I have recently become quite encouraged about America’s long-term economic outlook, despite how badly the Obama administration has handled the economy.
The traditional metrics may not indicate a pending boom, but there is an emerging popular trend in technology that I believe could be nearly as big as the dot-com vogue of the latter 1990s. Although we sometimes think only of the dotcom bubble bursting, that bubble first created a new industry and good high-paying jobs that are still with us today.
I first noticed a shift a year ago when speaking to a local Boy Scouts troop whose members told me that email was obsolete to them. Their intercommunications were constant, but the conduit was rapid-fire texting & tweeting; never email.
The immense bandwidth capacity that network companies have recently installed in response to the burgeoning social media appetite is a veritable freeway system for B2B, B2C & C2C traffic.
Consistent with their refined taste in communications, the emerging generations no longer watch TV. Rather, they view video content – on demand. And big screen plasmas are no longer the technolust of the modish. You will more likely see an American teen utilizing a personal, individual screen that can display video while simultaneously providing communications connectivity with friends.
This transmogrification of the digital world has enormous implications. For one, the development of content is not controlled by a few elitist broadcast networks. Video-watching is more purposeful and is streamed to an IP address, rather than broadcast to the masses in 30-minute segments with three commercial breaks.
Even the Nielsen Ratings are adjusting to the new reality. Their annual ratings report that just came out this week reveal that they are keen to the trend, quantifying viewership from many sources. Nielsen Company Senior Vice President Pat McDonough states in the report that “Nielsen’s cross-platform media strategy will allow us to measure all of this content and report the total picture of video consumption to our clients regardless of delivery method.”
“Nielsen data demonstrates that consumers are viewing more video content across all platforms—rather than replacing one medium with another. However, a small subset of younger, urban consumers are going without paid TV subscriptions. Long-term effects of this are unclear, as it’s undetermined if this is also an economic issue, with these individuals entering the TV marketplace once they have the means, or the beginning of a larger shift to viewing online and on mobile devices.”
Trust me on this; regardless of economics, the correct answer is a larger shift to viewing online and mobile devices.
And as tablet computing becomes commonplace, the gates of digital delivery are busted wide open.
The format goes way beyond entertainment.
Nielson also reports that the average smart phone holds 27 apps. Entrepreneurial Americans have a rich new environment to exercise their natural inventive talents as savvy consumers migrate from smart phones to tablets. As television provided a path into every living room, tablets will provide a path into every hand.
Consumers will get used to downloading inexpensive apps for everything from visualizing a business process to ordering the right amount of cement for a new walkway, complete with an intuitive hand-gesture interface for describing the surface area.
The rest of the world has long admired America’s culture of promise and inventiveness. Along with an invigorated enterprise that drives our own economy, every other continent will consume from our mall of online innovation.
This emergence is happening as a result of natural market forces – independent of government bureaucracy. It has a built-in cool factor and our quality of life will undoubtably be improved for it.
That's the great thing about technology. Obselescence guarantees change, hence investment.
That means that soon Barack Obama will soon be as relatable to the youth as Dick Cheney.
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