Saturday, December 19, 2009

2010 Cautious Optimism, More Stuff, Fewer Players

2010...Cautious Optimism, More Stuff, Fewer Players

Tread Carefully – The industry has made it through a really tough year, and things are getting better; but you’ll have to remain alert and move with care.  If it were easy, anyone could do it.  Source – Comstock Images

Forecasts are a lot like New Year resolutions – a lot of wishful thinking and the idea that you’re going to make; it but boy, is the other guy/gal going to be in trouble.

As 12 really sucky months wind down, everyone tries to make sense of the chaos…and the opportunities.

Talk to the entertainment people (HW, SW, content) and they’re ready for the challenge.

Talk to the mobile folks and you’d swear that no one is ever going to be home.

Talk to the computer people and it’s all business and play.

Talk to the cloud folks and you’d swear you never have to touch the ground…ever.

Talk to the storage gurus and my gawd, they’re building stuff to stuff your stuff.

3D Beyond HD
It seems like just yesterday that everyone was eager to move – networks, stations, cableguys, viewers – from standard to high def.

Oh yeah…it was!

Hollywood needed something new, different to drag you the theater, so viola…let’s try 3D again.

Panasonic and Sony have been eager to deliver with a number of breathtaking end-to-end solutions.

They both say that by this time next year, they’ll each have set the industry on its ear and will have exceeded consumers’ wildest projections… “I’ll have what they’re having!!”

It’s not a new idea, as we were reminded at 6Sight, and the new generation is better than the stuff they had in the ‘50s.

Forget the 3D reanimated stuff you’ve seen to date.  We’re talking about real stereoscopic 3D the stuff that beautifully messes with your mind and brings the flat screen to life.

Avatar was the real test – the money shot for 3D.

Turns out that switch to DTV and HDTV won’t have to be thrown out for 3D.  Tellywood will leverage this investment to begin delivering content.

Yes, there will be new cameras to buy, some new production mixing boards, new software, new talent; but hey…it’s the industry’s way.

Slowing the instant success are standards (almost there, honest) and tons of content for you to watch.

There will be about a dozen 3D TV tests this year.

More, better stuff next year.

By 2013, you’ll wonder what you ever saw in plain old HighDef.

Right now, you’re saying “o.k., crap!” and thinking you’re going to have to buy a new TV set in a couple of years.

Real Entertainment – This year, 3D content will expand dramatically.  First in the theater and then with a number of spot tests on TV.  Then, in a few years, all the broadcast content will be in your living room--in your face.

Turns out that 1080p projection, plasma or flat screen is probably 3D-capable and you’ll just need a reasonably priced add-on box to handle the data stream.

Or…come on.  Your set is almost a year or two old…time to pop for one where you can watch the wide receiver leap valiantly and the cheerleaders jump higher!

It’ll all be good in HD and stereoscopic 3D!!!

Never Outta’ Touch
Listen to the mobile path providers, smartphone producers and apps developers and no one will ever be out of touch ever again.

Smartphones have been around for a number of years, but it took the rapid outflow of apps (o.k., Apple’s app store) to make them huge with kids, adults, folks at home and pros in the office.

If you don’t have one, you’re like so yesterday!

If you think you have standards battles for your living room eyeballs; cripes, with smartphones, you’ve got Symbian (Nokia), Android (Google), Apple, Blackberry, Microsoft and who did we miss?

Oh yeah, Palm.

Pre did “o.k.” but Pixi???

Not being on the big two – AT&T, Verizon – dampens their chances.

By this time next year, they’ll be swallowed up by someone because it’s a relatively cheap way to jump into the middle of the high-end everything handset market.

Best (for them) would be HP.

Second best -- Dell. 

Despite the fact that most folks (41%, according to Accenture) use their devices for phone calls, everyone loves the idea of all of the apps on their handset. 

 Everything Smartphones – The mobile device has expanded from the 3-minute call to the 3GB download – audio, video, text.  Somehow, you sorta’ wonder how you ever got along without all that data and connectivity.

Our son is constantly playing games, Web surfing, texting, emailing, watching videos, everything digital.

A growing number of companies are implementing solid business-oriented apps that improve communications, keep projects moving forward more smoothly, enable better decisions, assist management and customers, and …oh yeah, put the 24x7 world squarely in your hands.

All of this data is putting a helluva’ strain on the wireless providers (Verizon feels the pain too).

You won’t like it, but by this time next year, data-use limits, tiered data plans and really creative billing will be a way of life.

Socially Adept
Social media will mirror the original Internet and will become a robust network of networks.

We know, you normally think of a network and the Internet as hardware, software.


It’s people.

People Networks – Social media is bringing people with similar wants/needs  closer together for business or recreational activities.  The social tools will also expand their ability to identify the network of people, their likes and dislikes to make them even more attractive to advertisers.

Sun, HP, IBM, Dell, Oracle and every company of consequence has their internal and external networks of …people.

We have increasingly vital business networks like LinkedIn.  We have social networks (and sub-networks) like Facebook, MySpace.  We have photo/video sharing networks like flickr.  We have entertainment or whatever networks like YouTube.

And creeping along in the background are Google tools that will enable them and their marketing partners to improve the way they track your business and personal actions/activities (online and on phone).

Visit a web site and BAM!!  you get offered a tailored ad or a coupon to use at a store in your neighborhood.  Bite and you give them the information they all need to complete circle.

You’re on the grid.  You’re never alone.  Life is good.

Sunny Cloud Forecasts
Look up in the sky and the clouds can look fluffy and friendly or dark and foreboding.

Well that pretty much describes the struggle, the changes and the freedom of cloud computing.

Gentle Clouds – Cloud computing, storage and communications will grow rapidly with a wide range of private and public cloud services being offered.  The challenge for everyone will be in keeping the sites and data secure from the cybercriminals’ creative efforts to separate you from your critical information.  Source -- BusinessWeek

This year, we’re going to see cloud computing mature from smoke and mirrors to stable, serious, gotta’ have solutions for everyone.

All of the big players – IBM, HP, Google, Oracle, Amazon, Microsoft, AT&T, others – will be fighting to be the public and private cloud provider of choice.

On the hardware front, netbooks will be squeezed out by more powerful, smaller and less expensive notebooks (oh sure, you’ll still be able to get your hands on a killer video production and gaming system) as well as more expensive, more full-featured smartbooks.

Businesses will force the players who want to win your business to deliver and work with open APIs (Application Programming Interface) so software can work across any platform, any application, any service.

It will be one of those no brainer checkmarks you make in choosing hardware, software, a provider. 

If it isn’t checked…adios!!!

Swamping the Beach – The volume of content is growing in leaps and bounds with audio, video, data and information constantly coming your way.  The key will be storing it properly so you can find the content when you need it, without being swept away by the undertow.  Source – Clark Little

Quicksilver Big Wave
With all the new content, all the new ways to grab it, all the new ways to use it and all the new ways to monetize it, the industry – PC, CE, communications – and the ROW is on the road to recovery.

UC San Diego recently published a report that folks have increased their consumption of data to 34 GB a day.

Don’t Blink – If you wonder why you’re happening stay abreast of all of the business and personal information you and need, UC San Diego gives you a glimpse at your growing data/content problem.   Every day, more than 34GB of information passes before your eyes that you consciously or unconsciously process.   The bad news is…it’s going to get worse. Source – UC, San Diego

While the volume of print exposure is in a downward spiral, digital content is growing exponentially.

In five years, that wave of data exposure will double in size.  Sorta’ makes you wonder when you’re going to be able to get some sleep.

The content folks like the news, the providers like the news, the cloud folks like the news.

But the people who really like the trend are the storage guys/gals.

Whether it’s in the cloud, in your office, on your home server or in your portable whatever device, it sounds like a sucking noise for storage – hard drives, flash, optical.

What’s that you say?  Optical is dead cause you’ll just download the stuff.

Better check your sanity:
-          the bandwidth at home is 2.5Mb/s and that’s good enough for SD content but HD?  3D?  Sorry, we’re talking hours and hours of being online. (Remember the providers are going to start charging you big $$$ for that time.)
-          You didn’t snap up Blu discs like the forecasters projected because DVD was “goodnuff;” but cripes, the players/discs weren’t inexpensive and the content was only sorta’, kinda’ demanding.
-          Players, recorders, discs are finally at the price point where they’re more than just “interesting,”  and the sales have taken the uptick “they” said should have occurred two years ago.
-          3D could be one of those tipping point interests that make more people want to own really good stuff and the only way you’re going to get it is on a disc.
-          Not that you really – we mean really – care, but of all of the storage options (HD, flash, tape, optical), optical is the only one that provides proven long-term archiving performance and honest-to-gawd green storage – quality media, 100 years; once written to the disc, it just sits their patiently waiting for you to want to use it.

As for the other options you may say, “heck, I don’t need more places to store my stuff because I’ll just use the cloud.” 

First, all that does is shift your carbon footprint...whooppee do!!!

Second, all of that cloud stuff – social media, mobile access, computer download, business transactions, entertainment – is one huge bullseye for cybercriminals.

These folks are skipping right over individual systems (oh sure, they’ll hack you for pocket change) because they can tap into the big clouds and cloudettes and grab hundreds, thousands, millions of valuable bits of data without using a gun or pushing drugs on a street corner.

The “in demand” job in any/every organization is going to be security expertise and all of the providers are going to reassure you that they’ve got your back 24x7.

True…but they can’t determine what the really creative bad guy is going to do until after he/she has done it and by then, your stuff is gone.


If you have half a brain or a little bit of paranoia, you’ll be buying up personal/home storage thingies.  You know, portable hard drives, home NAS (network attached storage), flash media and yes…optical.

One Happy Guy
Microsoft has their worldwide team struggling to figure out what tools and solutions they need to keep up with, and maybe stay ahead, of Google.

When it comes to businesses, they’re going to stay the “run darn hard” leader.

When it comes to consumers, they’re still working to figure out how individuals and Google’s DNA work.

The in-between land?  That’s what they’re both fighting for.

 Finally, Innocent – At last, there is one thing you can’t say was Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer’s fault.  In fact, he would have been just as happy if you had simply kept all of your content and data sitting only on your system and your network.

But Steve has some consolation.

He didn’t invent the Internet.  He didn’t invent the Web.  He didn’t invent Google.  He’