I love free stuff — free samples, free trials, and who doesn’t like a free lunch? By reaching out to folks like me, Amazon Prime has engaged droves of online shoppers via free two-day shipping, with a paid annual membership fee; five years ago, the deal got even sweeter with free streaming video content.
Going to the movies was my favorite way to escape a mundane suburban childhood. Raiders of the Lost Ark was the first film where I truly felt the peril of the movie’s hero with heart-racing adrenaline and a first-person perspective. Gripping the seat with both hands, I lived through the moments with Indiana Jones as he narrowly escaped a booby trapped cave, ran for his life through a primitive jungle and was dropped into a den of slithering snakes – barely avoiding certain death, time and time again. In that darkened movie theater, it was hard to imagine anything feeling any more real and thrilling, but the advent of Virtual Reality promises to raise the game, bringing consumers an even fuller, more immersive experience.
It’s no secret that we all keep our smartphones close, and they are the most personal of personal devices that are available to us. Indeed, on average we interact with our phones 150 times in a given day, which means that if we assume that we all get a decent night’s sleep, we reach for our phones every six-to-seven minutes during the waking hours. So what do we reach out and do first?
“Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you,” said Graham Alexander Bell, as he made the first ever phone call 140 years ago yesterday. And, of course, I’m sure Mr. Watson came running from the other room, probably wondering why they couldn’t have invented video conferencing instead. How times change; when the landline phone rings at my house, the kids barely look up from their smartphones and no one makes a move to answer the thing. And so it rings and rings until voicemail finally kicks in…and no one bothers to check that either. If you want to talk to one of us, call us, not the house. And yes, we all have video conferencing, but on our own personal little screens.
For the past couple of years I’ve exercised under the theory that a step is a step is a step. But apparently I was completely and utterly wrong: in reality, a step taken while running has less value than a walking step. Confused? Me too..
Mobile World Congress has traditionally been the playground of the mobile OEMs, highlighting the latest and greatest devices, and creating the loudest buzz possible along the way. To some extent, this fact remained true at MWC 2016, but the real buzz was saved for VR headsets and the 360-degree cameras needed to help build some of this content.
This year’s Super Bowl made headlines, not just for the Broncos’ stunning upset over the Panthers, or the superstar-powered halftime show, but for the 3.96 MM people who streamed the Big Game live. Live streaming provides another point of access for cord-cutters and cable subscribers alike; however, the true revolution lies with the potential for fans to self-curate the game.
Covering CES 2016, the mission was to discover new trends in home automation that will comprise the fabric of tomorrow’s connected world. What makes these new devices unique? How will they improve our lives? What’s being done better than before? We came across a few products that embody the broader industry challenges and opportunities surrounding embedded connectivity - enhanced utility, a cleaner environment, and a need to continue refining product implementation.
Nine years after the launch of Netflix streaming and the advent of apps from early market entrants such as HBO GO, the TV industry appears to have successfully navigated through the five stages of grief evoked by the disruptive Internet age. Indeed, 2016 is the year of acceptance and an affirmation of a transition from cable to streaming TV.
The sensory overload of CES 2016 is over and most of us have made it home to appreciate the relative peace and quiet of anywhere except Vegas. As I think back on the sights, sounds and devices that I saw in the past week, few stand out as surprises. This year seemed to be one of incremental advances, rather than giant leaps forward.