Cringely’s Predictions

Robert Cringely reviews his 2006 predictions and offers the following for 2007:

1) Apple releases iTV, a bunch of flat-panel MacTV’s that contain Mac Minis, etc. This is broken record and exactly what I predicted last year, but I still mean it.

4) No one DRM technology emerges as the winner and the RIAA begins to back off as it loses a few legal cases. Still, no Internet-only song wins a Grammy or is even recognized as existing.

10) The year the net crashed (in the USA). Video overwhelms the net and we all learn that the broadband ISPs have been selling us something they can’t really deliver.

Video for Business

WSJ writes:

Non-media companies, until recently, had been relative laggards in the video field. But that’s changing rapidly, driven less by the desire to entertain than to deliver corporate messages more effectively via their Web sites.

“Corporations are just beginning to see [online video] as a real option to help cut costs and communicate,” says Colin Dixon, a research analyst for Diffusion Group, a research firm. “Just from last year to this year, there’s been a significant jump.”

The rise partly reflects the work of small companies such as the FeedRoom Inc., Reflect Systems Inc. and VitalStream Inc., which offer services and technology that make it easier for companies to hop on the online-video bandwagon.

Daylife

Jeff Jarvis writes about a new news aggregation site that he is involved in: “The service gathers, analyzes, and organizes the news. That analysis will enable us to show news from a high altitude whos covering what, where but also, even more important, it enables you to see the connections in stories among people and topics. Making those connections is what news is all about. Because it is a platform, it helps news sites put their own news in context and present the world of news to readers which is what readers demand. And because it is a platform, Daylife helps news organizations distribute their relevant headlines and links into the tentacles of the web. We think this is a new way to experience the news, distribute news, and make connections in the news.”

RSS and Web Apps

Jeremy Wagstaff looks ahead:

RSS…will just be the way for us to join something, whether it’s a newsletter, a stock ticker service or a MySpace group calendar. We’ll stop being unsure about whether the letters stand for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication and realize it really stands for Really Simple, Stupid. Having struggled for the past few years (it’s been around since at least 1999) to get my friends excited about RSS, this will be something of a relief.

Web 2.0 will have another impact: The rise of software that resides online — so-called Web Applications — will blur the distinction between what is on your computer and what isn’t. You’ll get used to the idea, too, of your data sitting somewhere other than your hard drive.

The coming year will show that Web 2.0 is really all about breaking down barriers by making it easier to do stuff, and to collaborate with other people doing stuff.

TECH TALK: 2007 Tech Trends: 2006 Review

Let us begin with a review of the 2006 Tech Trends I had mentioned at the start of 2006. Here are the eleven that I discussed:

1. The Four Screens in our life are being transformed.
2. The Internet is becoming computings centre.
3. Mobiles are becoming the next platform.
4. The digital home is the next big technology battleground.
5. Search is at the heart of the rise of online advertising.
6. Networks are becoming higher speed and ubiquitous.
7. Peer production and syndication are at the heart of the new Web.
8. Multimedia on the Web is coming into its own.
9. Voice calls are becoming free.
10. Software-as-a-service is happening.
11. Emerging markets are where the action is.

I’ll start by doing a quick review of each of these (what I wrote last January for each of these trends), and then look ahead to 2007.

1. The Four Screens in our life are being transformed. Television is becoming on-demand and high-definition. Computing is becoming centralised, with the computer screen becoming a multimedia window not just to whats on the local network but the Internet. The big screen (in movie theatres) is becoming digital and the primary way entertainment is being consumed in countries like India with the proliferation of multiplexes. The mobile screen is becoming colourful, media-rich, and a gateway to the Web. It is these four screens around which our life and work revolves. The changes in whats behind these screens is perhaps the most important trend that we are seeing around us.

Update: This is pretty much on track. The Venice Project promises to radically transform television viewing on the computer, even as the likes of YouTube have made accessing video (copyrighted and user-generated) much easier. In India, CAS and DTH are making TV viewing much more interactive. Mobiles are becoming more like multimedia computers. Multiplexes are transforming movie viewing in theatres across India.

2. The Internet is becoming computings centre. The Internet has gone through the hype circle and it is now clear that our current and future life revolves around it. It is not that the desktops are becoming less powerful. It is just that the Internets true potential is now coming to the fore at the centre of our digital and connected lives. From mail to search, from writing to reading, from IMing to (social) networking, the Internet is now at the centre of our lives. In part, it is because the physical networks have become faster and more reliable. At the same time, there has been, over the past couple years, a proliferation of useful services which are starting to make a big difference. Rich maps, blogs and podcasts are just a few examples. As APIs start becoming available to databases and platforms, we are going to see a lot more innovation which will embed the Internet even more into our daily life.

Update: This is also happening. India is now seeing the real rise of the Internet. Internationally, video and social networking have defined the year in the Internet. Web 2.0 sites and mashups are helping make the Internet an integral part of our daily lives. More and more of our data is now moving to the cloud so that we can access it from multiple devices.

Tomorrow: 2006 Review (continued)