(This is) Not Another Technology Prediction

You know every time someone says, “It’s the ‘year of’ something or other….Like, “It’s the year of 3D printing,” or “It’s the year of Cloud Computing,” or “It’s the year of Frozen” (it’s been way longer than a year Disney. Way longer) – I’ve always wondered how you would measure that.

How do you put a label on a year? What factors go into making that prediction? It doesn’t look like you have to go through any sort of approval process to be able to declare one yourself. But is there any reprimand for the declarer if it gets to December 31st and no one’s any the wiser?

I’ve read a lot of articles this week about 2016 being the ‘year of [insert technology buzzword here]’. According to Google, it seems 2016 is going to be the year of quite a few things of a transformative nature, including Taylor Swift’s brother who is going to come into his own. Swell.

Often, we’ll declare something ‘the year of’ and then that very thing is also the subject of the year after that too. Either it failed to meet the criteria (whatever that might be) for that specific year and thus had to be given another shot at the trophy, or we’ve made so many of these predictions we’ve forgotten what they were in the first place and are therefore going round in circles.

The iPhone came out in 2007 – so does this make 2007 ‘the year of the smartphone?’ Or is it 2013 – when smartphones outsold regular mobiles for the first time? Or how about when the App Store announced it had 1000 apps in 2011?

I believe we need a stricter policy in place before anything can claim to own an entire calendar event.

I’m sure they’re very well researched and the facts behind them are solid, but I can’t take any more ‘2016 is the year of…’predictions. They don’t mean anything to us as users. We won’t be swayed into buying a 3D printer just because in 2017 it’ll be too late and we’ll look old fashioned.

For me, nothing ever happens in a year. Actually that’s not true – you can train for and run a marathon, write a novel, and be Britney Spears in 2007. But sticking to the technology industry, nothing can happen in just 365 days alone.

We’re constantly evolving things, adding enhancements, moving onto the next exciting thing. People have barely finished queuing round the street for the new iPhone before images are released of the next generation.

Very little stays still in the world of technology, so why should we put a time stamp on it? After all it took 200 years after the invention of the flushing toilet for it to be in common use everywhere. 3D films were invented in 1915 but it’s only been in the last couple of years that they’ve found their audience.

And Microsoft brought out their first tablet in 2001 but only made it into something people actually used in 2014. The Surface Pro 3 (which I have) and the Surface Pro 4 (which I don’t have but my colleague Paul does – he’s recently filmed some great short video demonstrations) are genuinely market defining devices.

To quote a certain Doc from Back to the Future – “Your future hasn’t been written yet. It is what you make of it. So make it a good one.”

So instead of declaring things ‘the year of’, how about instead we focus on making every year a year in which we do things better in our organisation – make business improvements, throw out old technology, and make a more productive working environment.

Here’s to a great 2016 – have a good one everybody.