Archive for the 'Digital Times' Category


Google calling

telephoneEvidently Google is maneuvering to take on telephony head-to-head. This Wired Epicenter blog post reports on Google’s acquisition of a  company called Gizmo5 that does VOIP things using open standards. So Google continues to toss bombs into the traditional business space of phone companies.

I marvel as the audacity of Google to challenge the established boundaries of the digital world. It doesn’t seem to “know its place” in the order of things. Google knows digits and beyond that it’s willing to re-imagine any niche previously dominated by older technologies and institutions. Those managing the establishment are on notice that nothing in the digital realm is sacred.

Too my mind Google and Apple are a couple of the best engines of change operating worldwide today. Technology inserts itself into the social order in innocuous ways like communication and entertainment. But in the long run it becomes the platform for a new social order.


Joining the iPhone throng

When my cell phone contract came up for renewal last July I was able to convince myself that ponying-up for an iPhone and the $30 monthly data plan made sense. Besides keeping up with the cool kids, I think “smart phones” are the next great pulse in digital evolution. Having a gateway in from the internet and out to whatever data stores you want with you 24/7 is a transition that’s as big as the invention of the PC or the internet itself. IMHO the mobile here and now digital interface is the paradigm that will shape us from now on.

So today Apple — without a lot of fanfare — announced the 2 billionth app download from its 85,000 app App Store to the more than 50 million iPhones and iPods out there. Joining the iPhone herd is not a novel move. Moo!

But the function most resonant with my background and interests is the health aspects of real-time mobile connection. The new phone coincides with my own efforts at a little better health behavior. I’ve already downloaded a number of “apps” to see how they can support my program. I’ll be working my way through the mini-programs in the Healthcare and Fitness category and a few from the Medicine category on the App Store. I’ll post more later on how this is working out for me.


Video at the tipping-point

I’m a believer that the future belongs to video. I assert that the dominant communications medium from here on is the internet; the primary character of that medium will be video; and online communication will, therefore, require video skills.

The data below suggests why I think this is the case. Cisco Systems–a key supplier of hardware for the internet’s infrastructure–has developed what they call the Visual Internet Networking Index to forecast the volume of internet traffic over the next decade or more. Some of their projections are pretty staggering.

  • Total IP traffic for 2012 will amount to more than half a zettabyte… A zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes.
  • Internet video is now approximately one-quarter of all consumer Internet traffic…
  • The sum of all forms of video (TV, VoD, Internet, and P2P) will account for close to 90 percent of consumer traffic by 2012. Internet video alone will account for nearly 50 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2012.
  • In 2012, Internet video will be nearly 400 times the U.S. Internet backbone in 2000. It would take well over half a million years to watch all the online video that will cross the network each month in 2012.
  • YouTube is just the beginning. Online video will experience three waves of growth. Even with a six-fold increase between 2007 and 2012, current Internet video growth is in its initial stages. Internet video to the PC screen will soon be exceeded by a second wave arising from the delivery of Internet video to the TV screen. Beyond 2015, a third wave of video traffic will result from video communications.


They have some interesting comments about YouTube too.


“YouTube traffic is both big and small: big enough to impress but not yet big enough to overwhelm service provider networks. It is nothing short of amazing that a site launched at the end of 2005 grew to take up 4 percent of all traffic by the beginning of 2007. By Cisco’s estimates,YouTube accounted for 20 percent ofonline video traffic in North America in 2007, and online video-to-PC amounted to 19 percent of overall North American consumer Internet traffic. […] The success of sites like YouTube and MySpace brings to light the social aspect of video. Entertainment is not the sole purpose of video; in addition to delivering information and providing entertainment, video can serve as a centerpiece for social interaction or as a means of expression.”

Between now and 2020 they see three waves of video growth.

The thing is, these are not just big jumps in transmission volume. They will produce waves of opportunities for innovative ways of communicating, interacting and transacting whatever your business is. It’ll be at least as revolutionary as all the things we’ve seen in the past 10 or 12 years, perhaps more so. The next generation of Googles, Facebooks, etc., will be spawned by this high bandwidth space.

The time to start getting your “vision” together and to start planning for how you’ll be different is now.


Sign of the times

In this morning’s Washington Post an article appeared about why two Detroit newspapers are cutting back home delivery to three days per week.

Fighting to stay in business, Detroit’s two daily newspapers will cut home delivery to three days a week, print smaller editions on other days and encourage people to get information online.

The Detroit market is the largest in the country to undergo that transformation. The move reflects a calculation facing the newspaper industry, with print circulation dropping as readers increasingly get their news on the Internet. […]

By curtailing home delivery on certain days, the papers reduce printing, fuel and labor expenses for editions that tend to attract fewer advertisements.

The article reminded me that last weekend whilst flipping through the cable news channels I landed on an MSNBC media discussion show just as some media guru was saying, “2009 is going to be the worst in media history” or words to that effect.

Detroit, of course, is deeply troubled, but the trend nationwide is clear. The traditional ways of making media in print or even TV are too expensive to compete with digital media. So it seems likely that by the time this recession is over the transformation of the media landscape will be complete. By about, oh, 2012 when “media” is mentioned we’ll be talking about what’s being communicated online.

So I don’t think it’s too rash to assert that one of the life-saving things nonprofits–large or small–need to do at this time is divert the lion’s share of their budget and intellectual capital into communications and business operations that have digital processes right at their core. There’s no time to dither or to dally.

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