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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Five top trends to look for at Mobile World Congress

Bluestreak Technology, a Canadian company that provides technology for delivering multimedia to various consumer devices, has listed the top 5 most important technology trends it expects to hear about at Mobile World Congress 2011.

2010 was a year of tremendous change in the technology industry. The television and wireless industries, in particular, experienced a great deal of inflection points, disruption, and accelerated growth which presents new opportunities for companies both large and small.

As the popular Mobile World Congress 2011 conference quickly approaches, it is easy to get caught up in the ‘buzz’ and lose sight of the facts and figures which tell the real story about where technology is headed in 2011. To that end, we have assembled our view of the five most important technology numbers from 2010 that help predict where the tech industry is headed this year:

54% - the percentage of online video that is available in HTML5 as of October 2010, according to a report by web video cataloging service MeFeedia.

Are you thinking “that’s not that impressive, 54% is barely more than half”? Then let’s look at the most amazing part about this statistic: in January of 2010, the percentage of online video that was available in HTML5 was just 10%. That means that the percentage of online video available in HTML5 format has grown 5X since January. Can you think of another technology that is showing those kinds of rapid adoption rates? We can’t.

Key takeaway – HTML5 is being adopted rapidly as an online video technology and companies need to prepare their growth strategies to incorporate this new standard. However, it is still early and HTML5 doesn’t give you all the same features and functionality that Flash does today so consider your options wisely or pursue technologies, like MachBlue XT, which give you flexibility on this front. Moreover, video content providers offer HTML5, Flash and other standards for video streaming to devices. We do not see HTML5 as a replacement technology but rather as another means to play video and develop rich user experiences.

335,000 - the number of subscribers that the TV industry lost in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2010, according to SNL Kagan. Not all of the TV industry is floundering, but cable operators clearly face the biggest challenges going forward. They lost 741,000 basic video customers in the third quarter, that is the largest recorded decline for cable since SNL Kagan began compiling data in 1980.

Why the decline? The economy? Definitely. But let’s not discount the fact that new online video, or over-the-top video and services like Hulu, are making a dramatic impact on the cable industry as more consumers drop their monthly cable bills for less expensive, on-demand online TV and video options.

Key takeaway – Cable operators need to figure out ways to differentiate their services or increase the value to consumers. This presents a huge opportunity for new emerging companies to work with cable operators to augment the TV viewing experience. Think – integrating web content into cable programming and adding new interactive options to menus and entertainment programming guides. If not, online TV is going to continue to inflict serious cuts on the cable business in 2011.

During 2010 Bluestreak Technology signed OTT-related contracts with both traditional cable TV operators, set-top box OEMs as well as consumer electronics chipset companies, and it is clear that the TV industry has entered a period of transition to new business models. These new models offer opportunities for companies, like Bluestreak Technology, that have the technology and experience to enable traditional cable operators to provide a harmonized OTT and wireline TV experience to consumers.

615% - this is the year-over-year growth rate for the Android OS from Q4 2009 to Q4 2010, according to a report published by analyst firm Canalys. While much of the media buzz this year continues to surround Apple’s iPhone, the iPhone has had flat growth for the past four quarters in a row while Google’s open OS, Android, is now the leading smartphone OS in the market. Don’t feel too bad for Apple though. Despite having just a 4% market share of the smartphone market the company still enjoys 50% of the profits, according to Asymco.

Key takeaway – If you are building mobile applications or software, don’t focus solely on the iPhone. While it still may be the most popular device for downloading applications, the sheer number of devices launching with the Android OS and the number of developers working with it make it an equally important priority for mobile strategies in 2011. Also, this stat reinforces an important trend from history: over the long haul, open systems typically prevail over closed ones. In 2010, Bluestreak signed contracts with with two Tier One Operators, in Europe and in the US, for multiscreen TV solutions, and it is clear that the Android OS is at the top of the list of operators when it comes to wireless advanced services.

500,000,000+ - that is the number of active users on Facebook as of today, according to the company and it should be surpassing the 600 million mark any day now. Facebook now ranks as the #1 visited site on the Internet with 75% of Americans, and 66% of the global internet population visiting the site almost daily, according to a Nielsen report. The report goes on to state that Facebook is currently growing at 3x the rate of the overall Internet with people spending an average of 7 hours a month on the service. That is more than 6x the amount of time they are spending on Google each month.

Key takeaway – Facebook’s growth numbers are like nothing we have ever seen before in the history of the Internet. If you aren’t incorporating social media, and in particular, Facebook, into your technology strategy in 2011 than you are missing a chance at interacting with the single largest online community ever assembled. Cable operators, mobile developers, ecommerce sites – every technology company needs to take a moment to determine if their business strategies can benefit from the networking capabilities Facebook offers them in 2011. At Bluestreak Technology, we architected our MachBlue XT platform to provide an HTML5 compliant run time engine that enables the seamless integration of social media sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, into the user experiences companies create with our products.

35 - hours of content added every minute to YouTube. This signals not only impressive growth for YouTube as a company but also mass market adoption for online video, in general. The ease of uploading video to streaming media sites is offering consumers ways to share information and is clearly set to take off rapidly in 2011.

Key takeaway – For TV companies, the growth in video streaming means that it is important to architect new ways to incorporate more personalized media center options into the TV viewing experience. Bluestreak Technology customers, like Bouygues Telecom, are already deploying innovative connected TV solutions that unite Internet content, personalized media centers and unique user interfaces into a single solution for consumers. For emerging companies it means that in 2011 video should be an integral part of your technology and marketing strategy over the next year.

HTML5, over-the-top (OTT) video, Android dominance, Facebook and social media, and video streaming – those are our hot topics for 2011 based on the numbers and adoption rates we saw in 2010. Think we missed a bigger more important stat? We’d love to hear it.

Author: The Fonecast
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