2007 Trend: Wi-Life


I haven’t written much about Wi-Life (“wireless living”) in a while, but seeing how the gang over at PSFK have identified it as a 2007 Trend, I thought I would share my thoughts (and theirs).    

Bluetooth & WiFi  technologies have been serving the professional world for a few years, allowing us to stay chained to our desks, even when we are not at the office.  OK, more optimistly, they are freeing having to be in fixed locations to accomplish tasks.  This has made us more mobile and has definately changed our behavior.   

Many homes now have wireless routers and high-speed internet (although its still way overpriced in the US compared to other parts of the world).   I started this post in the kitchen, but am finishing it at 12:13 am lying in bed.  Back in the summer, I often wrote posts outside on the patio.   The home office is no longer a dedicated room.  You can take that spare bedroom back now and turn it into something else.  Ours is a scrapbooking room.

PSFK points out that Wi-Life is much more than being able to connect to the web wherever you want and the implications for how we will spend our leisure time in the near-future are really big:

Wireless internet and Bluetooth drives web-telephony as people can make calls from where they want when they want – and the laptop on the sofa offers an alternative to the TV or music center. WiLife means streaming your entertainment however you want. With wireless distribution systems like the Apple iTV, people will be able to use their computers as a kind of entertainment mission control from where they can send video, audio and more through the air to their TVs, Huffs and even your picture frames. (what’s a huff??)

Look at your laptop in your home as your new cable box and your additional hard-drive as your Tivo.  Download your entertainment media from the web, save to your drive and play to any Wife enabled electronic.  In fact, the distribution of media from the home computer to dumb terminals like the TV is a critical factor in the rise of the HearMeSeeMe web.

Of course, WiLife is not just for the home. Ford and Avis have announced a system that will let drivers download directions as they drive and give passengers to download shows and swap files tirelessly in-car.  One day the cars will tell you where in the city your WiFi enabled friends are too.

And WiLife continues when you leave your car. Once we’ve recharged our gadgets with electro-magnetic wireless chargers, we’ll walk around with our phones and pods and these will us wireless technology to download entertainment and information from a media hub in the sky (Ryan talks about how he’ll use the phone in his video here). We’ll take both our record and DD collection around with us once it’s digitized and uploaded to our virtual slate on the web. And where will we play our tunes? At the beaches, parks and streets that cities are busy covering with wireless networks.

The impact of this always-on life is going to be pretty huge. Many of us have already seen our professional life become all-but always-on, now our leisure and social life will undergo a similar revolution.

It’s All About You!


It’s official.  Time has named “You” as the person of the year.  Good call.  Time recognized what many of us already know:  Millions of people have embraced the technology, personal media and the internet to create, co-create, share and produce content. 

I look at my family as a really small microcosm of the phenomenon.  We used to watch TV, network TV.  Now, my 12 year old daughter creates websites and entertaining spaces on Disney’s Virtual Magic Kingdom.  I joined with millions of others and began blogging this year.  I also have embraced SecondLife.

It’s your new world.  Have you jumped in?

Can the PS3 Save Sony?

 PlayStation 3 logo

Wired has an excellent article on Sony which covers in great detail, the company’s uncertain future and daring strategic gamble focused on the PS3. 

The bottom line – Sony has lost its way and is standing at a precipice.  It’s betting the company on the PS3; a daring strategy which pits them against Microsoft, not just in video games, but across the entire panoply of home electronics, which Microsoft is determined to control through software.

Sony is a great example of what happens when a company stops listening and responding to the needs of their customers.  Sony’s biggest successes have been as a personal hardware company, coming up with nifty gadgets that delight consumers, but in recent decades, it has pushed a plethora of proprietary standards that the world has consistently rejected.   In Sony’s current struggle, it is more focused on beating Microsoft than it is on creating great gadgets that customers want.  As a result, the PS3 is bloated with expensive, proprietary technology, which has delayed the product’s launch, much to the dissappointment of loyal gamers.  More importantly, nothing in all that technology indicates that the PS3 will be fun for the customer who shells out a whopping $600 for a console.  The Wired article makes the following observation:

“At the root of Sony’s precarious position – not just in the industry, but with gamers at large – is the company’s overweening ambition. The PS3 is all about power. Sony has said curiously little about whether this amped-up Linux über-computer will actually be fun to play. Meanwhile, Nintendo wowed everyone at this year’s E3 with the Wii, a console you can play simply by waving a wand at the screen. And Microsoft has upped the fun quotient by making it easy to play with all your buddies online.”

Nana Technology. As in “Technology for Grandma.”

<via Untangled Life>nana technology

Andrew Carle, an assistant professor at George Mason University coined that term for all the technology that’s being developed and aimed at your grandmother or grandfather, Untangled Life reports. Products and services that fall within Nana Technology include Smart Pill Dispensers, Mailbox Alerts, Intelligent Phones and Walking Aids. 

Get all the details at the Wibrary at Untangled Life » Nana Technology. As in “Technology for Grandma.”:

Follow-up to LATimes study…

Lots of bloggers blogging about this today.  Seth Godin points to the story  of Nathaniel Johnson, a 17-year-old senior at Claremont High School who took part in the survey.  Nathaniel spoke for the 62% of boys in his age group who like to multi-task. He’s a big fan of what the computer allows him to do: “You can open five or six programs simultaneously: work on a project, type a report, watch YouTube, check e-mail and watch a movie.”

Seth’s word of warning to Marketers:   “If you’re busy marketing like you’ve got my attention, you’ve already made a huge mistake.”

 To that, Douglas Karr at “On Influence and Automation” compares the average LA teenager with what his Indiana 17-year old is doing on any given day.  If you have a teenager, does Douglas’ list look familiar:

  • Instant Messaging
  • Updating his MySpace
  • Updating his Blog
  • Recording his own music (Check out BillKarr.com)
  • Writing music with his friends
  • Mixing music using Acid Music Studio
  • Going to shows (small concerts)
  • Commenting on other MySpaces
  • Listening to music
  • Talking on the phone
  • Dating
  • Trying to Date
  • Learning to Drive
  • Church Youth Group
  • Reading (I make him read… but he’s starting to come around)

LATimes/Bloomberg Teen Entertainment Study

With their vast arsenals of electronic gear, they are the most entertained generation ever. Yet the YouTubing, MySpacing, multi-tasking teens and young adults widely seen as Hollywood’s most wanted audience are feeling — can it be? — a bit bored with it all.

A new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, the first in a series of annual entertainment surveys, finds that a large majority of the 12- to 24-year-olds surveyed are bored with their entertainment choices some or most of the time, and a substantial minority think that even in a kajillion-channel universe, they don’t have nearly enough options. “I feel bored like all the time, ’cause there is like nothing to do,” said Shannon Carlson, 13, of Warren, Ohio, a respondent who has an array of gadgets, equipment and entertainment options at her disposal but can’t ward off the boredom.

They do seem to be passionate about their electronic devices, though, especially their computers, which ranked even above cellphones when respondents were offered a “desert island” choice of one item. Still, the poll suggests that the revolution in entertainment, media and technology for which many in Hollywood are already developing strategies has not yet taken hold.

The LA Times will be publishing details in 4 key categories (Movies, Music, TV, & Tweens) over the remainder of this week.  Here is the preview (courtesy of Ypulse):

Aug. 8 – Movies
Hollywood has followed a rigid moviemaking formula for decades: produce long features, show them first in theaters, release them on video, then broadcast them on television. This dusty model just might not be good enough anymore.

Cell phones and video iPods aren’t the answers, yet. Teens may not be ready to watch short films on these devices, but they’re dying for something new and exciting.

Aug. 9 – Music
In the music industry, copied CDs and so-called “school-yard” piracy is now considered a greater threat than illegal peer-to-peer downloading.

For some teens, copying purchased CDs or DVDs is legal, while copying stolen music or movies is a crime. A look at the widespread confusion that proliferates as the line between piracy and legality becomes ever murkier in the iTunes age.

Aug. 10 – Television
Entertainment purveyors may be rushing to package their content into mobisodes, video downloads and podcasts — that no one needs. Teens and young adults — the generation most likely to be the early adapters of this new technology — have yet to fully embrace it.

Jon Stewart, watch out. Of all media sources, teens and young adults say they’re least likely to get their news from edgy comedy shows, MTV or even the Internet. Try local TV news.

Aug. 11 – Tweens
A fun book … music playing on the computer … a PlayStation 2 game in the console … email … and surfing the Web. And homework, too.

The ability to juggle homework, entertainment and communication with friends has become a key requirement for the modern teenager.

The five-part series will be available beginning Aug. 7 at http://www.latimes.com/entertainmentpoll. Corresponding poll results and analysis for each daily installment will be posted at http://www.latimes.com/timespoll.

Study: Women like tech toys more than shoes

Models show off a Panasonic 103-inch plasma TV, the world's largest, during a launch event of its new plasma TVs in Tokyo July 19, 2006. Diamonds are no longer a girl's best friend, according to a new U.S. study that found three of four women would prefer a new plasma TV to a diamond necklace. (Kiyoshi Ota/Reuters)Given their druthers, women prefer spending their money on tech toys rather than luxury merchandise or fancy vacations, a new study concludes. Does this mean the tech gap between men and women has closed?

A recent TRU study of 1400 women ages 15 to 49 revealed a strong interest in tech gadgets, contradicting the stereotypical image of women as CE purchasers.  For instance:

  • More than three out of four women said they’d choose the TV over a diamond solitaire necklace.
  • Women preferred a top-of-the-line cellphone to designer shoes by a similar margin.
  • A little white iPod narrowly trumped a little black dress.

Given the insight that women are as tech-savvy as men and, by and large,  control household budgets, CE marketers would be best served communicating lifestyle benefits of tech products by showing what’s useful about them, rather than focusing on specifications.  Regardless of gender, it’s not the technology itself which is appealing to consumers.  People are generally not “Technology Enthusiasts”.  They are passionate about Photography or Movies or Gaming and marketers should speak to those “Passionistas” in the language they understand . 

Teen Online Usage

[via deinde

A recent survey by Burst Media of more than 1,800 13 to 17 year olds revealed most of these teenagers cannot live without the internet.Chart1

Among teens who go online from home, friends' homes, libraries and other locations outside of school, more than one-third (37.4%) say they spend three or more hours per day on the Internet. Teen males are more likely than teen females to say they spend three or more hours per day on the Internet – 39.9% versus 34.7%. Additionally, nearly one-in-five (17.9%) say they spend between two and three hours online; one-quarter (25.1%) say they spend one to two hours online; and 19.6% say they spend less than one hour per day online outside of school.

Respondents were asked what offline activities they commonly conduct when online – homework is cited by about half (48.9%). Interestingly, teen females are significantly more likely than teen males to say they are "hitting the books" while online – 54.1% versus 44.0%. Other offline activities commonly conducted while online include; watching television shows or movies (33.8 %), listening to the radio (21.4 %), watching music videos on television (21.2 %), sending text messages by cell phone (20.1 %), talking on a cell phone (19.0 %), talking on a land line phone (16.3%), and watching sports on television (11.8 %).


Custom-Made Avatars

A new post on Springwise.com discusses another company that are dedicated to creating custom-made avatars. This creative cottage industry example was recently spotted in the UK.

Bless This Chick creates mini-portraits that illustrate someone’s online or offline identity. Customers send Bless This Check details of the person to be illustrated, pay by PayPal, and receive a hand-drawn portrait by email a few days later.

What are they for? Consumers can stick their chick on their personal website or MySpace page, add it to their email signature, or use it as an avatar on blogs or chatrooms. Bless this Chick also creates a webpage for customers, where they can order personalized products such as t-shirts and underwear.

For more on this, go here

Not getting your money’s worth out of that GPS? Try Geocaching!

GPS devices are hot and selling briskly despite the sometimes high price tag. Sure, it's cool to have in the car, but how much do you really use it? Are you wishing you had that $500 back? Perhaps you could find another use for it. Why not try Geocaching?

Geocaching is like a high-tech treasure hunt that makes for a great family activity around your home, or while travelling. It's popularity has been growing steadily since 2000 when GPS signals were upgraded. Current estimates indicate approximately 250,000 active geocaches around the world.

A good geocaching FAQ can be found here

A great newspaper story that gives you a feel for the sport in the Pittsburgh area is here.

YouTube Upgrades Site, Aims For Personalization

[via GenDigital]

Youtube Video search site YouTube just unveiled a major site upgrade that offers users the opportunity to customize their experience by creating and customizing a series of channels. Here is how it works. Users come to YouTube, set up their own profile and then can find other users with similar interests (sound familiar?). The video site apparently is also creating some soon-to-be stars as well. Rumor has it that a popular 20 year old videomaker known as Brooke, was recently signed by Carson Daly for a development deal at MTV2.

Cleopatra the Electronic Home Attendant

"Electronic home attendant Cleopatra is a digital avatar that appears on screens and wireless tablets throughout ElectronicHouse's 2006 Home of the Year. She greets each resident in the home by name, announces visitors, phone calls, voice mails, emails and deliveries. Cleopatra shows who is home, pictures of recent visitors at the front door, the local weather forecast, stock market changes, and even the national security level."

But wait there's more…… For a look at the near future in Digital Home Services, read the entire story here and be sure to look at all the photos to appreciate the amount of technology in this house

Panasonic Teams Up With YouTube For User Created Film Contest

Panasonic In yet another example of the growing popularity of User Generated Content, Panasonic has partnered with video kingpin YouTube for a contest where users submit their own short videos. The prizes include a 50 inch plasma television (which is sure to take up a lot of room in a 10×10 dorm room) and digital cameras. The cool thing about the contest is the fact that you don't have to submit a video in order to be eligible to win a prize. Just for reviewing one of the short video submissions, users have the opportunity to win a Panasonic digital camera. How much do you want to bet than some 18 year old ends up with the grand prize?



Back in 2004, Springwise wrote about ClubMom (Moms get their own executive benefits), a free membership program in the United States that rewarded mothers for shopping at participating online and offline retailers. It also provided them with tips and time-savers, and ways to connect with other moms.

Although rewards are still part of the offering, ClubMom recently shifted its focus to the community aspect, pitching itself as "the premier online destination for moms, by moms – bringing together the best of what real moms have to say on topics they care about most."

Aiming to be the first social network for mothers, ClubMom's MomNetwork lets mothers create profiles, set up blogs, and connect with other moms with shared challenges and interests. For advice on everything from dealing with ADD to gardening, the network's users can consult both experts and Go-To Moms.

Given the popularity of mommy blogs and social networks, it isn't surprising that ClubMom wants to attract more visitors by building a community. One to watch, and copy to other countries. After all, where mommies go, advertisers follow!

From Springwise.com