Friday, 11 November 2011

What I've been reading this week

Here's a few stories that I've found interesting this week from across the digital world.

Digital media

Mobile advertising is clearly a market with much growth in it, particularly in developed markets. I wonder, however at what point this will merge with traditional online and which set of business models will win out.

The headline is slightly misleading, as the volumes required to access the best discounts continue to rise, but the analysis is typically cogent and demonstrates the very small size of the content delivery market worldwide, despite all the hype that surrounds online video.

HTML 5 has really blossomed this year and Adobe’s announcement that Flash is to leave the mobile platform (albeit slowly) illustrates that fact. How long can Microsoft persist with Silverlight?

Breakthrough technology

I find it startling how willing people are to connect with total strangers, before we get to the implications for Facebook’s subscriber numbers of fake accounts. If you consider the classic Turing Test, then this script shows how social networks could enable more human-like interaction with machines. How about a Siri/ “Fakebook” mashup?

Both robotics and 3D-printing are due a massive 2012 as advances in both reduce cost and increase utility – I see these technologies as now being at the same developmental stage as computing was in 1980. All we need is the “PC” to arrive and make them mass-market... The spider goes to show how far and fast walking technologies have come in the last decade.

This kind of molecular animation with electric fields is key to truly smart materials and I’m sure will revolutionise material science over the next quarter century. Sadly medical advances based on it will be a decade or more away thanks to the FDA.

Business model evolution

GM blocks Saab transaction over IP fears. I think 2012 will be a year for this kind of story. Chinese state money has been used to strip IP from many bankrupt corporations over the last decade, which is fair enough and common practice in other industries, however when combined with the other activities and aims of the Chinese government is of deep concern to developed world businesses.

“Green-ness” of supply chains is a rather abstract concept at the best of times and Greenpeace fail to show the huge productivity upside (and therefore resource efficiency improvement) enabled by these company’s technologies, but the dynamics show how companies are moving to make their supply chains more sustainable for commercial reasons – lack of resource availability and increasing energy prices chief among them. The mass market, however, seems certain to remain uninterested.

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