008 technology predictions — in review

With 2009 just around the corner, let’s look back at my 2008 technology predictions in review, to see what happened, and just as important, what didn’t…

With 2009 just around the corner, let’s look back at my 2008 technology predictions in review, to see what happened, and just as important, what didn’t…

As anyone who’s been around this neck of the web long enough will know, I like to make predictions. I might not always be right, but I paint some very colourful pictures all the same.

Back in December 2007, I glanced forward and made a few technology predictions:

“Imagine a room where the entire surface of each wall is a screen. Imagine then your home entertainment linking scenes to moods. In preparation for a small gathering of friends for a house party, you would render each wall as a night scape city scene — sky scrapers standing tall above your guests, as the soft music intermingles with the sound of quiet chattering and the tinkling of glasses.”

That didn’t work out exactly as I’d imagined, but I still stand by the concept. However, academia and high-end visualizers seem very interested in the video room concept. So it’s only a matter of time before such technologies find a home in our front rooms.

As for green gadgets, that’s yet to be realized, either:

“Right now, all of the technology is in place — used by some electric shavers, of all things — so inductive charging could happen right away.”

But it is inevitable that a serious and concerted effort is required by all. I’m certain of this. In lieu of an impending gadget energy crisis, I’ve devised my own gadget energy manifesto, laying down a few simple rules for ensuring our gadgets work as efficiently and as cleanly as possible.

The momentum is there, as is the will, to transform the web itself into a social network:

“First of all, Social Networks need to become portable and secure. Secondly, we need a more fine-grained way of determining the value of the people we meet. Calling everyone we meet on-line a ‘friend’ just isn’t good enough. We need to be able to say more about those people.”

However, while the guys behind OpenID were mostly treading water, Facebook are hard at work becoming the de facto mobile profile system:

“What makes [Facebook] Connect so special, is that there is a very real possibility that it could beat competing single sign-on and data share platforms like OpenID, Google Friend Connect, and Windows Live ID.”

Put in simpler terms, once Facebook Connect is integrated into a website or a blog, you can sign-in, do what you have to do (comment on or review an article, for example) and you take those activities with you, everywhere you go.

Also, all of your friends get to see what you’ve been up to, and you also get to see what they’ve been up to. It’s not like Facebook are on their own, either; Google Friend Connect offers a very similar set of options by way of widgets you install on your blog or website. But my money’s on Facebook making this work, not Google. Let’s face it, Google are clueless when it comes to social media, and social networking is still unknown territory to them.

Nintendo and their ground-breaking Wii caught everyone out, none more so than Sony and Microsoft:

“It’s too late for the PlayStation and the Xbox this season, but expect to see those consoles preview their own take on interactive games and similar wands and joy pads in 2008.”

I don’t see how either Sony or Microsoft (especially Microsoft) could argue the Wii is a product for a demographic of people that’s not core to them. So their tardiness is either symptomatic of ineptitude, or they believe their strategies will win over the Wii, which they may think is just a fad. 2008 was their chance to respond quickly and resolutely.

So ultimately, I told an interesting and noble tale, one who’s many players and various meandering threads have yet to come to either a close or fruition. Who knows, maybe 2009 will be the end to my beginnings?

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.