A Shift is Upon US

July 2014

A Shift is Upon Us

While the world of content creation and distribution is going through a major upheaval, it is the way we interact with it that will signify the most profound change in the coming years.

If the proposed Comcast – Time Warner Cable or the AT&T – DirecTV deals are approved or if what may occur between Sprint and T-Mobile moves forward, it will affect the way we access and store content in the cloud.

Voice and gesture technologies are going to continue to grow in their ease of use and reliability as the world moves closer and closer to a ubiquitous internet of things.   Eyewear with built-in features that enable all manner of interactions with the world is on the horizon for broader consumer use.

It was not that long ago that the movie Minority Report presented images of moving content on the screen via hand gestures.   And it is indelible in many of our minds that the images of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey “talking” seemed to be a fantasy, which it was at the time.

Today, both of those technologies are commonplace in our smartphones and tablets, with young children swiping across the display screen to get to another page.

Voice recognition is playing a larger role in our device interface, too, with our ability to send commands verbally, whether to change the channel on the TV or to send a text message, a task that many of us can accomplish faster speaking than using our thumbs on the virtual keyboard.   Similarly, the ability to decode from text to voice is becoming increasingly popular.

There are a lot of viable uses for the technology all across the media and entertainment industry.

For example, through eye tracking technology, advertisers will have the ability to know which ads online or on TV are viewed.   This can be very helpful for them to understand the customers and potentially for the network to deliver customized ads to us that we just may want to watch..

Most people are familiar on some level with Google Glass, if for no other reason than the many news reports that have been written about them. Indeed, there are a broad range of applications for Google Glass, which rely on both use of our eyes and voice recognition to control the device.

Having a built-in camera in a laptop to track your eyes enables you to double click (wink or double wink) on a link or to access a file. The ability to dictate text or generally control the device through built-in voice recognition is available to the consumer.   I suspect that there are not many who are aware of or who are using these features as yet, but in the not too distant future, that will change.

Those same features, eye tracking and voice recognition, are going to be more prevalent in our next generation automobiles.   Imagine eye tracking combined with facial recognition to monitor the driver for drowsiness, then having the system say, “wake up, Dave” and then safely stopping the auto through its built-in sensors.   When the fully autonomous car is ubiquitous, it will be ok to nap on the way home from a busy work day, but until that happens, the tech will protect us.

We are aware of tests that used the technology to track digital and traditional signage in retail environments, reminiscent in part, too, to Minority Report where the Tom Cruise character was greeted as he entered the store.

That said, the overall digital “revolution” is over.   Digital is now the norm.   Companies are coming to market with products and services that in many cases build upon that which has been developed in the past.   Many are quite unique, often drawing upon an entrepreneurial spirit of innovation. Some are replays of what was attempted in the past, but for various reasons did not make it then to the proverbial prime time.

The innovation that is coming to market will be driven initially by smart startups. Those that succeed will have the right combination of products and services being developed and brought to market, driven by the right management team with well thought out strategies and tactics, including their sense of the market and the competition.

Many will succeed as a result.   Many will fail if they do not have the foregoing in place or if the marketplace is just not ready.   Keep your eye on those going out of business as their ideas may just surface again in the same or similar way in 5, 10 or 20 years.

For many of these services and products, we as future thinkers know that they will be brought to market, just not yet.   We have seen that many times.   It has happened and will happen again.

Where will this technological shift end?   It will not. It will continue into perpetuity and it will shift again and again.   Count on it.

As for The Shindler Perspective

It has been a busy few months since the post NAB newsletter.

Many concepts are timeless.   Two of the articles that were written many years ago, Budgets, Not Just for Accountants and Understand Before You Sign have recently helped clients in their daily work. I hope you find them informative and helpful, too.

The various companies with whom we have been involved through our many years of consulting across the industry as well as our prior management roles comprise the foundation our knowledge base. That knowledge base has been expanded by the many speaking engagements in which I have been involved that include executives from all segments of the industry and in some cases, in areas beyond those in which we have worked.

Of particular note as it relates to the subject of this newsletter was a panel that I moderated at the Society for Information Display (SID) conference known as Display Week.   My panel, Eyetracking and Facial Recognition: Enabling Direct Interactivity was a part of the Touch Gesture Motion Market Focus conference.   Executives on the panel were from Emotient, Fraunhofer Comedd, Meko, Microsoft, Tobii and Sensor Platforms.   It was a very future thinking discussion.

As file sizes continue to grow and the number of end users increases, moving content through the Internet is often challenging. There are many opinions as to how the future of content transport will evolve and my Trekking to the Cloud panel at the Creative Storage Conference discussed them. ICYMI, the panel is available for streaming.

Also at the Creative Storage Conference, I hosted a keynote discussion with Steve Canepa, GM Global Media and Entertainment for IBM.   Topics covered the gamut of the many points on the entertainment technology value chain that impact both IBM and the diverse group of attendees at #CStor14.

Two forthcoming panels at the Fall Digital Hollywood Conference on October 21, 2014 are in process.

The Future of TV: From Primetime to MultiPlatforms: Wall Street Analysts Meet Entertainment Executives at 7:45 AM that day.

At 10:45 AM will be Hollywood Strategies – The Multi-Platform Brand – Theatrical, Video, TV & Mobile – Multiple Screens are the Future – the 360 degree.

Follow my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN and Google+ posts as panelists are confirmed.

Trends in the Marketplace and Other

Trends – Monitoring trends is fundamental to those of us who are regularly involved in providing insight and analysis to our clients.   The recent announcement by Netflix that it has stopped delivery of packaged discs on Saturdays is noteworthy.   While discs are still a significant revenue factor for studios and others, it is on the decline.

We previously commented on Deluxe Laboratories closing their Hollywood Lab and noted Celluloid RIP.   Indeed as we are preparing this newsletter for distribution, several studios, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Warner Bros. and The Weinstein Company have announced that at the behest of Christopher Nolan, J.J. Abrams and a few others, that they are supporting film in a special arrangement to keep the Kodak manufacturing plant open.

Comics reflect reality – Posts on social media on this topic continue to generate both comments and chuckles.   This Argyle Sweater comic is a concept that we can all relate to.

And in keeping with the theme of this newsletter, the ways we develop, distribute and interface with content is a concept that stems from the dawn of time according to this Non-Sequitur.

Roberta Shindler and I hope that your summer for those in the Northern Hemisphere is going well and that winter in the Southern Hemisphere keeps you looking forward to summer.

Please feel free to send your feedback on what you read here, pro or con or other matters of interest to you.

For The Shindler Perspective, Inc.



Marty Shindler

Chief Executive Officer


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