Saturday, March 31, 2007

WIll your cell phone speak bar code soon?



Interesting article from the NYTimes (.com of course) about new technology that lets people take pictures of bar codes with their cellphones and then receive corresponding information on their cell phones.

Interesting idea... if you are remotely curious you will decode, unless you speak bar code because you will probably be curious to know what this sign means... unless you are a robot, then you would know it is just a link to web page for new AI drivers.

Enjoy 0010101101 !


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Microsoft's Response to iPhone?

This is from Microsoft Labs. It looks like they will spin this off as a start-up entity. Worth watching if this signals a broader move by Microsoft to unleash value through spin-offs.



Will this do better than Zune?

Winners: Mobile service companies

As the fast development of mobile phone technology, people today can use their cell phones to view news, check email, play game and even watch TV. My opinion is that mobile service companies, such as Verizon and T-mobile, will be the biggest winners in the future media and entertainment industry.

Besides the high demand for mobile entertainment and the large user base of mobile service companies, there are many business models for mobile service companies if they provide entertainment content. They can charge users subscription fees for the service or they can provide free entertainment service but gain revenue through advertisement.

I guess the future cell phone will be a mini laptop. It will beat iPod and portable game device, and become the most popular mobile entertainment device. The mobile service companies will finally benefit from providing entertainment services.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Can Apple TV win?

I have not seen any significant value created by Apple TV, at least this first-generation product. Today's computers, especially the laptops, could be easily connected to TV, and you can use TV as a monitor to display anything on your computer. However, most people do not know how to do it. If the Apple TV only can sync the content from your computer and play it on TV, I do not see why I would pay $299 to buy it. The wireless is a good selling point, but is it worth the money? If the next generation of Apple TV can enable user to download movie from iTunes directly without the help of computer, it might be able to be a winner in the future entertainment market.

I might be wrong, because there are some not-so-valuable products that still can stay in the market. For example, even a jar can be easily opened with some little help of a spoon, the jar opener still can be sold for about 60 bucks. Maybe its cool design makes it a good decoration in kitchen.

User Generated Content and its business model

As more and more content are becoming user generated (whether it be a video segment from a broadcasted media or authentic media), the business model could be created targeting the users themselves.
I think of Adobe's PDF example for this situation. I believe network provider such as 'youtube' should start charging the uploaders per transaction/length of media.
It's the uploaders who are much more motivated to use the service in order to get their ideas across or gain personal recognition. Motivated individuals would be willing to pay small fee for spreading their presence on the web. This will also control the credibility of contents, as people wouldn't pay money to create practical jokes or useless content.
Content provider can also use the service by uploading their content on the network. Using streaming media method, they could still air the content with advertisements in them. Whoever wishing to upload the same content without advertisements will have to pay as much money as the commercial content providers (long length of media). This will mitigate incentives to upload illegal content.

Google + Comcast

By collecting all the user information through the demographic and searching history, Google + Comcast are able to suggest the TV show and screen the commercials for the users. Each individual has the “customized TV schedule” record in the TiVO.

We Win

Reinforcing Time Magazine's Person of the Year is the idea that the public can now pull the content that we want to listen to, to watch and enjoy. Media & Entertainment are losing the power they had to push and control the content to the masses. The future is shifting to audiences being able to determine which content they want to enjoy. It's a shift from push to pull, resulting in a win for the public (more choice, more customization, greater freedom). The future is On Demand Media & Entertainment.

Gerd Leonhard Music & Media Futurist on 'Media goes PULL'

Lower entry barriers for local bands.

Local artists who do not have access to the massive media budgets provided by record companies will be huge winners thanks to online distribution. For example a band in Boston could put their most popular song online and sell it directly to customers worldwide.

By making use of viral marketing techniques small time players can market themselves effectively at virtually no cost. Email forwarding campaigns combined with postings on sites like MySpace and YouTube allow individuals to promote their content free of charge.

The barriers to entry created by marketing and branding efforts as well as access to traditional distribution channels have been significantly diminished by the introduction of online distribution.

For example I highly reccommend the Mario Brothers Theme Song by a band called 4" Stud. It's on iTunes.


Winner: Apple

I agree with Ruvi’s statement that technology companies are just trying to keep up with their competitors. This is just a casual observation, but it seems that most firms are just flailing. Things are changing so rapidly that it doesn’t appear many have a concrete defined strategy. The only company that appears to have a calm and steady strategy is Apple. Business is messy, and inside Apple things may be going crazy, but with iPhone and iTV, Apple is steadily capitalizing on media convergence. Perhaps Wall Street is picking up on this, too. Apple’s stock is up 56% over the past year. Meanwhile, Sprint, who is aggressively pushing its WiMax technology, is down 25%.

The Winning Business Model

It seems that the people that like advanced "techie" features most are the engineers actually creating the products. What made the iPod/iTunes platform successful is that it made it easy to get music online, legally, and then transfer it to a portable device. What made Google successful was the ease of searching and cataloging the internet. What made Microsoft successful was the ease of using the PC (e.g. Windows), and in later years the ease of connecting to the internet. The winning business model is one which delivers value to the players on both sides of the platform (2-sided networks) in a clear, easy to use, market driven fashion. Firms that will fail in this space are ones which think that creating competitive advantage is the same as adding "bells and whistles." Ultimately it will confuse the customer. AOL and Yahoo are examples of this approach, both of which are losing market share to Google. Too many firms want to be everthing to everyone. In this mass-customized web 2.0 world one must be the only thing to each person. This can only happen through advanced automation that enables firms to intimately know their customers.

Winners = Small Bands

Given the widespread prevalence of Apple's iTunes, I think that small bands that were previously ignored by the record industry will end up as big winners. High quality production software is becoming more and more available, leading to greater access to the mass of bands. Therefore, bands will no longer have to rely on record labels to produce and distribute their music, as iTunes and other such services provide an excellent distribution network. I don't think that the record lables will fold, however, as the American public still craves packaged, bubble gum like pop music (witness the fanaticism around American idol).

Who will be the winner in the future media & entertainment field?




Winner: Apple
Loser: Original players in the middle of the value chain (i.e. retail stores)
Business Model: Apple's iTunes + iPhone (iPod) + Apple TV

Every big firm is trying to be the only player in the living room - like other gaming, cable services provider, and etc., Apple is having more edge on the stage. Along the success of the iPod, Apple has been making some innovation into the living room, like Airport Express, the light, portable wireless station can play music remotely from your iTunes. All previous attempts will go to the final business model - Apple's iTunes + iPhone (iPod) + Apple TV

Of course, PS3 from Sony, Xbox 360 from Microsoft, and other players such as Comcast, Tivo, and etc. will still be its iPod user into the field and locked people in the business.

You Tube might be a fad

I doubt how many more people will creat new contents in longer term future. People started to get crazy once they heard about something new. I think blog is one of those examples. Once they started to think it is not cool any more, the new posting rate will go down. I think it is definately fad. Also Youtube needs to figure out more how to use those sources they have. I think other companies enjoys more benefits by using contents in Youtubes. They need to utilize what they have.

winners, losers, business model

I go on the opposite side of Growe

i think consumers will win in the end, due to more sophisticated, relevant ads presented to them in a variety of formats. The pressure to present to these customers while avoiding harassing them will foster new innovation in ways in which ads are created and distributed. It will be sort of a sub-liminal (but not really) advertising campaign.

The losers will be any advertising agency that is mainly in paper ads and not connected to the software technology. While TV will still be a medium for years to come as well as paper, to truly leverage the advertising campaigns of the future companies will have to have cheaper, reliable resources to distribute their campaigns along traditional and Non-traditional mediums.


Business model is either going to be PPM or PPA, i go towards PPM (impression) because advertising is meant to buy, but most meant to inform and to base your costs only on when people buy is risky for a lot of companies

Time Warner losing the battle in the Media & Entertainment Industry

I think Time Warner may be facing trouble in the new media landscape. The merger with AOL could probably be considered disastrous, at best. The music industry is in the midst of a major upheaval with the rise of digital music websites like iTunes, slowing CD sales, and the shift to selling individual songs instead of entire albums. The television industry is also evolving with new Web 2.0 websites like YouTube and others. The news media is additionally having to change to a online format because of declining newspaper subscriptions. All of these things affect Time Warner's various business operations. Inevitably, Time Warner will have to fight multiple battles within the new paradigms of the media industry to remain competitive. Just today, Time Warner announced that it will stop publishing "Life" magazine.

Satellite Radio - business model in question

Satellite radio's business model does not seem to be a winner currently. Especially within the automotive industry, it seems that subscription service should be dropped in place of manufacturers striking deals with XM/Sirius to provide seemless and continuous service for people in their new cars. But as Cable TV never overtook network TV, Satellite won't replace FM/AM. There have also been questions about podcasting taking over satellite radio but there are high costs in terms of acquiring content and then the time it takes in transferring it.

YouTube's success?

Google may be a winner in other product areas, but the future success of YouTube is questionable as it will continue getting hit with lawsuits claiming infringement on intellectual property rights of large entertainment companies just like Napster. I doubt that Google wants to face off with Time Warner, Paramount, Viacom, etc. all at once, so the winner in this space will be one that uses a more conventional business model for video clips a la iTunes.

Apple

Apple will be a winner in this space with products like AppleTV and continuing to make deals with networks and movie studios to distribute more and more content through itunes to be viewed anytime and any way the consumer chooses - on a laptop, an ipod, an iphone, tv...

Loser: Industry, profit, good incomes, evolution - Winner: Marx, Lennin, Stalin, Gorbi

As far as I have been able to tell, Web 2.0 technologies are most equipped at creating greater efficiency in marketplaces and removing the ability to make money in an industry.

Farecaster will encourage even steeper competition in a field where players go bankrupt every 5 years. Streaming movies will remove the need for NetFlix, Blockbuster, or the corner video store (and the employees within). Music sharing will destroy big execs, hair bands, and Ferrari dealerships.

All of this is fine by me, I don't work in any of those industries, and I like free music more than most. I worked at Blockbuster when I was 17 and I hated it, so I am glad to see them go down the tubes.

However, when all market inefficiencies are removed, jobs will go with them. As more jobs become virtual, they will travel to the lowest cost locations. Today it is hard to outsource a consultant, but with cheap video streaming, LCD TVs, and people comfortable with the idea of remote commuting, outsourcing a consultant (or any MBA level job) will be very easy too. Then we will all have something to worry about. I have seen many times how Web technologies can make life faster, easier (for some), and remove mark-up, but I have yet to see how many of these can sustainably make money and consistently add value to their shareholders.

Loser in the media market and media formats...

I think that the fight between blu ray and HD dvd is an interesting one. I am not sure either player will win seeing as most people are still evaluating each product based on price. I also think that the consumer's biggest concern is that they are not always able to see a difference in picture quality that will make either product worthwhile.

Winners & Losers

The media and entertainment market has been and will continue to be shaken up considerably by web 2.0. We have only begun to see the beginnings of the vast potential the web platform will provide. The question remains, what will the shakedown look like when it is completed? And how, exactly, will the money be made?

My best guess:

Winners: Google & Apple. They both understand the customer's need for convenience (search), that the true value lies in the content (aka data), and they currently have the innovative culture & resources to deliver cutting-edge solutions. Also key: they do not need to protect the old model's revenue stream since they were not a part of the old model.

Losers: The record labels. Web 2.0 provides validity through an emergence rather than design. The core value proposition for record labels was to provide the filter that web 2.0 no longer requires.

Business Model: Customers pay either per download or on a subscription system. A royalty is paid for each download to the content author and advertisements will supplement.

Winner: The Big Guys

I think that the big guys (Apple, Microsoft, Motorola, Sony) will ultimately be the winners in the long run in the changing media landscape. They have the relationships, the power to drive out new entrants, and the capital to overcome any lack in ingenuity.

Of the four, I think Apple will come out the best. The market power they gained with the iPod has given them so much cache among consumers that everything they now release (iPhone, Apple TV) turns into instant gold. It will be nearly impossible for anyone else to pry them from atop the gold medal platform. Their only weakness would be a colossal failure in one of their hyped devices (the iPhone, perhaps) that may signal a chink in their design armor and send consumers looking in other directions.

Unbridled Talent

I believe that one of the main changes in in digital media & entertainment is the separation of up and coming talent from traditional routes to success and fame. With websites like Garage Band and Epitonic allowing unsigned and/or unknown artists to post songs to an audience of audiophiles, the artists no longer need to rely on major-label records like Sony and Columbia to make their dreams come true.

The opportunity exists for aspiring film-makers, cartoonists, authors, and actors as well. Beyond YouTube are online venues like UndergroundFilm, a site that allows independent film makers to post videos to be viewed, rated, and critiqued by film consumers across the world.





Loser in the Industry

In the next few years, movie theater companies such as Showcase Cinemas, AMC Theaters, and Regal Entertainment will lose more business. The population is becoming more concerned with interactivity and on-demand type of entertainment, including downloading videos from the internet and streaming them onto televisions. Because of this trend, new movies may start to be released over the internet allowing viewers to watch from the comfort of their homes and diminishing profits of brick and mortar movie theaters.

Loser: Set-top box manufacturers

Motorola and Scientific-Atlanta produce the majority of set-top boxes for cable providers, but this technology has a bleak future. Unless these firms can identify ways to integrate online content into their service offerings, they will risk being disintermediated by companies like Apple with its iTV. Both companies have targeted this space - Motorola with its mantra of seamless mobility and Scientific Atlanta with its IPTV - but neither have significant traction in the online space to compete at this time.

Winners and Losers

In the Media and Entertainment industry, there will be many winners and many losers.

Winners will capitalize on emerging online user communities and inter-connectivity between traditional media outlets to become the one-stop shopping for consumers of information. Many companies and organizations are jockeying to become this dominant player, including Microsoft, Apple, AOL, Yahoo and Google, or it could be a still unknown start-up with a revolutionary technology.

However, the company CURRENTLY (and I capitalize this because it could change at any moment) best positioned to become this leader is Google. With it's ever-growing user community, especially outside the US, and innovative connectivity with traditional media outlets, Google is currently edging out its competitors to become the dominant filter of information in the world.

As for who loses, traditional media outlets such as newspapers and magazines, are on the downside. Declining market share, sliding profits, shrinking subscriber bases are all symptoms a business model that no longer attracts the advertising dollars that it used to.

Efficient use of advertising dollars, which is a core element of the dominant business model in this space, will dicate whether a media and entertainment business model or company lives or dies. Advertisers have voted, and Google is the winner.

Dinosaurs - Movie Rental Stores

The traditional video rental store will most likely cease to exist in the future. It won't be tomorrow or maybe not even five years from now, but in the not so distant future. Many people still prefer to visit the store and pick out a movie, but fewer and fewer are doing this. As services like Netflix continue to grow, companies like Blockbuster attempt to adjust their business model to meet the challenge. They have an online rental service that is augmented by instore pickup. The relative success of that model is due mostly to the artifacts of the previous generation. People still like to be able to go into a store if they want to. As media delivery goes digital, quality improves, and more titles are consolidated into single delivery services, people will be less likely to make that trip to the video store. There are fewer and fewer video stores to be found and eventually, there will be none. In my neighborhood alone I have watched two or three local video stores close. Chains like Blockbuster are able to keep their losing storefronts open because they are part of the business model and are supported by the online business. It is only a matter of time before the traditional video rental store ceases to exist altogether.

Digital Music - Dominant Business Model

In the future, I envision the pay-per-download digital music model beating out the subscription model (that is...once the whole DRM issue is solved!). The primary reason is due to the type of content. As opposed to a 30-minute TV show, music is a type of content in which attachment is involved. When a viewer watches a TV show or movie, they are primarily tuning in to find out what happens next. Conversely, when a consumer listens to music, they typically will listen to their favorite song again and again. Consequently, I think the ownership model will win out in the end.

Loser: Google

As the media and entertainment industry transforms into a new form it is essential for any successful company to recognize the plethora of channels that people use to receive media. Google has expanded to deliver media in many forms online but has not yet been able to deliver media through other channels. Television, radio and other media are much more regulated than the internet. Because of this it will be difficult for Google to enter these new markets while media companies in these markets are making progress breaking into the online world. Therefore Google will not be the dominant media and entertainment company.

Winners in the Media Industry

Corporate content owners, such as Sony, MGM, Paramount, Viacom, etc., will be the real winners in the media industry.

At this point in time, the infrastructure for efficient and reliable transfer of media has not been established. While the components that create the infrastructure are becoming standardized and commoditized, the actual setup and implementation has not. This allows service providers to capitalize on providing higher bandwidth to customers that enables them to utilize media served by content providers. Similarly, storage and control systems (such as digital rights management) have not yet been standardized.

Once these key pieces have been standardized and margins in these markets are harder to come by, the real winners will be the content owners, as they are the only ones who are able to provide true value added services. Although individuals will be able to easily provide great content in the future, they will never be able to provide a $50 million movie, which will allow the corporations to remain competitive.

Business Model: The shift to micropayments with mobile carriers for entertainment

One of the larger winners in the emerging entertainment and media experience would be the mobile carriers. As more and more content migrates from the normal web to the mobile experience, mobile carriers will be in a great position to capitalize on the ability to charge pennies for downloadable entertainment and experience enriching material for the mobile user.

While the content is created out of house for the carriers, it will be the mobile carriers ability to charge and bill at mere fractions of normal charges that places them in an advantageous position.

The US will most likely follow the emerging patterns of Japan and Korea, and the phone in your pocket will become much more than simply a talking device.

See DoCoMo and the iMode scenarios.

Dominant Business Model: On demand subscription based streaming media

As usable, reliable broadband enters more and more homes, the dominant business model for delivery of audio and video content will likely be on demand subscription based streaming media.

On demand streaming media placates the content owners who are concerned about piracy while giving users what they want when they want it.

Netflix is a first mover in this direction and will offer a subset of its catalog to all of its subscribers by July 2007. Apple and other big players will likely need to follow suit.

The major issue to overcome is depth of catalog offered and the quality of the content as its delivered.

Winner = TiVo


TiVo is currently in a strategic market position where they can leverage countless synergies in congruence with their core competencies aligned with the opportunities of tomorrow's business world.

In other words, if they make the right moves, they can be the gateway for a large amount of on demand media content, acting as the portal in the home through which a substantial amount of digital information will pass though. Kapow!

Google....

Google will continue to be a winner in this area as they continue to acquire sites like YouTube. With their vast resources and talent pool, they will no doubt attempt to change the media landscape as we know it today.

Who is the winner - Apple

Winner: Apple
Why: Although Apple is not a content provider in media and entertainment industry, it has a strong presence and influence in related technology. It's iPod and iTunes are so successful and the network effect makes it so powerful in the music industry. There are also a lot of applications used for possessing multimedia data on its Mac OS. It's control on the technology using in the media and entertainment industry will definitely give the company competitive advantages over other players.

Media& Entertainment -question 1 winner

I think the winner of the trend reshaping this industry is the player which can empower the user the ability to do the experiments. Because the service provider or the content provider may not really know what the users want. Even the users don't really know what they want usually. Since the value of innovation comes from the experiment, the winner is the one providing the most efficient platform for everyone to do their experiments. (i.e. don't tell me what I should watch or listen, but give me the way help me to find out what's really my favorite) Some of the experiments might fail, but as long as some succeed, the payoff will be worthy.
Then we need to look at the current players to see which one can provide the reliable and cost efficient environment for the people to do the experiments. That's what I can have within ten minutes....

Loser: Record Industry with others to follow?

Unless they are able to create an entirely different business model (a sustainable one), the record industry is in trouble. They will be unable to end the trend of file sharing. Currently they have methods of making it harder:

1) DRM
2) Creating fake files
3) Prosecution

But none of these methods are sustainable. People will find ways to get around technical solutions, and serious prosecution is not realistic. If they do not embrace this irreversible trend and determine a way to fit within the new value chain, they will be eliminated.
This trend is moving into other forms of content distribution as well (movies, video games, TV, etc). Members of the traditional value chains for these industries must learn form the mistakes of the music industry or else risk being marginalized as well.

Media & Entertainment

Loser - Mashup sites that does not offer "real" products. The problem with the mashup sites is that the lack of a "real" product offering makes their revenue stream from advertising short-lived. The abundance of information allows firms that integrate information with relative ease. This would eventually lead to commodization of information and advertising revenue will be diluted as more of these sites enter this space.

The mashup trend should benefit companies that offer physical product or "real" services a new channel to promote their products and service their customers. The ability to provide customized products and services with lower cost of revenue would allow firms to capture higher margin and be more profitable.

Win, Lose, or Business Model

Winner - Businesses.
Loser - Consumers.

Why? DRM and increased content control will continue to limit the evolution of new technolgies. See Cablevision's remote DVR as a recent example.

Loser: Comcast

I think that the cable companies will struggle in the immediate future as wireless networks provide a new access point for households in addition to the telephone and cable lines.

With the advent of high speed internet access reaching a large percentage of homes wirelessly, cable will have no distinct advantage over their competition. Other layers of the media and entertainment "stack" will move quickly to disintermediate cable companies by offering subscription packages that specialize in digital downloading and VoIP.

Media & Entertainment

A company that can combine expert-generated content with vetted user-generated content and present information in a variety of ways - perhaps Google's current model combined with the Wall Street Journal Online. Perhaps, Google News divided into categories (as it is now) with expert-generated content with direct links to user-generated content on Google Video and to blog posts on Blogger giving locations on Google Maps. A portal of sorts giving the consumer all the relevant information available out there in the nether in one location with subscription and advertising based revenue collection.

Oh, and naturally, there'll be a mobile version.

New trend in Korea> e-textbook


In Korea, all text books will be replaced by ebooks by 2013 in elementary school. By using this students and teacher will have more interactive class and further they will obtain more deeper information timely using internet during class. However, I worry about the future of paper media in the fure if these kids are so get used to this e-media and instand education from their development stages. We have talked about the future of publication and paper media, but now it may be really in trouble since they won't have much paper media experiences and deep thought education.

Advertising in a World of New Media

As we've discussed in this class and others, there is a question of how new models of tv and film viewing will affect advertising methods and affectiveness. Many companies are not waiting to see how this shakes out.

Interesting advertising campaigns already launched include:

Monday, March 26, 2007

Nextgen Cell Phones--WSJ Video

A recent video that discusses next generation update--Many of the ideas that may be familiar to you but worth taking a look at.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

How Businesses are Using Web 2.0

I just finished reading a great article posting the results of a January 2007 McKinsey Global Survey of executives regarding what types of Web 2.0 technologies they are currently using and which technologies they are planning to use in the future. The survey received 2847 responses and 44% or respondants held C-level positions. You may need to create a fee account to read the article.

The results were par for the course except for one thing. According to the survey the technologies that get the most press time (e.g. blogs, podcasts and mash-ups) are finding the least current and planned future use in firms worldwide compared to their less sexy counterparts (e.g. knowledge management and web services). What the survey doesn't tell us is the root cause for this. Is it that executives are unable to place a tangible value on the use of these technologies or is it that they do not see them as having strategic value to the mission of the firm? It seems to me that firms are placing their bets on technologies that enable them to solidify and streamline their supply chains (web services) and better track their intellectual capital (knowledge management).

Note: You'll have to "click" on the images to see them better...


















HP Acquires Tabblo: Online Storage and More?

Tabblo located at 810 memorial Drive in Cambridge has apparently been acquired by HP. Tabblo was started with a simple observation: There is no good online application for putting together photos and words with styled templates that can be customized by the author for the purpose of telling a story. HP already owns a photo-sharing site: Snapfish.

The following is from HP's announcement:

"HP plans to leverage Tabblo’s technologies to make printing from the web easier and more convenient than it is today. Tabblo’s technology allows people to simply and efficiently arrange and print text, graphics and photos from the web. This is made possible by Tabblo’s custom template engine, using an AJAX-enriched interface.

HP plans to make this simple-to-use web-printing experience broadly available to people by working with other companies to integrate the technology into their websites. Together, HP and its partner companies will provide customers with a vastly improved web-based printing experience to meet the ever-growing need for simplified Internet-based printing.

“HP’s goal is to make printing content from the web the easiest and best experience possible for people – whether they are printing a simple map or a book of their favorite blogs,” said Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president, Imaging and Printing Group, HP. “By acquiring Tabblo’s technology and making it available to companies that host popular websites, HP will be firmly on the path to becoming the print engine of the web.”

Another move in the continuing saga of transformations underway and search for robust business models and steady cashflow in photography!

News Corp. and NBC announce partnership to create YouTube competitor

A new era of "free" digital content, brought on by the fear of youtube. The implications of this move could be huge for YouTube as well as the companies that participate in this new platform.

Check out the link for more details.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070322-news-corp-and-nbc-announce-partnership-to-create-youtube-competitor.html

Google + AdScape + Linden Labs

Im going to cheat a little here when talking about the media landscape simply because i think the media landscape will be tranformed by multiple companies in a simliar arena.

Let me digress. Google just completed the acquisition of a company called AdScape. Why is this interesting? Adscape is a company that serves dynamic ads to people playing video games.

You thought by plugging into the xbox you were getting away from real life? Hardly. With connectivity in these things, you might as well be trolling the net. Now, the king of online advertising has a whole new way of connecting/reaching/harassing you (playing devils advocate) especially if you believe the theory that the high tech consoles are moving out of the bedrooms and are becoming focal points in an households family room.

Take the uptake of Linden Labs' 2nd Life, and the way that companies are advertising there and you can see how it might be theoretically that a company spends most of its money advertising in games. How strange would that be if one company abandoned traditional outlets and decided that video games were the key to success. (Can someone please call my mom and explain how i didnt waste my youth)

Do you think Madison avenue can handle this? Or will there be a continuance of new advertising companies and models which will rule the future.

Just a thought

Does technology dictate how business is currently done or is it the business that decides what tools are best for it?

I saw this survey in the following article:

“A survey released from Forrester Research Inc. this week said that 106 of 119 CIOs from companies with more than 500 employees are comfortably riding the Web 2.0 bandwagon… What’s surprising is that they say they’re doing it because they are afraid of losing market share otherwise…For those with 5,000 or more employees competitive pressure was cited 74 per cent of the time as a driver for adopting Web 2.0, compared with 46 per cent of the time for companies with less than 5,000 employees. This suggests that the Fortune 500 are particularly concerned about keeping up with each other”

It seems to me that companies are sometimes using those tools not because of real necessity but because they are afraid not to keep up with the competition. The fact that those tools exists does not mean that a company must use them.

Does technology dictate how business is currently done or is it the business that decides what tools are best for it?
One clear trend in media is that it's consumption is being decentralized. The obvious part of this is geographic. Consumption moved from theatres and music halls to the home and now to portable devices. In the same way consumption no longer requires you to be physically in one place it is finding forms where you do not even need to focus your attention on it. Media is moving from the center of your focus to one part of a multitasking picture. People like texting in part because they can (rude as it is) do it while speaking to another person. IM enables many conversations at once. The walkman and now the iPods are a hit not just because the music was portable but because it was easy to consume while exercising or doing other things.
Following this trend I see 2 points for the future. First is ways to control devices with less effort such as being able to text without looking at the keys. More devices can be controlled by voice or eye motion to be hands free. Second is the ability to consume visual media without having to focus your attention on a screen such as with a HUD or projection would facilitate multitasking. (can you drive while semi-transparent images are projected on your windshield?)

An opportunity for data management provider.

We are in the digital media era. The telecommunication, media, and entertainment industry is in the transition from traditional products/channels to the next generation services.

From the movie “Lord of the Ring”, “Harry Potter”...the movie industry relies heavily on the special effects. Thus, it becomes critical for these companies to reduce cost and increase the efficiency managing the ever-growing library. This is an opportunity for data management providers, such as IBM, to provide proper solutions to their customers in this industry.

Interactive media and advertising

Before Internet and interactive media, advertisers relied heavily on traditional unilateral methods of broadcasting commercials. These are advertising that are in the form of a classified in a newspaper, a color spread in a magazine, or a clip on TV. As media and entertainment morph into a digital format, advertisers have largely remained stagnant. Although some advertisers are taking advantage of pop-up commercials in the form of a flash movie on websites or Google ads that reflect the audiences’ preferences, the method of advertising continues to be largely unilateral. With vast information collected about users and somewhat predictable patterns, I would expect that at 1.30 pm, after I have spent 6 straight hours working on a term paper, my Google desktop would ask me if I am hungry and show me the latest McDonalds commercial or discuss with me what type of car I should be driving after noticing I have been looking at cars the past 3 days.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Progressive Television on the Internet

18 Doughty Street ( http://www.18doughtystreet.com) is a British political news network that exclusively broadcasts on the Internet.

OfCom, Britain's independent regulator, ensures that on-air television programming remains free of ideology. But because the Internet isn't regulated, networks like 18 Doughty Street freely stream their politically charged programming content with no censure from OfCom. And because "Doughty" is a true journalistic organization, you don't get the Fox news type partisan bullshit - just plain old on-your-face politically incorrect honest journalism.

Welcome to new age media. Long live free thought.

Microsoft's role in the media landscape

With its dominant position in OS and office software, Microsoft can easily affect media landscape directly. For example, if you can create a PDF file in office 2007, what does it mean to Adobe? If Microsoft bundles P2P software into OS and creates a P2P community, what does it mean to BitTorrent's ad-supported TV network plan? We have seen the battles between IE and Netscape, Windows media player and Realplayer in the past. Maybe the new battle is not far away.

In addition, as we learned in the earlier classes, although Microsoft only monopolies the operating system market, it actually controls or influences the entire IT industry through partnership with other big players. It is not a surprise that Microsoft will indirectly play an important role in the media landscape through partnership.

Tracking systems for bike racing

Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), an IT consulting firm in CA, has been a regular sponsor of the Amgen Tour of California, one of cycling's elite racing tours. This year, CSC will be placing specially designed tracking devices on several of their riders. These tracking devices will provide both positioning and rider location during each stage of this 8-day race.

This system is different from and maybe a bit cooler than conventional GPS because it allows object field tracking - meaning that it will allow tracking of not only a racers position on the race course but also the relative position of one racer to another. Another difference is that traditional GPS can track relative positioning to about 65 feet whereas this device can track a rider's position to about 10. Another fancy addition that CSC has made is to allow the race fans to access customized maps of the race via our friends at Google Earth.

More details can be found here

How cool...

Nike +

Nike+ is the revolutionary product that smartens-up your shoes and ties together your running and media consumption experience. Through accessing the excess capacity of the iPod Nano, the Nike+ product is able to inform the user about distances traveled and help focus training regimens through recorded data. This product is able to do all this with an additional cost to the user of only $30. It also creates greater lock-in for Apple (more items & lifestyle tied to their product line) and Nike (they build the only compatible shoes) and spurs additional sales of Nano (no other iPods are compatible with the + product.)

How this impacts media: As people become busier and as podcasts become a more prevalent source of people's news, consuming this media while multi-tasking will become ever more prevalent and necessary in our daily lives. This product also allows the Nano to become a smarter device. Currently the product is only communicating with the shoes, but with the creation of the iPhone, a future product that utilizes GPS mapping and logging to record routes or help the user navigate a pre-planned route are plausible product extensions. In this future, live broadcast or selected news feeds that are selectable on the go will help athletes stay connected during their morning jog.

Web 3.0: Semantic Web

Tom McDonald's post about Pandora inspired me to put up this post about "Semantic Web".

The main idea behind Semantic web is that not only would things be tagged on the internet, but the tags will be related to each other in an ontology. I believe the Pandora website uses this kind of technology.

The idea of giving machines more intelligence through linked or associated tags is a very powerful one. Imagine adding such tags to IPTV video content, and having a machine with the ability to analyze what you are watching and suggest new content or even make decisions about how a story might evolve for a particular viewer. If IPTV content was codified in such a way, imagine what this could mean for a provider trying to segment viewers for targeted advertising. This would allow for segmenting on viewing behavior that has channel changes every five minutes...segmenting on the "ideas" that a viewer prefers rather than merely the programs the viewer prefers!

Anyway, since we're talking about Web 2.0 let's bring "3.0?" into the discussion!

Critics argue that Semantic Web requires too much metadata and is too complex. However, a few metadata links in the right places could revolutionize industries.

Here is a link that talks more about Pandora:
http://www.mkbergman.com/?p=322

Here is another link with FAQs about Semantic Web:
http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/SW-FAQ#What1

Here is the source of another recent article about Semantic Web:
An excellent article on Semantic Web can also be found in the March/April 2007 edition of MIT technology review. The article is called "A Smarter Web" by John Borland.

Podcasts 2.0 - "Just in Time" information

Just as simple as Apple's iPod first started out, podcast downloads have skyrocketed to 1.6 Million daily podcast subscribers today (doubling over the past 6 months!)

With over 120 million MP3 players and 200 Million MP3-compatible phones out there in at the end of 2006, it's no wonder that magazines, newspapers, non-profits, cable networks, small and large businesses alike, are all using podcasts to get the "just-in-time" message across to their customers! Consultants use podcasts to advertise their services, authors broadcast their latest edition over iTunes, and Universities give virtual tours of their campuses.

Podcast Alley, one of the largest podcast websites on the net, has over 25,000 podcasts totalling more than 1,000,000 epidsodes!! This is compared to a mere 1,000 in 2004. According to Steve Rucinksi, author of "Small Business Trends in 2007", 12% of internet users have downloaded a podcast in 2006 versus 7% a year earlier. This equates to an astonishing 17.6 Million people.

Tools used to record and produce podcasts are developing faster everyday. Apple's iPod has a microphone that can be attached to the iPod itself and used to record podcasts with excellent quality. In addition podcast directories continue to get larger and larger. Finally, user engagement with podcast directories is becoming more refined as rating systems and other recommendation systems make it easier for users to find the exact content they want.

Forrester Research is predicts the number of households using podcasts will grow from 700,000 to 12.3 million over the next four years in the United States alone. This growth is indicative of a new way to reach consumers and a real business opportunity for traditional media outlets.

YouTube and the 2008 Campaign

The advent of sites like YouTube has allowed the spread of personally created media. While much of it is frivolous, it is also becoming a place for more serious endeavors. A campaign ad comparing Hillary Clinton to the leviathan IBM in the Apple '1984' commercial was recently posted, promoting Barack Obama. Barack Obama has said that he had nothing to do with the creation of the ad, but that isn't really the point. Many campaign ads are created and paid for by advocate groups without the specific consent of the candidate.

Could this be a more cost-effective way to reach voters. Are voters visiting the YouTube website? I vote and I look at videos on YouTube. If people look at campaign ads on You Tube and then e-mail them to their friends, the effect is immediate and viral.

This new platform for political promotion could act in concert with TV (at significantly less cost) or it could begin to replace traditional television campaigns. Candidates that cannot afford expensive TV campaigns could offer their message across a platform like YouTube.

Could YouTube be the future battleground of mainstream campaigning?

Take a look at the video below. It is obviously of a professional quality.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h3G-lMZxjo

Triple-Play, and the telecom/cable battle.

It's very popular to talk about new companies like google (UTube) that are changing the way media is handled. But the methods of getting the media to the home are still roughly the same, cable (or fiber) is piped to your home.

A huge battle raging between the old telecom companies and cable companies. In an effort to lock in customers, they are offering triple plays - IP voice, data and video delivery.

While Telecom companies have an edge by owning the infrastructure, they are regulated to sell to the cable companies. Cable companies, on the other hand, are both content owners as well as providers of the service, giving them the edge. But companies like AT&T and Verizon won't just lie down.

What does this mean for the changing landscape?

"A bundled consumer services offering that includes television over IP (TVoIP) has emerged as the leading application that tips the balance in favor of migration to IP (for carriers). Carriers can start by offering one service and then increase their revenue stream by adding other services incrementally. A first step might be to offer IP data at $30 a month, then add voice for another $20, and finally TVoIP for $40." Michael Khalilian and Farshid Mohammadi

In the future, all media for the home, online books to video games, to your favorite Thursday night sitcom will be packaged for you through streaming fiber direct to your home. Benefits seem clear, but will there be a segregation of content? If I choose Verizon, will i not get certain sports shows? or certain channels?

Netflix transforms the media landscape. Again.

Netflix will soon update its once revolutionary model of capitalizing on the long tail of movie watching while dispensing with the need to visit a brick and mortar establishment.

Already available to some users (myself included), Netflix's streaming movie service will be fully available to all by July 2007. Users essentially will get one hour of viewing time for each $1 of their monthly subscription fee. Initially only 1,000 titles will be available out of a possible 70,000 on DVD, but the number is the same Netflix launched their service with in 1999 and will increase over time as both consumer demand and capacity to deliver the streams ramps up.

Why is the availability of streaming video important?

The long awaited dream of true video-on-demand is finally here. Streaming video is not a new technology, but the pipes to deliver the content to a critical mass of users and the ability to render the streams on the desktop had to evolve to the point where they are today. Both the Bandwidth Law and Moore's Law certainly applied in shaping the timing and availability of Netflix's first-to-market offering of on-demand commercial content from major studios.

How will Netflix's offering transform the media landscape?

Streaming video satisfies both movie watchers who want the gratification of instant movie watching rather than lengthy 1+ hour download times and content owners who are concerned that downloaded content will be unlawfully shared.

It may also change the way we watch movies by providing the ability to easily start, stop, and switch movies.

Per CEO Reed Hastings, Netflix intends to put movies on "every Internet-connected screen, from cell phones to PCs to plasma screens." Their new service offering is the first step and raises the bar for other heavyweights like Apple and Blockbuster who inevitably must follow suit in order to compete.

Take Vonage With You


"Take Vonage With You" is the tag line. You certainly can. It is small enough to fit on a key chain. A small USB capable device the size and shape of a memory stick can be used to make calls away from the subscriber's home. The "V-Phone" device contains the phone number and authentication information so that a subscriber can make calls from any broadband connection in the world. If they live in Boston and are traveling in Tokyo, they can plug into a computer and make a call to New York City (or even next door) as if they were in Boston. The call rates apply as if they were sitting at their computer in Boston.

Will this technology compete with cell phones? As cell phones become more and more international with interchangeable chips on the same platform, the cell phone is a convenient international calling option. Calling using VOIP is, however, the most affordable option for international calling and broadband connection is increasingly easy to find in many places.

Perhaps this technology is more applicable to the international traveler as cell phone plans have generally encompassed all U.S. calling areas and offered sufficient minutes to meet the needs of most consumers. Regardless, this is an interesting technology that makes it easier to travel with your calling plan, especially when traveling outside the U.S.

For more, http://www.vonage.com/features.php?feature=traveling


Adobe: From desktop publishing to online media

Adobe's acquisition of Macromedia about two years ago gave them a significantly stronger foothold in the online development tools space. Of particular importance to the online media landscape was the development of their Flash Media Server product which allows video content to be streamed through a Flash interface which is already available on most web browsers. The most prominent company to have utilized this technology is YouTube, whose technology is primarily based on Flash technology. Adobe also has many other sever-based applications for online media such as
Macromedia Breeze 5
Meet, present, and train online, live, and on-demand
Adobe Central Pro Output Server

Merge templates with enterprise data to deliver personalized print, fax, e-mail, web, or PDF documents

Macromedia ColdFusion® MX 7

Accelerate the development and deployment of web applications

Adobe Connect
Comprehensive web communications solutions for the enterprise
Adobe Contribute Publishing Server
Manage website content and control user access rights with a flexible, scalable server
Macromedia Flash Media Server 2.0
Speed development and deployment of rich Flash content
Macromedia Flash Remoting MX
Deliver data-driven Flash content
Adobe Flex™ 2
The most complete, powerful application development solution for creating and delivering cross-platform rich Internet applications within the enterprise and across the web
Adobe FrameMaker Server 7.2
Integration with server-based applications
Adobe Graphics Server
Deliver dynamic, data-driven images to any audience
Macromedia JRun™ 4
Speed the delivery of J2EE applications with an affordable and reliable server
Adobe LiveCycle® products
From electronic forms to personalized document generation and delivery, Adobe LiveCycle products extend and accelerate core business processes
Adobe Output Designer
Design professional-looking documents quickly working in conjunction with Adobe Central Pro Output Server and Output Paks
Adobe Output Manager
Maximize print job throughput working in conjunction with Adobe Central Pro Output Server
Adobe Output Pak for mySAP.com®
Extend your investment in SAP with sophisticated document generation
Adobe Web Output Pak
Merge templates with enterprise data to present dynamically generated PDF documents in a web browser
As the dominant player in online development tools, they will inevitably contribute to the path of the online media landscape as many media companies already utilize their products and are likely to continue using their products. Additionally, their expertise and experience with internet technologies will allow them to develop better tools over time and thereby affect how we experience online media in the future.

Is Convergence Finally Here?

Connecting your TV to your broadband-connected computer opens up a world of possibilities. You can download movies and television shows to your PC and then watch them comfortably from the couch. There’s all sorts of services for doing this, both paid and free. You can pipe music through online services to your home stereo also. There even exists open-source versions of a TiVo like service that enable you to turn your home PC into a DVR/PVR.

That’s all great stuff but these days it seems you need an engineering degree to hook it all up. Industry leaders talk of the “last mile” being the limiting factor to delivering internet powered media to the average home user. But I say it’s really the “last ten feet” that are the real challenge. If you want to connect the typical television to the typical desktop PC you’ll need a few things. First you need a video card that can convert the VGA signal to a composite video signal that the TV can understand. Next you need to run cables to your TV for both the video and the audio from the PC. You’ll probably need adapters to connect to the audio-output jack on the back of the PC. Then there’s the dreaded “hum” noise and other sources of interference from flouresent lighting. Next you need to...

OK, so at this point you get the picture – it’s a pain in the ass. My parents still can’t program their VCR, so this will never go main stream. Linksys, Microsoft and Apple (to name a few) have attempted to develop their own set top boxes that interface the TV to the PC but if you’ve followed these products you’ll see hardware that has failed to meet acceptable performance levels and still is difficult to use. You still have to deal with all the cables and adapters. Then there’s the software you need to run on your PC – let’s just say it’s lacking.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the consumer electronics world it’s that we can get a pretty good idea of what the future will hold by looking at what the Japanese are up to. Matsushita, Sony, Toshiba, Sharp and Hitachi have joined forces and created a joint venture called TV Portal Service Corp. The firm will run a portal for broadband connected TV sets, called acTVila, that will offer video-on-demand, payment processing, and a variety of other media related offerings. The platform also includes and integrated digital rights management scheme that enables users to move content around on their various devices. What makes it all so simple is that these TV’s have built in networking hardware. You simply connect your TV to your broadband connection and now it’s on the internet too. They also have built in capabilities for integrating with your home network.

last.fm

last.fm is a very interesting social music community. If you let last.fm "scrobble" your playlists when you are listening to your music with your computer's music player or your iPod, the website will create your personal music charts automatically and help you find your musical soulmates, discover and explore new music, generate your own personal radio station, and see what your friends are listening to.

Pandora

A company that I think will have a big impact on the future of the music industry is Pandora. Pandora is the product of what the founders call the "Music Genome Project". Back in 2000, a bunch of musicians and technologists got together to analyze music at its most fundamental level; rhythm, melody, harmony, instrumentation, lyrics, etc. To date, they have analyzed the music of over 10,000 artists (famous to obscure).

When you go to the website, you enter the name of a song/artist that you like and a playlist is generated based on the musical characteristics of your selection. As you listen to the recommendations, you give the music a 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down'. As users rate the songs, Pandora can incorpate the opinions in future recommendations. This appears to be a much more intuitive method for finding new music, as current music genres are extremely broad and not always helpful.

With the rise of digital music, I can definitely see a company in the portable music device arena acquiring Pandora in the near future and incorporating the service in the next generation of devices.

Moore's Law running out for memory chips?

Here is an article from Reuters that once again brings up the concern over the future of Moore's Law and the limitations of the current design of memory chip technologies. Most of the articles I have read in the past about this subject have been loaded with speculation and conjecture and have offered few details about alternative memory chip technologies. I think this article, however, gives a nice overview of some of the potential innovations and advancements in memory chip design.

Moore's Law hits physics in memory chips

BitTorrent vs. the networks

Many of you know BitTorrent as the peer-to-peer file sharing protocol that allows you to transfer large files, but there's also a company behind all that fancy technology. After launching a paid video store, the company is now planning an ad-supported tv network that allows users to watch television shows for free anytime, anywhere. While they're hardly the only player in this space, the company's large install base seem to make it a viable contender.

Cingular/AT&T in the media landscape

As more emphasis is placed on the "third screen", this company has the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of facilitating new media. Out of all the US mobile service providers, Cingular has been on the forefront of mobile-as-entertainment, and has successfully negotiated its position with handheld device manufacturers in order to get the newest, most cutting-edge phones & multimedia devices before its competitors (a critical advantage as cell phones increasingly become a fashion accessory). The company's new branding push towards the AT&T name has the promise to associate the company in consumers' minds with the communications revolutions in which it has been involved throughout history.

Slingbox: Fence buster?

I think Slingbox will significantly change the landscape of television, in the same way that Tivo has. Tivo introduced consumers to easy time-shifting of programming, popularizing the concept in a way the VCR could not.

Slingbox will take the concept to the next level, pairing the time-shifting of the home PVR with an appliance to place-shift the stored content. Once the idea of place-shifting reaches a critical demand among consumers, wholesale industry change must occur to compensate.

An article in WSJ (currently available only to pay subscribers, so i won't bother to link) mentioned that television protects its revenues through a mire of geographical and other types of fences. For example, cable companies rely on the revenues of selling their product to every node on their network. But, what happens if one node buys the service and self-broadcasts to other nodes? (ex- students watch cable in their dorm room from their parent's home or families watch their home television from their vacation home.)

Conceivably, Comcast will be providing the internet bandwidth which is reused to rebroadcast its own pay television content by Slingbox owners.

iTunes Video and true emergence of Portable Video

As everyone's grandmother knows, iTunes and the iPod are the darlings of the industry to carry your personal music in vast quantites and take it with you everywhere. But it is Apple's shift into video time and palce shifting with the Video iPod as revealed in the 5th generarion of the iPod demonstrates the powerful hand that Apple is planning to force into the media market beyond simply selling music. A future is emerging where all video will be accessible to handheld devices at the time and choice of the user, and Apple is pioneering the global mass market push thanks to the foothold of the original iPod generations.

Cisco Digital Media

Take a moment to ponder how much unique digital output you have created for business versus how much you have created personally. If you are a fairly boring individual like myself who spends far too much time consuming beer and watching sports, the answer is a no brainer. I have produced so many papers, powerpoints, and videoconferences for work, whereas at home, all I have to show is an update to the Wikipedia page on beagles (Mine is the cute Tan and White puppy)

In the future, I think that Cisco will play an increasingly important role in transforming the media landscape because as there is a shift toward user created content, they are positioned uniquely to shift from their role as leading business provider to a facilitator of personal content solutions. They already have a market leading foot in the door in data transmission hardware and they seem to be creeping more and more toward content creation hardware. If users learn how to create media in the workplace, maybe this will lead to a spillover into the personal market.

Tivo's role in media transformation

Tivo is currently involved in the trend to try and connect the living room television with the home computer. This comes after Tivo has already "revolutionized" the way many viewers watch television by allowing them to avoid commercials and watch television on their own schedules. Ultimately users should be able to transfer content freely from their televisions to their computers and, perhaps more importantly, vice-versa. While Tivo has not perfected this ability for users, it is moving in the right direction. Tivo Desktop (a free download) allows users to transfer Tivo recordings to their computers for permanent storage, DVD creation, or computer viewing. Tivo is also involved in a partnership with Amazon.com that allows content to be purchased on the web, through Amazon, and watched on the Tivo. Unfortunately, as far a I know, non-Amazon computer files are unable to be transferred to Tivo from the computer, unless the file was originally recorded on a Tivo. Sorry Tivo team for stealing any of your thunder, please add if necessary.

AOL Video offers a centralized site for non-user generated videos

For my required blog posting, I have chosen AOL as a company that can help change the media landscape in terms of online video content. (http://video.aol.com)

We see more and more videos online either replacing or supplementing written content, whether in the form of news, entertainment, etc. I think that this company/website helps to centralize videos onto one site that, in my opinion, is the anti-YouTube. Users are able to search up any news topics and find all related videos from all of the major television networks or from independent news agencies that have provided video content. For example, I missed news on the Airbus A380 landing in the US and so I wanted to watch the landing versus reading about it in an article. Therefore, I simply searched "Airbus A380" and was able to watch the news reports from NBC's Today Show, CNN, and a slew of others. AOL has gotten rights to transmit content from all of the major television and news networks, which is very beneficial in providing a one stop shop for this time of media content. I recall looking up a Comedy Central piece from the Chapelle show on YouTube but it was removed since the user who uploaded the video did not have rights to broadcast that clip. I think AOL's model alleviates this problem and provides higher quality content. YouTube has its niche and AOL can do well with this type of site, as it also provides content to purchase (TV Shows for $1.99 - for the anti-iTunes crowd).

I also wanted to reinforce that I think that by having to blog these entries, we ARE providing a means for everyone to see and utilize the information but we are also creating a blog with information overload. With so many posts, I highly doubt many people will even see or read all of this post. Isn't that negating the effect or value this blog adds? If you do read this entry, please do comment so I can be proven wrong. Thanks!

Apple TV and Beyond

The ability to either view what is on your computer on your tv or easily navigate the web on your tv completely changes the entertainment industry. Networks are already making their shows available on-line for free (with limited commercials) or for a small fee on itunes (commercial free) once they have aired, thereby letting the consumer watch whenever they want even without a tivo. The ability to watch on your television, rather than just your computer or your ipod, will bring in many more customers. More freedom can bring more viewers overall, but it can also limit the number of viewers at the time the show airs "live". This is a major problem for networks and advertisers because it is a paradigm shift for the industry. How will television ratings be determined? How will advertising fees be determined? Is television moving to a completely on demand model? Are our lives so busy and so media filled that we don't have time for appointment television anymore? Does must-see tv mean the same thing to a network if I can see it anytime I want?

Liberating the People of the Temporal Shackles

In today's society we are constantly expected to achieve more or the same amount of work in less time with the help of technology. Where does that leave us? Working harder, longer, and stronger with fewer vacation days, less down-time, less time for self-reflection and personal development, less time for family, etc, thanks to the expectation of as services being perpetually on-line.

Therefore, while our European counterparts take their mandated 5 weeks vacation + holidays at entry levels positions, we want to maximize our entertainment experience when we can, on our terms, without distraction or limitations. Being freed of temporal constraints by services and devices such as TiVo, Video on Demand, Integrated DVRs, etc. has already added a lot of value to the traditional TV viewing experience. Applying the same concept we have from a professional standpoint (having our people be on-demand), applying the same concept across entertainment will undoubtedly be welcomed, in turn reducing risk of burn-out, allowing corporations to expect even more. Everyone wins.

Wikis: Further Links

As you think about the role of wikis in enterprise, you may find these two links interesting and useful. Please feel free to add to it (in the spirit of wiki--even though we have not set up the underlying technology architecture here!).

Wikipatterns. This site dicsuuses some of the ways to spur adoption of wikis in enterprises.

using Wiki in Education. An interesting blog.

Google Launches Pay-Per-Action

We know that measuring the impact of advertising is imprecise but necessary. Advertisers most often feel that they may not get full value from their advertising spend. Here is an interesting (beta) move by Google that may be worth watching.

Google Pay-per-action: Pay only for actions that you define.
So, it is not about click through but specific actions such as signing up newsletters or purchasing a product. the three simple steps are:

1. Create ads, define actions and track conversations
2. Publishers display your ads
3. You pay for completed actions.

One more attempt by Google to redefine the value of on-line advertising.

Thoughts? reactions?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Virtual Worlds

" Virtual worlds are 'worth $1bn'"

Excerpts:

Millions of people are flocking to inhabit virtual online worlds, says research by analysts Screen Digest.

The market for massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) in the West is now worth more than $1bn (£511m)

Revenues from subscriptions to MMOGs will hit $1.5bn by 2011, he said... More than 10 million people will subscribe to MMOGs by 2011, and many millions more will play online games driven by other payment schemes, such as advertising and virtual purchases, the report predicted.

New MMOG genres were emerging, including:

  • Virtual world building games, such as Second Life

  • Virtual pet rearing games, such as Neo pets

  • More casual MMO puzzle games

  • Sports games in which you have to buy items and build up your character

  • Beyond this article:

    It is important to note that virtual worlds such as Second Life are mimicking real life. People are spending real dollars to advertise and buy virtual real estate in growing numbers.
    Politicians are campaigning with Second Life. MLB has advertised the home run derby within Second Life. There have even been terrorist attacks within the virtual world. The list goes on...

    Virtual worlds are changing the way we interact with media and they create an entirely new platform for advertising. We have already seen companies begin to advertise within video games, and now we see it in multiple forms (audio, video, and on billboards) within these virtual worlds. This will impact television, advertising, politics, etc. There is no place that is beyond reach for these virtual worlds and their real life economies.

    Wikipedia and HBS case

    Here is an experiment that is worth thinking about as you reflect on your MBA experience.

    Monday, March 19, 2007

    Adobe's Apollo


    Check out this newly unveiled software.
    Adobe strikes back with a revolutionary software that
    has significant impact on online marketing.


    http://news.stepforth.com/blog/2007/03/adobes-apollo-offers-intriguing.php

    Yet More Value for the People

    At the bottom of an NYTimes.com article about the superlatives of the A380 Airbus mega-plane was a list of user responses. I can not find the link to the article, but one of the reader comments went as follows:

    "WOW" - Chris Somebody

    What a waste. Three letters that add no value whatsoever to anything for me or anyone else in the world with the exception of perhaps Chris Somebody who wasted the time writing this profound sequence of letters.

    There were many of these reader comments at the bottom, the overwhelming majority of which were probably just as insightful with Chris' comment.

    To be honest, I am confident that a majority of the class feels the same about this very post. If blogging were not tied to class participation all of this would have never been written. Would anyone really blog? I am still amazed at the enthusiasm surrounding Blogging. There is nothing special about it, users generate the content, and therefore can shape a blog to be whatever the majority wants it to be, a glorified web1.0 message board, a way to feel important, or to vent frustrations into cyberspace. Either way, we use ~3% of our brains (read it in a blog), equivalent to the proportion of valuable information we project on a daily basis. Enjoy.

    Sunday, March 18, 2007

    Multi-Touch Computers--What Could They Mean?



    It is worth watching.
    Ask yourself:: What could such functionality mean in different industries?

    New Way to "Buyout" new Customers

    Check out this link.

    MS took the adding customers task to another level.
    Is this an act of despair or something that will turn the tables?



    http://www.itwire.com.au/content/view/10554/532/

    Who really knows 2.0? and how to make $ Cash Money...

    Blog Millionaire Teaches How Not To Be An A-lister

    Interesting blog review on Jason Calacani's (weblogs, Inc.) blog describing simple steps to make web 2.0 blogs A-List and potentially cash positive. That's why were in this right?

    1. Blog intelligently. Think about your post for a day before you hit publish. Do research--do primary research in the real work. Write something with insight, and include links to other folks ideas.
    2. Go to 2-3 events or conferences a week.
    3. Get a great domain name that is easy to remember and spell (i.e. buzzmachine.com).
    4. Go to TechMeme and write an insightful piece daily about one of the top stories.
    5. Start emailing other bloggers with feedback on their stories. (don't beg for links)
    6. Be smart.
    7. Don't be an idiot.

    Rex Hammock from the www.sfgate.com blog counterpoints this pretty well. Interesting insight on content and quality. Successful bloggers don't focus primarily on technology, but incorporate it into more entertaining formats relating to a wide variety of blog information (i.e. day-to-day, travel etc...).




    Saturday, March 17, 2007

    Social Networking and Shopping

    This article in the NY Times discusses a new technology that allows you to try on clothes in a kind of virtual mirror and lets your friends see you and comment live from anywhere with a computer. It's sort of a live version of my virtual model combined with myspace and could be a way for brands to differentiate themselves in the highly competitive fashion industry.

    Friday, March 16, 2007

    Conference and Exposition about technologies at Boston

    On April 16-19 there is a Conference and Expo about technologies and strategies at Boston. If you register before April 16 you may attend for free some of the lectures and the Exhibit hall. The Conference touches on some of the topics we discuss in class and more such as the lecture about “From Business Intelligence to Blogs and Workflow to Wikis: Accelerating Both Empowerment and Governance in a Rapidly Expanding World of Information”. To learn more go to:
    http://www.aiimexpo.com/aiimexpo2007/v42/index.cvn

    Thursday, March 15, 2007

    Web 2.0 for Foodies

    For those who love to cook: www.ifood.tv. User generated content in the form of recipes (both video and traditional), reviews, how-to videos, blogs, and much more creates value mainly for at-home chefs who want to broaden their culinary knowledge.

    Eric Schmidt's Talk and Interviews (March 2007)



    Thursday, March 8, 2007

    Google Maps Integrated into BMW

    This is another example of integration across domains to create seasmless service delivery.


    It raises interesting questions such as:

    1. Will Google make this functionality available to other car manufacturers?
    2. What should GM OnStar do?
    3. Does this have any effect on Microsoft-Ford Sync?
    4. ipod integration in cars has taken off recently. What should Apple do to integrate iphone into cars?
    5. What will Yahoo and Mapquest do to respond?

    ----

    What is Web 2.0?

    This long pdf article is the most comphrensive discussion of what exactly Web 2.0 means that I've encountered (warning: written by academics). The author lists the "Six Big Ideas" driving the new web:
    1. Individual production and user generated content
    2. Harnessing the power of the crowd.
    3. Data on an epic scale
    4. Architecture of participation
    5. Network effects, power laws, and the Long Tail
    6. Openness
    There's also a good overview of the key applications and technologies involved, as well as a discussion of what's next (Web 3.0?) A long read, and focused primarily on the effect on academia, but definitely worthwhile for those interested in web technology.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2007

    Web 2.0 Journal - The World’s Leading Web 2.0 Resource

    Web 2.0 Journal - The World’s Leading Web 2.0 Resource

    The Web 2.0 Journal is more focusing on AJAX and SOA (Service Oriented Architecture), both are more in the developer and corporate's perspectives.




    More information about AJAX and SOA:
    AJAX at Wiki
    SOA at Wiki

    Web Services for Social Services


    Cost Benefit Systems. This organization is offering a web-based solution to a problem that has been difficult for social service and other organizations - measuring the Triple Bottom Line of financial, social, and environmental impact. It is offers the ability to quanitfy multiple areas of impact to customers using a subscription-based revenue model with different levels of administration and customization.

    Who said do-gooders couldn't be techy?

    New PS3 Functionality

    There is an interesting NY Times article about how the Sony PS3 is introducing new online functionality in addition to a potential killer app, (called MotorStorm, click here for the IGN review). The article states that Sony is planning on introducing persistent user identities across all games so that users may view each others exploits as well as upload and rank content. It will be interesting to see whether Microsoft will respond to this by imitating with their own proprietary code or whether they respond by advocating the addition of gaming to an open standard such as OpenID (mentioned in the previous blog). This would undermine any lock-in that Sony is trying to create by allowing users to easily import their identities across consoles.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2007

    Social Networking Goes Mainstream? Cisco Thinks So

    This article from NY Times is worth reading as we further strive to understand social networking and web 2.0..
    ___




    March 3, 2007
    Social Networking’s Next Phase

    By BRAD STONE
    SAN FRANCISCO, March 2 — Next week Cisco Systems, a Silicon Valley heavyweight, plans to announce one of its most unusual deals: it is buying the technology assets of Tribe.net, a mostly forgotten social networking site, according to people close to the companies’ discussions.

    It is a curious pairing. Cisco, with 55,000 employees, makes networking equipment for telecommunications providers and other big companies. Tribe.net, run by a company with eight employees, has been trampled by newer social sites like MySpace and Facebook.

    But along with the recent purchase of a social network design firm, Five Across, the deal will give Cisco the technology to help large corporate clients create services resembling MySpace or YouTube to bring their customers together online. And that ambition highlights a significant shift in the way companies and entrepreneurs are thinking about social networks.

    They look at MySpace and Facebook, with their tens of millions of users, as walled-off destinations, similar to first-generation online services like America Online, CompuServe and Prodigy. These big Web sites attract masses of people who have dissimilar interests and, ultimately, little in common.

    The new social networking players, which include Cisco and a multitude of start-ups like Ning, the latest venture of the Netscape co-creator Marc Andreessen, say that social networks will soon be as ubiquitous as regular Web sites. They are aiming to create tools to let ordinary people, large companies and even presidential candidates create social Web sites tailored for their own customers, friends, fans and employees.

    “The existing social networks are fantastic but they put users in a straitjacket,” said Mr. Andreessen, who this week reintroduced Ning, his third start-up, after a limited introduction last year. “They are restrictive about what you can and can’t do, and they were not built to be flexible. They do not let people build and design their own worlds, which is the nature of what people want to do online.”

    Social networks are sprouting on the Internet these days like wild mushrooms. In the last few months, organizations as dissimilar as the Portland Trailblazers, the University of South Carolina and Nike have gotten their own social Web sites up and running, with the help of companies that specialize in building social networks. Last month, Senator Barack Obama unveiled My.BarackObama.com, a social network created for his presidential campaign by the political consulting firm Blue State Digital.

    Many of these new online communities cater to niche interests. Shelfari, a Seattle-based start-up, recently began a service to let book lovers share their opinions. This week it received an investment from Amazon.com.

    Mr. Andreessen’s Ning, based in Palo Alto, Calif., is fashioning itself as a one-stop shop catering to this growing interest in social networks. Anyone can visit the site and set up a community on any topic, from the television show “Battlestar Galactica” to microbrew beers. Ning users choose the features they want to include, like videos, photos, discussion forums or blogs. Their sites can appear like MySpace, YouTube or the photo sharing site Flickr — or something singular.

    Those setting up Ning communities can pay $20 a month if they want the site free of text advertisements delivered by Google. They also have the option of delivering their own advertising, as CBS does on Ning-based social networks for its shows “CSI” and “The Class.”

    Mr. Andreessen said that even with its two acquisitions, Cisco might be underestimating the ease of combining technologies behind Tribe.net and its earlier acquisition, Five Across.

    “The idea that Cisco is going to be a force in social networking is about as plausible as Ning being a force in optical switches,” he said.

    Tribe.net, which developed the technology that Cisco is now acquiring, almost led this new social networking phase. In 2004, the U2 singer Bono approached the company and asked it to create a separate network for his antipoverty campaign, One.org, according to several former employees. Tribe.net, founded by Mark Pincus, a prominent Silicon Valley angel investor, decided to remain focused on building a destination site, like Friendster and MySpace.

    Bono went on to create the One.org network with Yahoo. Mr. Pincus left Tribe.net in 2005 but repurchased the company from lenders last summer when it was nearly out of money. Today, Tribe.net is primarily used by artists who attend the annual Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.

    Executives at Cisco and Utah Street Networks, Tribe.net’s parent company, declined to comment on their deal or its terms. But people close to the discussions said Tribe.net would remain an independent site, while its underlying technology would go to Cisco.

    Several former employees have left Tribe.net to start their own firms offering social network tools. Alexander Mouldovan, who had been a product manager there, started a company called Crowd Factory to design social networks for large companies. He is now building services for several telecommunications customers and says the new model makes more sense for Internet users.

    “If I’m into fly-fishing, that is where I’m going to spend my energy online,” he said. “I don’t think it is easy for MySpace and Facebook to adapt and bend to the needs of individual brands.”

    One challenge is getting users to join new social networks when there are few other members. For example, Google helped Nike design its soccer community site, called Joga.com, but it does not appear to have significantly attracted users.

    “I think this will work for certain kinds of brands, and other brands are just barking up the wrong tree,” said Paul Martino, a former Tribe.net chief technology officer who is now the chief executive of Aggregate Knowledge, a service that taps the online behavior of other users to provide shopping advice.

    Another challenge is persuading users to enter their information over and over when they join new online communities. To solve the problem, several firms are pushing a standard called OpenID, which would let users sign on and easily transfer profile information among social sites.

    Marc Canter, a former Tribe.net consultant who has created his own social networking firm, People Aggregator, was an early supporter of OpenID. “Humans are migratory beasts, and we do not want to re-enter our data every time we join a new site,” he said. “Users own their data and should be able to move it around freely.”

    Cisco is positioning itself for the day when mainstream consumers are spending much of their time taking part in these online communities. With the acquisition of Tribe.net, it is also trying to further its quest to become a consumer-oriented company. In the last few years, it has purchased the wireless router company Linksys and the set-top-box maker Scientific Atlanta, giving it a significant presence in many American homes.

    Dan Scheinman, the mergers and acquisition chief who led the Linksys and Scientific Atlanta purchases, now runs a new division at Cisco called the Media Solutions Group, which has been responsible for the deals for Five Across and Tribe.net.

    After the Five Across acquisition, Mr. Scheinman said in an interview that Americans were quickly changing their media consumption habits. He said his new group would let Cisco help its media customers, like TV networks and cable companies, develop their sites and move more of their content onto the Web.

    “Part of our job is to form a relationship with media companies and deliver technologies and services to them, so consumers can consume what they want online,” he said.


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