Tag Archive: ebizz blogging


Update:  TechCrunch is weighing in on this too.

Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, has a big issue with how Comcast registers internet usage on Netflix, HBO Go and Hulu VS using the Comcast Xfinity app.  In essence, here’s what is his issue: (here’s CNET’s report)

When I watch video on my Xbox from three of these four apps [Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu], it counts against my Comcast internet cap. When I watch through Comcast’s Xfinity app, however, it does not count against my Comcast internet cap.  (source:  Hasting’s Facebook Post)

What is Comcast’s argument?  Comcast notes that using the Xfinity Xbox app won’t use up the 250 GB monthly cap (WHICH IS A LOT) because the content is not streamed over the internet, but instead is stored within Comcast’s hardware (much like OnDemand services).  This seems to justify why data usage isn’t used with Xfinity, but is it fair that other apps use up the monthly data usage?

To be frank, the 250 GB limit is A LOT.  Netflix CEO said he used up 1 GB of cap by watching an episode of Saturday Night Live (which was probably an hour’s worth of data).  Essentially, a person can watch 250 episodes of Saturday Night Live and barely reach the cap.  Yes, many people use their internet for email, internet browsing and YouTube, but still 250 GB is a lot.

Now…aside form that, is it fair what Comcast is doing?  I say YES!  This gives Comcast the competitive edge and incentive to use their apps.  Makes complete sense and is 100% fair.  Comcast’s prices are high enough, customers would freak if this were not the case.  It’s all about incentives to use Comcast’s app and to stick with their service.

Perhaps other companies like Netflix/Hulu/HBO Go should focus their time and effort on figuring out how to use less internet data usage…that will be time well spent and make their existing customers happy.  In fact here’s what the other apps should focus on:

  • How can they deliver content faster and easier to customers?
  • How can they use less data with their services?
  • How can they offer more competitive pricing?
  • Perhaps the apps can join forces and provide “group” prescriptions and fight against the Comcast giant

Am I missing something?

Here’s some more information about the legalities of this subject.

 

Facebook has took a stab at the social shopping market, but there hasn’t been much traction.  When they first rolled out “Facebook Deals” in April 2011, I was a bit skeptical and even rated the experience a 6 out of 10.

A year later and the news has broke out…Facebook Offers will be the next valid try at competing with Groupon.  CNET has a good point that with the upcoming IPO, this may be their shot at gaining some traction with their Groupon killer.  Could be…the future is in Facebook’s hands.

The idea of Facebook offers is good…the offers appear in your News Feed and give you quick call to actions to like, comment, share AND “Get Offer.”  Easy enough and the offer will be sent to you via email or to your mobile phone.

Now, I do have to admit that my recent experiences with Groupon have not been pleasant.  The buying experience with Groupon is great, but its when I present the Groupon at an actual restaurant or store.  I seem to get unpleasant service as a result…almost like they treat me bad because of the coupon.  I sure hope this does not continue with Facebook Offers.

Facebook Offers also gives people more incentive to “like” a particular company/store b/c with likes come offers…and with offers comes opportunities to SAVE money.  Who doesn’t like that?  Facebook can use their BILLION dollar user base to really become a challenger and if done right they can become THE leader.

Here’s a video showcasing the new “Offer” on Facebook:

 

There’s a new iOS/Android app, PlaceMe, that will soon need to win the “privacy debate” in order for it to succeed – will it stand the test of time?  Robert Scoble says that this app will freak you out, but its the future.  Although, Scoble and Kevin Tofel are right, I’d argue that this app is the PRESENT.

The app uses all of the data that is captured ALREADY by iPhones and Androids and you better believe Apple/Google are already storing this data about us.  So really its nothing new, except for now “there’s an app for that.”

The premise of this app is pretty cool (not scary) since it uses anything innate within a phone to capture every place you drive to, order from or visit (home, work, school, stores and extra-curricular activities -> wink wink) without the need to check in–the cool factor = its automatic!  

[By the way, this app is FREE and available now in the iTunes app store]

There are a few key features that this app needs to either introduce or continue to build on:

  1. Reviews - Enhanced integration with Yelp!  This will help me favorite places that I’ve been to based on Yelp reviews OR write quick reviews for places I’ve visited (without a need to remember the name of the location…What was that place called again?) + AUTOMATED ALERTS that pop up if I drive by a location that fits my defined Yelp criteria (example:  restaurants with 4 star rating and two $$ symbols)
  2. Deals - Integration with deal sites like Living Social and Groupon.  Again, based on my location that is already gathered, being able to provide me with deals that are relevant to my tastes and preferences.  What better way to increase my likelihood of buying a Groupon + NOTE TO GROUPON, reach out and integrate with this app…I’d use you more
  3. Favorites - Give me the ability to favorite AND group a location I visited.  Imagine having a list of favorite destinations by:  Top Places to GrubFavorite Romantic Hot SpotsUnforgettable Wine Tastings
  4. Suggestions – Based on my favorites and defined criteria suggest new places for me to visit.  This can range anywhere from restaurants, bars or shops + ESPECIALLY VALUABLE WHEN TRAVELING, so many times I’m traveling to different cities and have no idea where to go…this app can solve that problem for me
PlaceMe could be THE app that changes how we interact with our phones and find new places to visit.  It could be a game changer and make privacy an irrelevant issue.  Heck, this app could be my new travel agent!  Or, the public at large might be too scared and instead backlash–but just remember, Apple and Google are already storing this information about you so its nothing NEW.
Here’s a demo of the app…check it out!  By the way, the app is free!

technorati token: 2PR5P5T73KQP

Several reports suggesting that the new iPhone will have a cool 4.6 inch display, while some have shot down this rumor.  It’s safe to say that a lot will be riding on the iPhone event that could happen in June or even July.  Whereas the the new iPad announcement was nearly a refresh, the iPhone event could be the first new REAL product announcement without Mr. Steve Jobs.

Rather than a bigger display that may look nice (although not needed, I’m perfectly fine with the current 4.5 height of the iPhone 4), I’m looking for other revolutionary features.  Apple is known for their innovation and we need to see it with the next iPhone.

 

Here are some of my must-haves for the new iPhone of 2012:

  • Newest quad-core processor (industry standard)
  • 3D camera at least 10MP (industry standard)
  • OLED + Glare resistant screen (for those summer days)
  • 40% increase in battery life compared to iPhone 4  (4G soaks up a lot more battery life than 3G)
  • 4G LTE (seems like the standard even though its not available everywhere)
  • Social Media widget for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Yelp  (make social everywhere)
  • New, slick design (A MUST)

Aesthetically, when the iPhone 4 came out it was the prettiest new gadget in the tech world at the time.  Since then, several other devices have been introduced that look equally or even nicer than the iPhone.  Apple…you remember that having an iPhone has become an accessory–for some its a fashion statement just like a belt or a watch.  Make us proud Apple!

Obviously, we can’t help but hope for a new design.  Here are some concept designs that I deem worthy for the iPhone 5.  What do you think?

 

 

Facebook is everywhere…movies, online, B2C, B2B, commercial stores and in almost every household in the nation.  Yet, where is Facebook’s presence lacking?  It’s an obvious one and its a billion dollar industry:  MUSIC.

Yes, Facebook has band pages where you can like an artist, learn about updates, etc.  But its just another website for a band.  Facebook is the Social King b/c of its transparency into people’s lives and ability to make connections with people around the world.  This same formula can be used for the music industry.  Facebook needs to tap into this billion dollar industry and is arguably the one “like” that links every person in the world.

Facebook’s reach is golden for starving artists AND hall of famers.  BUT, how can the King make it easier for artists to establish a brand, promote their music and keep existing fans happy?  The idea is simple and is already out there.  Pandora has a good start along with Spotify;  YouTube is ahead of everyone when it comes to music;  MySpace had something going for a while but somehow managed to disappear.

Here are the areas that Facebook can improve and ultimately make them unbeatable:

Discover

  • Recommend:  Facebook is capturing “likes” from friends and acquaintances already, but now this needs to be used.  When I’ve found a song or an artist I like, let me recommend them to my close friends.  After all, won’t I know better than Facebook what my friends like?
  • Integration:  I’d like to see better integration with YouTube and Pandora.  Create a seamless user interface that allows me to watch/browse music on these sites without having to open a new browser or download their desktop apps.  Facebook does a good job with integrating their presence in others, but let loose and let others integrate inside of Facebook.

Promote

  • Flexibility:  As an artist, give me the flexibility to customize my Fan page (of course within limits).  One thing MySpace allowed was the ability to add branding…Facebook is so limited that everything looks the same.  Someone who spent 1 minute on their profile looks no different than someone who spent 1 week.  I’m not asking for another version of Facebook, just meet somewhere in the middle.
  • What Makes an Artist:  Let me integrate my YouTube, Pandora, Spotify channels within my Fan page.  I’ll show a little of my music and I will give you insight on my inspirations.  I want to know who inspires Maroon 5.  I want to know what they listen to on the road, who they idolize and what they REALLY enjoy.

As an artist, I want to focus on tools that give me the biggest reach, allow me to spread my brand and give a personal look into my music life.  What better way than to use a billion dollar social network to promote a billion dollar business!  Let me showcase who I really am and have people see everything that I have to offer.

As a music lover, I want to know more about my favorite artists.  Make it easy for me to discover new artists based off who I already like.  Keep me locked on Facebook by making it easier to listen to my favorites and suggest new artists to my friends.  Sure, I can do this now, but make it more seamless and exciting.  For the music interest, Facebook is a bit boring..let’s put some “jazz” into it!

Facebook is a social giant and can use music as an opportunity to stick around for good.  Despite its popularity, Facebook needs to stay innovative and keep up with markets that already have a big following.  Challenging themselves in markets that aren’t familiar will keep them on top and away from becoming just another fad we had in the early 2000’s.

Mark!  Let’s make this happen buddy!

QR codes have been in business for a few years now, but left relatively unknown until recently.  With smartphones expanding its consumer reach to about 35% of the adult population, QR codes may generate more and more interest.  Or they could fail and be a wasted effort.

QR Code Basics

What is it?  A QR code is a matrix barcode that can be used to track inventory, hold content and promote marketing campaigns, etc.

How do you access?  A QR code can be accessed via a smartphone using a code reader.  Some phones, such as Google Androids, come equipped with a reader.  Although smartphones are the primary devices, touch pads can also be used

>>>

Currently 5% of adults scan QR codes, which is not prime time usage but it still equates to around 14 million people.  Keep in mind, only 35% of adults own a smartphone–there’s a real chance here for QR codes to emerge.  The goal is to keep the growth of QR codes in line with the growth of smartphone usage.  If this occurs, there’s a real chance for success.

QR codes are used to keep inventory, send users to a specific website or store data about a specific product/promotion.  They’re easy to use and quick to set up, but my question is what’s the future of these?

Here are my predictions for 2012:

  1. Catalyst for Managing Subscriptions:  QR codes will be used in compliment of “subscribing” to a service or newsletter–imagine scanning a code, then receiving an automated text to “opt-in” to future updates, etc
  2. Primary Location for Dynamic Content:  QR codes will take over “micro-sites” and become the new way for storing dynamic content–the content can be changed on the go and is much easier to control compared to a webpage
  3. Bonus Features:  Most consumer products will be equipped with QR codes to deliver access to “behind the scenes footage,” “special discounts” and “future offerings”
  4. New Business Cards:  Business cards are becoming less and less important with the influx of Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn and other social media tools.  Nowadays, its almost easier to follow a new content in one of these tools than to save a business card and remember to add them later–QR codes can automatically store your own contact info, interests and social media outlets with the ability to scan, send and add the new contact info directly with a click of a button
  5. Complete Identity:  One day, QR codes will be able to store every bit of information about a person that it will become an identity.  We will be able to find out so much information about a person/place/thing with a two second scan.  Everything available on web (mainly Google) will be accessible through one bar code scan

The future is bright, but only if QR codes can stay relevant in a dynamic environment where smartphones today may be the trend but tomorrow its something else.  Integration is key in order for QR codes to stay alive.  Provide the ability to integrate and communicate with every aspect of our lives…and you’ve got a case to stick around.

So, what’s at stake? The complete livelihood of QR codes.  QR codes can benefit from the smartphone growth, BUT the reverse can also be argued.  What if QR codes becomes the next phenomena and people become obsessed with discovering the “hidden” content behind a person/place/thing?  Then, smartphones become a need instead of a luxury.   Definitely, QR codes can take the world by storm and frankly anything less is a failure in my mind.

It’s a good move for both Apple and Target, but it may help Apple a bit more.  As if Apple is not saturated enough, they’re moving in with Target (just like they have with Best Buy).  Apple prides itself on being “easy” …devices are easy to use, devices are easy to purchase and devices are easily integrated.

Apple has saturated the tech-savy generations and is moving in on the late bloomers.  Older generations have adopted an Apple lifestyle and now see themselves becoming tech savy.  Why?  Apple has made it easy…and fun to be a techy.  While other devices (Droids and HTCs) are taking up some of the market share, Apple still leads with their innovations. Don’t agree?  Just listen to the hype around Apple’s latest products.

The new collaboration will help Target expand its inventory and continue to attract new customers.  If I can purchase an Apple device easily at Target, I’m intrigued.  I can skip the long lines and hoards of people at the Apple Store and have a more pleasant purchase at Target.  Even better…if I can get tech help at Target stores for my Apple devices, I may never walk in an Apple Store again.

Time will tell, but its a good move.  It will be interesting to see what competitors do.  Microsoft already started opening up retail stores in malls too…what about the “others”?

 

“All You Can Watch” MoviePass – Will It Work?

Do you like “all you can eat” buffets and/or Netflix?  Yes? Well, if you do and if you love movies just as much, MoviePass is a must.  Why?  MoviePass is an “all you can watch” movie pass to any participating movie theater.  Beta is rolling out in San Francisco and will definitely be a hit for movie enthusiasts.

All you can watch MoviePass is 50$ per month, but there is talks to provide a membership of $30 per month for only 4 movies.  Both options are tempting and will definitely compete the MovieTickets.com and Fandango.com.  3D and Imax movies will be charged a 3$ surcharge.

Here are some of the benefits of this pass:

  • No more waiting in line to buy tickets
  • Your smart phone instantly becomes an “all you can watch” pass
  • You can watch as many movies as you want (no more worrying about sneaking into another movie)
  • Its convenient and easy

I’m looking forward to MoviePass and may give it a try.  Although I probably wont watch 4 movies a month (thats about how much it will take to break even), I do like the convenience of knowing that at any given time I can see a movie for “free” and without waiting in line.

A survey was completed over the course of 3 weeks with 250 AT&T and Verizon stores in hopes of discovering what phone is the #1 seller.  Possible phones in the running were Blackberry (RIM), Windows, iPhone, Droids and HTCs.

Discussions of the results can be found on techmeme.

 

Here’s a summary of the results (source: allthingsd):

Of the Verizon stores surveyed, 51 percent said the iPhone was their top-seller and an additional 38 percent said it was tied for first with a rival Android device, typically the Samsung Droid Charge or the HTC Thunderbolt.

At AT&T stores, the iPhone was even more dominant — 65 percent of them named it as their top selling phone. Another 31 percent said it was an Android device.

As expected, iPhone is the #1 selling phone with AT&T — there are obvious reasons why as this device has been their flagship for several years now.  Now, Verizon is in a different situation as only half of the stores responded saying the iPhone was the top seller, while 38% said there is a tie between iPhones and Android devices.

What does this mean?

  1. iPhone was introduced to Verizon well after Android devices had already saturated the service provider which means there is still room for improvement with iPhones
  2. Android devices are holding their ground well against iPhones.  This is a clear reflection of the quality and satisfaction these devices offer users
  3. The competition will heighten between these two devices, which means consumers will reap the most benefits.  As these two companies compete they will push the buttons on innovation and it will keep technology exciting for us
  4. iPhone was released through Verizon after many users had already signed 1 year/2 year agreements with other iPhones.  I would imagine that as the iPhone 5 comes out, we may seem a jump in the # of iPhone users on the Verizon front

There’s not too much attention given to Windows and RIM phones, but these devices are still not out of the competition.  They just need to stay ahead of the group and produce devices that are superior in every way to their competition.  When it comes to mobile devices, consumers aren’t as brand loyal as we might think.  As soon as a new device comes out with “better” features, consumers jump.

Comcast New RAPID Speed Internet – 1GB!

Perhaps Comcast is getting ready for the new skype video calling or maybe they’re just trying to push the bar that much more, but they’ve showcased their 1GB broadband speed and its going to drastically change the internet.

To demonstrate the rapid fast speeds, CEO of Comcast, Brian Roberts, downloaded 20+ episodes of 30 Rock in 1 minute!  That’s almost 20 hours of material in 1 minute!  Imagine downloading at these speeds?  WOW.  Again, these new changes by Comcast keep existing customers happy and offer incentives for potential customers to join Comcast.

Thinking ahead, Comcast is ready for 2020 when consumers will be ready for more in their living room and I’m sure other online streaming companies will be right behind them.  Netflix, Hulu and others are already taking market share away from Comcast, but Comcast is not worried.  Roberts says “as they increase their broadband speeds, profits actually increase.”  This is expected, consumers need to know that companies are looking out for their best interest and evolving to provide us with resources to keep up with technology.

Let’s hope this is a catalyst to enhanced cable viewing and internet experiences around the world.  We need internet tools to step away from the competitive platform and instead collaborate.  Satellite and Cable providers are no longer competitors, they’re both battling to stay alive against online streaming companies.

 

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