The Next Killer App Isn’t What You Think
Many of you have relied on my prescience about the future of media for decades. Today I want to discuss a couple technologies that will and will not be "Game Changing."
Don’t Buy Into the Mobile Video Hype
First up is mobile video. Mobile video is a thing but not THE big thing. Although it will no doubt be a multi-billion-dollar part of the media industry, it isn't going to be as large as some predictions and some prognosticators make it out to be. Like VR it has strong limitations, and that is why I see it not necessarily as a pet rock but as just another tool, perhaps even a small tool in the media mix. Where in your day-to-day activities will you put on a VR headset and withdraw from society? On your commute to work (do you have one)? When you get home from work or school? Perhaps after putting the kids to bed, you and your spouse will don separate VR headsets and watch movies or play games? Yes, that could happen. But I ask you, on what scale?
The same limitations hold true for mobile video. It has a place and a larger one than VR ever will, but at what scale? The places in your daily life when you might watch mobile videos are much larger than VR but not infinite. It is a worthy tool but limited in its potential time use due to what it actually is, a mere facsimile of a larger TV experience. Good, but not better. Quick bursts of fun or instructional time, but limited as to when and where.
The Internet of Things & Voice Services Are Media’s Future
Now the Internet of Things (IOT) and Alexa Voice Service (AVS) or it's equivalent is truly unlimited. They can and will be used at any time throughout the day. Here is the thing about IOT -- it will eventually become so ubiquitous, so ever present in damn near everything with an on/off switch, that it will become totally invisible to us, with the exception of those rare moments when there is no IOT connection.
As I, and many others, have stated for the last decade, attention is monetizable. Attention is the modern media currency. It is what we trade our wampum for in the age of always on connectivity.
IOT and voice services will be everywhere, in every room in your house, in your car, on your smartphone, at work, and imperceptible till you need them. They will soon have personalities, genders, and natural language.
I have had the Beta version of Alexa since the day it came out. It is fully integrated into my family's life in the rooms that we have them. It is not yet in every room of my house, but I'll bet you that in five to ten years it will be. Publishers take note. I listen every morning to the Economist, NPR, BBC, CNN, and AP. I listen to music through Alexa from Spotify and Pandora. I should be able to request recipes from Food Network or Allrecipes. I can get the weather, driving times, and distances. I can get traffic updates and notices from my personal calendar. All this and more is available today, right now. With just a little imagination the possibilities are endless for information distributors formally known as publishers.
Bob Sacks (aka BoSacks) is a printing/publishing industry consultant and president of The Precision Media Group (BoSacks.com). He is also the co-founder of the research company Media-Ideas (Media-Ideas.net), and publisher and editor of a daily international e-newsletter, Heard on the Web. Sacks has held posts as director of manufacturing and distribution, senior sales manager (paper), chief of operations, pressman, circulator and almost every other job this industry has to offer.