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Predictions 2009: Information and Communication Technology - Part 3

And so we come to the big concept, habits. We'll consider the importance of habits in ICT marketing in this Part 3, the conclusion of our three part series on ICT developments in 2009 and beyond.

Part 1 and Part 2 consecutively examined the concepts of hype, spin and buzz. They achieve a major payoff when they change consumption habits.

Marketers seek to change consumer habits. With this they seek to redirect the attention, time and money consumers apply in their life, work and play time.

Habits are like subconscious rituals, something people do without a need to think about it.

To get beyond hype, spin or buzz and become a sustainable development, an ICT offering should aim to change habits.

As consumer habits change armies of advertisers, software developers and intermediaries follow the shift.

If a habit is fed by enough people, resources, enthusiasm and dollars then in time it reshapes markets. For example this is currently taking place with older habits such as reading a newspaper in the morning, or buying a weekly magazine, or watching TV... uninterrupted.

Business metrics track the change, eg numbers of users, levels of user engagement, revenue, margins, or earnings before interest and tax (EBIT).

nokia_arabicIn 2009 and beyond cloud computing (see Part 1) or smartphones (see Part 2) may change consumer habits.

In this Part 3 our technology focus will be on the way they are also feeding the growing habit for which I'll coined an expression - "messaging handshake".

Today the messaging handshake habit works like this.

  • A person receives an email, an SMS, a notice on a social media site or an instant message (via Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, Skype or others). The person responds promptly, typically same time or day.
  • Communication or a conversation takes place and (often) the job or activity gets done or takes place there and then for all participants.
  • Thus, as if in a human handshake, an activity or transaction takes place in an electronic messaging handshake.

What used to take place in a month (eg in snail mail business with a volley of letters) or in days with a few calls (eg in phone tag business), can now be done faster in hours or a day with electronic messaging or communication.

In my experience in Sydney the messaging handshake habit descended on business from say 1998, 10 years ago. Ten years on it is commonplace and is reshaping habits at work, home and play (eg online multi-player games).

In the design of social media communication and conversation (in a word, engagement) is encouraged by such Web 2.0 features as making "friends", joining groups, sharing photos and other data, receiving notifications, reading comments and other user-generated content, and seeing hit lists of "top 10" this and that or "favourite posts".

Where is this heading? The messaging handshake expression recalls the handshaking and synchronisation process faxes and other IT and telecommunications devices go through before a transmission can take place between them. With it humans are getting closer to becoming machines or an extension of their machines. Here's two exhibits.

  • Watch this video blog post. It's about messaging in real-time, messaging on steroids - the use of Twitter, video comments on blogs, and chatter in and between social media websites.
  • Dr Eric Schmidt (CEO, Google) quoted a survey indicating that 11% of Americans would accept a chip being implanted into their brain to directly access the internet (so they would not have to bother typing) if the procedure was medically safe. He said that at the 33 minute point in his 58 minute lecture on 24 October 2008 at the Bloomberg headquarters in New York. On social networking he also says that one out of every six minutes online is now in a social network.

In 2008 Google turned 10 and launched its own web browser (Chrome), the computer mouse turned 40 with its inventor having never earning from it, VHS died, and Telstra closed and wrote off over A$100 million (estimated) on its failed Sensis search engine venture. The fax too is almost dead, at least for those who use email and a scanner in combination. What lies ahead?

In this three part series I've argued that I see continuing growth in 2009 for cloud computing, smartphones, messaging systems (I've briefly mentioned related collaboration, collaborative computing and social media). Collectively and increasingly they ride off smarter web browsers and the internet.

The structure of this series has been shaped by an ICT marketing perspective looking at hype, spin, buzz and habits. For an engineering perspective see the Betz axioms in Music formats and law: commercialisation of 45-rpm records.

This series has built on previous futurology (see links below) and collectively help us as lawyers and consultants reflect on what's important, and what is unimportant, for the legal and business needs of clients in information technology and telecommunications sectors.

Although futurology is problematic it is part of an IP lawyer's toolkit. An intellectual property lawyer involved in client business issues needs to see as far ahead as possible. How else to prepare contracts with long term use by dates? How else to participate in the section of trade marks, designs and patents to register which can be useful against future competitors? If your IP lawyer can't collaborate with you to do this then you are paying too much for IP legal services.


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