The Shift Age Trend Report, published in early August and early February is the only place I publish my forecasts. The Trend Report came into existence because CEOs and companies requested that I publish a future facing report to help them navigate the Great Recession of 2008-2010. I have attempted to re-invent the publishing model with great interactivity, embedded video and a great amount of information about trends and the future. Of course a key component of the Trend Report are my forecasts.
I am about ready to publish Volume #4 soon so I am finalizing all my short, medium and long term forecasts. This obviously makes me look at my prior forecasts for accuracy. Some of you are Trend Report subscribers so you will have read the forecasts from last summer. [ If any of you would like to subscribe to the Shift Age Trend Report, I have a special discount subscription offer at the bottom of this Newsletter.]
Here are some of the short term (0-9months) forecasts I made last August.
• There will be no real inflation
• The U.S. GDP for 2010 will end up growing 2%
• Unemployment will stay over 9%
• The tipping point of ebooks will occur
• States will face bankruptcy
• Oil will largely trade between $70-90 a barrel
• Nationally all real estate markets, residential, commercial and retail will continue to drift sideways
• Debt will remain a four letter word as consumers continue to pay down debt and increase savings
• The legalization and decriminalization of marijuana will continue to move forward state by state
• China will continue to have a volatile path economically
NOTE: I send Trend Report subscribers videos between the semi-annual publication dates. In early January I sent them the 2011 Economic Forecast video viewable on the right of this Newsletter.
The annual Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas in January always creates a flurry of media coverage. TV reporters and tech columnists breathlessly report on all the new, cool gadgets that will be coming to a store near you this year. 2011 is no different. “The year of the tablet” and “New 3-D TVs” have been the most dominant themes reported in the two weeks since the CES brought 140,000 folks to Vegas, all searching for available bandwidth to make phone calls.
Yes, 2011 will be a year when a plethora of tablets hit the market. The iPad, which of course created the market category and up to this time has been the category, now has some serious competition. Tablets that allow the user to have multiple programs and apps open and running simultaneously – with flash animation and screen sizes from 7 to 11 inches – are coming to market. You millions of iPad users out there, just think about watching a high-def. movie while doing email! Think about having a front-facing camera for video chats.
Mobile computing is the clear direction of the future. There were even some new keyboards that, for power content creators such as this writer, might soon allow the tablet to be an alternative to the laptop. At the moment, the tablet is primarily a media consumption, e-mail and web-surfing device – not really usable for people who create a lot of content, as the keyboard and storage are so deficient in comparison.
The last CES I attended was in 2007. Apple does not participate in CES. In 2007, the entire CES was overshadowed because that was the week Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. Apple has been the undisputed leader and innovator in consumer electronics ever since. With that being my last reference point, I thought CES 2011 was the first one since ’07 to present products and levels of innovation that truly challenge Apple’s leadership. Of course, 2011 will be the year of the second iteration of the iPad and the fifth generation of the iPhone, so we can expect a continuing high level of the cool quotient.
Some brief commentary on 3-D TVs is warranted because of all the hoopla surrounding them. At this time, 3-D TVs seem less like the inevitable future showing up in the living room than a product push by manufacturers to follow a decade of explosive sales of flat-screen plasma, LCD and LED screens. The idea of watching not great 3-D with funny glasses in the living room is a temporary way station, similar to the 8-track tape player of the 1970s. I do think that 3-D will eventually become a significant event in America’s living room once the technology greatly improves and there is a lot of compelling content to watch in this new format. If the current generation of 3-D is 1.5, then wait a few years until we got to 3.0, when mind-boggling content can be watched in 3-D without glasses. I estimate this will happen in two to three years.
So, beyond this first-pass, breathless hype about tablets and 3-D, was there anything at CES that points to a more transformative future in electronics? Yes! Sensory Recognition!
Sensory Recognition is about to become the new description of human-technology interface. I wrote recently that “the future has entered our living room” and spoke about the Kinect. Well, that was the first step. We will soon have smart TVs that use their cameras to recognize who is in the room, serve up that person’s favorite viewing options, then track the viewer’s hand as it points to the desired app, program or channel. So the remote control is slowly moving toward obsolescence. First, we manually turned the knob on the TV. Then we used a wired remote, then a wireless remote. Now, with motion capture and detection, we will again be using our hand to pick what to watch, but it will be from across the room.
This next stage of human-technology interface will be transformational. We are moving into motion, physical and voice recognition. That will be the next big thing for the next few years. After that? Well, get ready for brainwave interface!
Finally, Kodak invited me to participate in a panel at the CES about the future of consumer electronics. You may view that panel here:
You may view that panel to the right of this column.
If you are not yet a subscriber to the Shift Age Trend Report, this is an offer to entice you to subscribe with a $100 discount off the regular $275 annual subscription cost.
The Shift Age Trend Report is a semi-annual 40-50 MB download published in early February and early August. Each Trend Report has my short (0-9 months), medium (9 months -2 years) and long term (2-5 years) forecasts in addition to Long Term Trend Lines. It also has an interview with a business visionary, the Digital Forecast, Shift Age Research and a new section called Knowledge Nuggets that is a visual collection of videos, facts, and charts that will stimulate your change thinking.
The Trend Report is my attempt to reinvent the publishing model with an interactive table of contents, full interactivity within the Report, embedded video and a lot of rich media such as Power Points, PDFs and links.
If you would like to take advantage of this offer to Shift Age Newsletter Subscribers, just follow the instructions below and get a $100 discount that will remain in place for as many years as you choose to remain a subscriber. This will also give you access to the archives and to the video updates for subscribers that I send out in between the two semi-annual reports.
1. Go to: David Houle's Shift Store
2. Click on “Get Your Trend Report”
3. Follow instructions on entering your promotional code, which is FXSHIFTZ. Once you have entered your credit card information and promotional code, your shopping cart will change the price to $175.
4. Make sure you create a password for further access to archives, videos and future Trend Reports
Welcome to the Future!