Sunday, August 21, 2005

A few more Longs

Here are three more things I'm very bullish about:

  • Networked CE (consumer electronics) -- I anticipate a day in the not-so-distant future when every CE device -- TVs, stereo components, and even clock radios -- will have a built-in network interface. I do not think this means we will see new CE brands (though Sonos may prove me wrong) as I think the brands we already know and trust (Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, etc) will add networking on their own. But I do think there will be untold new digital services and software to tap the potential of these new connected devices. I am looking forward to the day when my networked clock radio automatically checks my Outlook calendar to ascertain when I need wake-up.
  • Tech support for the home -- I have not verified the claim, but a few sources have told me that one of BestBuy's fastest growth engines is its GeekSquad service. As PC and CE networking at home get ever more complicated, the typical household will fall farther behind the tech learning curve. While consumers may let the VCR flash "12:00" ad infinitum, they won't sit idly by when bits stop flowing over their home LAN, which, no doubt, will soon include several PCs, their telephones, and their living room electronics. I expect we will soon see innovative business models aimed at solving the home tech support problem cost-effectively and profitably.
  • Video games and the massive ecosystem around them -- video games' widespread appeal continues to blow me away. Whether it's casual games for the masses (who didn't whittle away at least a few hours experimenting with Minesweeper when it first appeared as a Windows accessory?), realistic simulations like EA's sports series, or fantasy alternative realities like World of Warcraft, there is already something for everyone. And the breadth and quality in every category continues to improve. Some people actually play video games for a living. Others pay hundreds of dollars for -- or even steal -- "virtual goods" for their on screen characters. At least one has been fingered for knifing (in real life!) a friend who stole his virtual property. For a wonderfully entertaining read on the subject, try this. Video gaming growth rates are staggering with no signs of letting up.

5 comments:

Nivi said...

Re: Innovative customer support. Check out Fog Creek's CoPilot. It is supposed to be dead simple and damn good.

http://www.copilot.com/

Nivi said...

And regarding MMOGs, check out my excellent article (if I do say so myself) on the convergence of blogs and MMOGs:

http://tinyurl.com/c2q5t

Anne Marie Biernacki said...

Jeremy, to your observations on tech support for the home, the industry – service providers, ISVs, VCs, the consumer - need to look beyond just the break-fix model (geeks on wheels) to avoid being distracted by only one piece of the support and home technology management lifecycle puzzle. In the enterprise world, structured preventative, automated systems management has been in place for decades, saving wasted time and money against preventable issues where possible. The consumer world is still largely fixated on the break-fix model; if the enterprise world had taken this approach to IT infrastructure management, IT costs for infrastructure management and desktop support would be insupportable. Following a classic technology commoditization curve (with nods to Nick Carr, http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2005/07/a_big_opening_f.php ) just as the IT specialist for the home is a growing area now, there is the opportunity for IT automation to reduce the need for that same costly specialist showing up for preventable issues resulting from inconsistent, overwhelmed or lazy consumer behavior. Delivering software as a service lets ISVs address this challenge cheaply and in a leveraged fashion, by automating and aggregating utlities, providing a user-friendly experience that makes virtually no demands on the end user. If this solution can manage legacy software and devices, so much the better.

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Anil Patel said...

So you say, "I am looking forward to the day when my networked clock radio automatically checks my Outlook calendar to ascertain when I need wake-up."

I have an easier idea for you. Your Blackberry already has alarm clock functionality. A trivial software program could check the calendar data already on the device and solve that problem.

Nice blog, btw.