February 2nd, 2011
Welcome to this morning’s Daily Research Update. If you want more context for this research, take a look at our Education and Technology Trends for 2011. You may also be interested in our Weekly Research Index, or you can follow our live, daily research on our Current News page.
(Click here to see a simple listing of today’s suggested reading)
Making Content Flexible, Portable, and Discoverable
In my role as product lead for Xplana, I give much thought to how users want to interact with content.
One of the trends we’re seeing in the mobile world, for example, is the desire to find interesting content, save it, and then read it later offline. And there are a number of ways that new apps are allowing users to customize their mobile reading experience so that they can access the content they want when they want it. “Nate Weiner, founder of Read It Later, a Web and mobile service that saves articles to be read offline, said there was a larger shift under way, one that mirrors the move to digital from print. Instead of thumbing through the newspaper over breakfast, he said, people like to read articles from many sources on their commutes or in the evening, often using mobile devices.”
Among other things, this reading “freedom” implies flexibility and easy portability. Less apparent in this trend is the need for better content discoverability. Today, we are still content with gong to many of our old reading sources (but online), and simply having those available in disaggregated and offline formats. Moving forward, the demand will grow for more intelligent content delivery based on who I am and what I am most likely interested in.
Of course, commerce around content remains a key component (we are getting all these cool features because other folks think they can make money from them). And, it seems that Apple believes the popularity of its iPad device entitles the company to a cut of the content that’s sold through apps on its device. After rejecting the new Sony reader app, Apple responded by saying, ‘We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines,” Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller told Ars. “We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase.’” This means that Apple will be happy for Amazon to sell books through its Web site for users to read on the iPad, but Amazon (or others) can’t use this tactic to keep Apple from obtaining the 30% it makes via ‘in-app’ purchases. The likely solution will be for Amazon and others to provide in-app purchase options but to give users “rewards” for purchasing on their own sites in order to restrict the money they have to pay to Apple.
Latest Statistics on Browsing
Obviously, it’s difficult to talk about content without also mentioning Web browsing, as this is still the primary way for people to access and interact with their content. New browsing statistics from Net Applications show us that Apple’s iOS is growing as a platform for browsing while Microsoft continues to dominate the overall platform picture.
The report also shows that “WebKit-powered browsers were the big winners: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was the big loser. Internet Explorer reached a new all-time low of 56 percent, down 1.08 percentage points from last month. Though Internet Explorer 8 continues to perform well—up 1.15 points from December—defections from Internet Explorer 6 and 7 to other browsers continue to dominate, with those versions losing 1.63 and 0.47 points respectively. The beta of Internet Explorer 9 made minor gains, rising to 0.50 percent share.”
It’s Also About Mobile
Speaking of content, Cisco is extending its earlier forecast to 2015, the year when mobile data traffic will reach 6.3 exabytes per month, a compound annual growth rate of 92%. By 2015, there will be more than 5.6 billion personal devices, like smartphones and tablets, connected to mobile networks as well as 1.5 billion machine-to-machine nodes – a stat that’s equivalent to nearly one mobile connection for every person on earth, says Cisco.Today’s average mobile connection generates 65 megabytes of traffic per month, which is about 15 MP3 music files. By 2015, that will increase 17 times to 1,118 megabytes per month, or 260 MP3’s.”
I also find it interesting and encouraging that, according to a new Nielsen study, “white consumers are less likely than blacks, Asians or Hispanics to have a smartphone. And that trend appears to be continuing, Nielsen said. According to its research, 42 percent of whites who purchased a mobile phone in the past six months chose a smartphone over a feature phone, compared with 60 percent of Asians and Pacific Islanders, 56 percent of Hispanics and 44 percent of African Americans. Among the ethnic groups, Asians and Pacific Islanders were most likely to have an iPhone, while the BlackBerry was particularly popular among African Americans, relative to other ethnic groups.”
More on Instructure
I mentioned upstart LMS provider Instructure in yesterday’s post, but want to share here Michael Feldstein’s expert evaluation of the company.
What are the company’s success prospects? It’s hard to say. They certainly are getting off to a roaring start. In the short term, they are in a race against time to get on the evaluation list of schools that are switching off of WebCT or ANGEL. They probably have about 6-12 months to make that happen. Even if they do, they still have to overcome schools’ native conservatism about going with unknown startups. On the other hand, since Canvas was built from the beginning with multitenant support, I strongly suspect that their cost structure for hosting is lower than that of their competition and that they therefore can be pretty aggressive about pricing. That matters more than ever these days. Longer term is harder to analyze. I expect the entire educational technology landscape to change considerably by 2014. It’s very difficult to know what the competitive landscape will look like by then.
And Finally, More Trends
I’ll close today’s update with this set of trend predictions from Trendspotting. The first few, related to greater connectivity and interactivity via screens, are worth noting.
You must be logged in to post a comment.