Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I, Converged Consumer!!

Okay – we’ve talked about the converged consumer before and we’re going to talk about it again in 3 weeks time at Intellect. In the meanwhile, I’ve put on the hat of a converged consumer – which I am actually and I’ve taken off the mask of an industry analyzer.

Let's introduce my convergence habits: I subscribe to the Sky Premium packages with the football games and the movies. I also have multi-room and the sky plus (DVR) in one of the rooms. (I even subscribe to Man-U TV, how desperate is that!) I have BT’s land phone line (BT Together) and Broadband connection. I’ve just signed on for the XDA Exec mobile phone from O2 (yes it does look like a spaceship and takes both hands to hold it to my ear). I’m a subscribed customer of TMobile’s hotspot, paying monthly. As an entrepreneur, I’ve invested in an HP Pavilion Laptop which I can stare at for over 12 hours a day for a variety of reasons. I used to have a Palm Tungsten C which I am looking to sell (hopefully on Ebay). I have a Sony DSC Digital Camera. I use Flickr, Linked In, My Yahoo, MySpace (and no I'm not the only Myspace user older than 35). I subscribe to and access online versions of TimeOut, HBR, NMA, FT, WSJ etc. I have email accounts for different kinds of mail in gmail, yahoo and hotmail. (I signed up for AOL mail today). I use the Windows Live messenger and Yahoo Messenger prolifically. Increasingly regular user of Skype as well. I have a wireless network at home powered by a NetGear router.

You could say as a consumer I’m quite up to date on convergence. However...

I still don’t have wireless music played to my stereo system via the home network. I don’t have IPTV as yet. I am yet to configure my Sky TV Guide via my phone. I’m not yet a subscriber for content coming to my mobile. So there’s scope for further convergence.

Here are my commandments for wooing me as a consumer:

  1. Make it simple. I understand some technology. I’ve been working in this space for 12 years. But the a few of products I use, are always far from simple. It’s apparently still my job to figure out the often complex instructions and products. Nokia is my favourite company for simplicity. Sky does a great job of making it easy to use it's products i.e. as a consumer you don't have to worry about the technology. But its far from elegant to play around with. Pull the Set Top Box out of the phone socket and before you've had time to count the pins on the plug, you'll get a threatening letter from Sky!
  2. Make sure they interoperate reasonably. I’ve owned phones with cameras for over 3 years now, but despite all the great pics I clicked, I could never get them off my phone into my hard drive.
  3. Can you give me a common, itemized bill? Once a month, listing my calls, land and mobile, and my hours on skype, and the broadband charges and the fixed line rental. And my t-mobole and O2 mobile bill. (Can there not be a standard interface for billing information in a web 2.0 standard which a 3rd party can pick up and collate bills for individuals? Where are all the geeks when you need them??? And every time I change my credit card (or as has happened, recently lose it) I have to go into a frenzy of phoning to tell each provider to replace card numbers.
  4. Make switching easy. Its scares me to think of what might happen if I’m forced to change any of these. Even switching my landline requires me to think many times. How many days will I be without Broadband? Who do I contact if things aren’t going to plan? But using a product because I'm too scared to change is probably not an ideal situation. At best you get a consumer thirsting for revenge.
  5. Excite me. Figure out what I want to do the most and give me that. I’m not looking to date or chat. But I think a mobile version of the linked in which works on the pocket PC OS and I can carry out would be useful. I’d love to get more sports highlights which I’ll happily pay for but I’d like to get them on my phone and then transfer them to my PC or even TV.

How are we doing so far? Want more? Come back tomorrow for the remaining commandments. Plenty more to come.

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