MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Recognizing the Signals

Peggy Dau - Monday, June 29, 2015

A fast paced world requires the ability to recognize the signals. Like Native American smoke signals, Morse code, or even a baseball managers swiping the rim of his hat, signals guide and alert us. Various forms of technology represent today’s signals. Whether they are social media, wearables, apps or platforms designed to monitor and measure – we are seeking signals to warn us of potential failures and to identify opportunities. This is why Big Data is so omnipresent – it is perceived as one method of identifying signals.

Broadband penetration in the U.S. has grown from 20% in 2004 to 79% in 2014 (Leichtman Research Group 2014), while broadband connection speeds have increased from 56Kbps in 2003 to and average of 11.1Mbps in 2015 (Akamai State of the Internet Report, May 2015).

Many a start-up will tell you that their foundation was based on spotting a gap (aka opportunity) in the market that they knew they could fill. The ability to create a new reality is called progress. Look at the adoption of social media. The grand daddy of social media, Facebook, has 1.44B monthly active users (MAU) based on their April 2015 earnings report.  That’s larger than the population of China. 70% of that MAU is mobile. That’s a signal.

When it comes to video, the power is shifting. YouTube was and still is the king of online video. Before YouTube online video was proprietary with inconsistent performance. The broadcast and cable industry did not consider online video a challenge or an opportunity. However, YouTube changed that by providing a user-friendly ability to upload AND view user-generated content. That’s a signal.

Facebook has entered the online video segment and is challenging YouTube for the all important ad dollars. The popularity of both platforms is not in question. The challenge will be who can better optimize the video experience, for both uploads and viewing, for the mobile audience. BTW, I’m defining the mobile audience as users viewing content on a tablet or smartphone via a Wi-Fi or 4G/LTE connection. Ooyala says that mobile now accounts for 42% of all online video viewing. That’s a signal.

What’s the next step in the progress of sharing and viewing video? For sure it is mobile? But what does that look like. What signals are we seeing from device manufacturers? Are you ready to watch TV on your smart watch?

What are the signals in your industry? How will financial services capitalize on tweets? Will railroads improve safety and optimize routes using communications and Internet of Things technologies? Will your car not only tell you that you need gas, but also the location of the closes gas station?  By paying attention to the signals that are shared every day, perhaps you can identify the next big idea!

What’s your perspective?