Beyond the glasses

Launch of Apple Watch and skyrocketing Kickstarter Campaign for the second generation Pebble, the Time, are strong endorsements for smartwatches. When Google X unveiled the Glass project in 2012, tech lovers (including me) cheered to the concept and started expecting a massive take off on the smartglasses segment. Then privacy concerns, bulkiness and lack of tangible, massively accepted use cases drew negative aura and things moved beyond objective critics - it crystallized anti-tech resentment and things became very emotional. Google had little choice other than freezing the project.
No other major company has seriously taken the helm on it (at least publicly) and alternative projects, even the most popular ones, seem to lack the vision (pun intended) or seem not to have drawn the lessons from previous tries.

So that's it for this specific piece of hardware. But thinking of smart glasses as just another segment of "wearables" is missing the point. iOS, Android and Blackbe…

The Economics of Openess

"Open" is not a new concept, especially in computer software. Most known institutions rooted in this philosophy are actually central to today's web ecosystem: Linux, Mozilla (parent of Firefox), and less popular for non-techies, Apache, which powers a vast number of web servers in the world. By stretching a bit towards "Collaboration", I would include Wikipedia in the list as well.

Why talking about those? Because all those institutions are non profit, and follow non-commercial purposes. What's new is that more traditional, i.e. business organizations, are now embracing this model, because they see material advantages to it, though very different from one company to another.

Facebook, a massive consumer of storage, processing power, and network elements, started custom designing and building software, servers and data centers from the ground up to save energy and maintenance costs. Then they open sourced the whole thing, down to the CAD models of racks chas…

Oculus VR: Where Did Facebook See The Billions?

Late in April, Facebook acquisition of Oculus VR got greenlighted by the US FTC, for around $2B in cash and stocks.

What did Mark Zuckerberg see in this company to justify the hefty sum? According to him, he saw the future.

For those unfamiliar with the topic, Oculus VR is a small hardware company, bootstrapped via the popular crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. A first hint of their value is that they delivered on the promise of virtual reality for the masses, where others either failed to propose a satisfying experience, or required a DARPA scale budget to purchase!

People who got to try the product, called "the Rift", all went on a stream of elogious comments: "3D gaming done right", "truly immersive experience", "Oh.My.God." And by tackling the challenge at the right time, they managed to get it this done with now commoditized components, bringing the cost to produce in the lower hundreds.

OK. So now you can feel like you are actually in the plan…

Chromecast, the Google trojan horse

Chromecast was all the rage last week. The cheap, easy to use $35 dongle turning your TV into a giant wireless display.

I'm not going to write a device review - others already did a good job here, here and there.

What personally stroke me is how Google changed its tactical approach to reach the same objective.

Remember: back in 2010 or so, as part of a broader initiative to get its services on as many screens as possible, Google announced Google TV. The platform was meant to bring Google to the main screen, by seamlessly integrating linear programming, VOD, YouTube, and basically turning your TV into a big Chrome browser - and targeted ads recipient.

Flop. Or rather, epic fail.

Fast forward three years. Google's Android system is insanely successful, YouTube domination is undisputed, but still, one screen is resisting. The TV.

Here comes Chromecast. There is a lot more in it for Google than just a piece of hardware. It's a way for Google to hack its way (back?) into the living r…

The webification of TV ads

"Personalized" is one of the most (over-) used words in the digital realm. The seamless, continuous, consistent experience of one given user.
I can use Evernote and iCloud, consume Spotify and Canal+ (French pay TV) content, shop on Amazon, across all my devices, and always find myself at home, in a personalized environment, my environment.

Then I turn my TV on and get exactly the same content and ads as millions of persons.

I believe this is going to change, starting with ads. Not overnight - the TV industry is mature and well structured. But let me put two recent news into context.

News one: TF1, the leader of French broadcasters, announced a partnership with Weborama to serve targeted ads on their catch-up TV offering, using the same profiling technology as currently used on the web. It is a PC only initiative, and only on catch-up, but with the rise of connected TVs, don't be surprised to see it coming on your big screen, and inside the linear programming.

By the way, thi…

Will they ever come back?

Last week, my company hosted a client event, where I was moderating a round table on the topic "Digital distribution: what model for the future?". Yes, I know - what an expectation! I guess anybody with a clean and definitive answer would keep it for herself and start her own company. But anyway, it was very interesting to hear what people from different horizons had to say - music, TV, audience measurement agency, etc.

But one point in particular really got my attention. A very senior executive from a major French free TV explained to us non-linear video consumption is not hurting at all linear programming, and that the opposite is actually happening, i.e. an increase in average daily linear video consumption. And when asked how could this be, as all teenagers are hooked on YouTube, his answer was that in fact "the stats have been showing for more than 10 years a sharp drop in audience from teenagers and young adults between the age of 14 and 25, but then a strong come…

In English, please!

Hello digital friends! From now on, this (reborn) blog will be in English, as I believe it is easier to exchange new ideas with the broader audience. Talk to you soon!