Today, 21 October 2015, is the day that Marty and Doc crashed into the future in the second Back to the Future sci-fi film. But what did the film predict and how much of Marty and Docs’ tech is actually a reality?
Various industry professionals have offered their comments on the predictions in the film and how technology has developed.
Bruce Miller, VP Product Management at Xirrus:
"We saw the first Wi-Fi networks a few years after Back to the Future II was made, and the movie proved to be on the right track when it came to the ways we might compute and communicate in the future. Video conferencing in the film was rather basic, but it is not far removed from the FaceTime and Skype apps we accept as the norm today. And tablet-style computers are everywhere today, another item that appeared in the film.”
Gavin McLaughlin, VP of Strategy and Communications at X-IO:
"30 years ago Marty McFly headed to today but what should we expect in thirty years’ time? Will the Biff Tannen of 2045 be running around shouting “X media is dead” in a similar way to today’s more marketing-hype-oriented vendors are shouting “hard disks are dead”?
Hopefully by then the market will have become a little more educated and will realise that storage is about solutions rather than just the raw components. It’s without doubt that in 2045 we’ll be using a new media type and hopefully more systems will be modular so they can take advantage of new levels of performance without compromising on affordability, availability or simplicity. Saying that, if it comes with a hoverboard and automatic lacing Nikes then count me in!"
David Fisk EMEA Sales Director at Quorum:
"Marty McFly may have run out of plutonium and ended up stranded in 1989, resorting to using a lightning bolt to gather the speed needed to recover his journey. However, technology has come along way and businesses should not start on a journey without a backup plan.
"How much easier would it have been if Marty could have just pulled out an extra barrel of plutonium from his car boot? The reality is that now businesses can have a disaster recovery plan in place for this. So it may not be plutonium, but with disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), offering instant backup and business continuity, businesses can go back and recover any data they need.
"It's no longer enough for businesses to be relying on a backup plan, what if Marty was a second too late and lightening had already struck the tower. Businesses need to have strategy in place that ensures applications, critical data, servers and even the user interface is all backed up and easily restored ensuring business continuity."
Michael Hack, Senior Vice President EMEA Operations at Ipswitch:
"If Marty’s watch-covered wrists are anything to go by, Director Robert Zumeckis hinted that wearable tech would be the latest thing in 2015. We aren’t quite there yet, but in our recent survey we conducted amongst IT professionals in Europe, Ipswitch found this is changing fast. The survey revealed that over fifty one per cent of businesses have employees wearing technology to the office, although I doubt employees will be sporting self-drying jackets any time soon.
One innovation that appeared two years before the movie predicted was smart glasses. Much like the Google glass Marty’s kids could answer the phone and watch videos right from their eyewear. Whilst there aren’t many kids who can boast of owning this tech just yet, the demand for wearables is growing at an unprecedented rate. They are sure to be the trend of the not-so-distant future.”
Ryan O'Leary, Sr. Director of Threat Research Centre at WhiteHat Security:
“The way Biff pays for his taxi cab ride has some inherent security flaws so there would be major issues for companies to adopt such a payment system. Anyone who has used biometric readers on their tablet or phone know they’re inherently fussy, but even if you can get the technology right all your requiring is someone’s finger prints. Unfortunately it’s more then simple to fool these fingerprint scanners and I would need just a few household items to lift a fingerprint, put it on a latex glove and buy my cab ride using someone’s discarded soda can.
“The good news is that we have come along way in the cashless transaction world and it’s easier than ever to pay for goods and services without the need for cash. If you’ve ever used Uber you know that you don’t even need a credit card to pay for the fare, it’s automatically added to your credit card, which is both simple for the driver and passenger, and more secure for both parties. Also, there’s a technology that’s actually strikingly similar to Biff’s mode of payment, that’s Apple Pay. Apple Pay utilises an NFC payment method where the user uses either their iPhone or Apple Watch to touch an NFC contact, which then prompts you to enter either your code or fingerprint.
"This allows for better security then just a fingerprint, as you need both the Apple device with your account on it as well as your fingerprint or code. Perhaps in remakes old Biff should be sporting an Apple Watch to make his taxi cab purchase!”