The greatest tech predictions that missed the mark

When it comes to predicting the future, even experts can miss the mark. History is littered with numerous examples of overzealous predictions.

For instance, the telephone was described in 1876 as a device so flawed it was of “inherently no value”, fast forward in time and five billion people worldwide now have a mobile phone connection, not including traditional landlines. To cite another quote from the history books, Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corp, said the following: “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in the home.” Today 88% of UK households have at least one computer – not to mention several other smart devices around the home.

As well as dismissing technologies, other predictions throughout history have been slightly over-optimistic about the impact they will have, such as Bill Gates predicting in the early 00s that the tablet will overtake the PC. Other instances, such as Hadoop’s dream of unifying data and compute, or the mainstream adoption of 3D printers, illustrate that even some of the most hyped technologies have failed to achieve broad-based adoption. Whether a multi-billion dollar global organisation or a brand new startup, any organisation has the potential to fall short of expectations.

While it’s interesting to look back at those that were off the mark, they do carry wider lessons for organisations.

A lesson for businesses

In today’s whirlwind climate of technology and unpredictability, anything can happen. Technology that at first appears ludicrous can become mainstream, and by that same token, the promised fruit of innovation could turn sour very quickly.

In lieu of a crystal ball, there is no fail-safe to mitigate against this, and for a good reason. Where there is innovation, there is failure – but with failure comes lessons.

With today’s fiercely competitive environment, organisations can’t afford to be laggards when it comes to new trends. However, it is also important to quickly discontinue any new technologies that are not meeting business requirements.

Emerging technologies, are they set to transform business?

It’s emerging technologies month on Information Age, that means augmented and virtual reality, quantum computing and blockchain

The right side of innovation

Organisations know that to be on the right side of innovation they need to harness the potential of their data, and to do this they must have the right infrastructure in place.

A hybrid IT environment: different types of data have different requirements for access, storage and management, which is why most modern IT environments are hybrid. Based on flexible consumption models across on-premises, hosted and public cloud, a hybrid infrastructure provides the freedom to align application workloads with the best suited infrastructure.

A solid data strategy: Data is vital for efficient development and application mobility. Businesses should have the tools to deliver a common set of data services across on-premises and public cloud, enabling consistent storage capabilities, APIs, and resiliency so that applications can be built once and run everywhere.

IBM achieves highest quantum volume to date

IBM has established a roadmap for reaching quantum advantage and concluded that: for significant improvement over classical systems, the power of quantum computers must double every year

Modern Data Protection: Enterprises should also look towards a modern data protection solution that treats data as a strategic asset, and not a liability. With innovation comes trial and error, however in an age where an always-on, real-time attitude is expected by customers, enterprises cannot afford to wait hours or days to recover mission critical data. Today, enterprises need a modern platform fast enough to restore data instantly, and when it matters most. Whether it’s rapid backup and recovery or instant restore, a modern data platform can consolidate and accelerate these workloads.

Bring it back to the business

Having these foundations in place is key for any modern enterprise, but here’s also one final lesson that can be taken away from these “tech predictions that missed the mark”. When looking to adopt any new form of technology, it’s vital to ensure it supports the business objectives, rather than implementing ‘shiny new objects’ for the sake of jumping on the bandwagon.

We have already seen the fall out that can occur as a result of adopting a trend or following the hype merely because it is new and exciting. Today, companies must carefully consider how it will impact their business, how they will implement it, and what benefits it will bring to their organisation and customers before embarking on a new project or adopting a new trend.

Written by James Petter, VP International, Pure Storage

Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice consists of the best articles written by third parties and selected by our editors. You can contact us at timothy.adler at