As noted, my former colleagues at NCRI ran a public scenario planning workshop on Mapping The Future of Information Commerce in 1997. The results are summarized here. The time horizon for the Endstates was 2002. As summarized in the report, the key learnings that emerged from this scenario planning workshop included the following bullets. I've added commentary below each.
- Major advances in Internet technology and function are virtually inevitable.
Sure. Greater bandwidth enables new applications.
- These improvements are likely to erode the passive entertainment consumption paradigm (and accompanying advertising-based business models) that characterize traditional consumer "TV culture" in the U.S.
Yes and no. Workshop participants didn't anticipate the rise of advertising based business models that have become pervasive on the Web. However, User Generated Content, multiplayer games, and similar applications / activities / contexts are a move away from passive viewing. And TV viewership seems to be declining.
- An explosion in broadband technology and multimedia content, and a corresponding melding of new content forms and individual creativity will occur eventually.
"Eventually" is the key word. Eventually seems to have happened, but 2002 was probably early in the evolution of these new forms.
- Full evolution of this model however, will likely take decades, as it depends, in part on the evolution and acceptance of new micropayment mechanisms such as digital cash.
Wrong. I was among the many who believed in the early to mid-1990s that micropayments and digital cash would play an important role in Internet commerce. This hasn't come about for two reasons. First, as former Intertrust colleague David Van Wie pointed out, only governments can absorb the cost of money, whether paper money, coinage, or digital cash. If companies have to get a portion of the cash stream to cover costs, then it's not really a cash equivalent. The second reason we haven't seen micropayments, in my view, is that there has not be acceptance of the kind of hardware-based trusted computing that would enable secure stored value on PCs.
- Editing, aggregation, and other value adding services will likely become as important as the creation of original content.
This might be construed to anticipate RSS and other aggregation / feed services.
- Obstacles to on-line transaction security are more perceptual and habitual than technical.
Probably correct given SSL encryption. That said, the Web commerce world has moved forward to provide better tools that identify phishing and other attacks.
- Content vending schemes that combine network and physical media (e.g., compact discs customized at point of sale) have been tried and have failed in the past. New attempts would need to offer compelling value to both content owners as well as consumers in order to be viable, and are unlikely to capture more than 10% market share in any case.
They got this one right as well. DVDs and CDs on demand have not met acceptance given broadband speeds, good to excellent audio and video compression technologies, and PC-based convenience.
- Superdistribution will evolve more rapidly than many currently believe, and will be an important mode of distribution (and revenue source) for some forms of content in the future
Another one I got wrong. Superdistribution turns consumers into distributors and rewards them economically. The lack of digital cash and secure micropayments undermines superdistribution, rampant P2P piracy notwithstanding.