Our five-year tech predictions – how accurate were we?

Blog Author: Aaron Smith | April 18th, 2018

In 2012 we made a time capsule. We put in 15 tech predictions, contributed by staff members at the time, and locked the vault. In late 2017 we opened the vault to see how accurate our predictions had been. Ranging from the wild and wonderful, to the scarily accurate, the transitional (it’s pretty much happening just not quite there yet) and the aspirational, here are the predictions … and the current day results.

  1. All but real power users are now using mobile devices with some form of wireless docking station for display on larger screens – i.e. a mobile phone is their only device – Transitional 

    This is about two years ahead of time. Thanks (largely) to the rise of cloud services, there is a definite shift in workloads which means that traditional laptops and desktops now have a real alternative. We can now dock a lot of mobile devices and we are seeing the beginning of linking these onto single screens. But no double screens as yet. Mobile phone or tablet as your only device is a little way off yet.And, we expect that design and analytical roles in particular will require high end systems for quite some time.

  2. We finally see a breakthrough in battery technology that allows devices to run for days – Aspirational 

    Oh we wish. Battery power has improved hugely but devices have got more power hungry. We predict the two will continue to match each other for a while yet. The development of plug-in devices that expand ‘unplugged’ power (e.g. where the CD drive used to go) has made some steps towards this goal, but such things are accessories rather than dedicated battery life extenders.

  3. 10gbps networking is the standard for network installations – Transitional 

    Getting close! 1gbps is still standard but we are definitely starting to prefer 10gbps wherever possible and the demand for faster internal communications will accelerate this demand all over.

  4. Email will all be in the cloud – Exchange servers will be gone – Transitional 

    This one couldn’t be more on trend if it tried. Transition to cloud is probably the biggest business transformation happening right now and Office 365 is making it a reality for more organisations every day. We estimate around 40% of businesses are now using Office 365 and that number is fast climbing.

  5. Apple own everything, including the US Government who they bailed out – Wild and wonderful? Or is it transitional? 

    We love this one. It’s quirky and bold and while we’re not quite there yet, Apple’s bid for world domination hasn’t abated either so you never know what the next five years might bring.Apple is already worth more than 1 Trillion US dollars in value. What we may see is Apple becoming a financial services company with Apple Pay and the technology to send money via messages (as is already happening in Asia with WeChat).

  6. Facebook has completely gone out of fashion and Twitter has been banned by the Political Correctness Policing Division – Scarily accurate wild and wonderful 

    Of course this is tongue in cheek but it’s actually an amazing prediction. Young people are basically allergic to Facebook (it’s the platform their parents use, yuck). It will be interesting to watch Facebook evolve it’s IDaaS offering – as a lot of companies use Facebook as a way for people to connect to their service.As for Twitter, when you look at the bust-ups and take-downs that happen on here on a daily basis this prediction isn’t that far from the truth. And Donald Trump isn’t done with his presidency yet. Who knows how many ways he will find to explode Twitter in the next few years.

  7. Most people will be working flexible hours and many offices decentralised with staff working from home. It is just too expensive to run offices and nobody can afford petrol to get there – Transitional 

    This is an interesting one. Decentralised work situations, flexible hours and locations are certainly a lot more common. If current population growth predictions are anything to go by this will only increase, particularly in big cities, as individuals and businesses find ways to avoid the mania of peak hour congestion – just look at your local café, it’s already likely to be the meeting room of many. However, an actual office space is still often the preferred option. As we have more and more mobile and remote capacity it seems to heighten the value of in-person connection – at least for part of the working day or week.

  8. Air travel is only for the rich and famous, but video conferencing has been superseded by augmented reality and hologram conferencing (AugVision) in such a big way that nobody feels the need to travel for meetings – Wild and wonderful and scarily accurate 

    The video conferencing part of this prediction is bang on. It has cut down a lot of unnecessary travel and is used more and more. As for air travel being out of reach for ordinary people, efficiencies gained with technology is still keeping it accessible to many of us. Whether this changes may depend on how governments and corporations manage energy resources over the next five years and beyond.

  9. There’s no more ‘mouse’ – Transitional 

    We’re certainly seeing much less use of a traditional mouse, particularly with laptop users, but it is still out there. One area where the mouse is faster going the way of the dodo is the graphics industry where the stylus, touch screen and flat pad approach is starting to dominate.

  10. Voice input will be in all devices – Scarily accurate 

    This one is pretty much in place. Most devices have some sort of voice input. Many of us have adjusted to Siri, Cortana, Alexa or the Google Assistant being part of our daily lives. Navigating is nearly done solely via robots and geo-location and an increasing number of other applications / devices have voice input now as well. Office 365 is just one example – for instance, instruct your computer to find a meeting time that suits two people and it will do it for you.

  11. Majority of software programs will be sold as services – Scarily accurate 

    Along with the transition to cloud, this is the other digital transformation that is well and truly here to stay. There has been a seismic shift away from up front purchases to solutions like Office 365. From small business through to huge corporations, it’s all about customised consumption of SaaS rather than the old buy and install.

  12. Fridges will be fully integrated to allow ordering online via the door – Transitional 

    Some fridges have this function and we expect it will continue to increase. It is still a 1st generation solution and it hasn’t had the take-up some people may have predicted but we are yet to see integrations with Woolies / Coles/ Aldi here in Australia. Watch this space!

  13. Desktops will no longer be sold. We will ONLY have notebooks and tablets – Transitional 

    A lot of businesses are moving in this direction. There may be a few desktops in an organisation for particular functions or roles but many staff are working from laptops and other devices. We are even seeing the development of a full-size graphics card that can be connected to laptops. It is early days yet but we expect that the eGPU standard and hardware will be out in bigger retail numbers this year.

  14. We will finally see the bendable OLED screens become mainstream and will end up being the new tablet. This technology will also see the new mobile phone that you can wear on your wrist as a ‘wrap around’ – Just about! 

    This is practically a reality. With Apple watches, Samsung curved edge mobiles and LG’s 65” rollable display prototype, this space is fast evolving.

  15. Strange that when the mobile first came out it was a brick! Then the push was on to make it smaller, now we are starting to go larger again with the Samsung note. I think that we find that this will settle down – Scarily accurate 

    This couldn’t have been a more accurate narrative of the Goldilocks mobile phone journey. They did go too small, then too big, and now seem to be just about right. Rather than phones getting big again, that function has been taken over by tablets and surfaces.

 

Well that was fun! We really enjoyed releasing these predictions from the vault. If we look ahead to 2023 what might we imagine? If you have any past predictions that have come true or current ones for the future we’d love to hear them.

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