SAN FRANCISCO — Google and VSP, the nation’s biggest optical health insurance provider, have struck a deal to offer subsidized frames and prescription lenses for Google Glass, the Internet-connected eyewear.
The announcement could take wearable devices, which tech analysts say are the next wave of computing, out of the realm of science fiction and into the mainstream by making them more affordable and giving them a medical stamp of approval. And it opens the door to a new level of cooperation between the health care and consumer electronics industries, which could lead to a world in which people wear or even ingest computers.
“The key business model of the year for wearables is becoming embedded into the health care system,” said J. P. Gownder, an analyst studying wearable devices at Forrester, which predicts that computers that people can ingest, tattoo on their skin or embed in a tooth are three to five years from being a medical reality.
“Selling wearable consumer electronics one-on-one to individual consumers is kind of a tough business,” Mr. Gownder said. “By embedding them into the health care system, you can reach a mass market.”
The agreement with VSP, which insures one-fifth of Americans, is also a coup for Google, which plans to begin selling Glass to the public this year. Resistance to Glass has grown from privacy fears that the devices could be used to secretly record conversations or take photos. Some establishments have banned Glass wearers, and just this month, a man in Ohio was removed from a movie theater and interrogated after wearing Glass to a movie. With traditional-style frames and prescription lenses, which Glass did not have before, the computer and screen for the device are less evident and the device looks more typical — and is available even to people who wear glasses.
FRAMINGHAM, Mass.– Worldwide PC shipments totaled 82.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2013 (4Q13), representing a year-on-year contraction of -5.6%, a shade better than the forecast of -6.0% growth, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.
For the full year 2013, unit shipments declined -10.0% from 2012, a record drop reflecting the changes in mobility and personal computing affecting the market. While commercial purchases helped to prevent a larger decline, the consumer side remained weak.
“The PC market again came in very close to expectations, but unfortunately failed to significantly change the trajectory of growth,” said Loren Loverde, Vice President, Worldwide PC Trackers. “Total shipments have now declined for seven consecutive quarters, and even the holiday shopping season was unable to inspire a turn in consumer spending. Although U.S. growth slipped a little in the fourth quarter, other regions all improved, reinforcing our view that growth rates will continue to improve gradually during 2014 despite remaining in negative territory.”
“In the United States, market leader HP had a difficult quarter, contracting -12.3% year on year as the market slowed following an HP surge in the third quarter. However, Asian majors like Lenovo and Samsung achieved strong double-digit growth, driven partly by a modest commercial uptick and partly due to retail acceptance of their emerging product categories, such as Chromebooks. Dell and Toshiba also managed mid single-digit growth, essentially coming from large corporate refreshes in the enterprise segment,” said Rajani Singh, Senior Research Analyst, Personal Computing. “Nevertheless, despite a dip in total shipments, the U.S. market outperformed most other regions and the worldwide market as a whole for the fifth consecutive quarter, reflecting a relative degree of stabilization.”
IDG Research Services conducted a survey of a group of millennials (18-34 years old) who have an interest in technology— e.g. tech marketers, tech decision makers and consumers, in both the B2C and B2B space. The results basically show two perspectives: Data targeting is OK as long as the millennials save money or get relevant offers; and that data targeting and online privacy is a fact of online life but it makes them uneasy. This infographic also takes a look at/compares the 35+ audience and their thoughts on online privacy.
Are media and marketing executives finally committing to innovation as a growth strategy? More than half of senior-level execs responding to Econsultancy and Jordan Edmiston’s 4thannual Media Growth Study (pdf) agree that their top-selling product in 2017 hasn’t been invented yet.
That’s a clear sign not just of the disruptions taking place in the media sector, but also the opportunities that exist for companies to create new markets or build new business models.
“We are focusing on disrupting ourselves, before we get disrupted,” one respondent from a large B2C publishing company said as part of the survey of 339 senior-level executives globally.
Despite this clarion call for innovation, however, most media companies have yet to formalize an innovation process. Only 31% of executives have a defined innovation program for generating new product ideas – even though 71% said launching new products or services would be a top growth driver over the next two years.
Other top growth drivers include expanding market share within existing markets (64%) and making an acquisition (38%). While just over a quarter of executives (27%) cited investing in new IP or technologies as a growth driver, the response rate jumped significantly from last year’s 11%. The report’s authors attribute this jump in part to a growing emphasis on automation, including programmatic buying and selling.
Mobile device use is off the charts but marketing to users lags well behind. In Sweden, IDG has shown tech marketers how to use mobile and tap into the large audiences. Angelica Lundin explains how IDG Sweden is overcoming marketer reluctance to make mobile a part of a campaign. Lundin told IDG Communications Howard Sholkin that once advertisers try it they come back for more…
LAS VEGAS—Forget search. The future of Yahoo is content. Yahoo’s loss to Google in the search engine wars was already quite evident before the 2014 International CES, but CEO Marissa Mayer revealed a new focus for the company during her Tuesday keynote at the tech trade show.
“A common theme is us simplifying our business,” Mayer said at the show. “Fundamentally when you look at Yahoo it’s about four core areas: search, communications, digital magazines, and video. These are four things people do as part of their daily habits.”
Mayer made a slew of announcements about new Yahoo products tied those core areas. In the process, she answered a few questions like: Why on earth did the company hire TV anchor Katie Couric and former New York Timestechnology columnist David Pogue?
Riding the content wave
Couric is anchoring interviews and original content for Yahoo’s mobile apps, while Pogue will lead the Yahoo Tech digital magazine, one of the first magazines Yahoo will launch this year. The company also trotted out Nick D’Aloisio, the teenage CEO that made headlines when Yahoo last year acquired Summly, his summarization technology. Summly is now baked into another new app that Mayer unveiled at CES, Yahoo News Digest.
News Digest delivers two daily news summaries of current events to users, one in the morning and another at night, and pulls content from all over the Web—tweets, photos, infographics, maps, and so on—to make the stories more visually appealing.
35 winning products represent the best in information technology today, from cloud to data center to mobile computing Framingham, Mass. – January 15, 2014 – IDG’s InfoWorld, the technology media brand devoted to modernizing enterprise IT, has announced the winners of its 2014 Technology of the Year Awards (click to Tweet). Selected by InfoWorld Test Center editors and product reviewers, InfoWorld’s annual Technology of the Year Awards celebrate the best and most innovative products across the IT landscape.
The 2014 awards recognize 35 products from nearly every corner of information technology including application development, Web and database technologies, cloud computing and software-as-a-service, business intelligence and big data analytics, mobile computing and desktop productivity, and data center hardware. These winning products represent not only the best hardware and software available to IT professionals, but the most important information technology innovations to businesses today.
“InfoWorld’s Technology of the Year Award winners are the best products we know, but they’re more than great products,” said Doug Dineley, executive editor of InfoWorld’s Test Center. “These are the tools that point the way to the data centers, clouds, and applications of tomorrow. They’re the innovations that are changing the way we work and do business.”