One of the challenges out there that interests me the most is just how to harness online video. It is at such an early stage that what we are seeing is mostly old business models with a new tool they don’t yet fully understand how to use. For instance we see various efforts by content owners and distributors to put together a distribution site for their existing libraries, e.g. Netflix and Apple streaming video, and even Hulu. It is disintermediation, a change in the supply chain where the middlemen are removed or replaced by cheaper ones, but while this is a real and important phenomenon, I feel will pale next to the next generation of killer apps. The next killer apps will take online video and do something new, not something old. The internet should enable far more than the streaming of episodes of old sitcoms on demand. Of course, YouTube enabled the average person to publish video, and that was a pretty big change, but we’re due for more than just that.
One example of an attempt is Envysion, which is using the internet to enable video surveillance in ways that nobody has ever tried. Could that technology and what develops from it really change how businesses are run? I don’t know, but I will be watching with interest. But what of the consumer space? Anyone see any really new ideas out there?
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