Earlier this year, research firm Forrester coined 'Digital Denial': a phrase used
to describe the sorry state the music and film industries finds themselves in
because of their utter denial of the digital revolution, with its massive shifts
in consumer behavior and related new business models. Not that they weren't warned
by people like Nicholas Negroponte, about, oh, EIGHT years ago, but corporate
inertia apparently runs deep.
However, what must be the strangest thing about Digital Denial, is its tendency to pit consumers yearning for certain products and services against corporations that will go out of their way to ignore them, rip them off, or sue them.
From the moment the Internet took off, consumers voted with their mice and feet for 'being digital'. It didn't hurt that doing things digitally suddenly turned expensive physical goods and processes into free-for-all flows of bits. And we're not just talking music and movies here; virtually every sector and industry has felt the impact, and the digital revolution shows no signs of retreating.
So TRENDWATCHING.COM feels it's time to forget about DIGITAL DENIAL laggards all together and move on to DIGITAL EMBRACE. At the core of DIGITAL EMBRACE is corporations telling consumers: "We KNOW you desparately want this, and we know you may even be able to get this for free, therefore...." followed by new, innovative products, improved service, provocative and novel models. Examples?
If you're a telco company rolling out broadband access, and you find that your customers share their connection with the entire block or neighborhood by installing WiFi routers, don't go to court (DENIAL), but take a cue from South Korea Telecom (KT), who, after learning its customers were sharing broadband accounts like there was no tomorrow, got inspired to introduce 'NESPOT': a new, affordable service that provides ASDL subscribers with a wireless connection for their home, as well as unlimited access to ALL of KT's public WiFi hotspots. KT already has 8,500 hotspots in operation across Korea, and plans to almost double the number by the end of this year. NESPOT is adding about 1,500 new users per day. (Source: Convergedigest.com.)
In a similiar vein, US-based Speakeasy, an independent broadband service provider, is turning its customers into mini-ISPs by giving them the tools to sell wireless Net access to their neighbors. In a recent poll, Speakeasy found that 40 percent of its broadband subscribers had already set up a wireless home network of some kind. That statistic helped prompt the new NetShare program. Under the NetShare program, Speakeasy is allowing people to resell access to their broadband connection to neighbors for anywhere from $20 to $100 a month. Speakeasy handles the billing, provides the downstream customers with their own e-mail boxes and other ISP basics, and takes half the amount charged on their bills. (Source: News.com.)
And the list goes on and on: from Apple's iTunes store making it fun to actually BUY music again, to Wyndham Hotels offering free calls from its hotel rooms, ending one of the biggest rip-offs ever in laptop-history!
Think the DIGITAL EMBRACE approach only applies to the world of Information Technology? Think again. Just replace 'DIGITAL' with 'CUSTOMER', and you'll get the picture. One hint: traditional airlines vs low-budget carriers. Need we say more? There's no denying it: it's 2003 and EMBRACE is a minimum requirement!
Other trends and new business ideas that are connected to the DIGITAL EMBRACE trend:
2. ONLINE OXYGEN
3. SECOND COM.ING
5. Instant bootlegs