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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Predictions for 2007 and beyond

This is the first time I'm going to do this prediction gig basically because I'm a fan of the Uncertainty Principle and making predictions doesn't actually means predetermining the future, rather it gives us insight on the current what has come to pass. Predictions are built on present facts and data gathered from history and the possibility of history repeating itself or it totally changes making a 180 degree turn around.

1. Banking 2.0
We already have Web 2.0 and Mobile 2.0, I think this year other industries will jump into the 2.0 band wagon especially banking. Why? Because in order to develop things we need to finance it and most banks don't have the capability yet to offer smooth transaction between Web 2.0 and Mobile 2.0 enabled products. Imagine having your daily Adsense income going directly to your bank account or if your an advertisers, being able to pay for search placement in daily terms -- something like subscribed indefinitely until canceled.

Of course the world already have PayPal but its not a bank, its not even a credit card. PayPal is a broker that you authorized to conduct credit card and bank transactions in your behalf. But wait, why banks don't do it themselves? why doesn't Visa or MasterCard provide the payment gateway? IMHO cutting the middle man saves every a lot of money for online buyers or sellers; its a potential a cash cow for every banks. Finally PayPal isn't servicing some countries because they are prone to fraud, which IMHO is a huge portion of untapped markets. These are cases where banks are more suitable to offer payment gateways since they know how local ecommerce per region works and can easily adapt their payment systems to curb fraud.

2. Content is King
If you have read my previous post about Media's role in shaping Mobile 2.0 then this is the follow up. So far local telcos has been relying on contents custom made for mobile. However they have overlooked the fact that there are tons of contents already available out there; If you're a fan of YouTube, DailyMotion, Current.TV, Blogger and the likes then I think you already know what I'm talking about. These are community produced contents with Creative Commons Licenses, which basically means a bulk of them are almost free to redistribute or rebroadcast provided it has proper attribution. Telcos position is very unique, they can be publishers of content thus they can buy licensed contents to be republished for mobile or they can be passive communication providers; meaning any content with licenses they do not own can still be transmitted via the network and get a quick buck. It's just like why your ISP doesn't have to pay a dime to publishers for licensed content being transmitted through their network while they earn more when people download contents more; because the demand to use faster connections that cost more goes up too. However for telcos to survive 2007 and beyond, they must must evolve from being just network providers but be communications and entertainment providers. This means they have to provide all means of communications including tools and solutions to communicate as well as provide the reason why to communicate. The success of TV is primarily because its the primary medium for entertainment, it used to be the carrier of information too but that has been long taken away by the Internet and it won't be long enough when all of us will be watching TV via Internet thus signaling the end of broadcast stations. This will eventually force stations to downgrade into content providers type entities where they can easily merge with telcos to provide perpetual supply mobile and Internet TV entertainment contents.

3. The Rise of The Mashables
I have noticed more and more of the new sites are either a mash-up of services offered by other Web 2.0 sites or a complete clone of another. They call then widgets, embeddable piece of contents that can easily be integrated into any existing site (for example see the embedded map showing the site's recent visitors). So far Google and Yahoo are the biggest providers of these widgets which includes contributed ones from the developer network; all that just to promote their portal and hoping to build a big base community that will follow and use every product they released. However Google and Yahoo... OK lets add MSN, are still search engines at their core, their other products such are mail, eGroups, shopping and etc are just there to act as outlets to distribute their ad littered search results. Now there's an idea, why not build a company exclusively providing mashable widgets with ads; weather widgets that links to travel site when its sunny and flood insurance sites when there's storm; map widgets that tell you from what country other site visitors are, as well as links on cheap hotels and travel agencies; this list can go on. IMHO that company is just out there and its ready on 2007.

4. The Gaming Word: 'Massive'
IMHO game titles that will totally run away as winners for 2007 belongs to the genre of Massive Multi-player Online Games. We'll thats not new since the newest trend in online games is play for free but exclusive add-ons and game items are for sale. But wait , here is what's missing: Wii like accessories for PC + MMOG. Yes, in 2007 we may finally see Wii like PC games in WCG or maybe even Special Olympics where all Wii sports type games are played. Locally, I believe there will more and more MMOGs tapping the advertisement industry thus giving game providers more freedom to provide free games (Horay, play free forever). Its a fact that more games are developed to promote a brands rather than traditionally starting out as a pure game concepts; eventually MMOGs will be physically tied to the products they promote; e.g: you can have you online character order a pizza and in physical world the pizza will be delivered to your doorstep! Now that's not just Massive Gaming, it's Massive Marketing as well.

5. Philippine BPO Boom
There will be more BPO companies starting 2007. Why? Just with the 4 predictions above, a company will require lots of resources to pull one off and that's why BPO is crucial to extend one's capability but without sacrificing specialization and quality. In technology based companies, BPO isn't just a simple outsourcing of business process but as means of skill and technology transfer as well. It's actually recommended for a start-up company to have portion of their business be outsourced, this gives the company the chance to upgrade its current skills, competency and technology first without sacrificing its market opportunity. However one must be careful on choosing a BPO partners, some may don't want to share skills and technology thus they will device various interoperability systems. loose connectivity and APIs instead to solid frameworks you can use. I'm not saying this is wrong, but for start-up company its wise to find a BPO partner that provides the entire framework since use of Mid-tier systems should be reserved for large companies who has established frameworks and not willing to change it but still augment its capabilities. In 2006, India as well as Vietnam became the most prominent destination for companies to find BPO partners, however they soon found that most are not willing to share the frameworks thus putting them on a product type lock-in using the Mid-Tier applications. That's where Philippines comes in, having more and more companies outsource their costumer center operation in the country, they have found it wiser to move their technology/production outsourcing here as well rather than having costumer centers contact their outsourced production facility only to find its still closed because its 4-5 timezones away.

I hope you liked my predictions, I personally believe 2007 is a very good year for all and I'm very excited since early signs of my predictions are already there. Let's keep our fingers crossed and on 2008 we will look back on these predictions and see how well we scored.

P.S: I intentionally left out the usual topics like Google, Microsoft, VOIP, Firefox, OpenSource (sorry to guys at PLUG) and Politics (eew!). IMHO these are done deals and its clear enough where they are going on 2007.


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