Event Recap: Entertainment and Technology

Despite the iffy weather and a rescheduled session, a bunch of hardy folks made it out to the Entertainment and Technology SMCDC event at the Consumer Electronics Association in Crystal City on February 1, 2011.  They were greeted by a top notch panel and some delicious cookies. The event moderator Joe Gizzi, (@districtjoe) kicked off the evening by introducing the panelists, Megan Pollock (@tech_tarheel), Lyn Slater (@queenofblogs), and Rick Kowalski (@rkowalski7).

CES recap and trends

First off the panel gave a brief recap of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and shared some of their top tips and trends. Favorite picks included:

@queenofblogs: cars and the ‘green’ factor.

@tech_tarheel: new TV tech and appliances

@rkowalski7: tablets

The reality of CES is that a lot of the technology showcased will not make it to the general market.  Pollock pointed out that CES is more a venue where content providers and tech creators are coming together to make sure that there is content for new tech. Another constituent that was well represented at CES was the movie industry.  More celebrities and creative directors are showing up to the event each year. “Hollywood can’t afford not to be involved in both hardware and social media to keep up with what fans want,” said Slater.

The panel discussed what the implications of the trends we are seeing now could be.  A clearly emerging strategy that many companies are taking is having users create their own content for new technology.  Not all the technology developed however will be for everyone. A prime example of this according to Kowalski is 3D. Interim solutions in the form of set-top boxes and third parties like Netflix are filling the content gap.  Pollock says that consumers will be willing to pay for these services and devices as long as the cost is reasonable. @tracytran tweets “I would pay 4 Hulu as they keep doing newer shows. Netflix stuff is all usually older seasons (on demand).”

The future of Tablets

Gizzi asked the panel where they thought tablets, currently a hot topic with the advent of the iPad, would be going. Kowalski mused that the two key issues that would influence whether people would opt to make the move from smartphones to tablets would be portability vs. pocketability.  Right now Apple and Android seem to have the market on tablets cornered. Pollock said that it would be interesting to see what Blackberry was going to do. “Their playbook will be more business focused.” Pollock added that consumers would also be looking at networks and subscription costs as they made the decision as to what tablet they chose to adopt.  Slater however feels that people have certain preferences and will stick with those regardless of other factors; for example, people who like Apple products will remain on whatever network can support this..

Privacy concerns and their impact on the adoption of new technology

Another big topic of discussion was to what extent consumers need to protect their privacy and how that would affect the adoption of apps that shared their activities and preferences with their friends.  Gizzi theorized that with the mass acceptance of Facebook, users might find it easier to adopt services that predict what they want or would like, based on what their friends are doing.  Slater pointed out that Amazon has been doing this successfully for a while now in the way they suggest products based on a user’s browsing history and what similar users have bought. Referring to the Facebook privacy issues in the past year Kowalski said that as long as services are straightforward about how they are using user data, consumers may not be as disturbed about sharing their information.  The whole panel concurred that where privacy settings are concerned, the simpler they are, the better.

The discussion naturally turned to the use of location based apps.  Both the panel and attendees seemed to agree that users have to weigh the benefits of participating in these, versus the potential threat to their personal safety.  Because of sites that track the whereabouts of users @amyytam tweets “Pleaserobme.com I don’t want in check in on 4 square.” Pollock talked about how privacy, or the lack thereof, now has both personal and financial implications.  For example it is possible that in the very near future you could be denied/ granted benefits by your insurance company based on your level of fitness as determined by what sort of venues and events you check into.  It would be easy to monitor how often you work out.

@DistrictOfAris says that where safeguarding privacy is concerned “Users definitely have a role. As do platform providers. And educators.” Slater believes that ultimately it is the responsibility of the user to educate themselves on how privacy settings work and to learn how to guard themselves on the internet.  Ironically, Gizzi says, privacy on the Internet is schizophrenic; people who will not reveal their names think nothing of posting thousands of pictures of their children.

Social interaction and Apps

While there may not immediately be content that supports new technology, Slater thinks that content providers will most likely take the lead in providing apps that encourage users to interact with one another around certain shows or platforms.  Pollock observed that people seem more interested in having the same content available to them on all their devises.  What people really want, a member of the audience commented, is the ability to share specific clips of shows with friends.  Pollock says that with all the debates around digital rights management, we may not see a way to easily do this soon. Instead, Gizzi says that networks are tapping talent to interact with viewers in real time in an effort to get them engaged in whatever content they have out.

Senior Citizens and social media

It was pointed out that for certain shows targeting an older demographic there might not be as much of a need for widespread app offerings that are social in nature since viewers may not be interested in them.  Gizzi however feels that this may not be strictly be true.  “There is a mass later in life adoption of social media by Senior Citizens.”  Regardless of whether Seniors choose to adopt technology and services that are not social in nature,  Slater believes that there will be more apps that are developed specifically to cater to children and the families of Senior Citizens, allowing them to monitor their older relatives’ welfare virtually, e.g. the status of their medication.

 

And that’s your recap of the Entertainment and Technology SMCDC event.  A special thanks to the Consumer Electronics Association for hosting the event, and to our moderator and stellar panelists for the great content.  For more information about Social Media Club DC events, follow the conversation on Twitter (@smcdc), “like” us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/social.media.club.dc).

Interested in more about consumer tech? Want to be the first in the know? CEA is offering a new Tech Enthusiast membership to help influence the future of the consumer electronics industry. Learn more at www.CEAtechenthusiast.com.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andrea Baker, Social Media Club DC, Maia KG, Aris Kyriakopoulos, Alex Lopez and others. Alex Lopez said: Event Recap: Entertainment and Technology « Social Media Club – DC: “There is a mass later in life adoption of s… http://bit.ly/ia4Uwq […]

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