Future Media: Where Is Our Interaction on the Web Heading?

The future of web multimedia technology: with the iphone surfacing as the greatest new integrated piece of technology, what can marketers expect to harness for the future of our multimedia interaction on the web?


New York, NY -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/16/2007 -- We are entering an era we have only seen in science fiction novels and movies. The web is slowly moving towards the role of clearinghouse for all things multimedia on the virtual information highway. It is not far-fetched to imagine a future where one device meets all of your needs- part-television, part-phone, part-browser-based search engine, part-cinema, part-music library. Who knows, you may even be able to set the temperature of your home on the same machine!

For now, though, the trend seems to be focused largely on handheld devices. Steve Jobs has acted as innovative leader (and generous investor) in cross-platform technology. It’s no wonder, though, that the iphone works well with Apple’s itunes, but isn’t very user-friendly in other respects (ie, there is no keypad for alternative navigation on the device. Users are limited to the touch-screen steerage, which historically is less reliable than a keypad and less hence desirable to avid users). Why wouldn’t Jobs create a phone that works across platforms, demographics, and for myriad purposes? Why should he care when he is the leader in his field and can tailor new technology to be reliant on- or mostly compatible with- his existing technology?

The good part is that a booming company like Apple can afford to invest the research and development dollars into new technology that offers multimedia capabilities. This opens doors for competitors to work out the kinks of the primary iphone model in order to offer consumers something that is more comprehensive, functional, and user-friendly.

Other cell phone companies are investing in new technology that will change the face of the telecommunications sphere as we know it. T-Mobile, for instance, just introduced individual cell towers at the most affordable rate available. Coined “Hotspot at Home”, they have created a device that allows for a perfect signal inside homes that otherwise do not get good reception, all using Wi-Fi technology. The package includes Internet access and unlimited calls on your cell phone from within your home for $9.99 a month. You do have to shell out a couple hundred for the actual device, but it’s cheaper than any previous model of this kind. T-Mobile also already has several devices that perform similar functions to the iphone, less the impressive display. For most intents and purposes, though, their devices are more affordable and user-friendly. For instance, the T-Mobile Dash can run windows software, thus allowing you to send email, listen to music, or type up a document- not to mention, the phone can be used to place calls.

Cell phone companies no longer just sell phones- they sell Internet packages and multimedia content as well. Apple doesn’t just sell computers and software- they sell music and phones too. Media companies do not just have one medium. Rather, they are increasingly creating homegrown content in the form of print publications, interactive websites with blogs, forums, and social networking components, audio and video content available for viewing or download, and RSS feeds that keep content flowing in and out of their sites. And more and more, companies are learning how to harness multimedia to open new revenue streams and to provide content that is unique, engaging, and of superior quality for their audiences.

The newest utilization of multimedia seems to be video. Companies like the New York Times, for example, offer video to compliment editorial content on their site. Some of the video content is behind a pay wall, reserved for Times Select members, and some is front and center on their homepage, available for public viewing. Between the aforementioned use of video and peer-to-peer content as housed on sites like YouTube, the web is becoming the new television of the 21st Century.

Another emerging technology, not yet available to the general public, is online video rentals. In the very near future, you will actually be able to pay a small fee to gain access to one or more movies for a pre-determined set of time. The movies are encoded with an expiration time so when your rental period is up, the video can no longer be accessed. Perhaps if this new service catches on, we will see other technology firms rushing to meet the demands of faster video-streaming, better quality imaging, and alternative computer models.

It is only a matter of time before someone, most likely Apple or T-Mobile or, who knows, perhaps even a small inventor, comes up with an integrated platform for all your multimedia needs and wants. Just remember to wait for the second model to be released before dipping into your pockets to make the service available to you!