Predicting 2011 in 2007 – Just for fun

Five years ago in 2007 when I was Head of New Media in BBC NI,  I made this presentation with predictions for this year to radio production staff who I was trying to interest in the future potential of the internet.
As predictions, they are pretty crap – but there are a few thoughts that have come to pass.  This was pre-Facebook and Twitter, so I’m quite happy about the final two lines:
The strength of the BBC – especially in Northern Ireland – will be a strong relationship with the audience and a dialogue.

Communication is two way – and BBC will be part of a two-way with the audience. The technology is just “stuff”; the conversation is the brand.
The line before is wrong, but probably only by a few years.
Furthermore, there was no iPlayer.  Work had begun, but we had Radio Player (I’m told it wasn’t much more than a PC under someone’s desk in BH London).
Anyway – I offer it up for the gags, not the science.  This is the script (sadly I can’t find the amusing images).

11 January 2011 – 1 November 2011 | BBC Northern Ireland |A History from the Future

“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.”
Niels Bohr (1885 – 1962)
“Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vaccuum tubes and perhaps weigh 1.5 tons.”
Popular Mechanics, March 1949
“In retrospect – we would have done it differently.”
Davy Sims 1 January 2011
Futurology rarely works out to be as accurate as “retrospectology”, but is still necessary to plan what we want to be doing when ever we get there – wherever there might be.
In five years time there will be several interesting digital days – 1/1/11, 10/1/11, 11/1/11, 1/10/11, 10/10/11, 1/11/11 and to end it all 11/11/11 – the “On” day.
(Want to know more? Look at your electric kettle, but don’t ask me for a technical answer. The secret of digital communication is not how it works – but how you can use it.)
This short paper is high on thoughts, middle on history and low on prophesy. All that can be said for sure is if the Planet is still around there will be an 11/11/11.
Here’s what we will be doing between 10 January and 11 November that year.
(Image Missing) Columbia University 1945 – the world’s Biggest Computer

A Short History of Speed

What’s speed got to do with it? Simple; Faster = More
Date Normal Domestic Speed Internet and Web Content
1991 —— 14k
(slooooooow) ——Text (America on Line begins)
1996 —— 28k moving to 56k
(we think it’s faster but it’s still slooooow) —- Above +, good quality audio, good quality images,animated images
streamed audio, streamed video (Navigator 2 years old – Windows 95 replacing older operating systems)
2001 512k  +(cable)
Above +, High quality video, High quality audio, File sharing, Telephony begins
2006 2meg standard but working toward 8meg (i.e. 640 times faster than 1991) and what is becoming important is the “upload” speed Above+
Better file sharing
Downloading video and audio
Full blown Telephony (Skype)
Watching programmes broadcast in other countries, but not in UK.
2011 24meg (more than 2,000 times faster than 20 years earlier) HDTV, real time full screen interaction, download what you want now – and watch it now, Who needs TV sets? Who needs a licence? Audience charged by “k” of consumption – radio and TV
And that is just domestic PCs!!!!

A quick word about storage –

In 1995 the average domestic PC had 1 gig memory. Today that amount of memory can be found on a stick 2g for £75. TV programmes (and especially HDTV programmes) require lots of storage. But memory is cheap now and cheaper in the future. Whether programmes are held on servers, or delivered to the domestic player – storage will not be a problem
The Programme on the Platform Is Now Available
What’s on TV?
Imitation is the sincerest form of television.
Fred Allen (1894 – 1956)
Well – There’s Radio …
Radio –
Radio – with images –
Radio – with images – maybe moving images –
Radio – with images – maybe moving images – maybe live pictures
Radio – with images – maybe moving images – maybe live pictures – maybe from the broadcasting studio
And there’s last night’s “The Moons At Home” and “The Big Bad Brothers”,,1705384,00.html.
You can watch it for a week, or buy it for €2.99 to keep.
Locally, “Now That’s What I Call Noel Thompson’s – Volume III” – BBC NI Makes available a selection of Noel Thompson greatest moments for you to pick and choose and make your own programme.
Oh yes – last night’s US transmission of Lost (Series 17) – you can download it now at $4.99 or buy the whole series at a knock down $89.95 – pay now and get the files immediately after the final one is shown on “YahoogleMSNBCBS” networks.
The great thing about television is that if something important happens anywhere in the world, day or night, you can always change the channel.
From “Taxi”
Who’s on the Phone?
This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.
Western Union internal memo, 1876.
Allow me to plug in my mobile phone. It’s a device that downloads music and videos and short episodes from TV programmes. Then if I unfold this paper thin flexible screen – about the size of a tabloid page – I can plug that into the phone and watch last night’s TV. In 2006 this was already technically possible news.zdnet and

My iPod is Bigger than Your iPod

Since they were launched, iPods have got smaller and smaller – but by 2011, you will have a 60” iPod hung on your wall connected by broadband and /or cable. And that will be one of your media devices.

The Age of the Scheduler is Over? No – it has only just begun

A video recorder is a machine that watches TV for you.
Douglas Adams
Watching TV and listening to Radio are passive activities – they always will be. Even now there are too many podcasts to listen to, too many DVDs to watch too many programmes to download. People will watch TV programmes and listen to radio on demand – but programmes will be “released” like CDs and books – there will always be an audience sitting there waiting for the next episode. It’s the job of the scheduler to keep them sitting there.
What is the department once known as Online be doing in 2011? Radio, television, interactive television and web will be one production department.
There will be fast delivery of a range of content which the audience will pick and choose and will be able to explore further, edit for themselves, add their own additional content and even return to the broadcaster for re-broadcast/narrowcast/download.
There will be phone-ins, but also video-ins and self videoed comments.
The strength of the BBC – especially in Northern Ireland – will be a strong relationship with the audience and a dialogue.
Communication is two way – and BBC will be part of a two-way with the audience. The technology is just “stuff”; the conversation is the brand.
Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable, let’s prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.
Douglas Adams

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