Switched broadcast

Scott Brown wrote about something very interesting in a recent “Video Insider” from MediaPost, called switched broadcast. In essence, it has to do with technology that would allow cable companies to send only the channel that your TV is requesting to your set-top box instead of all 500 channels simultaneously (as they do now).

Sending only one channel at a time frees up bandwidth on the network for other things.
It is those “other things” that I’m interested in. The whole “Web 2.0” thing has brought us some very interesting advances in technology and the Internet. Primarily, it has opened up even more options for individuals to showcase their skills and creativity and has further challenged traditional media owners (the recording industry, the film industry) and media creators (production companies, ad agencies, musicians, news organisations) to be at the top of their game.

At the same time, the Web 2.0 craze seems like it’s losing momentum in some respects. There are definitely too many companies coming along trying to be “the next [enter Web 2.0 company name here].” And there are too many investors trying to get in on the game, spending too much money on ideas that are likely to never go anywhere, especially the copycat Web 2.0 sites. The “Social Networking” game is over, sure there are ways to connect people that are different to Facebook or MySpace, and photo sharing sites that work slightly different to Flickr or Photobucket, and a million video sharing sites popping up. But for the most part, these brands (Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube) are already best-in-class and are not going to be overtaken by a slightly different version of the same technology, unless you are making dramatic improvements to the functionality… or, as Facebook has done, an advancement to the idea of “Web 2.0” social networking by opening your API and allowing people to extend the user experience by developing within your framework.

I was in Gatwick Airport about three months ago and overheard some teenagers talking about setting up their Social Networking pages. One of them said he was using Facebook (and I believe it was because he felt that there were better looking girls on Facebook) when the girl said “Why don’t you just create a MySpace page.” His response that MySpace takes too long to setup. To that she said “I was able to set mine up in a two days.” And he said,”Exactly, two days too long.” Just as I was ready to begin rushing off to tell my clients about Facebook, the third teenager said, “yeah but everyone’s already on MySpace…” a comment that ended their debate in agreement. Funny that now Facebook is one of the fastest growing sites in the world and is attracting people that none of the other Social Networks could manage to appeal to (even my dad has a Facebook page, no offense dad), apart from perhaps Friends Reunited.

And that’s my point… If you are going to get into “Web 2.0” then do something groundbreaking.

What will be the next remarkable product to come along and forever change how we look at the Internet, and at ourselves?

I like the idea of video editing via the Web, and I like how Google is offering a document editor (similar to Microsoft Word) and spreadsheet editor (similar to Microsoft Excel), but these don’t exactly take us to a whole new level…. so what is it?

I can see Interactive TV really taking off, and I’m sure that there will be people that come along with completely new ways to deliver television programming as a result. Miro is headed in that direction, as are countless others I can see.

I can also see gaming going to a whole new level, especially in the more mature audiences… but what else?

Will SecondLife become a completely virtual world that you walk around and talk in (like you do when you play XBox Live)? It seems so as VoIP is about to penetrate SL.

I applaud the people that are pushing the Internet to the next level… and hope to be working with you or taking advantage of your next groundbreaking creation.

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