Of course, whenever a tech company attempts to build audio gear, the specter of the iPod HiFi looms large. Apple's ill-fated attempt to build the perfect speaker was considered a flop thanks to its high price and limited functionality. It was a glorified iPod dock that set you back $349 and couldn't even connect to the internet or FM radio. A decade later, smart speakers look ready to take over the world. And what happens next is going to be very interesting.
Over the last decade, AI, once a far-fetched theme of old-school science-fiction movies, has quickly grown into one of the most prolific emerging technologies – and, by association, one of the most recognizable buzzwords out there. Virtually every industry today – healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, banking, retail, finance – has either implemented or is planning to implement AI in some way. And we know this because many of the companies operating in these spaces publicize their use of AI. What looks more cutting-edge than announcing your new AI-powered initiative? It's as much a marketing gimmick as it is about product and service efficiency. As with other fields, AI has surfaced as an accelerator of cybersecurity innovation over the past five years.
Voice actor Keythe Farley addresses picketers at a SAG-AFTRA rally against 11 video game publishers. The gaming world put its best and brightest new offerings on display at the 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3) last week. But some of the industry's most anticipated games are coming to market with one noticeable change: the voice actors. Voice actors who have a small but essential role in big-budget games have been on strike since October. Eleven video game publishers, including major players Activision ("Call of Duty" and "Skylanders"), Electronic Arts ("Battlefield" and "Madden NFL"), Take 2 Interactive ("Grand Theft Auto") and WB Games ("Batman: Arkham" and "Mortal Kombat"), remain under pressure from the Screen Actors Guild for their treatment of union members.
Sports viewers in bars across America, stand up and be counted! ESPN is going to try again to sell advertisers on ratings that include people who aren't watching the big game -- or any game -- in their living room. After an attempt in 2008 that sputtered and died, Nielsen has revived its ambitions to measure out-of-home viewing, with ESPN as a guinea pig. Here's how it works: Participants in Nielsen's TV panel get portable "people meters" that pick up the sound from whatever screen they're near and match the audio signature to ESPN's programming. The numbers aren't currently included in traditional Nielsen ratings the public sees -- they will be starting in 2017 -- but ESPN is starting to roll them into its own ratings.
This is the age of the customer. The asymmetrical advantage that sellers long held over buyers is gone. Consumers have access to market information and choice that has transformed the buy-sell dynamic. Social media provides them with a reference source and a voice. The balance of power has shifted from the supply to the demand side.