“Give Me More, Give Me More!”

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Peter Weedfaldby Peter Weedfald, President, Gen One Ventures

There are a multitude of dramatic shifts in our lives as smart products and applications shrink our planet, change the way our personal and business worlds engage and simultaneously reconfigure how we business react and or play together...

...I personally define the Internet as “Darwin on Speed” because the Internet is clearly the fastest unionization of instant push and pull throughout the entire galaxy. The truth is, it is the low ceiling consumer content clouds, the hyper-fast tectonic platforms of hermetically sealed applications, the low cost, fatty storage lockers and the kinetic global traffic routing that is changing and enriching our business and personal lives...

As the song says and surely the words must be about our instant, content rich lives: “Yeah… give me more, give me more.”

...So, let me take you down from the very busy, “cloud-e” (“e” for e-commerce) skies of business progress to be a bit more consumer product centric and specific. ..

  1. LG’s THINQ line of Wi-Fi networked appliances use any smartphone to monitor, diagnose and manage the cooking, washing and corresponding power consumption in our homes. Next stop and shortly, will be the ability to download apps to appliances through your cell phone, offering additional features only available in our new connected world.
  2. Apple of course is the category leader in almost every product line they bring to market. In fact, the fastest growing category in consumer electronics in 2010 was tablets and slates. Apple currently earns 87% market share with over 7 million units sold in just the fourth quarter of 2010. There are competitors of course, but most have failed to spark more than a modicum of consumer interest including Samsung’s Galaxy, the Motorola Xoom (which utilizes the new Android 3.0 Honeycomb O/S), the AZPEN, the Marvell and more and more. And of course, let us not forget the already 10 billion application downloads Apple has delivered to enrich their success while instantly enriching our lives.
  3. Welcome to the living room of “Smart TVs”. The majority of mid to high end HDTVs are now internet connected (Wi-Fi or wire) with an app-platform with the horrific, err, make that intrusive Yahoo TV Apps. The majority of smart TVs arrive content ready with Pandora, Netflix, FaceBook and YouTube.
  4. Several Samsung internet TVs come with a “smart hub” platform competing with the likes of Microsoft’s media center while integrating network attached storage to the television. Sony on the other hand offers a proprietary internet VOD (Video on Demand) platform with a strange, metaphoric sounding name: QRIOCITY. This platform allows for easy connection to Sony Blu-Ray disc, the TV and the PS3 Live platform. The platform should (not yet) also connect to Sony’s on line video site called Crackle. Also Sony allows you to retrofit your existing TV set with internet connectivity through their Blu-ray player on boarding Wi-Fi, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Cinema Now, DVr’s and even a form of 3D.
  5. Nothing perhaps services imagination better on a TV screen then 3D HDTVs. Kicking off slowly with about 5 million units sold worldwide in 2010 the debate between passive and active-shutter glasses is alive and well. Consumers are demanding no-glasses 3D and an even more realistic viewing experience in the coming years before voting with their pocketbooks for the current flavor of 3D.
  6. And here come the connected and smart car companies. Ford utilizes Next-gen telematics voice activated SYNC from Microsoft while the glass cockpits shown by Audi and Visteon bring connectivity and computer control up through the clouds.
  7. And our physical bodies matter, too, in this new smart electronics world. Reigning down connectivity and fitness apps from millions of content clouds around the globe, digital health, digital fitness, home and mobile monitoring are all accelerating into our daily lives... Here come the wireless sensors to measure and display on mobile devices your blood pressure, heart rate, body mass index and blood oxygen levels...

...Pushed content is king, through any smart piece of glass while the new profit queen of this business is the instant download of pulled content in the language of applets, gaming, widgets, movies, special events, web casts, etc.

In fact, the Internet did it again. The Internet actually morphed the legacy and financial strength of the entire TV business. Content used to be simply pushed down through the pipe or across the air into the first inch of a piece of glass in your living room or den. Your only consumer control was to flip stations, record shows or flip off the screen entirely with a flick of a finger. But now, the TV business carefully mirrors the razor – blade business or perhaps the printer – ink cartridge business.

... As TV prices continue to plummet, as brands blur and private label retail brands are seeded it is very tough to make a profit as a manufacturer or retailer just selling TVs (“or just selling razors or just selling printers”). However, the very good news in the language of profits, is the majority of new TVs are internet ready. The blades or ink cartridge profit opportunities for TVs are called movies, applets, widgets, special events and gaming downloads.

...However, the profit conundrum that exists for TV manufacturers and or TV retailers is whether or not they are part of the TV-to-Internet content eco-system. Meaning, if those content developers working and streaming hard through the Internet clouds have a free Internet ride into TV’s across the world, with no manufacturer or retail cost tolls, no federal or state tax cost tolls, no competitive profit inhibitors then TV manufactures and TV retailers will be cut out of the profit action.

...I believe this is the highly competitive, tectonic content-profit farm Apple is already commanding through our home, business and mobile lives. And, we (as consumers) want more!

...Yes, a tectonic glass platform which is a content selling machine 24 hours a day, changing our business and home lives for eternity. It also augers either vast opportunity or a maelstrom of vast losses for those manufacturers and retailers who are cut out of the new and burgeoning TV “razor – blade” business.

Peter Weedfald is President of Gen One Ventures who works directly for GE Licensing, providing sales, marketing, operations and channel insights along with executive operational leadership for various GE license partners.

Previously Peter was President and Chief Marketing Officer for GE|General Displays, a joint venture between GE (General Electric) and Tatung Corporation. He has experience in retail as SVP, Chief Marketing Officer at Circuit City.

And he has worked as EVP, Samsung Corporate Officer in Seoul, Korea as well as SVP of global marketing & EVP, GMM of Internet Appliances at Viewsonic.

Peter Weedfald also worked in various executive publishing positions at Ziff-Davis Publishing including VP, Publisher and Network Director on such magazines and web sites as PC Magazine, Computer Shopper, Windows Sources, and PC Week.

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