Monday, 20 August 2012

What I've been reading this week

A short update this week as the weather’s been nice and the news slow! I’m of the belief that participants in the TMT industry need to read widely in order to understand the present and future dynamics of the market. To that end, this post is a collection of the articles that have caught my eye.

This week: place-based media is the new mobile/ social/ online media, Pearson University, 3D printed arms and the rise of the global Muslim consumer

Digital media

Wow! Three Youview boxes are on sale. Three different opportunities to have 2007’s vision for the future of TV in your living room. I’m sure people will be queuing round the block.

Digital “place-based” media is the new mobile advertising is the new social media advertising... lots of agencies will persuade lots of clients to try it out. Then they’ll forget the whole thing and go back to broadcast. For branding, at least.

This is a study about voters in the US, but what’s really interesting is the second paragraph, where the researchers state that live TV has marginally increased its share of TV viewing – 58% of US consumers say it’s their primary source of content vs. 57% in May 2011. Cord cutting. Another myth.

New business models

Micro and community investment are flavour of the month. Now the porn barons have got in on the act, with a crowd funding service called Offbeatr. Whatever floats your (investment) boat, I suppose...

I’m surprised that more businesses haven’t gotten into this yet – Pearson have launched their own “university”, which aims to hand out degrees to 40 students a year. Given the parlous state of the (former) polytechnics’ education standards and the extreme cost of getting a degree in modern Britain, it probably makes sense for large employers to find a way to incent great graduates to join them and ensure their quality.

The rise of the global Muslim consumer, as forecasted (accurately, I suspect) by the BBC. My only add on to this is that some of the big London department stores are apparently set up for Chinese consumers, yet I’d imagine the UK gets many more Muslim visitors and has a substantial Muslim population. Targeting them with tailored offers seems to make good economic as well as social sense.


We’re on the cusp of smart devices being the centre of people’s health and wellness regime. At the moment the cost of entry is several hundred dollars for a Nike Fuelband or equivalent, but applications like cardiio, which uses a smart phone camera to measure pulse rate could well start to reduce barriers to entry. Now there just has to be demand. I worry whether people would rather not know about their fitness and activity than take simple steps to understand them and get fitter.

Tablet prices are dropping... hardly surprising news is it? I can’t think of many (any) technology products that haven’t exhibited this behaviour as they’ve gone mass market. Still, I expect by 2015 there’ll be 15m or more in UK homes (versus c.8m today). The effects won’t be revolutionary, but expect a downward pressure on small TV set sales and increasing size of share of ebooks and magazines versus print.

This is a great story – 3D printing used to create bionics for a child who can’t move her arms. It’s coming of age, I tell you .

NASA’s Curiosity rover has been getting all the headlines, but it’s predecessor – Opportunity – is still rolling around the Red Planet.,0,2746910.story

As electronic controls and actuators get ever smaller (thanks mobile phones!), new concepts can be developed in other areas. For example, this gym clothing incorporates haptic technology to tell you when you’re not executing your Yoga moves correctly. Not an application that I need, but still neat!

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