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Bits, Bytes, Perspectives and Prognostications

Let me start by welcoming you to my writings.   I don't claim to be a technical writer, but I have certainly paid my dues in words and ...

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Connected Next Century - Consumption

If one was looking for a cause to the consumer instant gratification paradigm, certainly the lead defendant would be the smart phone.  With a blast radius far beyond the impatient teen or adult, the collateral damage is also complicit in the death of the encyclopedia and the auto mechanics hand book to name but a few.  You might argue that my supposition is a bit of a stretch, so for the sake of transparency let’s examine the onion.  Britannica might say that the Internet or Wikipedia was the demise of the 30-volume set, but I assert it was the instant availability of any answer to any question anywhere.  A keyboard with an Internet connection and a screen that fits in a pocket, started as a portable music player or a secure enterprise tool, quickly evolved into a portable consumption panacea.  This access to their PC or laptop in their pocket, means local compute 24x7, and before we knew it we, as a human species crossed from a technology driven world to a data driven one.  What followed was not only unlimited answers, new curators, and real time awareness – but what no one expected was the rise of the app store.  Being able to localize information, data, and ultimately video meant that the tether was assimilating, becoming a second artery, grafted in from the hip pocket.  The phone became the go to for social media, photos, 

The new consumer, from the baby boomer to Gen X, Y, and Z are not only aware of what content is being created, but how to find, both white and grey market varieties. They know how to share their opinion, how to find like minds, and where to rally.  This up and coming consumer generation who prefers global awareness and content via Internet delivery (streaming), cares less about how they consume, on traditional or on non-traditional devices.  The empowering ability to seek out and find nearly anything of their liking means they will they will go to the content, and per the RIAA and MPAA, this should be legal sites hosted by the content owner.  But when the rules or restrictions are too high this same group will go underground.  If a viewer is motivated, there is little an army of lawyers can do to stop it.  As the consumer, they feel their time is more important than any possible reasons why BBC or Chinese or Indian TV content is not available in their country.  Similarly, to the Napster MP3 threat, to the status quo, users will push back.  Thanks to sites that offer SVOD (subscription) and AVOD (ads) content model, demonstrate the mainstream population has shown it prefers to stay legal in order to consume music, video, and as time will show premium.  

The future of consumption will for the foreseeable future play more into the hands of the business models and availability of the sharing and social sites.  The popularity of YouTube stars, their viral content, and their marketing and ad driven machinery are the top-site du jure of the moment.  It’s fair to say finding technology has plateaued, in flux now is how consumers will pay.  Pricing structures will vary, and SVOD tiers and providers will become the new delivery power players.  Digital means change, and youth demands old ways evolve or retire.  Traditions of the parents and grandparents are no longer sacrosanct, and convenience and portability are the new baseline.  Today’s set-top boxes (STB) will give way to smaller, smarter, multifunction devices that bifurcate the service responsibilities between the providers CMS and the edge CPE.  This virtualization will allow a single device to provide a long list of services without specialization.  As virtualization improves, the need for the purpose-built STB will become outdated.  The bring your own meta-content (BYOX) model will be the new technological ambience as content continues to evolve from a one to many to a one to one.  

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Connected Next Century - Creation

While we struggle to create the 3D tactile world of making and manipulating virtual objects to create or repair or entertain, we can through today’s AR HMD’s achieve through holography the first steps of control and creation.  Snap, and even AR Kit are showing rapid progress of allowing 2nd generation UGC, where the user begins to create their own effects.  This is allowing Gen Y and Z to become in their homes and hangout spaces to develop new skills and ideations.  They are the new artists, not for money but for likes and social – for now.  That is a marketable skill and they will push the boundaries. 

In the near future, when an VFX 3D artist wants to create the next great protagonist, that character will not be drawn with a pen, but with virtual clay by the artists hands and voice commands.  Tony Stark and the Jarvis UI are the future that engineers and artists alike long to use as the palette of the creative universe.  The 2D creative world is limiting in both imagination and technical possibilities, but also in the efficiencies of time. Physics and textures, water and fire, will be just another object that can be applied in real time, in visual space with the look and feel of rendered final product, but the flexibility of early stage trial and error development.  As these tools are tuned and perfected, the demand and opportunity to offer to the external market will grow.  What they need are cloud-based asset management, edge and core compute, storage, and the latest HMD’s.  The mobile app will suffice for a while, but as the next idea goes viral, scale will matter.

There is a comfort knowing that there is not a foreseeable end in the theatrical experience and revenue in the coming years, but long form high value production is not the future of the industry.  With the release of the MP3, and the ability for anyone to distribute their personal music, the industry eventually changed the way artists are found.  Today fans are frequently more aware of new talent than the industry expert is.   Award ceremonies are increasingly including the Internet popular talent.  YouTube has become to go-to channel for today’s youth for learning, communicating and listening.  More and more creative and talented people will continue to tell their story and the amount of such user generated content (UGC) will eclipse the number of hours created by the established studios.  Webisodes will become more mainstream as will non-traditional businesses that embrace the original content in multi-episode formats.  The future of content is not long form, but in UGC, and the prosumer and amateurs are continually looking for better tools to polish and produce their own high-quality content. What was once the bastion of high quality post house, the studios will give way to the new creatives until the consumer will not discern production from amateur.  Social media Tools like kickstarter will continue to allow outside creative talents to push the envelope and pull the mainstream toward the user.  

Linear TV, carriage contracts, through the middle delivery, are already fading as the primary source of content.  Netflix and Prime have changed how content is created, consumed, binged, without borders or geofences.  Cable (i.e. HBO) is no longer the exclusive land of boundary challenging content.  Youtube and the coming me-too’s are hosting the next generation of content.  Distribution channels are become less relevant, and just as the term DJ was recycled from the 70’s song chooser to audio creators and producers, tomorrow VJ’s will be the creatives who can cut and splice video, VR, and visual content.  They are the new curators of experience, not EDM, but social visual experiences for the masses.