Archive for January, 2007

D.A.V.E. From Seagate

If you are developing applications for mobile devices and feel constrained by the amount of storage currently available with cellular handsets, you need to look at D.A.V.E. (Digital Audio Video Experience) from Seagate. Robert Scoble has a video interview with Andy Berwitz (sp) who runs Market Development for Mobile Consumer Products who talks about DAVE.

DAVE is a new portable storage device that comes in 10G and 20G formats for around $150-$175 and is about the length and width of a credit card and as thick as one of the new cell phones. It comes with Bluetooth, WiFi, and a USB connection, although Andy never talked about USB. As long as this device is within 30 feet of a Bluetooth device or within the recieving area of a WiFi hub, you can connect and exchange documents or access applications on DAVE. More importantly, if you pair with another Bluetooth device, you can share files between them.

This sounds pretty cool. More importantly for application developers, this frees you from two critical aspects when dealing with cellular sets: storage and battery. DAVE is pretty well set up with both of these.

The product is scheduled for general availability around May or June. The do have a developers kit that they will be releasing the end of March and they support the primary mobile operating environments Symbian, Nokia Forum, Brew and Windows Mobile. 

They are planning on an official announcement at the Demo show currently going on in Palm Desert, but you can get an early peek on Robert’s show.


Wireless Applications Developers, Listen Up

I recently came across a post by Jeff Bussgang, a VC with IDG Ventures where he lists three predictions for 2007. If you are either developing or thinking about developing mobile media applications, you should read his third prediction.

I have recently run into a number of people who follow the GenY/GenX demographic who believe that a singe device that provides web surfing, music downloading, IM, voice communication, and a full array of social networking capabilities will be the single device carried by these folks. There is clearly a need for some new handsets with better video resolution and wider bandwidth, but it will be worth it.

I also heard a panelist at a recent event mention how the younger members of this demographic carry less than full featured phones and would not be able to receive any of this multi-media content very easily. This may be true today in the US, but remember there is not a lot of premium content, social networking applications or significant bandwidth available in the US today. However, you can bet that if the cool kids who are responsible for creating the tipping point situations start using cool new phones with rich content over high bandwidth, a large percentage of current users will want to trade up to the new cool phones. This is why mobile media providers need to start building their communities and stop waiting for the carriers to build them for them.

San Diego is the center for wireless technologies, we should be the focal point for these new applications and handsets and be setting the road-map for the future use.

A New Example of CGM (Consumer Generated Media)

I you have heard about CGM, but wonder what it might look like, check out the new Nike site Second Coming. They let users pick video segments and music and then mash them together to create their own commercials for Nike products.

Think of this not as a breakthrough or cutting edge, but a simple concept that gets their customers more involved in CGM. I also hope it spurs others into thinking how they might be able to use this tactic with their business.

Lastly, I want to give credit to Gary Stein of Ammo Marketing for talking about this in his blog the other day.

Keiretsu Forum Presenter – BiggyTV

Being interested in what new products, services and companies are being developed in Southern California, I generally attend the monthly meeting of the San Diego Chapter of Keiretsu Forum. If you are not familiar with the group, click on the hotlink and read a little about them. One of their differentiators is their North American footprint. Also, Southern California Chapters in San Diego, Orange County, LA, and Westlake Village are under a common leadership team, which adds to the variety of companies one gets to see. Each month, 4-6 companies get to present their opportunity to the local membership.

We are seeing more entertainment related opportunities, which probably is the result of the close relationship with the LA area chapters. One such company, BiggyTVpresented last week. When you’ve had a pretty fixed diet of high tech/telecom/life sciences start-ups over a four year period, I find it pleasantly interesting to listen about some new area.

As described by Kyle Borg, the President/CEO, “BiggyTV is a B2B global digital video distribution and syndication service that includes B2C elements.” They are using a somewhat creative revenue sharing model. Somewhat like Amazon’s Partner program, a business can subscribe to BiggyTV and have a player they place on their web site. Whenever someone clicks to watch a program, Biggy shares the ad revenue.

Although I think Mr. Borg needs to take a closer look at his competition, I think he is in the forefront of a nascent industry where video and television is moving from the traditional analogue broadcast medium to the digital Internet. He is also looking hard at demographics and signing up some interesting content that I know people will pay for.

One he mentioned is Soap Opera’s and how they will re-purpose content so that a follower of Luke and Lara, I think these are characters on All My Children, can see a program that combines just their parts of the series over a period of years. I know there are a lot of people who diligently follow the Soaps along with certain characters. So, I think that Biggy is on to something.

As I said above, they do need to upgrade their competitive intelligence. He only mentioned one company, Brightcove, as a competitor and I know there are more. As a matter of fact, the current issue of Wired Magazine has an article about Internet TV and some entrepreneurs who have disinter-mediated other technologies who are now in the space. There is a chart that list Brightcove and nine other companies. Still, ten players in a new, nascent industry, there’s plenty of room.

I hope they are able to get out and get established before guys likeJoost get better established. I am looking forward to the advances being created in video and Internet TV. I think the Infotainment Industry is the next New New Thing and can’t wait until I can get first run movies pumped into my house and don’t have to worry about dealing with the Simpson Family next to me in the theater talking, answering the cell phone and disciplining their kids. It doesn’t happen often, but enough that I think about it when I am waiting for the movie to start.

If you haven’t looked at what’s going on with Internet TV, spend some time looking at the companies listed in the Wired article and don’t leave out BiggyTV.

MIT Enterprise Forum Event Tomorrow Evening

There are a few new companies focusing on providing applications and services targeted at the mobile (wireless cell phone) user. One is a 2+ year old company, Intercasting Corp., who is using Web 2.0 social networking tools to build a community under the name Rabbletargeted at a 13 to 24 year old market segment. Tomorrow evening, Derrick Oien, President and Co-Founder will be discussing their Rabble application with a seasoned panel and looking for some advice on building a brand when the end user is controlled the wireless carriers. He is also looking for advice on how to plan better without having access to the cellular company’s handset roadmap.

Most companies building social networks are focused on building their brands by adding users and focusing on the community. However, Derrick says that this is a primary difference between Internet based companies versus wireless based companies. Another primary difference is that companies building things on the Internet believe that things should be free to the end user, while everything costs on the mobile phone network.

We also know that wireless carriers differentiate themselves by the handsets they offer. Take Cingular, now AT&T, and their partnership with Apple on the recently announced iPhone where Cingular seems to have a two year exclusivity on the iPhone. Companies like Intercasting need to both constantly upgrade their applications to meet the needs of the users while anticipating what new handsets and capabilities are on the horizon. So, you decide that mobile video is a next big thing, but what protocols will be used by what companies and in what timeframes?

With San Diego being a hub for wireless companies, as well as, companies focused on mobile media applications and services, I am sure that these topics will resonate with a number of local entrepreneurs. If you’re one and want to hear what the experts have to say, attend tomorrow’s event at the Salk Institute, 10010 North Torrey Pines Road. The forum starts with networking at 5:00 followed by the session that ends around 8:00. You can also read more about the event at the MIT Enterprise Forum website.

I hope to see you there.

Hillary Clinton Announces Using Web

Well I really don’t intend to make this blog about politics. These last few posts were just to show how much Social Networking tools will impact the 2008 Presidential Race. So, I think this will be the last post about someone starting an exploratory committee for the race.

We all know that Hillary Clinton announced on Saturday morning that she has authorized an exploratory committee for her run in the 2008 race. Now she doesn’t have all the techniques down yet, but I did find the reporting interesting talking about the method she used, a web video, for the announcement and how they had her sitting on a floral print couch with a homey background to soften her image.

She also characterized this as an “Introductory Discussion” instead of an announcement. She is also going to have a series of web conversations over the next few weeks to better connect with the public.

Some thinks that she did this as a result of Obama entering the race earlier in the week. But seriously, does anyone think that she needed 4 or 5 days to prepare this announcement? I doubt it. I actually think she, and her team, knew exactly what to do and chose Saturday purposefully to create a lot of media buzz on Saturday and Sunday while leaving the longer, direct conversations for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. You think she isn’t upstaging the President and his State of the Union Address?

It sounds like she wants a gloves off contest with George W. Why bother with the junior folks when you can take on opposition contenders? Pretty smart, now can she follow through, grab a more significant lead, and build the war chest for the remaining race to November 2008?

Mitt Romney – 2008 Exploratory Committee

OK, so I’m not sure that I agree with his politics, but anyone who wants to see how to use social networking should look at his 2008 Exploratory Committee website. Nice Job!!! There is lots of rich content and RSS feeds. There is even a section called Mitt TV where they have chunked up videos and provide them in easy to swallow segments.

I hope this guy can stay in the race. I’ll be interested in seeing how he interacts and attracts the blogosphere.

Again, kudos to Mitt and his team.

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January 2007
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