Back to Back to the Future!

Alex Rabbetts, MigSolv

Did you notice it? That DeLorean flying past the window? No? Neither did we. Yesterday was the 21st October 2013, it is just two years until we will have reached the date by which the iconic 1980's film, Back to the Future travelled to. Of course, it was only a flim, but it was predicting a very different future from that which we lived in at the time of its release. OK, we haven't quite achieved the flying DeLorean, (or indeed any car that can fly routinely), but it is quite interesting to see what Marty McFly and his trusted friend, Doc Brown got right. They predicted, for example, video conferencing - video conferencing is the norm today with not just businesses, but individuals routinely using video conferencing, (such as Skype or Facetime), partly because of our ability to ensure a secure data transfer when communicating over the Internet.


Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future we will still need roads. The Doc famousely said about 2015, "Where we're going, we don't need roads!". But they weren't all wrong. In Back to the Future II, Marty is seen showing some kids in a diner how games were played in the 1980's. They think he's mad because the games weren't wireless and required you to use your hands! The Xbox Kinect dealt with the no hands element and it is now usual to play games wirelessly. Of course, this wouldn't be possible without some clever data management and a lot of rack space in colocation facilities, but the prediction that we would be playing games wirelessly and hands free was pretty accurate after all.


What about 3D movies? In the 1980s 3D movies were not really new. In fact, they had been around almost since TV had been invented, but 3D televisions are something quite different. It was only a few years ago when the first 3D televisions were made available for consumers to buy ... and they were very expensive indeed! Of course, the advent of Cloud storage and TV on demand has changed they way in which we watch TV with many of us watching online or using one of the many catch-up services. This is largely possible because of dedicated server hosting of the catch-up services that means that many people can stream of watch at the same time.

What about widescreen TV? In the 1980s remote controlled TVs were a novalty, now widescreen TVs are sold in every TV and department store. Wall mounted TVs such as the one hanging on the wall of the future in the film are now commonplace. In fact, so much so that the idea of the traditional TV stand with rack space for the VHS, (or even Betamax), recorder, the stereo and latterly the DVD player has all but gone. Wall mounted TVs with sound bars and integrated WiFi are the norm today.


Another prediction in Back to the Future was that of handheld tablet computers. Was the late Steve Jobs watching this movie too closely?! It is, believe it or not, only three years since the launch of the original iPad, (April 2010), but consider how it has changed the world today. Apple, Samsung and many others now produce hand held tablet computers and the operating systems that have been developed mean that data migration between the various platforms is almost seamless.

Hoverboards haven't quite made the headlines yet - certainly not one in which you can have a dramatic chase with your arch enemy, Griff Tannen and his gang, but some things do. Take, for example, the 'hovercam', we recently had aerial photographs taken of our data centre using a 'hovercam' rather than a traditional light aircaft or helicopter.

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