Untethered Content Delivery Takes Another Giant Leap

TV-300x225Seems that everywhere you turn, there is talk of the masses that make up Generation X changing the content delivery game. A few years ago, the number US households with no land-line began its upward migration.

The number of US households with no land-line is a now in excess 40%. “The trend is higher among young adults, with nearly two-thirds of 25- to 29-year-olds living in wireless-only households,” according to a recent piece in the Chicago Tribune. But the migration of the technology majority doesn’t stop there. Close to 20% of US homes no longer have cable and rely entirely on services like Netflix or Hulu Plus. That’s over 5 million households. (Source: ABCnews.com)

And the icing on the untethered content cake is the fact that this year, for the first time since black and white cabinet-sized televisions filled living rooms and parlors, has the total number of US households with a TV set actually declined. This is not your parent’s generation.

The facts are pretty clear: we don’t like contracts or the limitations of technology or content that doesn’t move fluidly with us. Let’s face it, being able to watch the Walking Dead on your phone or tablet is just cool. Technology continues to define us as a culture. We are mobile, addicted to the “always connected” lifestyle and for most of us, loving the freedom that comes with it.

The Mobile Movement Continues

Another giant leap this week further cemented our freedom from the cable. CBS launched its 24/7 online news channel, CBSN. Like its terrestrial counterpart, the supporting revenue comes from advertisers. But unlike your parents evening newscast, you can watch it at any time, and even use DVR-like functionality to rewind the news. I call that cool.

“We’ve tried to make it so you can watch it in a passive way and an active way,” says CBS News President David Rhodes. “We are all looking forward to seeing how people watch it and what succeeds and what doesn’t. We weren’t going to know those things until we got the product live.”

As we continue to move at the speed of light into uncharted waters, we can expect to see more industries move toward the Gen X preference of freedom to do (or watch) what you want, when you want, where ever you want. Gone are the days of needing a bank lobby to make a deposit, Starbucks is testing delivery from its new Smartphone app in select markets and changes unimaginable are on the horizon.

This tech watcher thinks that we live in just about the most exciting time since the dawn of humanity. As this trend continues, you have to wonder what’s next. At some point, we will look back and realize that the death of cable as we knew it is just the beginning.

About David A. Grant

Technology writer David A. Grant has been watching the tech landscape change and evolve since its inception. Back in the day when RAM wholesaled at a dollar per megabyte, and an 8GB hard drive was considered overkill, David was turning screws in a DEC Alpha Linux shop in southern New Hampshire, grateful that Al Gore had invented the Internet as we know it. He continues to watch and report on industry trends and changes.

cloud-116579_1280-300x211For over a decade, there was a familiar rhythm to data backup. Data was created and backed up, only to be created and backed up again. The mechanism for data backup remained unchanged for many years. Whether the data was backed up to tape or disk, hardware backup – most all of it onsite – was standard operating procedure for most companies.

The reality however is that using physical hardware for data backup and storage is costly – increasingly costly. A traditional data center includes backup devices consisting of software, hardware, power supplies and networking equipment. Each of these components carries its own overhead. Not to be overlooked are the soft dollar costs incurred in data backup including labor and overall facility costs.

As the Cloud becomes more mainstreamed, businesses that heretofore wrote off outsourcing data backup have given the Cloud more than a second glance.

The Cloud offers Scalability the Onsite Storage Solutions Can’t Match

The advent of cloud datacenter storage lets businesses utilize a more cost effective solution for data storage. Lower labor costs and eliminating the need for an actual physical location are just the beginning. As big data backup needs stress the physical limitations of onsite hardware and facilities, the scalability of cloud backup coupled with increased organizational efficiency are quickly becoming the new normal. With Cloud backup, gone forever are worries that the physical limitations of onsite backup will exceed facility capability.

From Carbonite to Open Cloud, the cloudscape is becoming increasing competitive. The end-game is that competition within the realm of Cloud data backup service providers will elevate the level of support offered and drive already downward trending prices even lower. Now that industry giants like Amazon and Google have thrown their weight behind Cloud storage, it’s increasingly clear that there really is no looking back.

There was a time when the concept of a terabyte of data was unfathomable. Big data backup means that petabytes of data can be stored in the Cloud with ease. What’s next? Keep your eyes peeled on the cloudscape for capacity measured in exabytes. We certainly have come a long way from the one of the original external storage devices, the 1.44 MB floppy disk!

 

About David A. Grant

Technology writer David A. Grant has been watching the tech landscape change and evolve since its inception. Back in the day when RAM wholesaled at a dollar per megabyte, and an 8GB hard drive was considered overkill, David was turning screws in a DEC Alpha Linux shop in southern New Hampshire, grateful that Al Gore had invented the Internet as we know it. He continues to watch and report on industry trends and changes.

Will Apple Continue to Shine?

Posted by David A. Grant | Articles

apple-300x200Recent street chatter is that Apple will unveil a new 12.9′ version of the iPad sometime in early 2015. Some analysts are calling this a solid move to compete against Samsung. With its release earlier this year of a new line of Galaxy Pro models with screen sizes up to 12.2″, Samsung is attempting to crack the Enterprise market. These next generation tablets include WebEx optimization as well as multi-tablet synching capability.

Rather than a move into the larger display tablet market, this appears to be a move that solidifies Apple as a marketplace follower. Most of what readers are presented within the Apple realm these days is about the same. Headlines drone on about Apple’s lack of ability to innovate. The second quarter of this year saw iPad unit sales down 16% year-over-year to 16.35 million units. (Data source: NASDAQ.COM)

Apple’s “Follow the Leader” move into the larger display market is not new. Rumors of iPhone 6 screen sizes up to 5.5″ have been around for much of this year. Hello Apple, and welcome to the 21st century, where larger screen sizes have prevailed for several years.

September has historically been “the month” for Apple watchers. In addition to the possible next gen iPhone, more information may be forthcoming about the iWatch, a device to be heavily promoted as the must-have device for the wearable revolution.

But here’s the take-away: the upcoming release of larger display devices and wearable technology will most likely not be enough to boost Apple’s trend toward lower revenue growth.

To Predict the Future, Let’s Look to the Past

They say that the best indication of future performance is past history. We can essentially look into the past to see the future. This tech watcher has been playing in the tech playground since Windows first appeared on the landscape.

Let’s look back, shall we? During the infancy of the Internet, AltaVista was the search engine of choice. Within two years of its 1998 launch, it was responding to over 80 million search queries daily (Data source: Wikipedia.org). In the early 2000’s, users expected AltaVista – an industry leader of its time – to reign supreme forever. Such was the naiveté of the early technology marketplace. AltaVista is now no more and most likely a model used for those who study ancient technology.

The global perspective here is that industry leaders can go from veritable shooting stars to non-existent entities over the course of a few years. Am I implying that Apple may fall from the tree? Not in a New York minute. But there are many historical precedents within the tech sector that demonstrate the fragility of being a leader.

After all, when was the last time you powered up a Compaq desktop?.

 

About David A. Grant

Technology writer David A. Grant has been watching the tech landscape change and evolve since its inception. Back in the day when RAM wholesaled at a dollar per megabyte, and an 8GB hard drive was considered overkill, David was turning screws in a DEC Alpha Linux shop in southern New Hampshire, grateful that Al Gore had invented the Internet as we know it. He continues to watch and report on industry trends and changes.

Is Microsoft Getting Desperate?

Posted by David A. Grant | Articles

microsoft_store-300x222“Shrinking market share.” These three simple words are enough to make any top-level executive quiver. But what if you are Microsoft? Do you shake in your size 14 corporate boots as your market share diminishes?

Let’s sort buzz from facts. The word on the street since early June is that Windows 9 will be freely distributed. But how can a tech giant, a virtual dinosaur in the tech-sector ever expect to satisfy earnings demands by offering a free OS?

We need to look backwards to see forward. Though many with Linux blood coursing through their veins will not agree, as technology began to permeate the highly wired and always-on society we live in, Microsoft really was the only game in town. Sure, there were variants of a few non-mainstream operating systems, but the majority of the masses cut their tech-teeth on Microsoft products.

From aggressively priced EDU software licenses to Office installation CD’s that were handed around like a bowl of mints, Microsoft products were the backbone of technology through the 1990’s. For users not wanting to shell out several hundred dollars per seat for Office Professional, alternatives like Star Office were there, but never really gained foothold. Microsoft owned the tech space and knew it.

The Tech Landscape has Forever Changed

Even the futurists of a few short years ago would have been hard-pressed to visualize the world we live in today. For the first time since the dawn of the Technology Age, users have real alternatives to Microsoft.

Enter the Google Age. The Android OS is now a multiplatform experience that users can take advantage of seamlessly on a wide range of portable and not-so-portable devices. Syncing with relative ease, user data and browsing history can be accessed on a Chromebook, Android Tablet or an Android Smart Phone.
The user interfaces are easy to use and intuitive. Without the added overhead of a software licensing fee, technology is more affordable than ever. And so we circle back to Microsoft. As the world continues its trend toward increased mobility, the smart phone market now shows that the Android OS has captured 44.6% market share compared to a 2.4% market share for Window’s phones. (Data source: The Gartner Group).

The bigger picture is that there is now an entire generation of users who have been brought up in a world no longer dominated by Microsoft. Don’t write Microsoft off yet. Leveraging cloud-based solutions may be the key to their resurgence. According to Mukul Krishna, global director of the digital media practice at Frost & Sullivan, “Where people store more and more data on the cloud and use more and more applications on the cloud, that’s where Microsoft is going to make the most money.”

As Windows 9 will have an embedded feature set that supports the Cloud, they clearly have the clarity of vision to change with the times. But is Microsoft really getting desperate? Giving away an OS whose development costs can be measured in billions might just be a bit more telling than most people realize.

 

About David A. Grant

Technology writer David A. Grant has been watching the tech landscape change and evolve since its inception. Back in the day when RAM wholesaled at a dollar per megabyte, and an 8GB hard drive was considered overkill, David was turning screws in a DEC Alpha Linux shop in southern New Hampshire, grateful that Al Gore had invented the Internet as we know it. He continues to watch and report on industry trends and changes.

Let’s Stop The Cloud Debate

Posted by David A. Grant | Articles

cloudWhen the term, “Cloud computing,” first appeared on the tech-scape many years ago, most of us looked at the very concept of the Cloud with a bit of skepticism. Realistically, how could you trust your data, the very lifeblood of your organization, to an outsourced, non-hands-on solution?

The price of failure was high. Choosing the wrong partner could lead to catastrophic events. We aren’t talking about a single IT professional losing a job. The price is higher – much higher. A full 60% of companies that lose their data will shut their doors forever within 6 months of a catastrophic data loss. (data source: Continuity Central)

Long before hackers decided to go shopping at Target for consumer data, fears of data theft walked in virtual lockstep with the Cloud.

Times have changed and the Cloud has matured.

We no longer live in the Dark Ages of Cloud computing. As technology has evolved and the role of the Cloud has matured, it’s amazing that there are still naysayers to Cloud-based solutions. From the convenience factor to real-world application, hard-core users of the Cloud know that there is no turning back.

We live in a multi-platform, highly mobile society. Somewhere along the way, the concept of “going to work” migrated from a trip to a remote office to a short walk down the hall to a home office. Ask users of a Cloud-based CRM application about the convenience of data access and you’ll be met with a resounding affirmation that the Cloud is a critical piece of their daily productivity puzzle.

But looking at end-user experiences is akin to thinking there is no iceberg beneath what you see on the surface. Emerging uses for the Cloud include data backup and restoration – another benefit of using a Cloud-based solution for disaster recovery (DR). The logic behind using the Cloud for DR is simple. The process is easier than trying to cobble together data from multiple physical locations and the cost is substantially lower in that IT assets and accompanying overhead are not part of the cost equation. Data restoration is stunningly convenient in a Cloud environment

The supporting arguments continue. Let’s talk about file storage. Cloud solutions can offer organizations the ability to store files with ease and retrieve them from any web connected device. From virtually any location, users have instant data availability. As most service providers offer a cost structure based on usage, you’ll generally pay only for what you use, significantly lowering IT hardware and support costs.

A couple of years ago, traditional consumers were introduced to the Cloud by name. As time passes and the next generation of users grows up using the Cloud, they as well will look back and wonder how we ever lived without it.

 

About David A. Grant

Technology writer David A. Grant has been watching the tech landscape change and evolve since its inception. Back in the day when RAM wholesaled at a dollar per megabyte, and an 8GB hard drive was considered overkill, David was turning screws in a DEC Alpha Linux shop in southern New Hampshire, grateful that Al Gore had invented the Internet as we know it. He continues to watch and report on industry trends and changes.