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The Anti-Predictions: 4 Things that Won’t Happen in 2011

It is the season of predictions once again as pundits gaze into their proverbial crystal balls to get a glimpse at what's likely to happen in the coming year. The folks at ABI Research have taken a different tack—for the past six years, they've annually issued their best guesses regarding things that won't happen in the world of technology in the New Year.

Here’s a peek at their anti-predictions for 2011.

Mobile marketing and advertising

The hype machine this past year flogged the mobile horse to within an inch of its life, claiming that everything from marketing to merchandising is going to be conducted on the fly. While conceding that mobile marketing is here to stay, the tech experts at ABI Research say that’s a work in progress — something that's not quite ready to take a star turn at the top the marketing matrix.

“Marketing via mobile devices is an ongoing business practice, just as it is in other media,” the company’s analysts wrote in “What’s NOT Going to Happen in 2011.”

“Mobile marketing will still represent a small portion of the bigger pie when compared to online and traditional advertising for quite some time.”

Location-based advertising (LBA)

More and more smartphones and other portable electronic devices are using location-tracking technology such as GPS. This technology can do more than let you know where you are; it can let savvy marketers know where you are as well. Marketers can use this information to target you for location-specific advertising on your mobile device.

Let’s say that you’re walking around the downtown of Anytown, USA around lunchtime. A marketer working for a nearby restaurant could send you an ad on your mobile device about a luncheon special. Or a local merchant you had previously patronized could alert you to a sale that might be of interest.

Will this be the next new thing in marketing?  Not in 2011, said ABI.

“The LBA gun is loaded, with GPS proliferating, app stores established, location information aggregated and trigger-happy advertising agencies already trialing LBA with huge success — so why not 2011?” ABI researchers asked. “Well, first and foremost, the overall mobile advertising market is still in its early stages of development. Add to this the uncertainty surrounding awareness, privacy and successful advertising techniques, and it is clear that this market will take time to mature.”

Electric cars

The Toyota Prius has been around long enough that Americans are getting used to the coexistence of gas and electricity for propelling cars. This year, the all-electric, emission-free Nissan Leaf debuted here. Will this be a tipping point for clean cars that run solely on electricity? Will the Leaf and subsequent all-electric entries spell the end of OPEC’s stranglehold on our economy? Probably not, according to ABI.

“Auto buyers the world over are not going to rise up in 2011 and say, ‘We need electric cars. Bring us the electric cars ,” ABI wrote.

There are a number of reasons. The infrastructure necessary to support large numbers of all-electric vehicles nationwide has yet to be built out. The cars themselves are not cheap to start with, ABI said. And they are not as environmentally friendly as many would hope. The electricity that fuels them more than likely comes from a big, smelly power plant that’s more than likely fueled by coal.

“Bottom line,” said ABI. “Electric cars will remain a novelty in 2011.”

Drive-by wireless

Smartphones are already ubiquitous. Now that they’re increasingly being tricked out with location-tracking technology and navigation services, is there a chance that mobile phone navigation will at last help directionally-challenged men get to where they want to go without having to ask for directions? Will they sound the death knell embedded telematic systems such as GM’s OnStar and Ford’s SYNC?

“A lot of the debate in the telematics industry during 2010 has centered on the integration of smartphones and applications into the car environment,” ABI researchers said. “While there is no denying smartphones will play an important role as remote controls and monitors of connected vehicles, they will not replace embedded telematics systems which offer superior reliability, ease of use and above all a safer user experience, a major handicap of smartphones.”



Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.