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Showing posts from July, 2008

Consumer Multichannel Shopping Behaviors

According to Nielsen Online the Web plays an increasingly integral role in retail for brick and mortar retailers, even among purchases that occur in-store. A Nielsen survey in May 2008 found that among a representative group of people who had recently made consumer electronics (CE) purchases in a brick and mortar store, 80 percent bought from a store whose Web site they visited first. Further, 53 percent purchased from the retailer on whose Web site they had spent the most time. While the benefits of online sales have long been apparent to retailers, the ability of the Internet to drive off-line sales is now rising to the fore. Among consumer electronics purchasers, 58 percent indicated that if they had only one channel in which to do product research prior to purchase, they would choose the Internet, compared with only 25 percent that would choose to be able to do research in a brick and mortar store. "A strong Web presence with broad and deep online content is critical for

India and China Will Drive Multichannel TV

Global shipments of Pay-TV Set Top Boxes (STBs) are on track to grow by nearly 40 percent by 2012 according to the latest market study by Futuresource Consulting. This represents an increase of 38 million units, with growth derived from new subscribers and consumers trading up to STBs with Personal Video Recording (PVR) functionality and High Definition (HD) capability. "Pay-TV operators around the world continue to use STBs to drive digital services, increase ARPU and reduce subscriber churn," says Carl Hibbert of Futuresource Consulting, "with innovations such as High Definition, PVR, VoD and Home Networking." This competitive technology push from the Pay-TV industry and the continued importance of content security will maintain the stability of the STB industry for at least the next two to three years, despite the wider availability of TVs with open interfaces like CableCARD and CI+, and increasing trends towards CE product connectivity into Pay-TV networks.

Consumers Crave a Usable Remote Control

Households in the U.S. are increasingly looking to the remote control as their link to easing the complexity of control and search among the growing number of disparate consumer electronic systems in their homes, according to a new market study. A new report from Parks Associates confirms and expands upon the trends identified in the 2006 first edition. These include the increasing desire and willingness of U.S. households to replace current remote controls with one that is more capable and can enhance their experiences with new entertainment systems. "The market size in revenues for aftermarket remotes promises a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of about 10 percent between now and 2013," said Tricia Parks, CEO, Parks Associates. "That rate increases to 14 percent for mid-level remotes, which cost between $30 and $250." The report provides purchase process details for aftermarket remotes, brand shares among U.S. Internet households, unit numbers and revenues

Sony, Microsoft and Samsung Embrace Video

New online video applications, plus established offerings like YouTube and the BBC iPlayer, are no longer confined to PC users, according to the latest market study by Strategy Analytics. A wave of recent announcements from major players such as Sony, Microsoft and Samsung confirms that Internet-enabled TVs, games consoles and peripherals, such as Blu-ray Disc players, will soon deliver web-based content to millions of TV viewers around the world. Strategy Analytics estimates that by the end of 2008 186 million connected TV devices worldwide will be able to access some form of Internet content. "The web video explosion has so far been restricted largely to PC users," says David Mercer, VP and Principal Analyst. "Now it is moving to the TV screen. While business model and content partner issues are still to be resolved, the floodgates are open – web video is set to become a regular part of the TV viewing experience." Connected TV devices allow viewers to access

Demand in the Digital Set-Top Box Market

In the consumer electronics sector, the digital set-top box market has been one of the fastest growing market segments over the past decade, and 2007 was no exception, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. Strong demand from Free-to-Air satellite service, coupled with the expanding availability of digital cable TV and IPTV services, fueled a record-setting number of digital set top box unit shipments. The related In-Stat research covers the worldwide market for digital set top boxes. This report provides a mid-year overview of the global digital set top box market. It discusses why digital set top boxes are important, addresses key trends shaping current product development, and examines the growth potential of all four digital set top box markets -- cable, terrestrial, satellite or DTH, and IPTV. In-Stat's market study found the following: - Worldwide digital set top box unit shipments reached 143 million in 2007, up sharply from 121 million in 2006. - Satellite

Open-Source WebKit Adoption on the Rise

As consumers increasingly surf the Web on their mobile phones, handset vendors are looking toward open-source browsers such as WebKit -- the browser engine at the heart of the iPhone's Safari browser. However, despite growing interest in WebKit and Gecko (the engine for the Mozilla Corporation Firefox browser), commercial browser vendors such as Opera and ACCESS continue to see growth in their businesses. According to ABI Research, overall growth in the mobile Web browser category will lead to a total pre-installed revenue of $492 million by 2013, driven by the trends of more complex HTML-based browser integration. "Device manufacturers are interested in open-source solutions where there is a desire for increased control of their software footprint, and where they can bring internal programming resources to bear," says research director Michael Wolf. "At the same time, vendors such as Opera are seeing strong growth in their mobile browser offerings, which provide

High Growth Consumer Electronics in India

Last year, India's Consumer Electronics (CE) market grew by more than 30 percent to reach $3.8 billion and will continue to increase. According to a market study by Futuresource Consulting, the market value is on track to quadruple in the space of five years, to reach nearly $16 billion by 2012. "This rapid growth is being driven by the country's rising levels of disposable income," says Kanti Thota, Research Analyst at Futuresource. "Its economy is riding a phenomenal growth curve, and with current penetration rates low for most CE products the market opportunities are huge." As an example, the TV market which represents more than 80 percent of the total CE market value in India is witnessing the strongest growth, with shipments up 22 percent last year and forecast to more than double by 2012 -- reaching 34 million units. CRT accounted for 97 percent of CTVs shipped in 2007, and India's price sensitivity can be a barrier to growth for flat screen and

Engagement Framework Aligns with Buying

Marketers need an intuitive framework that allows them to move away from treating customers as generic segments to focusing on an individual's buying process, according to the latest market study by Forrester Research. Forrester's assessment says that the framework must align with the multifaceted buying process of today, not the linear process of the past. How can marketers evolve? The answer is engagement -- the level of involvement, interaction, intimacy, and influence that a person has with a brand over time. It's the new approach necessary for mapping intricate customer behaviors into an actionable strategy while aligning them with the buying process. Engagement measurement encompasses the quantitative and qualitative metrics collected from both online and offline channels. It comprises the concrete individual metrics from store visits and online purchases, to the softer, aggregated insights from brand awareness studies, sentiment, loyalty, and advocacy. Four component

New NFC-Based Proximity Mobile Payment

Eighty-six percent of industry stakeholders believe Near Field Communication (NFC) based proximity payments will be adopted, and it will happen with a collaboration model, bringing together banks, mobile operators, merchants, handset manufacturers and other service providers, according to the Smart Card Alliance Contactless Payments Council. In a survey conducted of leading stakeholders in the mobile and financial payments industries, the Council considered four different business models for proximity mobile payments using NFC-enabled phones and interviewed executives at key organizations on critical questions pertaining to the success of each model. "With the obvious market opportunities behind proximity mobile payments generally accepted across the industries involved, the purpose of this research was to get a sense of all of the different stakeholder visions for how the mobile and payments ecosystems could come together to make these payments a reality," said Randy Vande

PC Growth Boosted by Portable Adoption

Worldwide PC shipments continued to grow at a healthy pace in the second quarter of 2008 (2Q08), according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. Shipments were up 15.3 percent from a year ago -- slightly more than second quarter projections and first quarter growth of 14.9 percent. Solid growth in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) region helped offset slower growth in Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ). "Despite the economic headwinds, the PC market continued to show its resilience," said Loren Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. Product refreshes, vendor competition for channels, and aggressive pricing add to the ongoing trend toward Portable computing in attracting buyers. The steady growth, despite the pressure on consumer finances, reflects the increasingly important role of PCs within personal technology, and steady improvements in price and design. Nevertheless, economic pressures are mounting and PC market growth is expected

Consumers Accepting of Online Video Ads

Driven by increased online video adoption, advertising spend continues to move online. As more American consumers go online to stream or download video content, the number of advertising-subsidized online video services is also growing. With all these new advertising models reaching the market, the question on marketers minds remains -- how will consumers react to the growing proliferation of advertising supported video services? Recent research conducted by Ipsos suggests that the majority of digital video consumers will find the inclusion of advertising a "reasonable" and customary expectation for accessing free online video content. The Ipsos market study shows that at least three in four digital video consumers say they would find it reasonable for advertising to be included in the free digital distribution of full-length TV shows and movies. Around two-thirds say the inclusion of advertising would be reasonable with free access to music videos, short news or sports c

Cisco Edge Quest Game Champ Wins $10K

Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico doesn't usually come to mind when most online gamers think of where to engage in their favorite pastime. That may very well change, given today's announcement. Etvino Rogelio Medina has won the Cisco EDGE QUEST Tournament of Aces, receiving a $10,000 cash prize, plus a Cisco Aggregation Services (ASR) 1002 Router, valued at approximately $35,000. Medina serves as a network administrator for Omnilife de Mexico in Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico. Cisco EDGE QUEST was an online game introduced in tandem with the launch of the new Cisco ASR 1000 Series Routers -- the world's most powerful compact router. The game allows players to virtually experience the benefits of the Cisco ASR 1000 Series Routers. The Cisco ASR 1000 Series Routers are driven by the new Cisco QuantumFlow Processor (QFP), the industry's first fully-integrated and programmable processing engine. The ASR 1000 Series features software virtualization to enable 'instant-on' pr

Wireless USB Will Find Its Mojo, Eventually

Wireless technologies can have very different adoption cycles. As an example, wireless USB (WUSB) is currently hampered by the high price of the underlying UWB silicon, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. This is expected to limit its appeal until prices fall substantially, the high-tech market research firm says. Targeted at PCs, PC peripherals, consumer electronics (CE), and mobile phones, the first devices with WUSB technology shipped in 2007, including notebook PCs and hub and dongle solutions. "The beginnings of a new wireless ecosystem have launched, and should lead to increased shipments in the years ahead," says Brian O'Rourke, In-Stat analyst. "Ultimately, UWB and WUSB will succeed because they solve problems that no other technology can; the ability to transmit large amounts of data from one device to another with relative power efficiency." The In-Stat research covers the worldwide market for wireless USB. It tracks the market for WUS

Rationale for Subscriber Data Management

Infonetics Research predicts that mobile and wireline operators around the world will invest in subscriber data management (SDM) software and integration services to help them roll out new services to customers, reduce the cost of rolling out these new services, and deploy revenue-generating "mash-up" services. According to their market study, service providers spent $106 million worldwide in 2007 on SDM software and integration services, led by mobile operators in the EMEA and Asia Pacific regions. SDM software facilitates the collection and aggregation of subscriber data (identity information, service profiles, preferences, and device information) across a range of networks, applications, and databases, and serves as a centralized repository for aggregated subscriber data. SDM integration services combine SDM software and services into a service provider's network and business process infrastructure. A consolidated view of the subscriber's service profile and pe

No End in Sight for the Online Video Upside

Are we there yet? Apparent not, the video growth journey continues. ComScore released May 2008 data from their Video Metrix service, reporting that U.S. Internet users viewed more than 12 billion online videos during the month, representing an increase of 45 percent versus year ago. In May, Google Sites once again ranked as the top U.S. video property with 4.2 billion videos viewed (representing a 35 percent share of all videos viewed), with YouTube.com accounting for more than 98 percent of all videos viewed at the property. Fox Interactive Media ranked second with 778 million videos (6.4 percent), gaining 1.3 share points versus April. Yahoo! Sites ranked third with 347 million (2.9 percent), followed by Microsoft Sites with 246 million (2.0 percent). Hulu.com, a joint venture of NBC and Fox featuring full-length broadcast TV programs, debuted in the tenth position with 88 million videos being viewed (0.7 percent). Nearly 142 million U.S. Internet users watched an average of 85 vi

Online Ad Spend Exceeds TV-Radio-Movies

American advertisers are cutting back. Spending on U.S. advertising and marketing will grow 3.9 percent in 2008 to reach $412.4 billion -- with the advertising portion reaching $249.1 billion, according to a market study by Outsell, Inc. Reflecting the overall economic slowdown, the growth rate for advertising and marketing spending has declined from 5.8 percent in 2007. Outsell takes a 360-degree look at total U.S. advertising and marketing spending targeting both businesses and consumers, and covering 31 advertising and marketing methods. Their report covers five key media types -- online, print, events, TV/radio and others. Outsell surveyed 1,088 U.S. advertisers on their spending plans for the year. Outsell's key findings include: - Companies are spending 61.8 percent of their online ad/marketing budgets on their own web sites, siphoning dollars away from other options. This accounts for $65.1 billion. As a result, publishers are beginning to offer their own advertising o

Growth of Customer-Specific TV Advertising

Are mass-media adverts obsolete? TV advertising is being impacted by the Internet and by mobile services that provide highly personalized content delivery, according to a new market study by In-Stat. No longer does "one ad fit all" viewers -- and now the big trend is for all advertising to become more relevant to the people who see it, the high-tech market research firm says. New technology promises to do that via Set-Top Box (STB), PC and mobile device addressability. "Advertising buyers understand the current complex nature of the U.S. media delivery industry, and it will take them time, effort, and education to learn how to adapt what they already do to the new hardware-based opportunities that seem so promising," says Gerry Kaufhold, In-Stat analyst. "Customer-specific advertising that targets identifiable ethnic, cultural, language, or special interest audiences will see above-average growth rates through 2012. Geographic and hardware-based advertising

Human Network Effect Reaches Enterprise

The Human Network Effect of engaging online communities in the consumer world has become a huge success, and now a growing number of enterprises are seeing internal demand, according to the latest market study by ABI Research. To enable such communication in a business environment, white label social networking vendors provide platforms that can be re-branded to meet the requirements of enterprises. ABI forecasts indicate that this market will be worth nearly $1.3 billion in 2013. Potentially linking employees, customers, and other stakeholders, enterprise social networking is most commonly seen as an aid to marketing, CRM, and general information distribution. "Social networking within and around the enterprise can deliver a number of benefits to a company, though some may be difficult to quantify," says industry analyst Zippy Aima. "For example, many networks can be searched by keyword, offering fast and easy access to company-wide pools of expertise. One vendor of th

Converged IPTV Will Help Telcos Compete

The opportunity for converged (multi-platform) IPTV is explored in MRG's new IPTV infrastructure and service market study -- providing a new road-map for IPTV operators to use in competing with Cable, Satellite and even Internet Video. By categorizing multi-platform services into functional groups including Time-shifting, Place-shifting, Personalization, and Socialization, the MRG report provides numerous examples of what new services may look like on different platforms and regions of the world. "The Millennial generation already expects video, personal communications and messaging services wherever they are, regardless of device or network," said Steve Hawley, Sr. Analyst, MRG, Inc. Operators that aren't transforming their service platforms to serve these digital natives are already at a disadvantage. Over 180 companies and IPTV Operators are featured in this report, including Operators Deutsche Telecom, PCCW, Orange, and many others; plus numerous vendors. Real

U.S. Will Follow Digital PC-TV Tuner Growth

The adoption of digital PC-TV Tuners will accelerate in Europe as Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT) services continue to expand there. Moreover, Asia, China and India will present strong growth opportunities, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. North America is expected to see a surge during 2009, when analog TV is cut off, and new mobile digital broadcast TV (MDTV) services are introduced by major U.S. broadcast TV stations. The high-tech market research firm cautions that the uptake of PC-TV tuners is not guaranteed, as they face challenges from a wide variety of options, consumers now have to use computers to gather and view a wide range of video content. "The challenges to PC-TV Tuner adoption include easy-to-use Cable TV, Telco TV, and Satellite TV services that provide high quality Video-on-Demand, Internet distributed video content, IPTV services, and mobile broadband, such as 3G, WiFi, and WiMAX," says Gerry Kaufhold, In-Stat analyst. While some European c

Middle East & North African Pay TV Upside

Approximately 61 percent of Middle East and North African (MENA) TV homes currently have a multichannel TV service, according to the latest market study by Informa Telecoms & Media. Their report forecasts that by 2013 a further 14 million homes will have signed up to a multichannel service, resulting in a penetration rate of 72 percent. This growth is the primary stimulus for a major increase in the region's TV advertising revenues, which will grow by 73 percent in this forecast period, from $1.9 billion in 2007 to $3.3 billion in 2013. The report also forecasts that the MENA pay TV market will grow by 38 percent over the six years to 2013. Informa expects the region's 5.1 million pay TV subscribers at end-2007 to grow to more than 7 million in 2013. Much of the growth will come from Israel and Turkey, who will account for 4.3 million pay TV homes between them at end-2013. Adam Thomas, Informa's media research manager and author of the report, said "Middle East

Cable Love-Hate for Set Top Box Investment

According to ABI Research, faced with stiff competition in the cable market and from telcos vying for TV viewers, traditionally risk-averse cable operators are now bipolar -- supporting a road-map that requires deployment of new advanced Set-Top Boxes (STB), while also apparently aiming to drive the ubiquitous STB to extinction. Meanwhile, STB vendors are offering a variety of new features to entice operators. When it comes to STBs, operators have traditionally tread carefully, and have largely been unwilling to shop around much for new technologies. ABI Research analyst Paulhwa Lee says, "Because some operators are facing stiffer competition, they are now willing to experiment a little more, venturing into offerings such as Electronic Program Guides, wireless support, home networking support for MOCA or HomePlug, and expanded hard drives -- all at increasingly affordable prices." There is also a growing trend toward partnerships and consolidation. For example, STB giant M

Media Firms and VCs Invest in Virtual Worlds

Venture capital and media firms have invested more than $161 million dollars in 16 virtual worlds related companies during the second quarter of 2008, not including two companies that were acquired for unknown amounts. This compares with $184 million dollars in 23 virtual worlds related companies during the first quarter of 2008. That puts the total amount invested in the first 6 months of 2008 at $345 million. "Interestingly, neither of the companies that were acquired, GirlSense.com by IAC and PixVerse by hi5, have actually produced virtual worlds. The former is a virtual fashion site and social network and the latter produces apps for social networks," notes Joey Seiler, Virtual Worlds Management author. Both, however, have been discussed, or self-described, as having potential for virtual worlds, showing an eye toward the future. Those, combined with four investments in pre-launch companies, highlight the still emerging nature of the industry. With two more investmen

Games, Internet are Least Used on Mobiles

What are must-have features on mobiles? Digital camera functionality, bluetooth connectivity, and music or radio playback are the top three features that consumers consider essential for their next mobile phone, according to the latest market study by ABI Research. The camera phones with 2+ megapixels leads the most desired list, with 47 percent of consumers listing this feature as a must-have, followed by bluetooth at 34 percent and music or FM radio functionality at 32 percent. The survey results identified some surprising differences between markets. Camera phones, for example, were more than twice as important for consumers in Taiwan versus those in the U.S. Similarly, bluetooth is considered essential by mobile subscribers in Western Europe and Taiwan, but penetration of this feature is very low in Japan and South Korea, so it's of little importance to consumers in those countries. Regardless of all the interest in advanced features, consumers across all mature markets sti

Exploring the Global Mobile Internet Markets

About 40 million U.S. mobile subscribers (15.6 percent) actively use the mobile Internet, making the U.S. a leader in mobile Internet adoption, according to a market study by The Nielsen Company. In 16 countries tracked, the U.S. leads in penetration, followed by the UK (12.9 percent) and Italy (11.9 percent). Nielsen Mobile published the findings of the study which examines the global mobile Internet market. Key findings of the Nielsen study include: - The U.S. mobile Internet market, with 40 million active users, has reached a critical mass for mobile Internet marketing. - The Motorola RAZR phones are the most popular phones among U.S. mobile Internet users, while Nokia handsets lead the market in Europe and Asia. - Unlimited data packages are increasingly popular with mobile Internet users. Today 14 percent of US subscribers access the mobile Internet with an unlimited data package, and 50 percent of data users say that they prefer the unlimited pricing model. - 3G networks dr

DVD Copying Impacts Sales in US and UK

Futuresource Consulting released findings of its second annual home copying consumer research study. The research built upon the survey conducted last year, and key questions remained the same for annual benchmarking purposes. Around one third of all respondents in both the USA and UK admit to making copies of pre-recorded DVDs in the last 6 months, up from just over a quarter of respondents in 2007. As in 2007 it is 18-24 year old males who are most likely to be copiers. UK respondents showed a significant increase in copying TV shows on DVD when compared with 2007. In both territories, the most common way of copying is either from a DVD player to a DVD recorder, or using a single PC software application for burning DVD copies. In the last 6 months, DVD copiers have copied an average of 12 titles of all genres in the USA and 13 titles of all genres in the UK. In the last 6 months, the average number of movies copied in the UK was 13 new release and 9 catalog; in the USA the figure

Mobile Data Won't Translate into Revenue

The adoption of mobile broadband services -- which now have more than 100 million subscribers worldwide -- is sparking a data traffic boom that will revive the struggling mobile base station market by 2011, according to the latest study by Informa Telecoms & Media. Global mobile data traffic is set to increase 1088 percent from 162 petabytes (PB) in 2007 to 1,925PB in 2012, driven by a boom in advanced applications such as mobile Internet browsing and video, according to Informa. Their report forecasts that global mobile traffic from YouTube and other mobile video streaming applications will increase by 5514 percent by 2012. Another key factor in the traffic boom is the rise of user-friendly devices such as the iPhone, which can lead to a thirty-fold increase in traffic per subscriber. But operators will struggle to cope with the traffic boom because the popularity of flat-rate tariffs means that mobile data revenues will not keep pace with traffic -- which has a direct impact o

Rapid Growth for Digital Media Home Servers

According to the latest market study from TDG Research, global adoption of Home Servers will grow from 1.2 million in 2008 to more than 90 million by 2015. TDG's latest assessment identifies several factors which will spur widespread market availability of, and consumer demand for, easy-to-use inexpensive Home Server platforms in the next few years. TDG says that key drivers include: - Mainstream adoption of broadband Internet service and home networks; - The rate at which consumer-created and commercial digital media content is being stockpiled in consumer homes, and its impact on in-home storage requirements; - The proliferation of in-home, mobile, and portable digital media devices which require synchronization, backup, and interoperability with other devices; and - Swift declines in the cost of digital storage which place manufacturing and distributing inexpensive Home Server products well within the reach of most OEMs. Though the PC has been the incumbent device for suc

Real Broadband Continues to Elude the U.S.

The FCC, with its low bar of expectation policy, still maintains that any data speed above 200 Kbps is considered broadband, as the rest of the developed world laughs at this apparent denial of truly Olympic proportions. Meanwhile, In-Stat noted that at the NXTcomm show in Las Vegas, Verizon announced it is increasing the top speed of its FiOS broadband service in 10 states. They will now offer downloads at 50 Megabits per second (Mbps) and uploads at 20 Mbps -- up from 30 Mbps downstream and 15 Mbps upstream. FiOS service areas in California, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington will benefit from the speed increase. Apparently, the 50 Mbps service is already available to FiOS customers in Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. However, the broadband boost comes with a high price (compared to other countries) -- the 50 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload service will cost $140 per month. In-

Photo Messaging via the Mobile is Growing

ComScore released the latest figures from the M:Metrics Benchmark Study which reports that photo messaging from mobile phones has grown 60 percent in the United States over the past year and 16 percent in Europe, where photo messaging got an earlier start. "Summer vacations provide the perfect context for photo messaging, as the utility of instantly sharing a holiday moment with loved ones is undeniably compelling," commented Mark Donovan, senior vice president,comScore Mobile Products. "The cameraphone could replace the postcard as the preferred mode to say wish you were here, as even parents and grandparents are snapping and sending photos from their mobile devices." In Europe, where photo messaging is more mature, usage rates are more consistent throughout the year, rising only slightly in summer. From 2006 to 2007, the rate of photo messaging use in Europe during the month of July was average and in August, 7 percent higher than average. Instead, usage spike

Demand for Notebook PCs Drive UK Growth

The United Kingdom PC market demonstrated solid performance in 1Q08, as overall PC shipments for the quarter reached more than 3.25 million units, an increase of 14.3 percent year on year, according to IDC's latest assessment. Mobility continued to be the key driver, as the notebook market grew by a very healthy 41.8 percent, thanks to renewals, further expansion of the installed base to new buyers, and multiple-equipment purchases. Due to the rising popularity of portable PCs, desktop sales continued to decline, particularly in the consumer and Small and Medium-sized Business (SMB) segments, as many users chose to replace their existing desktop systems with notebooks. "Demand for notebooks, stimulated by fierce vendor competition and aggressive pricing, will remain a key engine for growth throughout the year," said Lucie Jichova, research analyst for IDC's EMEA PC research group. "Economic pressure will continue to drive cautious spending behavior, but the a

Failed Projects Hurt Digital Signage Industry

While still arguably in its infancy, the digital signage industry has been evolving at a rapid pace, according to the latest market study by Futuresource. In 2007 the industry was depressed by a legacy of project failures and negative press. Of almost one hundred projects evaluated by Futuresource, nine failed completely to meet any of the objectives set and ten were deemed to be only partial successes. Though 40 percent of the projects were considered successful, for a further 30 percent it was deemed too early to determine the level of success. Key barriers to the development of the industry have included a lack of clear ROI modeling, few advertising metrics, too much network fragmentation and not enough scalability and project complexity. One year on, ROI modeling is still an area for contention, though advertising and media agencies have begun to take notice of digital signage, as the effectiveness of traditional mass media communication forms become ever more diluted. Efforts

Will Shift in LBS become CDMA Swan Song?

In 2007, North America generated 81 percent of the world's Location Based Services (LBS) revenue. In 2013, that percentage will be just 32 percent. In the same period, Western and Eastern Europe's combined LBS revenues will jump from just 5 percent to 31 percent. The Asia-Pacific region, meanwhile, will see a rise from a 2007 share of 11 percent, to 27 percent. "Location based services are not a zero-sum game," says ABI Research principal analyst Dominique Bonte. "It's not that Americans will lose enthusiasm for LBS. These changing shares of global LBS revenue just reflect the fact that a market which for technical reasons has been largely restricted to North America, will finally grow strongly in other world regions." LBS's slow uptake outside North America has had everything to do with the fact that unlike the CDMA phones so prevalent there, which have utilized GPS to comply with the United States E911 regulatory mandate, the GSM handsets owned

India and China Leads Mobile Phone Growth

Fueled by rapid growth in China, India, and Africa, worldwide mobile phone service subscriptions continued to expand rapidly in 2007, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. Due to some areas approaching saturation and a relatively slow world economy, subscription growth in 2008 is expected to be much less, the high-tech market research firm says. "India and China subscription numbers are growing at a fast clip, as more of the population gets their first cell phone, and often their first phone of any kind," says Allen Nogee, In-Stat analyst. Most of these phones are low-end GSM phones, but even some of these phones are starting to incorporate more high-end features. The In-Stat research covers the worldwide market for mobile phone communication subscriptions. It contains cellular subscription numbers by region and technology for 2006 and 2007, and forecasts through 2012. In-Stat's market study found the following: - The number of worldwide cellular subscrip

Market Forces to Squeeze the Mobile Middle

The most significant growth in mobile phone handset markets will occur at the top and bottom ends of the price and features range, as the smartphone and low-cost handset categories expand at the expense of the mid-range "enhanced" models. The enhanced phone sector is currently the largest in terms of shipments -- 2007 saw 854 million units shipped. But it will be overtaken by both other classes in 2013, with just 441 million shipping. According to ABI Research director Kevin Burden, "As we see more user sophistication and demand for high-end features, handset manufacturers will continue to push functions of high-level smartphone operating systems further down their product lines. Their smartphone portfolios will grow, and with them, the entire smartphone market." Mobile operators want more smartphone users too, because they generate higher ARPU. And operators like phones with standard operating systems that are optimized for their content delivery platforms. Mea

Rise in Business Video Use Reaches SMB

The commercial applications for digital media are growing fast. IDC conducted a survey to assess adoption of video usage within the business environment for internal communications with employees, training, collaboration, etc. Their findings come from IDC's Enterprise Panel. The panel is an online community of IT and line-of-business professionals who influence the technology-related investment decisions of their organization. The panel includes worldwide businesses of all sizes and in all industries. If you believe that business video applications are just for large corporations, or that SMBs can't benefit from the availability of digital media basic authoring tools, then you should read my post entitled " Business Video on an SMB Budget " -- which is featured on Dell's Small Business blog. Key findings from IDC's survey include: - Videoconferencing (or TelePresence ) is the most dominant use-case for enterprise video today, followed closely by employee t

Internet Adoption Shaping Digital Lifestyles

According to IDC estimates, about a quarter of the world's population -- roughly 1.4 billion people -- will use the Internet on a regular basis in 2008. That number is expected to surpass 1.9 billion unique users, or 30 percent of the world's population, in 2012. "The Internet will have added its second billion users over a span of about eight years, a testament to both its universal appeal and its availability," said John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC. "In this time, the Internet has also become more deeply integrated into the fabric of many user's personal and professional lives, enabling them to work, play, and socialize anytime from anywhere. These trends will accelerate as the number of mobile users continues to soar and the Internet becomes truly ubiquitous." While the PC is currently the dominant means of gaining access to the Internet, IDC expects the number of mobile devices accessing the Internet will surpass the number of online PCs

Digital Navigation Device Market Maturing

The worldwide shipment growth of personal navigation devices (PNDs) was higher than anticipated last year, with shipments reaching 30.7 million in 2007, up from 13.3 million in 2006, according to the latest market study by In-Stat. The main drivers for this growth were price declines, efficient volume availability through the retail channels during the holiday season, enhanced functionality, and stronger consumer demand for navigation overall. "However, the PND market faces strong competition from both mobile phone handset navigation and embedded automotive navigation systems," says Stephanie Ethier, In-Stat analyst. "In particular, vendors in handset navigation are starting to offer a number of value-added services, such as pedestrian navigation, offline navigation, and searches for local points of interest." Their research covers the worldwide market for personal navigation devices. It offers a revised PND forecast that takes into account market developments th

Digital Media Engagement and Advert Metrics

MTV Networks (MTVN) and Harris Interactive research reveals a companion metric to measuring audience size, offering a new way for advertisers to potentially target the most engaged and valuable TV and online audiences. Their research study confirms that not all programming viewers are created equal and that the value of television and online advertising grows as viewers connect with marketing messages across multiple device screens. Following-up on its prior case study, MTV Networks and Harris Interactive conducted research across MTVN's brands, which provides empirical evidence that audiences develop stronger emotional connections to content and advertising messages when they consume and interact with them across multiple platforms. In total, more than 20,000 respondents between 13 and 49 participated in evaluating MTV Networks' programs, as well as competitive programs, networks and websites along a series of questions geared to defining a scalable and predictive engagemen

Mobile Video Phone Costs Continue to Drop

According to an Infonetics Research study, worldwide mobile video phone sales neared $99 billion in 2007 and are expected to grow strongly over the next 5 years, despite the challenge service providers face in making mobile video services profitable. Infonetics' report provides worldwide and regional market size and forecasts of mobile video service revenue, mobile video subscribers and mobile video phones in the various industry standard segments (3G/MBMS, DVB-H, FLO, ISDB-T, S/T-DMB, and DAB). The report shows that the number of mobile video subscribers topped 10 million worldwide in 2007, and is expected to nearly triple by the end of 2008, with explosive growth continuing through at least 2011. "The cost to manufacture mobile video phones with high quality screens and extended battery life will continue to drop considerably over the next few years, and as that happens, service providers will want to make sure they have the phones with the most revenue-generating potenti

European Telcos offer IPTV as Loss-Leader

According to Infonetics Research, the combined Internet protocol television (IPTV) and switched digital video (SDV) equipment market increased 12 percent sequentially to $1.3 billion worldwide in 1Q08. Infonetics' market study indicates revenue growth is being driven by growing numbers of service providers rolling out new IPTV networks or expanding existing networks to support more subscribers. The market is also getting a push from cable MSOs introducing switched video capabilities into their digital TV networks to free up bandwidth and offer more high definition (HD) content to their subscribers. "While most of the segments we track in the IPTV market are seeing consistent quarterly growth, IPTV middleware is going to be an especially interesting segment to watch. We're expecting an IPTV middleware spending spree over the next few quarters because a lot of the early IPTV service providers are running into scaling issues with their off-the-shelf middleware" said J

Future of Social Networks is in Niche Groups

Social networking has become an integral part of the Internet experience, however, after 13 years of applications in the U.S. market, revenue generation is not what it was once predicted to be, according to a recent market study by In-Stat. The solution is to find different models -- innovative business methods -- to capitalize on the wealth of data social networking sites collect, the high-tech market research firm says. Affiliate advertising, the selling of virtual goods, micro-payments, social network site merchandising, and data mining are all viable alternatives to traditional revenue generation models. "Development of niche social networking sites is an essential piece of the monetization puzzle," says Jill Meyers, In-Stat analyst. "The more specific a social networking site is to a select group of users, the more targeted the advertising can become; the more loyal the membership will be because it caters to specific interests; and the more opportunities the si

3G Mobile Forecast to Reach Critical Mass

Worldwide mobile phone subscriptions will rise from 3.9 billion in 2008 to 5.6 billion in 2013, according to the latest market study by Strategy Analytics. Discounting for people with more than one subscription, more than half of the world's population will be using mobile phones by early 2010, up from 40 percent at the start of this year. Asia-Pacific and the Middle East & Africa (MEA) are responsible for the current surge in mobile phone service subscriptions. Those areas will remain the engines for growth in the wireless market in the medium term, contributing to 80 percent of subscription growth through 2013. "These two regions may be driving the subscription count, but they contribute much less to global revenues," comments Phil Kendall, Director Global Wireless Practice. "Asia-Pacific and MEA account for nearly 60 percent of worldwide subscriptions, but less than 40 percent of revenues. Their increasing significance will reduce average revenues per subs

Mobile WiMAX Leads the Equipment Market

According to Infonetics Research, the worldwide WiMAX equipment market, including fixed and mobile WiMAX equipment, increased 59 percent sequentially to $363 million in 1Q08. Infonetics' latest report indicates the surge in the market was led by especially strong mobile WiMAX (802.16e) equipment sales, which jumped 141 percent this quarter to overtake revenue from fixed WiMAX (802.16d) equipment for the first time. "A significant number of new mobile WiMAX networks began rollout in the first quarter, and existing networks continued to scale up, driving sales in 1Q08. We expect healthy growth for the evolving mobile WiMAX market, which is seeing strong adoption from Tier 2 and 3 carriers." said Richard Webb, wireless analyst for Infonetics Research. Also, growth came from Tier 1 nationwide operators as well, like Sprint-Clearwire in the U.S., SK Telecom and KT in South Korea, Wateen in Pakistan, BSNL in India, and Vodafone and Orange in new territories. Highlights from

Over 100 Million WCDMA Subs in Europe

European WCDMA subscriptions passed the 100 million mark in May 2008, just over five years after the region's first commercial WCDMA-network launch, according to a market study by Informa Telecoms & Media. At the end of May 2008, Informa says there were 101.5 million WCDMA subscriptions in Europe -- out of a total of 910.8 million mobile subscriptions -- taking WCDMA penetration to 11.1 percent of subscriptions. Penetration of WCDMA is generally highest in markets where the technology was launched earliest. Italy became the first market in Europe to offer WCDMA devices when 3 Italia launched services in March 2003. The country now accounts for a quarter of Europe's WCDMA subscriptions and has one of the highest 3G penetration rates, with 28.7 percent of subscriptions via WCDMA devices. Other markets where greenfield operator 3 launched in 1H03 also have high 3G penetration rates, notably Austria, Sweden and the UK. WCDMA-device sales in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)

Satellite TV Set-Top Box Shipments Decline

Dell'Oro Group reported that the worldwide set-top box market contracted 6 percent sequentially to $3.5 billion in the first quarter of this year. The market was up 9 percent, however, compared to the year-ago quarter. The quarter's sequential decline was due to double-digit percent drop in the satellite set-top box (STB) market, which reflected seasonal weakness. The market for pay-TV services continues to see strong growth and competition, and these factors will continue to translate into healthy STB sales which are boosted by increasing volumes and average selling prices. Prices continue to rise as high definition (HD)and digital video recorder (DVR) functionality becomes a higher percentage of the overall product mix. In 1Q08, HD shipments for the first time surpassed standard definition shipments as consumers are increasingly choosing HD services and service providers are deploying HD capable set-tops ahead of demand. Echostar, which was recently spun off from Dish Ne

Battle Among CDN and P2P Video Providers

According to Light Reading, the arrival of high-definition (HD) video content delivered over the Internet will force significant changes in how network operators and content owners distribute video. It could result in a fundamental restructuring of the ISP business. "Consumers now expect to find video content on the Internet, and expectations of high-quality video are rising. But, moving very large files to end-users places huge demands on existing infrastructures," notes Simon Sherrington, research analyst for Light Reading. "There's an emerging battle between CDNs and P2P upstarts for control of the primary relationship with video content owners." The choices made by content owners regarding their distribution partners will be governed by a wide range of factors, including how they have already encoded their content, the extent of their back catalogs, the likely size of the audiences for their content, the intended reach for their content, and the nature of