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ipad, upad everybody pad

3 Mar

I wonder at times whether we in the technology industry create all the hooha around products and services and everyone else laughs at us, the death of one format the creation of another, predicting the downfall of certain technologies. it all seems just a little bit dramatic to me.

Lets just take print as an example, specifically newspapers. The iPad is now touted as the next big thing for newspapers and Apple are going to slice massive margin and the whole industry is in turmoil and the print page is dead and so on and so forth.

Now I’m not sure what the UK sales of iPad were but the global total is believed to be around 15m units, this is about the average daily sales of Newspapers in the UK, get that daily, just in the UK!! Now I’m no statistician but that doesn’t sound like an industry that is about to implode overnight, granted there is a clear threat but from those numbers I wouldn’t be expecting the press to go and tie up the noose just yet, surely. Is this just the Apple machine, once again, trying to make everyone nervous? The more you keep saying it then the more people believe and it then becomes an urban myth. I agree the web is eating some of the newspaper business, no doubt, and advertising is getting diverted but it still only 15m units globally which is a drop in the ocean. Are you seriously telling me that the 2m daily Sun readers are about to go and spend £500 on a gadget to read the paper, if anyone wants to take a bet then I’m willing to put my money up.

The iPad is another gadget. The only people I see with them are those that want to be seen with it, the ones that rest the gadget on the newspaper in the morning once they have read it! I think my children’s comments were interesting, when I tried to explain the ‘need’ for it, they just shrugged and said I’d rather have a book to read, it’s just a big iPod, small sample I know but it makes you think.

Now I’m the first in line for new gadgets if I were to be given the budget by my partner I’m sure we would have just about everything going but that’s all it is another gadget, that’s slim and looks good. The iPod I really got, great product, great idea, the Ipad….what for?

Are we in a danger here of living in our own little technology bubble and the outside world is looking in thinking what are they talking about. Why do intelligent people get hot under the collar about a computer, with no keyboard, it’s smacks of sheep being herded and grown ups should know better. And please , please don’t mention ‘game-changer’ this is not a game changer just as the e-reader wasn’t. Could this be a solution just looking for a problem?

Good luck to Apple, not that they need my appreciation, they clearly make great looking, desirable products, but don’t everyone rush to disassemble a whole industry because someone has brought out a shiny object.


Will cuts make Auntie bleed?

21 Oct

I suppose it was inevitable that the BBC took some of the hit in the spending cuts. I’m not sure any publicly funded organisation can justify the kind of spend and the salaries of top execs without coming under serious scrutiny. I personally struggle to reconcile the fact that someone has gone into what is public service and takes a commercially based salary, the two just don’t fit in my opinion.

So what does this mean for our Beeb. Well hopefully it will make them focus on what they should be doing and not what they would like to do, an effective 16% budget cut and a freeze on the main income stream would focus anyones mind. It may also stop the constant industry carping about local news delivery and maybe even YouView.  At least the Beeb can now respond to those criticisms from a much stronger position, they have taken the cuts and are focusing on what the need to do ( see still trying to keep positive about the industry)

This could certainly be a good indicator for those of us who are trying to make a living out of the fledgling IPTV industry, whether you are focused just on the UK or, like us, look further afield as well. If the BBC continues to fund those areas then there is clearly something in it, otherwise it would be pretty pointless and all of us can use the BBC as the main case.

The CSR for the BBC yesterday could have been a whole heap worse and whilst it’s not great for them at least they have taken their share of what is more than likely going to be a difficult time for everyone. Plus if it means our industry is given a little more space then we could see some major changes in how the industry moves forwards.

So trying to put a positive slant on this, if it means the BBC retreats a little without stopping completely then I think it’s a good thing. Maybe now they could tell us exactly what YouView is going to be and we can all sleep a little better!


Momentum is building

19 Oct

There was a group of us at CapGemini back in the late nineties early 00 who knew that the web had the power to transform not just business practice but the way we consume media and data, bringing technology to the masses. It’s a shame that group broke up. I still feel today that TCG (technology consulting Group) was the brightest group of people I have ever had the pleasure to work with, lot’s of egos but plenty of knowledge and in-depth understanding of the practical application of todays technology.

Having spent the best part of 8 years putting BiBC together and building it from scratch, It’s only in the past 18 months I can really feel the momentum building behind what we are doing. I always said back in the very early days that if the internet was going to survive it had to be more than just web pages, it needed interaction and the ability to deliver moving picture in a way that was friendly to the consumer. It may well be subconscious but finally the concept of the internet, or more importantly the IP connection that delivers the data, being used as just another method of delivery is taking shape. I can’t stress how important that shift has been. With that one realisation opens up an enormous wealth of possibilities, of which we are only scratching the surface.

When I think back to what we did nearly 5 years ago now with Philips and the very first live trial in Amsterdam of OTT services, it was really early days but we showed that media could be delivered over IP and consumed somewhere other than the home office. It was clear then as well that media extenders and the like had a very short life span, if any, as the set top box and  importantly the TV became the device at the end of the network, not the PC.

We were clearly too early all those years ago but what a treat to see some of our pioneering work taking shape in the living rooms of the general public. An even bigger treat to see the fruits of our labour being realised in living rooms across Europe.

I know there are battles forming with Canvas etc, sorry youview, in the UK and probably in other territories as well. But for now I’ll leave that to those companies who want to fight the battle. For now I’d rather look at where the industry is going, how technology is enabling that in many different forms and look forwards to all of this hard work becoming a reality