I was watching a video recently on Mashable where its CEO, Pete Cashmore, was discussing what he thinks are the Eight Digital Trends Shaping the Future of Media. First, I will admit I have a great deal of respect for Pete Cashmore. He’s just one of those guys I feel “gets it” and having started Mashable at age nineteen, taking it to become one of the top news/technology sites in six years is an amazing accomplishment. But enough gushing.
There were a good number of topics covered in the video ranging from “Touch” (the transition from keyboards to graphic interfaces to the “touch” interfaces found on current tablets), news aggregation applications (Pulse, Livestand, etc) to frictionless sharing (the ability to automatically share what you are doing, reading, watching to your Facebook friends) and something that really perked my ears – TV Everywhere.
The concept of being able to watch TV from any location isn’t completely new. Companies like Hulu, Netflix and Slingbox have been working on this for some time through their streaming services. But with the increasing power and functionality of smartphones currently on the market, your television viewing habits won’t miss a beat if you’re traveling or like me, stuck in the longest line at the grocery store behind the woman who wants to pay by check. (I mean who does that in this day and age?)
As noted in the video, Dish Network and Comcast already have the ability in place where you can watch live TV from your laptop or your i-Device. What excites me about this is that so far, it doesn’t seem to require any additional fees aside from what you are already paying for your cable subscription. So just like HBO GO, where I can watch any HBO original program I wish from anywhere I want to, the same will apply to cable TV.
Another trend from the video that caught my interest was the idea of social music, specifically Spotify. I have a Spotify account (again, see previous blog post about liking the new and shiny), but it’s something I’ve used only a couple times. Spotify is the epitome of social sharing because it gives you access to thousands of songs to listen to, and oh so gently posts through your Facebook what you are playing. And no, I will not judge you for listening to Neil Diamond’s touching ballad about E.T.
Mr. Cashmore ended the presentation discussing things he hopes and foresees to be advancements in technology including flexible displays, near-field communication (NFC – wireless data/commerce exchange between two devices), and the concept of “push media” where relevant content is sent to you when you check in or make a purchase. How’s that for mind blowing? As I sat watching this video, it reminded me of the mall scene from the film Minority Report.
As I am looking at the Mashable video, all I can think about is how all this information is stored and how the data centers must look like something out of a server room in NORAD. Yet it enforces what I’ve quickly learned since joining the company that storage is part of our every day lifestyle and we don’t even realize it.
So while this may feel like the future, if you take a closer look at today’s technology, you’ll realize that the future may not be as far away as you think. As you look to 2012 and beyond, what technology trends excite (or scare) you most?