Five IT Predictions for 2011: #4: Internet TV, coming soon to your local tablet
Here’s a prediction that may be slightly off the wall, and I might be a bit early here. However, here’s my thinking. This week’s buzz is all about the Consumer Electronics Show going on in Las Vegas. Number 1 on the buzz parade top 10 is tablets. Connecting the dots between the influx of Android tablets, Google TV, and consumers’ never-ending appetite for personal electronics means the time is ripe for Internet TV– on the tablet. This isn’t that revolutionary on Wi-Fi, but this week’s announcements around Verizon’s 4G data rollout mean you can bet your boots that consumers will want to access TV programming over the 4G network as well.
I was fortunate enough to attend the National Association of Broadcasters conference for several years in the early 1990’s (now THERE’S a party), and the news was all about HDTV (which took 15 years to materialize) AND windowed TV. Not “Windows” TV, but literally multiple television programs running in separate windows on single, wall-sized flat screens.
What nobody anticipated at time was the Internet—the disruptor that turned broadcasting (and virtually every other industry) on its ear and forced a re-think of future reality. Today, Internet television is becoming increasingly popular, while “windowed TV” is nowhere to be found. Instead, we’re now at the point where each person in the room can be watching the TV program of his/her choice on a portable device. Note to AT&T: Better pull on your big boy pants because Internet TV on tablets will make cell phone tethering look like a non-event, bandwidth-wise.
What does this have to do with application management? The bandwidth requirements for television are enormous, and as applications move through the wired, wireless, and voice/data network continuum performance will increasingly become an issue. If I were a software vendor, I would be looking at several opportunities. One is application performance management for radio and broadcasting applications and the other is performance optimization for the same types of apps. I believe that vendors marketing ADCs as soft appliances have a wide-open opportunity to get ahead of the curve for what will likely become an enormous market. There will also likely be some interesting opportunities for Solid State Drive (SSD) vendors, since caching may well be pivotal in solving these performance challenges.