Launching eventWall.tv

I’ve been away from this blog a few months working on new products that are currently on the launch pad. So it will be the subject on my next posts.

eventwallSite

The first I wanted to talk about is eventWall.tv a tweet wall product with a few unique selling points. When organizing a conference you can display the tweets of the audience and the embedded pictures.

Basically, it will display this :

tvEvent

One can of course send SMS on it or email. And everything can be moderated to avoid some surprise with the usual grump. There is also a special zone where organizer can display special messages for the audience.

The uniqueness of the product is its deployment simplicity. As a dedicated app is available from your SmartTV portal you can display your tweet wall in minutes if not seconds on your screen. If you are using a WiFi smartTV, it becomes really magic as you can move your tweet wall around the room with no technical hurdle.

Once reserved to big corporate events, tweet walls are now available to small event or friend & family events: weddings, birthday parties, etc. At an affodable price.

We want to be the BIC ballpoint pen of the tweet wall : simple, inventive and reliable.

For the last part, we chose Amazon WS infrastructure as it is reliable and will enable eventwall.tv to grow at no extra effort.

Ideation to product release took us around six months. 3 more months we were expecting but the result is there at http://www.eventwall.tv So give it a try, there is a free trial version !

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STB vs. Smart TV

With the arrival of SmartTV, triple-play ISPs are facing a huge challenge. The connectivity and interactivity coming through their Set-Top-Boxes is no longer a unique feature. Smart TV are now rich with interactive services. ISPs don’t like at all Smart TV as they are flooding their network with data and stealing their customer. What VoD service will the end user use? The one from its ISP or the one embedded in the TV set?

There are 2 tracks that ISP can follow:

  1. The first is to offer a 2-tiered service. Over the Top (OTT) services coming with SmartTV have no QoS whereas they guarantee the QoS of the services coming from their STB.
  2. The second track is to push further their STB experience with more features. It is the track followed by Free in France offering a STB featuring an Atom processor, a full browser, a remote control with an accelerometer, a blue ray player, etc. On the other hand TV set makers cannot compete as they cannot subsidize all these features. With these specs the STB is more like a smartphone capable of running games and advanced applications. E.g. the new Freebox revolution can run Asphalt 6 Adreline game (picture from last Aug.).

Free STB apps

By increasing its specs the STB is now eating in the console plate and some console like the Xbox is starting to feature interactive services. Frontiers between these product categories are blurring.
Some small ISPs are currently considering another route. As very soon, TV sets will be able to display multicast streams for the additional TV channels, they want to withdraw back. Their plan is to save some CAPEX in not offering any STB at all. They are just assuming their pipe positioning.

3 Smart TVs pitfalls

There are a few pitfalls to avoid in SmartTV.

The first is for TV manufacturers: It is really painful when you switch on your TV set to have a nice message ‘Please wait. Downloading new firmware…’, because when you switch on your TV usually it is to watch a program and usually it is right now! The firmware update should happen when you switch off your TV. Unlike a laptop you are not in a hurry to move your TV. I don’t like either the Windows update process when you want to switch off your PC and already late for an appointment. But that’s another story.

TV firmware

The 2 other main pitfalls are for CSP.

A TV is a video first device. So when you land on the home page of a service a video should fire at once and maintain the user in a soft lean back experience.

The last one is the click experience. It is tedious to navigate a page with just 4 arrow keys. The end user should be able to navigate using a minimum of click and if possible in a single page. The loading of page takes 1 or 2 seconds which is a time end user aren’t used to anymore. So when designing your service use the colors buttons but not the red one which is reserved for HbbTV services.

Smart TV in the deception zone of the Hype curve

Smart TVs were a big hype 18 months ago and were to replace every internet device in the home and drive millions of consumers away from their favorite TV channels to the magic world of interactivity.

Even though TV manufacturers have had always a very careful speech, some enthusiastic futurologists were predicting a big tsunami that will smash every other way to consume the Internet in the home.

Technology Hype Cycle

Technology Hype Cycle

Since that time, Google have failed to launch its first version of Google TV. The market is still waiting for the first Apple TV set due in June 2012 apparently. Rumors are growing…

The first Content Service Providers are a bit disappointed by the Return On Investment of their TV first services.

I think we are the deception zone of the Hype Curve, but the connected TV is there and there for a long time. It will not replace Tablets or PC but TV connected TV services will find their audience.

The main showstoppers today to the growth Smart TV are

1. Distribution

Shops don’t have internet connectivity to show off properly connected TV services. Sales assistants need to be trained properly

2. Monetization

  • Monetization of Smart TV services are an issue as there is little or no advertising method.
  • There is no payment mean natively integrated in the TV set that would enable a 2 click purchase (1 click and a PIN code confirmation).

The latest figures of smart TVs that have been really connected to the Internet are growing to an impressive 50% from 20% 6 month ago.  For sure connected TV will find their place in our digital lives. It will just take a bit longer than expected.