Well 2010 was certainly an eye opening ride for me, moving between institutions not of my own will and looking to a future that may or may not include academia. But for all that, it has provided me with yet another way of looking at technology and the way that it is used to educate us and help us tell our stories. So without too much extra reflection, here are my points from last year:
- Augmented Reality – phones and other GPS enabled devices will add value to the world by being able to overlay data that incorporates real time updates, static content and, of course, social data.
- Increased power of mobile – From payments (PayPal has apps out there now), to creation and management, increasingly you’ll have to be able to do it all mobile.
- Privacy erosion – we’ll see just how fleeting privacy is, anything that gets transmitted is public, period. We should see much more this coming year, how and why this is the case. But at the same time, the value of the crowd being able to take a peek at what you do will gain value.
- Decline of traditional transmission – I think (and hope) that cablecos will realize that PVR is the first step in enabling people to get content the way that they want – and that way is file based. I don’t know if the cablecos are going to make this move or if the content creators are, but it’s certainly coming. Fast pipes, big drives and cheap streamers make it very easy to set up one’s home to be able to download last night’s episode of whatever and watch it at a more reasonable time. Apple has some of this going through iTunes, but the system is overly restrictive and I don’t think people like the idea of paying for things twice.
- Casual Gaming will explode – games on Facebook, Twitter, phones are going to grow and traditional games are going to stagnate… unless they have some social element.
- Chrome – a non phone web based OS is going to make ripples, especially for those many billions out there who only really surf and turf on their machines. For those who need to handle media files, traditional machines will still be there, but the appeal of the “global roaming profile” will certainly appeal to many.
- Short URLs – There is a reason why Google and Facebook have got into the game. I think brands are going to go to these to show approval or ownership.
So how did I do?
- Augmented reality – we are certainly seeing what the increase in GPS capable devices has provided. The boom of location based services, while not really “augmented”, is certainly an enhancement.
- Increased power of mobile – well mobile payment is increasing and the sudden rise of the iPad shows that mobile is certainly something people were waiting for, even if they didn’t know it or know where/how it would fit in their digital life
- Privacy erosion - Facebook anyone? Check this Google News link.
- Decline of traditional transmission – well TV and terrestrial radio didn’t die out, but YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Boxee and many more certainly went main stream.
- Casual gaming – Hear about Zynga? I doubt Google would have bought in if it wasn’t going somewhere.
- Chrome – well I missed on that one, ChromeOS test platforms only now started shipping.
- Short URLs - bit.ly and bit.ly Pro anyone – I think I got this one on the mark.
So what are my thoughts for 2011?
- More mobile – who really cares what the latest computer is? Everyone is buzzing about phones. Between the fast revisions, portability and dropping price, the promise of capable computing in your pocket (as opposed to the office/den) is appealing to everyone
- Social everything – we’ve seen how powerful Facebook has become, and it’s not going to weaken anytime in the future. There might be some ripples with Diaspora or other new services, but if they don’t use existing services as a rooting point, they are not going anywhere. To make change, you’ll have to convince a planet wide mob.
- Bandwidth battles – net neutrality will come to a head again and there is going to be more available, but the providers are going to find more ways to charge for it
- Text will still rule – even though video and audio will be easier to capture and transmit, people will still post and communicate using letters.
- Education might actually get the hint that social and mobile compute is something that should be given consideration – well I can hope
So not as many this year as in previous years, but things are moving through a bit of a bottleneck right now and maybe in 2011 something will blow things open, or we see things crystallize in the nxt 8-13 months and then some real changes arrive in 2012.
This could be an interesting development (passed along through a colleague in the office), should it ever come to pass. The use of the unused digital spectrum to transmit data to personal devices could be a great way for the US to move forward on Obama’s idea of getting the entire country online ASAP. This could also spell the end of LTE and WiMax, which depending on how you look at things is going to be good or bad – but my money is on some cellular system or protocol being included in these White Space ideas to ensure that people don’t all have to upgrade their phones at the same time. Speaking of phones, this might be the end of the POTS landline as well…
A hat tip to John for pointing this out to me again – I had spotted it on Digg many moons ago, but only recently have I been able to take a look. Wirenode allows you to take the RSS feed from your current site and then “mobilize it”, that is to say “WAP – ify” it. While this is useful for keeping things light weight, it seems to be losing utility as the browsers on phones are getting more capable all the time. But it is at least a few years before all the WAP phones out there are upgraded to more capable devices, so in the mean time, this certainly seems useful. And as an aside, it seems that the WAP browser is a favorite of the tel-cos as they can be controlled with some ease – so if you want to reach all those people with WAP only browsing, this is certainly the way to do it.
I haven’t .mobi-fied my site yet, but when and if I do, I’ll certainly post about it.
This is one of the few last posts of the year as I take a bit of a break and as has become tradition, here are my predictions for the coming year and a review from what I said last year. So here we go.
- Social Systems
I think that this coming year we are going to see a more rounded implementation of social networking and we’ll find it in more than one part of our lives. Facebook’s Beacon program showed where the line was as they assumed that personal information actually was their’s to do with totally as they pleased. Granted, it’s in the fine print when you sign up, but between the range of privacy laws and common sense, one would assume that Facebook and others would not take their most valuable resource for granted. That resource is of course the mass of volunteered metadata that users attach to their user name. If this isn’t respected, people are going to stop providing it. Many people already have. People will hopefully also start asking real questions about what apps do with your personal data, what happens to that data when you remove an app and what is with being able to receive messages from apps that you haven’t installed and then find that there are messages waiting for you there (eg. Superwall).
I think there is also going to be a buyout of some of the smaller networks, or those networks will simply wither because there isn’t a critical mass of individuals subscribed. My guess is that Google, MS, Yahoo, Facebook and MySpace will suck up other systems like Ning and Spock. Since MS and FB already have a relationship, I think this will get closer, or FB will be a common ground where the search engines battle for advertising. Fox owning MySpace certainly helps it stick around, so I don’t have an idea how the search engines will approach it, or if MySpace will even look to the engines for clicks.
Speaking of search, social searching systems will likely become much more common. Del.icio.us and other social content sharing systems will likely become more important as the companies that want to take your money online start looking for ways to ensure their add dollars hit the eyes of only those who have a hope of caring about their product.
- Technology integration failingJust as there has been a massive push to integrate technology into the K-12 curriculum, it seems that isn’t going to work out as politicians have planned. There are an enormous number of kids coming up into the university system who are not actually computer literate – in being able to use the computer as a whole – but only application literate (Word, PPT, IE/FF). Seeing this, there should be an examination of what really needs to be taught as computer skills. Are we trying to teach everything overly generally?
- Fractionation of technology useJust as all the advances in technology have made it easier to get all manner of content created, creating this content well however has become a challenge as the tools don’t just make things magically. It takes some skill, effort and patience, something that many people aren’t willing to invest. So this is going to fractionate the use of technology again as to make really good content, the tools are getting ever more complicated.
- HD WarsIn the theme of the fractionation of technology, the HD wars are going to leave heaping mounds of spent coin and plastic. People are not willing to go through the VHS/Beta thing again. If there is going to be a winner, I’ll predict it’s going to be Blu-Ray. PS3 will slowly come down in price to be only slightly higher than a stand alone player, at which point, the second wave of early adopters will start to pick it up as a player first and a console second. Without a “vector”, I don’t think HD DVD will have as good a chance. I also know that combo discs are not going to get anywhere as it’s going to cost whoever makes them a fortune just to get both logos on one disc (assuming that is even allowed by the legal teams).
- Net neutralityThis is certainly going to heat up as there are more ways than ever to get online and the ability to “control the pipes” is such an abhorrent idea to users that many would likely rebel. But wait, the free bastion that is the ‘net is no longer free and all the democratization that came from blogging and other technologies in terms of being able to put forward your own voice will be in jeopardy if ISPs and the like are allowed to shape traffic and modify content “in stream”. Well then, encrypt the data you say? Well they will just block that as well? What about the banks? Well, I think that is where the ISPs will be forced to show their hand. I doubt that many banks would be willing to lose their online banking services because customers can’t use encrypted connections. Of course, this is just an idea and I have no idea if it is actually something that would ever come to pass should the neutrality of the net be compromised.
- BloggingOn the topic of free speech, I think we’ll certainly see blogs in the news again with another US election, an election in Alberta and perhaps nationally as well. But I think there will be a shift in the type of blogs that are considered relevant. Everyone has a blog now because they are cool, so there are going to be many to choose from. The trick will be to find the wheat. This will be an exercise that will also reveal any neutrality issues as there will be rather obvious changes to a message if traffic is being shaped or content is being modified. Now, on the NN side, it might end up just being traffic, but the free nature of commenting and participation online will keep showing why it is important to keep all data equal.
- Canadian mobility ratesIt’s a pipe dream, but between the stronger dollar and the spectrum auction, I can certainly see there being significant changes to the wireless landscape in Canada. Not anything that will make it cost effective to use in schools (darn last year), but enough to make mobile computing something that is “average joe” stuff.
- Casual gaming and alternative interface explosionThe Wii is still selling out, that tells you something. People are getting the new interface and I think that these alternative interface games are just going to take off and with them, the casual game – the ones that are on phones and other ultra portable devices. We’ve already seen this happen, but I think it’s going to move into the public eye more this year and not just in the eyes of teens and phone geeks. – and yes, I finally have a Wii and GH3
Now from last year, what happened in terms of what I said?
- The Wii is the top console
- Living room computing is getting closer (the Apple TV almost ran and Media Center with the PS3 are starts again)
- Mobile computing has boomed, but not ultramobile. The price of laptops has crashed and with the arrival of the XO, they are at commodity prices.
- There was a boom in web based apps
- Dirt cheap cell service did not arrive
- The spec race seems to have died in computers at least – you don’t hear the processor specs as loudly in ads anymore, noe it’s all about how big the hard drive is. Cameras are still having a bit of a race, but not in MP as much as color depth.
- The semantic web hasn’t arrived, but there is some inkling of it with the creation of mountains of metadata with the boom of social networking.
That’s all for this year deep post wise. The last post of the year will be the picture of the week
It seems that in the US, Google is getting ready to get into the wireless biz, If it happens, it’s going to blur the lines between technology and communication companies, something that in the States was prevented in the ’50s by a consent degree and likely was enacted in a similar manner in Canada. But if you think about it, Apple is kinda doing that already with it’s end to end control of many media and delivery (well, if not Apple, certainly his Steveness). But in Canada, I wonder if Google isn’t interested in our auction as well. If so, that could really make some changes on the Canadian wireless scene, certainly that will make the current wireless crowd nervous.
Well it seems that iPhone is problematic in Canada for two reasons. First, another company has the copyright on the name and second, there is no deal with Rogers yet. Apple doesn’t even have the domain.
It seems that everyone who bet on “iname” is laughing now, but it begs the question of reviewing the copyright process now that trademarks and associated terms can become global in very short order. But even though it should happen, I don’t think it ever will as that level of agreement would take an amazing amount of openness for a system that was designed to be closed.
Well, it looks like the plan that Google has for their phone project is more about creating the OS to rival MS or Palm and less about the hardware. The phone is certainly going to make for an interesting environment for Google. Without it’s own network, it’s going to have to get “into bed” with a carrier, who will want something and are infamous for closed systems. Google wants to organize and arguably liberate information, but sell ads as well. Google’s are not divergent goals, but they can certainly conflict at times for some people and places. But throw in the phone company and you might have a situation that will make the Apple/AT&T thing look like a dream.
eLearning, mLearning and now eTeaching, all these terms are coming around again and again and to me they are all starting to look like something from my grad studies – Computer Mediated Communication.
What happens on either end of the pipe, and regardless of the technology that the pipe is made of, if there is a chip and a D/A converter, it’s all CMC.
OLD pulled out a story a couple of weeks ago on eTeaching, something that is taking some press in Nigeria and this morning I found a story about how Ericsson, together with the UN Millennial Villages Program and Earth Institute at New York’s Columbia University are getting mobile phone and data access to poor communities in Africa. Together both these stories suggest one thing. That to make e anything effective, there must be an understanding (and use) of the media at either end. The latter story reminds us that voice is still the killer app and that eTeaching is really the flip side of eLearning – both sides must understand what must be done. But in order to get the eTeaching ideas of video conferencing and the like really to take off for the receivers in places like Africa (these poor villages) must first get the basics into their daily life – this is where the phone comes in.
With mobile broadband and voice, connected learning is really going to be something that can be made to happen as eteaching and learning and the like all come together, now if we can only make that happen here (check out why and why not Web2.0 in the class), North Atlantic countries might actually be able to provide a role model for these African villages.
According to this story, a small cell phone import company in Southren Alberta, Puremobile, will be offering unlocked iPhones on Rogers or Fido networks.
Well according to Gizmondo. The one thing I wonder about is how it will be able to fit into the advertising based profit model for Google. I wonder if this might be more in line with it’s idea of providing access to information.