Your daily mix of foresight & futures

You can scour the Internet in search of the latest consumer trends and cultural shifts, or you can let us do it for you. T&T provides a daily snapshot of the world’s most intriguing happenings and what they mean for the marketplace tomorrow.

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The Internet of Things means consumers are connected all the time. But what happens when they’re not?

The ubiquity of mobile technology allows us to stay linked to our things almost all the time. And increasingly, many emerging technologies — especially those related to the Internet of Things — depend on that constant connectivity. After all, what good is a smoke detector that can text you when it goes off if you can’t receive that text? Which means that in the always-on paradigm, downtime — however brief — is both unexpected and problematic. Connected products and services need to solve this “last minute” problem to allow us to harness the best of what today’s technology has to offer…and that means finding robust, redundant means of transmitting information (cloud syncing? mesh networks?), staying powered up (solar panels? backup batteries? wireless power?) and reducing the burden on consumer wallets (upcycling and software-equivalents-of-hardware-devices).

“Hooked” observations at CES

Want to learn more? Join our next MONITOR LIVE — Technology 2015: The Internet of Things is here. What’s next? (available to U.S. Yankelovich MONITOR subscribers) and learn why today’s consumer is concerned about getting Hooked, Fragmented and Compromised, and how your brand can provide them with the bridge they’re looking for to the Digital Continuum. Presented by Jeff Yang, SVP, Consulting; Global Knowledge Lead, Consumer Technology and Andrew Hawn, VP, Consulting; Global Knowledge Lead, Media & Entertainment

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01/14/2015

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To learn more about The Futures Company’s Health & Wellness MONITOR, contact Christine Baskin.

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01/13/2015

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CES 2015: Dish throws open the gates to a cordless television world

Satellite TV service Dish Networks has made a gleeful point of disrupting the television status quo, most recently with 2012’s unveiling of the Hopper set-top box, a HD DVR that touted as one of its key features the ability to automatically skip commercials.

This year’s announcement may actually top that one in sheer audacity: Today, Dish announced that it was launching Sling TV, a fully Over The Top subscription television service that bundles some of cable’s most appealing and highly rated channels for live streaming access over the Internet — at the quite reasonable price point of $20 per month.

The fact that it offers live TV is the real kicker here. It’s not an on-demand platform like Netflix, Amazon or Hulu — the killer weapon in Sling TV’s content arsenal is sports giant ESPN, via a groundbreaking partnership with the channel’s parent, Disney. Which means that the one thing that people have been proven to be willing to pay a premium price for, live sports, is finally available, liberated of cable provider hegemony. (Coming along for the ride: ESPN2, ABC Family and Disney Channel, as well as a selection of Time Warner channels, including CNN, Cartoon Network, TNT and TBS, and Scripps’s Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel — a selection that Sling TV somewhat hyperbolically calls “the best of live TV,” which can be extended with $5 “add-ons.”)

There are major, obvious gaps in the lineup here: No broadcast channels whatsoever, and no Viacom or NBC Universal cable nets. No Discovery Networks. But, as Dish pointedly notes, when paired up with Hulu and Netflix, you end up with a $40 per month OTT option that is extremely competitive with what most households actually want to watch, most of the time. A comparable cable package would run $20 or $30 per month more, and include hundreds of mostly superfluous channels.

There’s no question that this is disruptive. The new CEO of Sling TV, Roger Lynch, was blunt in saying that the service is intended to hit the millennial sweet spot:

  • It requires no contract and can be turned on or off month to month by impulse. And Sling TV is offering users a free cancel-at-any-time trial, a la Netflix.
  • While it will be available on some TVs (LG and Samsung), it’s optimized for tablets, mobile devices and aftermarket set-top boxes like Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV.
  • It doesn’t require installation, aftermarket service or interacting with humans — once you’re signed up, you have your live streaming content on demand.
  • Both the interface and the offerings are simple and uncluttered. You’re not paying for what you don’t want, and if you want it you can get it elsewhere. (Yes, Roger Lynch officially became the first consumer electronics CEO to actually say the term “BitTorrent” on stage at the presser.)

There are many reasons why this might not work. Is the selection broad enough? Will the channels stay on the service if it becomes too successful, cannibalizing their existing revenue streams? Can Sling TV really deliver on its swaggering promise (or threat) to Take Back TV?

But it almost doesn’t matter. With the earlier defection of HBO and CBS to the land of simulcast OTT, and now this, cracks are spreading in the walls around the cable bundle. It’s safe to say that a disruptive moment is imminent — and the world of television as we know it will never be the same.

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01/06/2015

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To learn more about The Futures Company’s Health & Wellness MONITOR, contact Christine Baskin.

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12/11/2014

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Want to learn more about Millennial trends? Email the editor.

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11/04/2014

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