Archive for May, 2008

Where is TV heading?

Posted in 1 with tags , , , on May 27, 2008 by Geir Stene

It’s often said that no media has ever died. The book, art painting, photography, the movie, the radio all have survived new media and technology arriving. But that was before YouTube!

 

Internet and broadcasting is merging and at some point I believe that TV becomes seamlessly integrated with next generation of home media systems in a scale that changes everything within broadcasting as we know it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that broadcast corporations will die. But I do believe that broadcasters should look closely at how they brand themselves. In my opinion a broadcaster that uses its brand and transform from a large channel enterprise more toward a knowledge and competence brand will survive into the future. Maybe its time for broadcasters to get far more serious about their websites and how to use them in their core business, instead of being very protective and separate broadcasts and Internet activities as much as they do at the moment. Is that a clever policy?

If we look at it: What is the business of broadcasting? For Public service broadcasters it’s like the morning paper you get on your door every morning, core business is to deliver as interesting content as you can to an as large amount of subscribers as possible. For a commercial broadcaster it’s to gather as many viewers as possible, and sell them to advertisers. Is there anyone that can see the similarities to the core of Internet business? Content and a large amount of people gathered around a specific subject. I believe that broadcasting and Internet has a lot in common of what they can offer, and with business models that is very suited for at close cooperation. The best of TV and the best of Internet is a hit in my opinion. While waiting for the broadband development, I believe that conceptual connection between the TV programs, and Internet e.g. communities is very interesting aspects of how to create a win-win situation. Internet has the options to interact far better with the audience and to connect the knowledge of the user and take advantages of that both in a commercial way, and in an editorial way also for the content creation of TV programs.

Digital collaboration is for everyone

Posted in 1 with tags , on May 23, 2008 by Geir Stene

It seems like when people start talking about collaboration and digital solutions, one start thinking; That’s for large organizations, It’s complicated or it’s expensive and not for my office/company. This is not true anymore.

 
Everything we do at work is to collaborate. We work in teams, we exchange information, share knowledge, solve problems, discuss, attend to a lot of meetings, run projects, develop and sell products, offer a wide range of services and we interact in almost every activity we do. This is absolutely valid for both public and private sector. The concepts for digital solutions for collaboration are developing rapidly. Main drivers for this is the broadband capacities that are increasing world wide, and also everything that goes on in social media, Web 2.0 and so forth. It’s a common prediction that these markets will be one of the top five growth markets the next coming years.

Flexibility and integration are two important key words for the concepts that will become the standard for collaboration services. The benefits is as we know them on beforehand is; faster production / development cycles, cost savings, closer relations with team members and customers, better public services and so on. New aspects are that the web interface, the kind of functionalities that are included and better integrations of them is improving a lot. Another aspect is that getting started is easy, also for very small companies and units in an organization. “Out of the box” is just fine, as a start. At the other end of the scale, highly complex systems that seamless integrate all kind of back end systems and present it in a single interface – or, as in the image in this article, virtual workspaces on a wall that enables multitasking collaboration tasks where e.g. time frame is of extreme importance. (e.g. solutions for handling crisis and emergencies, or industrial processes) now is available technologies for a cost one wouldn’t dream of just a few years ago

Still the most important is of course not ‘collaboration’ in it self, but what you need to do, and how to do that most effective. The best solutions for digital collaboration will be those where the user don’t even think of it as digital collaboration, but just the way we work!

Commercial options as “Co- Martial Arts”

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2008 by Geir Stene

I’m playing with words, but still; I just thought of it. Commercials, isn’t really something people want, is it?
Still as consumers we do want and need things, when we want and need them, and most of us would love to get a great offer, just at the right time and place.

 

If my toaster broke down – or car. I’d be happy to get a solution to my problem. But it’s annoying to be bombarded with toaster or car repair ads when everything is just fine. As we have seen, advertisers have discovered this idea, like we can observe it at e.g. Amazon.com.
What’s the clue? Amazon knows something about you! (and more than you might like to know) and Amazon guess what else they can offer you. At times we think of this as great, and at other times we think it sucks. It all depend on our needs and motivations when we are exposed to the suggestions they make. But all what they really do is to make a qualified guess.

This is getting far better/worse (depending on perspective) in the web 2.0 development as we speak about it. But no doubt, connecting user Profiles to Content and Ads. is increasing rapidly. This triangle has enormous possibilities. Up till now web communities have been able to get “filthy rich”, selling their “flat” databases with a very simple concept; ‘Set up a community – get loads of users – sell – Success!’ And the revenue stream is basically made out of very traditional wide spread advertisements – Throw adds over people! No segmentation, no thought what so ever – if this is something that pleases users or pisses them off. The buyer of the community doesn’t really care, if he has 1(or 10) mill. daily users in his database to sell to advertisers he’s happy chap. This trend will not last for long!

But what if ? What if we can create concepts that take full advantages over the holistic paradigm of Content, Adds and user Profiles and make use of the input/output from that? And we can ! Then we can provide a “Martial Art advertisement concept” for the user (and also for the advertisers BTW): The concept is to take the force from the opponent and use that energy to achieve our goal – or defend us towards unwanted attacks. We are able to give users a community where they have common interests in content and social networking,to give them control over what ads they want to be exposed to and by that increase the likeliness of being able to provide individuals with accurate advertisement, based upon the Content they choose, and their user profile on that site. Any one that doesn’t think this looks wonderful ? It also works the reversed way, where advertisers can segment perfectly, and know the user pattern and interessts of a user, and usergroups in detail, and automatically provide the correct ad at the correct time and place on the site.  – Oh, did I just give away a great business idea? *grin* I don’t think so. It’s like Martial Art, you need quite a lot of talent, knowledge and training to get it right !

Did knowledge exist before The Internet?

Posted in 1 with tags , on May 19, 2008 by Geir Stene

Not all comes from “The Matrix”,“The Da Vinci code”or Microsoft corp! Some seems to believe that knowledge about Communication, Interactivity, Social networks and Semantics came with the invention of the Internet?!?

It seems like far too many people in our business act like they know all the theories and wide range of buzz words flying around, and that it in fact knowledge “arrived” with the invention of the Internet! . Don’t buy into it. System developers, Business consultants, Key account managers and so forth, all to often seems to have never even read Emanuel Kant, or know what the H*** the old Greeks were up to ( NO, I didn’t miss spell ‘Geek’ !)

The ‘fun’ part is when you look at Communication theories the “modern” origin is not all that far from the binary system used as a basis for computer technology per see. Most modern communication theory seems to accept and often adapt the Shannon and Weaver’s theories (1949) that was developed to understand how telegraphy, telephone, and radio wave signals could be sent, and received without disturbances. From this very physical viewpoint we got the vocabulary extendend in the communication theories: ‘Information source’, ‘Message’. ‘Transmitter’, ‘Encode’ ‘Signals’, ‘Channel’, ‘Receiver’, ‘Decode’ (reconstruct) and the element of ‘Noise’, that makes effective transmission of communication dysfunctional. Shannon & Weaver were aware that his model didn’t address ‘meaning’ and stated: “These semantic aspects of communication are irrelevant to the engineering problem”(1948). But this limitation seems to have been forgotten by many of the ones working with communication theories later on. Still this model is widely accepted as one of the main seeds out of which communication studies has grown. The terminology in semantics and semiotics make use of the terms and emphasizes the ‘code’ and ‘decode’ elements of communication, to try to pinpoint the challenge of ‘meaning’.

My point is that it’s needed to get deeper into the set of ideas that has evolved since Aristotle’s ‘Rhetoric’s’, via a wide range of theoretical developments. Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco, the Norwegian Jostein Gripsrud are just a few clues of further reading, all of them important to read. In my opinion, so is more general studies in Sociology such as Theodore W. Adorno and Pierre Bourdieu to name two examples. Especially in these times where we speak of Social networks, Communities, web 2.0 and Semantic web, sociology and anthropology are important readings to get a grasp of what communication and communities really are. Wikipedia is a great starting point and this article gives a lot of clues to further readings: Communication theory. And when you’re done with that – it’s time to pick up Jurgen Habermas and Ludwig Wittgenstein !

Collaboration beyond knowledge management

Posted in 1 with tags , , on May 17, 2008 by Geir Stene

We are familiar with the traditional collaboration and knowledge management software solutions and “heavy” solutions for the web. To gather, sort and make data available for groups. We have gotten familiar with some of the social network solutions like LinkedIn, facebook, MySpace and so forth. But we have a lot in front of us when these – and real time communication solutions melt into seamless web 2.0 and web 3.0 concepts.

The essence of collaboration is; by doing things together we get a better outcome, than the effort done by the same amount of individuals would alone. The essence of digital collaboration is to achieve this in a virtual environment where there is no boundaries of location for the participants. Hardware, Software, Portals, web applications, API’s, and not to forget broadband connections and so forth enables a totally new set of possibilities. We can rapidly move from old fashioned (and kind of “static”) Knowledge Management software and server solutions locked in to the company’s IT environment, and move toward open engines where you can both structure your input and collect your output, team based, and go far beyond that and increase work flow processes, speed up projects and make use of your time line far better. Just as we all knew on beforehand; the most interesting discussions and biggest “breakthrough’s” in problem solving happens at the coffee machine, or over a beer in the pub. The trick is to set up a digital environment that support common human behavior, where the technology becomes as invisible as possible. In order to achieve the optimal of all the possibilities the most important factor is may be not not the digital boundaries, but the organizational ability to change from an old fashioned work flow, towards new and improved processes. Defining accurate and flexible concepts for your organizational collaboration and how to implement this in your organization is maybe a bigger challenge than the actual Digital bit of it.

What is beyond traditional knowledge management, and project management systems? We see concepts that includes both a- syncrone and syncrone collaboration in one and the same solutions, we see an increased interests in integrated services instead of singular software. Services that add, and include e.g. instant messaging, presence management, predefined web based web conference solutions (instead of heavy duty videoconferencing hard/software ) like meetcon are emerging. We see that complete collaboration portals (tailor made) that make real sense to reaching goals like; cost savings, time saving, rapid product development (time to market) real time meetings and e learning, increased contact with customers and so forth . All this is a reality of combined and integrated services that takes collaboration to new levels. The best part is that all the technology is at hand right now, it’s not science fiction! Sharepoint from MS, IBM collaboration and a lot of other have improved solutions during the last couples of years. It’s also easy to make solutions that are totally web based without the traditional software solution and need for download of heavy clients. We are no longer dependent on one kind of system, but can “shop” from a lot of systems, services and integrate them into our own needs.

And it gets even more interesting when you start looking at combining this kind of collaboration concepts with communities and add “mash up” concepts. Can you imagine this kind of concepts in a “transparency” environment? How this can influence your work force? What kind of innovative organization you can build and grow? I’m looking forward to see some of the upcoming project that I bet is already in work several places around the world. This is the wonderful part of innovation, it often seem to be a “collective consciousness” worldwide. The next few years will surely be interesting in terms of re-newing the way we work in both a global and local sense. Mobility, cross country and cross culture workflow will increase, and with it – the level of innovation will rise.

Who’s the Internet project Boss?

Posted in 1 with tags , , on May 15, 2008 by Geir Stene

Have you ever wondered who’s really in charge of an Internet project? Or who “should” be?

I’m really tired of the constant “struggle” where IT Dep’s have opinions like; they should be in charge of Internet projects and that if not for them the Internet wouldn’t even exist. But hang on; it doesn’t make anything better if was the Communication dep. either. Claiming “content is King”. Providers, crews, individuals that keep claiming this kind of arguements are doing nothing but being trapped in “the monkey trap.”

“There is no Internet project!” (to rephrase a line from The Matrix movie) Internet is a channel as any. (E.g. TV, publications, radio, Cell phones) There is most surely a desired outcome for a company in need for an Internet involvement. IT / communication/ PR or what is – companies tend to forget that for the customer it’s not a project -with a start, and an ending. For the customer Internet is a long lasting process using that channel for their purposes (Business, involvement, information tasks and so forth). All kinds of businesses have all of a sudden become their own publishers. – Thanx to Gutenberg, and a brand new world of technology!

Gartner recently stated (ITxpo in Barcelona) that the CIO’s have yet a paradigm shift ahead of them. I’d say that it’s not only the CIO’s that have this challenge – We all do, and the responsibility for making the right decitions of how to go about it is in the hands of top management both on the customer and provider side of the table.

I don’t really care who is to be the “Boss” in an Internet project! An Internet project is always a team effort. The one in charge should be the one that’s best to manage, and motivate, and make everyone in the team able to do better than they thought possible themselves. The manager that empower everybody in the team, make all involved focused on the task at hand – and make sure that all agrees on the idea; the best result comes from what is happening in the group dynamics, not the singular effort from each and one alone. This person could be from IT Dep, Comm. Dep or from the Consultant/strategy Dep. or what ever. The best motivator, best inspirator, with management skills and a broad set of knowledge of all competence needed for the task is my favorite candidate for the job.

Is content “King” or is connecting “King Kong”?

Posted in 1 with tags , on May 13, 2008 by Geir Stene

A big question is always, what to do on my page, what content do I need to have there? And it swings both ways. For me and the web masters; writing, and you visiting a site; reading or involving.

It’s the same in business life, or for organizations, and webmasters who do their very best. Often its just to unclear what the site is there for, or even worse; it’s unclear what the company’s vision really is.

On my site it’s sharing some of my thoughts, and hopefully once in a while I manage to tip some of you of the standard automatic thinking pattern, and from that you get a new idea. If so; you have the opportunity to do something that is more precise and to the point in your work. Not by my doing, but by the ideas you make for yourself while reading my stuff.

For Companies or organizations is being different maybe the reason other people or customers react up on what is done at their site, and not the next one( competitor). Isn’t that what we all want? A reaction? Isn’t that at the core of communication? To be seen, noticed and then get a feedback? (please feel free to comment on anything on my page, any comment or question will make me more happy than total silence *grin* )

Very often management doesn’t realize the importance of having a clear idea of just what the web site is supposed to do for them. And the website, however nice it looks, sucks. “Content is King” is an old statement, that I don’t always agree on. Communicating the core of the business in all you do, and making sure that the quality of the content is superb is of huge importance, and I mean not only the writing – but also the visual text. (semiotics states everything is Text). The new(ish) idea that “Connecting is King Kong” has the same challenge, connecting people is not always enough, you need to let people have an environment where there is a meaning in the connection that you provide for them. For Nokia, the cell phone is reason enough, the concept of calling someone, or being available is enough, maybe not all that easy for your business ? The answer will always be found in the very reason why you are in business, and keep to the core of that; The challenge is in every case to find a smart way to do so.