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December Midmonth 2008
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Marken Communications
Content Insider Visions for 2009
A Year of Realignment, Reassessment And Repositioning
Article By Andy Marken Of Marken Communications


  We will state the obvious for the year with a twist... not since the last major downturn in the early 1980s have firms in the PC, CE industry had such an opportunity to:

 Slash costs, downsize the workforce, shrink to core (known) market opportunities

Revaluate product/product segment/customer ROI/opportunities; realign product/service investments based on long-range strategic plans


Do you see the differences?

Management in the first group of firms who focus on cut and retrench will circle the wagons to force short term results regardless of the long-range potential of the market segments. Management in the second group will take the opportunity to reduce staffing back to core teams, evaluate and eliminate product lines and customers which have little or no long-term growth and strategically invest in product/service innovations that should prepare the companies for 2010 through 2012.

Industry executives are most certainly jealous of the support governments are providing to their local financial and auto industries. The problem is it is impossible for them to admit that they have run out of ideas that will correct the situation! The first quarter of 2009 will be a period of slow, careful realignment as firms see how quickly the governmental cash infusions rekindle IT and consumer confidence. The downturn in the first half of last quarter had a positive effect for the consumer because it forced management to significantly lower prices (and profit margins) to stimulate sales. This assisted desktop/notebook computer, personal/home entertainment sales and... impacted profits.

Rough Flight: The computer, consumer electronics, communications industries experienced some heavy turbulence as it flew into what was going to be a solid growth year. The industries don’t know how to beg so they are relying on their own ideas and creative approaches (yes with a little help from business/home consumers) to repair their planes and get back on a regular flight schedule.


Reshaped, Refocused
The year 2009 will be a period of rebuilding and consolidation. There will be quite a bit of consolidation in the computer, home entertainment, personal entertainment and Web 2.0 arenas as marginal firms either disappear completely or are acquired. The period of outlandish valuations will be replaced with more sane prices. Investors and management who refuse to deal in the new environment will watch their companies and investments disappear into the septic tank! The quarterly results show that consumers chose those products that satisfied the family’s need for what Faith Popcorn BrainReserve consulting services called cocooning back in the early 1990s — Home Safe Home (assuming the mortgage can be paid).


Personal, Family Content: Consumers are weighing their holiday and 2009 purchases very carefully focusing on products/services they can share/use at home. The growing volume of personalized content continues to grow and needs to be stored. Source: Microsoft  

The trend will be fed through 2009 as more public and private content is made available. Men, women and children are producing and sharing more of their own content at home and within their extended cocoons (communities). Now that more robust and global broadband is available firms that will benefit are those that can tap into these social networks and communities and from our perspective... storage providers! Storage demand will be strong this next year at home, small/large business and in the cloud. Winning that business will not be easy for any of the storage producers or integrators. Hollering that you are cheaper will get people’s attention but it will not win the business. Offering better, more advanced technology may interest our kid but folks with the money don’t want to be bothered with intricate technology. Organizations that can deliver products/solutions that really have honest and easy user interfaces and brain-dead integration will be far more successful than companies that compete solely on price.


Storage Importance
Why will personal and family storage grow in the year and years ahead?

Memories are an integral part of being a human being

Sharing moments and memories is key part of building relationships

Digital technologies are providing new, more economic, easier ways for people to create, capture, share, use their content

Digital content represents a means for people to share their legacy, their mortality with future generations

User generated content will exceed the volume of commercially generated content by the end of the decade


Mine, All Mine
Content is rapidly becoming the most widely used, exchanged, enjoyed data available. While commercial ventures anguish over the loss of "their" content, they should take note that in most systems the content stored is personally developed/shared stuff not theirs. Photos, videos, mash-ups, mess-arounds all result in more storage usage than that from the pros. Source: Coughlin Assoc

The average total storage in and around the home will increase to more than 2TB by the end of next year and will increase to nearly 8TB by 2012. The demand will swell for personal on-the-go storage and centralized save-it storage because people everywhere will be gathering up and sharing... content!


Friends, Family Plan: Camphones, cameras, camcorders, webcams make it possible for folks to take more photos, video…and they’re doing it globally. All of that content doesn’t even take into account the 500 billion analog images (negative/slide/print) content that hasn’t been saved to digital (and probably won’t) which will disappear from the scene. Oh yes, let’s not forget video and audio tape content which will fade unless you act now! Source: IDC

Audio entertainment materials will come from all of the usual prospects/suspects.

Personal and family content will grow from photos taken with digital cameras and camphones.

Video — really bulky high-definition stuff — will grow captured with cameras, camcorders, camphones, TV captures, Web 2.0 gotta-have grabs, rent/rip/return discs.

Some, ok most, will never see the light of day once it is captured/stored. But increasingly people will want to do stuff with it, modify it, customize it, tailor it and make it his or her content. Then they’ll want to share it.


A slight side note here because we’ll see a major increase with the cocooning individuals and families in wanting software and solutions that will enable them to personalize, privatize that content. The new users won’t be the usual pros, semipros, tweekers 'n twitterers. These folks will probably have had a really rough day at the office, at school or handling the other household members without doing them great bodily harm. Working with, struggling with content preparation solutions will be extremely low on their "gotta do" list!

The successful providers will be organizations — hardware, software or combo firms — that not only deliver elegant, easy-to-use, almost automatic interface/workflow solutions. Winning companies will step outside the industry’s old-fashioned comfort zone by doing more than delivering pretty-good software and Bangladesh Jim support.

They will:

Provide a continuing video how to work with, use the product series on the web

Explain how individuals can do more with their audio video content — including how they can enhance, enrich, enjoy it with other organizations collaborative products/services

Execute an on-going series of video on demand seminars/courses on basic and advanced "tricks of the trade" assistance

Become increasingly involved in and support the narrow special interest communities or families

Nurture and assist local, regional, special interest, subculture, friends/family content groups to expand their personalized libraries of content


Before the Cloud
While CDN (content delivery network) providers proclaim that home storage, HD, flash, optical, etc, will become almost meaningless by the end of 2009 they tend to overlook the facts that:

Only about 50 percent of the homes in the Americas (numbers are better in the Pacific Basin, worse in Europe) have high speed Internet connectivity

There is a major personal/family satisfaction of being able to "see" and "touch" the content in the cocooned home more so than content that is available... on demand!


The more content people have, the more they want and usually in multiple formats.


Orderly Storage: Some household managers try to partition their home entertainment server so that family members all have their private area as well as shared storage. Kids in our household always seem to be clambering for more portable and stationary storage.

This coming year it is estimated that more than 100 EB of storage — flash, HD, optical, etc — will be shipped for CE applications. Winning won’t be based on technology or on price but on making it easy and safe for people and families to store their content!

It’s dark, gloomy outside. There is thunder and lightning all around the family’s castle. In times like these people want their content — audio, video, photo, etc. — to use, to enjoy, to drown out the outside uncertainty. Treat them gently... treat them right... treat them fairly... you’ll have a loyal customer even after the storm passes. If you don’t do that, it will be a tough air conditioned flight to your next destination.


Marken Communications
3375 Scott Blvd., #108
Santa Clara, CA 95054

Voice: (408) 986-0100
E-mail: Andy@MarkenCom.com 
Website: www.markencom.com


















































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