When I started to look at predictions for a living back in 2006, I remember how 2011 was this big banner year against which most forecasts were made. I guess partly it was because 2011 was at the end of a five-year horizon, and partly because it was conveniently removed into the next decade. Whatever the reason, I've been patiently waiting for this year to arrive to check back on some of the more feisty predictions made in the outset of the 2.0 boom. And now this time has come.
Some of the stuff below has worked out remarkably -- surprisingly -- well, such as the prediction from Hitachi about commercial availability of mind-machine interfaces (check!). Other stuff -- not so much: podcast audience was expected to skyrocket from 11.3% in 2006 to 51.1% in 2010 (eMarketer #084888), but it didn't, lingering instead at 12% by December 2010 (eMarketer #123668).
Above is Gartner's Hype Cycle chart for 2006; you will love how tablet PCs sit at the bottom of the trough of disillusionment. Below are a few predictions made in 2006 or in early 2007.
"Hitachi: Commercial Mind-Machine Interface by 2011" (Wired, November 2006)
"In 2011 you'll never have to clean your house again. Nanotechnology could soon allow you to sanitize your bathroom with a flip of a light switch." (PopSci, June 2006)
"446m Mobile Phone TV Users By 2011" (IMS Research in Digital LifeStyles, August 2006)
"Segments such as video game advertising, set to become a market worth close to $3 billion by 2011, will result in the further maturing of this industry." (ABI Research in Gamasutra, February 2006)
"By the end of 2011, 80 percent of active Internet users (and Fortune 500 enterprises) will have a “second life,” but not necessarily in Second Life." (Gartner in AdLab, April 2007)
"Online advertising will grow to represent 9 percent of overall advertising spending by 2011, and search will continue to be the driver of growth." (Jupiter in ClickZ, July 2006). Fact check: online advertising's share of total advertising spending was 15.3% in 2010 and is expected to grow to 20.5% this year (eMarketer, January 2011)
"Broadcast and cable TV will pick up $5 billion in revenue from new ad platforms by 2011. That’s the good news. The bad news is TV will lose $12 billion in traditional revenue over the same period, thanks to ad-skipping and other disruptive technologies." (Jupiter in Lost Remote, September 2006)
"By 2011, TV programming delivered over consumer broadband connections will be a "viable alternative to cable." (Forrester in eCommerce Times, January 2007)
"Already worth $1.4 billion this year, mobile porn will be worth nearly three times that much by 2011, or $3.3 billion." (Juniper in Pocket Lint, November 2006). Also, "most people who watch mobile porn are "lads down the pub" wanting to impress their friends, rather than hard core porn watchers."
"Shipments of the tiny [tablet] PCs could rise to 7.8 million units by 2011." (In-Stat in CNet, May 2006)
"When Chairman Bill Gates first outlined the notion of an ultramobile PC at a hardware conference last year, he talked about a device that would weigh less than 500 grams, have all-day battery life and could cost less than US$800, possibly as little as US$500." (CNet on Microsoft's Origami project, March 2006). See the Origami Project page on Microsoft's website (with devices scheduled to ship in 2008).
"By 2011, 28 million cars in the U.S. will be iPod-ready, up from just under one million in 2005." (Telematics in Motortrend, May 2006)
"Podcasting to Generate $400 Mil. in Ads by 2011." (eMarketer in MediaWeek, February 2007)
"Over the next five years video game advertising will grow at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 23%, reaching nearly $2 billion by 2011." (eMarketer in Gamasutra, April 2007). eMarketer's recent forecast for the year: $1.1B