First published in 2003 | This is another Big Trend. Just consider the fact that these days, consumers don't want online access anywhere/anytime, they absolutely CRAVE it! From airports to living rooms to roof gardens to classrooms to city parks, people go to great lengths to get a dose of what TRENDWATCHING.COM has dubbed ONLINE OXYGEN. Seven years after the first web sites started popping up, and email made its way from science labs to office desks and living rooms, 600 million consumers worldwide are beginning to see online access as an absolute necessity, and there are no signs that the pace of integrating online access into daily life is slowing down.
OCTOBER 2003 | We warned you this trend wouldn't fade or go all faddy: with 600 million consumers worldwide (or is it 700 million by now?) beginning to see online access as an absolute necessity, the pace of integrating online access into daily life is still picking up steam. Here's our random, but telling update for ONLINE OXYGEN:
• 25 September sees One Unwired Day, an Intel sponsored initiative giving the public free wireless Internet access across the US. Anyone with a wireless-enabled notebook can go online for free at thousands of participating 'hotspots', from Borders to McDonald's. And to encourage free downloading, copies of Business 2.0, music and videos from R.E.M. and Seal, and news via MSNBC.COM's new synch-and-go Wireless Traveler are also thrown in. Europe and Asia to be next?
• 23 million out of 30 million cell phones in South Korea are now Internet enabled: it will be a matter of time before the rest of the world follows. Nokia certainly gets it: they recently ran a series of ads showing their phones as the new sound systems, cameras, and game consoles. Add an online connection, and you have, well... TEENAGE ONLINE OXYGEN. ;-)
• Speaking of teens: in the US, teenagers now spend 16.5 hours a week on surfing the Internet, chatting and writing e-mail (boys spend 16 hours, girls spend 17 hours in total) (source: BuzzBack Market Research). That's a lot of eyeballs: at what point in time will your marketing budget become your interactive marketing budget?
• And our favorite for October: we spotted this shrine to modern life in Shanghai: we assume the Ericsson phone this woman is holding is Internet enabled. Now we're on the lookout for the first bronze wireless laptop statue. More ONLINE OXYGEN to follow next month. And the month after that. And the one after that. >> Email this trend to a friend.
LOOKING FOR IMAGES THAT ILLUSTRATE
Check out our ONLINE OXYGEN image resource page.
NOVEMBER 2003 | Remember last month's Nokia ads, telling customers that Nokia phones are the new gaming arcades, cameras and sound systems? Well, we spotted three more: the handset as the new mix tape, correspondent and organizer. If you give trend presentations or publish reports, and you're trying to convince your co-workers or clients that the world is going online like there's no tomorrow (not to mention that entire industries are moving into each other's territories), showing this collection of Nokia ads may be more persuasive than a thousand words! To view the update, visit our ONLINE OXYGEN image resource gallery. Oh, and while you're at it: check out the Palm Zire ad (detail below), which conveys the same message. It's all converging. Time to wipe the dust off that old copy of Prahalad and Hamel's 'Competing for the Future!'
• More convergence below: a scene from the Japanese MTV Music Video awards in Saitama, with fans sticking up their camera-phones to capture their idols: as much a 'sign of the times' as it will get this year! (Photo: AP).
• Our favorite topic when it comes to ONLINE OXYGEN: WiFi! To the right is a telling picture that indicates the rapid spread of WiFi hotspots in NYC: it's now harder to find an offline spot in Manhattan (below 96th Street, that is), than it is to find one that will breathe ONLINE OXYGEN into your laptop. Even more mind-boggling: this graphic depicts the situation as it was ONE YEAR ago. See our image resource page for the entire image.
• But the US isn't the only nation stealing the spotlight in this wireless day and age. From next month on, you will be able to surf, download and chat on board the TGV (France's high speed train) between Paris and Bordeaux. A free, on-board hotspot will allow you to send and receive email while sipping a glass of... ONLINE OXYGEN à la Française!
• Members of entire generations have never held, let alone listened to, a vinyl record. Now, get ready to witness the disappearance of the music CD, too. With iTunes launching a Windows version in the US, and everyone from BestBuy to MTV to a resurrected Naspter trying to muscle their way into legal music downloads, the battlefield has become completely digital, even though some record companies and CD retail stores still reject a DIGITAL EMBRACE. Rather amusingly, they seem to believe that their current scheme to (finally) lower prices for CDs will convince ONLINE OXYGEN craving tweens and teens to turn off their PCs and head back to the store. Good luck! In the mean time, may we predict that the final kiss of death will be delivered by Apple iTunes' deals with AOL and Pepsi?
The latter is looking to give away 100,000,000 million digital songs for, well, a song. Yes, that's 8 zeroes. The campaign will debut during the Super Bowl on 1 February 2004 and will run for two months. Out of 300,000 million yellow-capped Pepsi bottles, one in three will offer a free song from the iTunes Music Store. There are now even rumours that McDonald's is contemplating a similar stunt, though this one would entail 1 BILLION songs. Enough to finally get you in the mood for a DIGITAL EMBRACE?
• Joining the game of musical chairs is Philips, the Dutch electronics giant, who has announced the world's first Wireless Broadband Internet Hi-Fi System: a sound system that uses WiFi to connect consumers' hard disks -- and no doubt thousands of MP3 files -- to the Philips MC-i250 audio player (part of the Streamium product line).
It will also connect with multiple online music services, to be controlled and customized via www.myphilips.com. Could be the beginning of the 'connected house' without tripping over Jetsons-style robots or having to stop 'intelligent' fridges from ordering dozens of cartons of milk. Instead of coming up with yet another proprietary (read: soon-to-be-extinct) standard, Philips finally concentrates on riding the waves of WiFi and the insatiable lust for digital entertainment. Well done.
• And just to make sure you're not the last person on earth not to have THE new logo for 2003 and 2004 etched into your visual memory: here's another helping of the USD 300 million Intel Centrino Chip branding campaign, touting wireless life and business. It's literally everywhere; from perching on the roofs of NYC cabs to crowding the Letter to the Editor pages of BusinessWeek.
Enough ONLINE OXYGEN for now. For more, see our upcoming free report on the top 10 online business Mega Trends for 2004, due early December 2003. >> Email this trend to a friend.
IMAGE RESOURCE PAGE FOR ONLINE OXYGEN
MARCH 2004 | Tracking a massive trend like ONLINE OXYGEN requires constant readjustment. Here are the latest sightings from a world that in only 7 years' time went from denouncing the Net as a 'hype' to embracing online access with such ferocity that now even the world's largest cruise ship, the brand new 1,132 foot-long, USD 800 million Queen Mary II, has wireless access points installed throughout the vessel. It's one giant floating hot spot!
• The largest 'WiFi Office Tower'? The entire Sears Building in Chicago, all 110 floors of it, will soon be WiFi enabled.
• Amtrak and AT&T will put wireless internet service in six of the railroad's busiest train stations along the Northeast Corridor, from Boston Route 128 Station to New York and Baltimore Penn Stations, serving ONLINE OXYGEN to more than one million weekday passengers, commuters and visitors.
• Paris has announced that it wants to be the WiFi capital of the world, aiming to have 3000 hot spots by year end. This will include all of Accor Groupe's 250 Parisian hotels, from Sofitel to Formula 1, and 12 hot spots along RATP's bus route 38. All 400 metro stations are next. As we reported a while ago, Gare du Nord already has its Gare WiFi. C'est magnifique!
• McDonald's has expanded its WiFi program to 400 restaurants in the US. Of all its WiFi users surveyed, 60% said they wouldn't have gone to McDonald's if it wasn't for the online access now being offered. McDonald's UK is following suit, installing WiFi in more than 560 restaurants throughout the UK, in cooperation with British Telecom.
• More British ONLINE OXYGEN: British Airways just announced that it will have installed wireless internet connections in 80 of its main customer lounges around the world by the end of May 2004.
• As wireless service was the most requested new service in surveys of departing guests, the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas has begun providing wireless internet connections in all of its 5,034 rooms (source: LVPress.com).
• And truly going all out: hot spot pioneer T-Mobile wants to increase its number of hot spots in Europe from 700 to 4000 by year end, while growing from 4000 to 6000 hotspots in the US in the same period. Wow.
• A trend in a trend: what happens if people have your website at their fingertips non-stop, whether they're out on the streets, or in their office, or in any room at home? Popular sports site ESPN.com is tailoring features to customers with WiFi, adding live chats with sports experts, and more video clips of big plays and tools to help fantasy football fans track their teams; this after focus groups said they were using WiFi to take their wireless laptops into the living room. Like most sports sites, ESPN.com was designed around users watching games on TV in the living room, then dashing to an office PC to check scores or stats. No more!
And cooking sites Allrecipes.com and Epicurious.com, initially designed for users who would print out recipes and then take these to the kitchen, now find that laptops increasingly take place next to the chopping block. In anticipation, recipes now fit on just one screen, and the number of how-to videos has been increased significantly. Food for thought?
Last but not least: Yahoo TV recently signed a partnership with Television Without Pity, a TV gossip site that features real-time chats about shows as they air (source: USA TODAY).
• And for those of you who dig ONLINE OXYGEN statistics: BIGresearch's latest Media Usage Survey amongst 13,000 US men, found that from August 2002 to October 2003, television viewership dropped 8.8 percent for men 18-24 and 12.2 percent for men 25-34. During the same period of time, BIGresearch found internet usage among men 18-34 shot up about 7 percent and video game usage rose 5 percent. >> Email this trend to a friend.