My own "Back to the Future" moment...

In 2007 I published my first book, “Bowling with a Crystal Ball”. The majority of the book focused on forecasting technology trends.  Towards the end of Chapter 4, I made specific 7-year forecasts (into 2014), and this morning I took the risk to try and validate them…

The specific predictions are included In Fig. 16 in the book (see below).

Let’s start testing them. I will not try to cover all of them, but rather a relatively easy to test sample.

  • Digital Camera resolution at the high-end:  In 2006 it was 8.5 Mega Pixels. At a forecasted 17% annual growth rate, I forecasted it to be 30MP in 2014. In reality, the Nikon D810 has 36.3MP, Canon 5D has 22.3MP, and Sony Alpha has 24.3MP. Overall—successful prediction, although at a 17% growth rate—it wasn’t too much of a challenge.
  • Hard Disk Drive (HDD) price per Gigabyte (Desktop, 3.5” drive): In 2006 we paid 40 cents per GB, and I forecasted a 40% annual decline, which would project 0.7 cent/GB today. The WD30EZRX costs $115 for 3TB (3.8 cents/GB), and also proves that there is a sweet spot for price per storage, around 2-3TB. While I forecasted that the prices will decline 98.25%, they have “only” declined 90.5%. Overall—reasonably well for a 40% annual trend.
  • HDD capacity price per GB (Laptop, 2.5” or smaller drive): Here I was more accurate. While in 2006 the cost of 1GB was $15, I forecasted it to be 25 cents/GB in 2014. The WD6400BEVT has 640GB and costs $134, or 21 cents per GB. Pretty accurate for a 40% annual trend! I forecasted a 98.3% decline, compared to an actual 98.6%. 
  • Flash memory SD card price per GB: In 2006 the cost of a single GB was $50. At that time, I forecasted a 40% annual decline to a projected 84 cents per GB in 2014. Today, you can buy a 64GB Sandisk Pixtor SDXC Class 10 (not a low end card) for $50, or 78 cents per GB. Again—a very accurate prediction.

I skipped validating some of the other, somewhat less “consumer” trends, due to the depth in which that information needs to be researched, but will continue that later. Overall, the examinations above confirmed the hypothesis of the book, and I expect those technology trends to continue into the future.