- 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.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
A few more Longs
Here are three more things I'm very bullish about: