It is often difficult to step back from the flow of news coming out from Barcelona but here's a quick take on the main announcements.
- new handset makers such as ACER are entering the mobile space highlighting the fact that boundaries between computers and mobile phones are being blurred. Toshiba, HP are already here and Dell or Lenovo could well follow. Will they succeed? Well they need to master not only the hardware but also the software, offer scalability/economies of scale, negotiate with operators and revamp their brands. This will not happen in one night but some of them have bold long-term objectives
- As always a great autumn/winter device collection from the usual suspects: Nokia E75, SE "Idou", LG Arena or Smasung Beat DJ. Despite few announcements (2 devices with Android OS), Google and Apple cast their shadow over the congress though. Apple because most phones were still compared to the iPhone even though the device was announced 2 years ago. If many visitors were disappointed not to see more Android handsets, one should bear in mind this is still the early days and that there is a strong support from the Open Handset Alliance. No doubt this is a long-term play and that Android is here to stay.
- Appstores are the new retailing/merchandizing paradigm. Many handset/OS vendors announced their own "vertical" solutions but operators also joined the dance such as Orange with its Application shop. The parntership between T-Mobile and OVI is one of the most interesting announcements at it shows that operators can also offer an "horizontal" layer and offer a large reach/distribution to developers. Not everybody will succeed but it is likely that both types of stores will co-exist.
On Friday, Forrester published new research on one of the most active groups of people ever seen when it comes to social participation -- buyers of technology products in the business-to-business (B2B) sector.
I teamed up with Oliver Young to write the report, "The Social Technographics of Business Buyers," based on a survey conducted online between December 2008 and January 2009; you can access the full report if you're a Forrester client, or arrange to buy it if you are not. You can also register to download the slides or hear the replay of our Webinar on the topic.
Next Monday the mobile/telecom industry will gather in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress. With 60,000 delegates expected, the Fiera is the largest European Congress and a bigger event in importance than CTIA. There will obvioulsy be discussions about the impact of the crisis but no doubt that the flow of innovation will overcome skepticism. If you want a wrap up of the three previous conferences, you can have a look on my personal blog here (for 2008), here (for 2007) and even here (for 2006; when the Congress moved from Cannes to Barcelona).
It's time to finally address the elephant in the room. I've been writing for several years about the power of online video -- specifically the catalytic effect of online TV shows -- to change consumer behavior and the TV consumption model. Then this recession got in the way.
We're busily examining the ways that this will effect everything we cover, whether devices, services and consumer sentiment. But one specific area I want to collect evidence on is the question of online video advertising. For the last year, the rise in spending has been tremendous. The rise of Hulu.com as a destination site as well as a video syndicator plus while a few minor things like YouTube finally tinkering with a viable (read: harder to litigate against) ad model and the rise of Hulu+CBS aggregators like TV.com or Fancast have meant a flood of new inventory, most of it premium.
But when an economy gets as bad as this one, the only thing more predictable than US Democrats trying to insert protectionist trade policies into a stimulus bill is that advertisers will cut ad spend across the board. This excellent and gritty piece from Broadcasting & Cable yesterday discusses the expected bloodbath in the US broadcast upfronts later this year. That has to affect online video ad spend, simply because a lot of online TV show sponsorship is presold in upfront bundles each year (think Sprint + Heroes).
I want to share with you the link to my recent Forrester Research Webinar called Why Convenience is King. This free webinar is the kind of thing we usually reserve for clients only, but it's a big idea and we're eager to share it with the world. It includes a very detailed description of our Convenience Quotient methodology, something that is getting great traction among our clients and will form the backbone of much of our research for the next few years -- starting with media devices since that's what I cover, as well as other consumer technology products (hence this post on this blog). Yet many of my colleagues in financial services, retail, automotive, and even healthcare are working to apply the method to their own research areas. Should create a very fertile field of research. To stay on top of it, click through to the free replay of the Webinar.
Why Convenience Is King - creating winning product strategies
On demand Forrester Webinar available. Original air date: Jan 29, 2009.
To successfully launch or revamp products or services, you must keep convenience high. Achieving high levels of convenience requires offering compelling benefits while reducing barriers to consumer use. Principal Analyst James McQuivey explains how to identify the specific improvements required to increase the benefits or decrease the barriers that stand in the way of consumers. James covers:
- Why Convenience is King
- How the Convenience Quotient can guide your strategy
- What Forrester can do to increase your CQ
The Japanese system is radically different from the system in my home country. Back in the UK, we take a test at the age of 17 and then the Driver And Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) lets us drive until we're well past retirement age with no further testing or hoops to jump through. The Japanese system of periodic checks always seemed more sensible to me.
Since I've avoided any accidents or offenses in the last two years, I qualify for a "GOLD" license, which is valid for five years. It wasn't terribly hard for me to avoid prangs and misdemeanors -- I don't think I've driven a car on more than a dozen occasions in the last two years.
The latest generation Japanese driver's license features an IC chip that contains some personal data (the family register location). By encoding this information and not displaying it, the Japanese authorities hope to protect sensitive information and reduce the risk of identity theft. If you want to see the data that's stored on your card, you can view it by using a special kiosk at the license renewal center. However, you will need to remember your 8 digit PIN. (Good luck with that).
2008 was tumultuous year for Interactive Marketing professionals. You had to promote digital efforts internally, make the case for emerging channels, and re-evaluate your plans as the economy soured -- all while continuing to deliver exciting interactive campaigns to your customers. You've told us that the hurdles will still be there in 2009. At Forrester, we're committed to helping you address them. Tell us your biggest challenge, and we'll write research to help you overcome it.
Handling budget scrutiny
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