5 trends to watch in the digital ecosystem for 2011

2011 in a nutshell: Generation C will keep on driving the growth of social platforms, connected devices and apps. This growing adoption will be fueled by “bandwidth schizophrenia” among telecom operators that facilitate anytime/ anywhere BB connectivity and better user experience. Boundaries will be reshaped again, with giants such as Google, Facebook or Apple trying to grow across the value chain through but focusing mainly on social, mobile and advertising.  And last but not least, 2011 will see the takeover of connected TVs and cloud services

1. Consolidation of “generation C”: the “connected collective consumer” have a strong tribal behavior forming Digital Tribes. Identity is derived by belonging and expressing themselves within “communities” and social status is derived by what you share. This bee-like swarm conduct is powered by explosion of:
  • Social media platforms where everything is shared, reviewed and rated: As a January 2011, Facebook has more than 600 million active users, Twitter hits nearly 200 million accounts and Groupon has reached more than 50 million of subscribers. The number of people using social networks globally could exceed 1 billion for the first time during 2011
  • Connected devices, basically smartphones and tablets, powered with wireless connectivity and apps store accessibility
    • Smartphones adoption: According to Gartner in their report dated November 2010, total smartphone sales doubled in one year and now smartphones represent 19.3 percent of total mobile phone sales. Worldwide, Symbian leads the pack. After Symbian comes iOS, Blackberry, Android, Sony Ericsson and Samsung, in that order. 2011 will be the year of the “dumb” smartphone user
    • Tablet takeover : The burgeoning tablet market (buoyed by the iPad) really started to take shape in 2010. According to a new report from eMarketer, tablet sales are expected to increase more than 400% by 2012 eMarketer estimates that more than 81.3 million tablets will be sold in 2012, up from the estimated 15.7 million units sold worldwide in 2010. Much of that growth, like the entire tablet boom, is expected to be fueled by the iPad
    • Apps everywhere: It’s taken just two and a half years for the app store to reach 10 billion downloads. There are 350,000 apps available to more 160 million iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users in 90 countries around the world.  According to Gartner, worldwide mobile application store downloads are forecast to reach 17.7 billion in 2011, a 117 percent increase from an estimated 8.2 billion in 2010. But free downloads are forecast to account for 81 percent of total mobile application store downloads
2. Continuity of “bandwidth schizophrenia” among telecom operators:
  • “Quasi-unlimited” data plans for mobile broadband (e.g. Verizon will offer a $30 unlimited data plan for the iPhone when it launches on February 10)
  • Copper turns to fiber: Bandwidth battle between telco and cable operators is stimulating migration from DSL to Fiber based network (e.g. Worldwide broadband fiber (FTTx) will exceed cable modem subscriptions for the first time during 2011)
  • 4G LTE coming soon: several operators committed to a strong and rapid LTE network deployment and devices (smartphones, tablets, notebooks/netbooks, mobile hotspot routers) with 4G LTE support start to proliferate (e.g. several 4G LTE announcements in CES 2011 by Verizon, Samsung, HTC, LG)
3. “Winner-takes-all” play: Ecosystem giants such as Google, Facebook or Apple are trying to grow across the value chain through M&A and new features development, but with a clear primary focus on social, mobile and advertising
  • No limits for Google ecosystem:
    • Going social: coming launch of Google Offers after failure intent of Groupon takeover by $6 billion,  acquisition of Fflick for about $10 million (Fflick uses Twitter to generate movie recommendations based on the tweets of friends and movie experts, showing the user tweets that can be organized by how positive or negative they are)
    • Going telco: acquisition of SayNow (SayNow platform allows voice messaging, one-on-one conversations, and group calls to be instantly integrated into Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Android, or iPhone applications), launch of number-porting in Google voice
  • Facebook becoming global and ubiquitous through mobile
    • New low-tech mobile site for non-smartphones: new mobile app optimized for lower-end cell phones and a plan to make it available in many countries without data fees
    • Monetization of huge mobile audience leveraging acquisition of Rel8tion (mobile advertising company) and introduction of Facebook places (allows users to check-in at local establishments and find local deals)
  • Apple positioning in advertising and social spaces
    • Bet in mobile advertising with acquisition of Quattro Wireless as the basis of iAd network (Apple’s mobile advertising platform for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad)
    • First steps in social media: New dedicated Apps Store Twitter account to promote some applications for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad
4. Mashing up TV and Web: In 2010, Internet finally went TV, bringing the worlds of Internet and television together seamlessly. In 2011, 25% of all TVs sold worldwide in 2011 will feature internet capabilities and connected TV platform wars will heat up. Additionally, this year we can expect  broad adaption of web-based apps for access through a TV set. Social networks, weather information, content streaming services are some of the many apps that widgets will make accessible through the TV screen.
5. Walled gardens going to the cloud: More devices are increasingly coming prepackaged with or offering downloadable access to individual services which store data remotely; e.g.
  • Sony launched a cloud-based alternative to iTunes: unlimited music and video on-demand (powered by Qriocity). Some strategists believe that Apple will have to launch a cloud-based version of iTunes if it wants to stay ahead of the competition (a clunky desktop client is not the optimal user experience for managing content across multiple connected devices)
  • One of the more interesting things Google is working on that doesn’t get a lot of buzz is Cloud Print. The service aims to allow you to print anything from anywhere over the cloud

Interesting. Source: Jcantera.

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