The cushion quotient


TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
I have just been to a conference organised by the Mobile Data Association. I was very grateful to the organisers for the invitation, as it is the sort of thing that appeals to me: some of the top analysts in the industry throwing out statistics and predictions.
Of course, at this sort of conference you get a lot more about where we are than where we are going. And the four analysts who presented were not in total agreement about where we are. But there was some useful and interesting material.
Without doubt, though, the most important forecast came from Matthew Guest of Deloitte. According to Wikipedia, Deloitte is the second largest professional services network in the world, so I think we should take their fruits of their labours seriously.
“In 2012,” Mr Guest told the MDA conference, “many people’s living rooms will boast more computers than cushions.”
So I went and looked. And – remembering that I am a man living on my own – I discovered that while it is not routinely true, the circumstances under which there would be more computers than cushions in my living room are perfectly plausible. As the picture shows.
The key, of course, is that we have to think what we mean by computer today. I have included in my total my phone, for instance, which you may regard as cheating. But the ARM A6 processor in the new iPhone contains more bit-crunching raw power than a top-end computer of five years ago. And what is the Kindle if it is not a network-enabled asset management system?
The number of devices is also interesting, because we are adding to our collection not replacing them. “In the face of economic disaster, the pace of adoption of new technologies is accelerating,” according to Deloitte’s Matthew Guest. It took just 30 days for the first million iPads to be sold; it took a year for the iPod to reach that milestone. When the DVD player was launched, back in the dark ages of 1995, it sold 350,000 units in the first year.
Even before the recent announcement of new models, Apple has sold 100 million iPads in two and a half years. 2012 will see 720 million smartphones sold worldwide, against 360 million conventional computers. The significance of that statistic is that the 2011 number of computers was pretty much exactly the same, but there were under 400 million smartphones. Mobile technology – phones and tablets – is booming.
For us in television, this has to be seen as a new opportunity. We know that people have them in their hands, so we should use them as a way of pulling viewers into our programmes, not allowing them to get diverted away by multi-screening.
One of the winners of the IBC Innovation Awards this year was a companion app designed to do just this. Vampire hunting may still be a niche drama genre, but The Walking Dead on FX UK has its dedicated fans, and many have downloaded an app which allows them to play along with the action, predicting how many kills there will be in an episode, what the most popular weapon will be and other apparently critical plot points.
The clever thing about this app, which is why it won the award, is not just the ingenuity in the content but that it uses Civolution audio watermarking to synchronise the app with the programme, whether you are watching as it is transmitted, from your Sky+ box or on demand. Other apps are linked to live events: the Formula 1 companion app is very popular, putting a dashboard of information into your hands while watching the race.
Another analyst speaking at the MDA conference, Martin Garner of CCS Insight, suggested the idea could be developed into new areas. “If I like companion apps in front of my television, why shouldn’t it work at a football match or a music festival?” he asked. The risk of dropping your iPad into the Glastonbury mud may be the answer to his question.
The point, though, is that the hardware is ready and waiting. We are waiting for two other challenges to be tackled. The first is technical: how we are going to find the bandwidth to connect all these devices. In the UK at least the mobile networks struggle to deliver even voice calls on the move.
LTE is hailed as the technical salvation, but in truth it is just another cellular technology which means sharing bandwidth. One of the speakers put up a slide showing 80Mb/s download speed on LTE, then pointed out that there were only two devices in the cell at the time. In practice, the experts said, download speeds are likely to be barely faster with LTE than with today’s 3G (assuming you can get 3G).
And the second challenge is creativity. It has to be compelling content, however we deliver and view it. That is where we in the television business come in. So no lolling around on cushions for a while.

Tags: iss071 | Martin Garner | dick hobbs | Civolution | audio watermarking | Deloitte | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Shows
  • Training for the future with ITTP: BVE Day 2

    Training for the future with ITTP: BVE Day 2


Articles
How Broadcasts Can Simplify The Delivery Of Live Video Streams To Affiliates
Phillipe Gonon In today’s fast paced environment broadcasters need to quickly, easily, and simultaneously share high-quality live content with multiple affiliates or other broadcast facilities. However, today it’s typical for each third-party transmitter to be connected to its own receiver with its own platform and management system. This results in major TV channels having several web interfaces and/or screens to receive and distribute feeds coming in from third-party devices.
Tags: iss138 | aviwest | stremaing | rtmp | rtsp | rtp | hls | Phillipe Gonon
Contributing Author Phillipe Gonon Click to read or download PDF
The World of 12G 4K/UHD Processing
Varun Patel Technology moves fast and when it comes to audio and video broadcasting, there is always room for improvements in audio and video quality and ease of production. One of the main goals of broadcasters and content providers today is to create an immersive experience for the viewers, giving them the feeling of being part of the viewed content. The 4K/UHD buzz has been in the consumer world for some time but what does that actually mean for the content producer?
Tags: iss138 | lynx technik | ott | greenmachine | yellobrik | conversion | Varun Patel
Contributing Author Varun Patel Click to read or download PDF
How the Womens World Cup was Boosted by Broadcast
John Griffiths As we write this article, England’s Lionesses have just beaten Norway 3-0 and are smashing viewing figure records, with 6.9 million viewers tuning in to watch them play Cameroon on BBC One. Rewind to the previous World Cup in 2015, and England’s group and early stage knockout games tempted up to 2.5 million viewers for each match. It’s safe to say that women’s football is finally having its moment; what was perhaps once considered a niche sport is finally gaining momentum in the mainstream space with broadcasters giving it the attention it deserves.
Tags: iss138 | wwc | world cup | spicymango | diversity | John Griffiths
Contributing Author John Griffiths Click to read or download PDF
How Providers Can Win Man of the Match With Live Sports OTT
Chris Wood Times are tough for traditional broadcasters and live TV; the rise of on-demand TV and paid subscription services isn’t a secret and a large amount of the population are turning to these alternatives rather than their established counterparts.
Tags: iss138 | spicymango | ott | live sports | cdn | Chris Wood
Contributing Author Chris Wood Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation: Wings, Fine Coffee and Fake Nudes
Dick Hobbs - new One of the many attractions of this time of year is that I get to meet with my fellow judges for the IBC Innovation Awards, and see what the industry sees as the most important, most forward-looking projects of the day. For me, this says what the key talking points are going to be in September, far more eloquently than the endless press releases from vendors which are already tumbling into my inbox.
Tags: iss138 | ibc | smpte 2110 | deepnude | cisco | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF