A Health, Social Media and Technology blog by Mark Scrimshire (@ekivemark), Chief Instigator of HealthCa.mp - Empowering Health Care Engagement.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Apple and the cardinal rules of the Internet Singularity
In considering the Internet Singularity I have been postulating a series of guidelines or rules. The first was the subject of my previous post here( also picked up by Sys-Con's Web 2.0 Journal here). In this post I will look at the second and third rules.
Rules to be at one with the Internet Singularity
Rule #1. Its a journey and not a destination
You need to consider two sides to your Internet presence. One side is the web site as a destination. The other is to provide a suite of modules that provide services to your customers. These being delivered as modules that a customer can incorporate in to the tools and pages they use during their daily use of the Internet.
Rule #2. To be involved at the center of your customer's world you have to consider yourself to be at the edge.
To explain this rule you have to give up on the concept that you can provide for every need of your customers. Your web presence is NOT the only place your customer visits. When you accept this simple truth it puts a completely different perspective on how you deliver services to your customers.
You have moved from the center to the edge.
When you are at the edge your role changes. Your emphasis switches to developing and delivering services that your customers can integrate with other sites and in to their home pages, blogs, email. Wherever they want. Personally I have had my fill of Financial Web Sites that assume that they are the only entity that you have a financial relationship with. I have also seen the, often pitiful implementations where an attempt is made at aggregation but the service only goes one way.
We are now in a Web 2.0 world - The customer is in charge. (Or at least we want to be able to plausibly think we are in charge of our own destiny).
If I want to use Yahoo, Google, MySpace or any other site as my home page I should be able to do so and integrate the modules I want from the companies I do business with. Google's personal homepage is a good demonstration of this. Other services offering similar flexibility include Pageflakes and NetVibes.
On September 12th Steve Jobs concluded the Apple Showtime event with his infamous "One More Thing..." In so doing Apple and Steve demonstrated their understanding of the emerging Internet Singularity. Steve also demonstrated his understanding of the second rule.
iTV, as it is code named, is the complete inverse of the Windows Media Center.
Microsoft Media Center - at the center
With Windows Media Center, Microsoft is attempting to create a platform that handles all of your media needs. The media center becomes the device that replaces your TV, TiVo and Hi-Fi and Home Theater.
Apple at the edge
Apple's approach with iTV is to allow you to attach iTV to any TV or Home Theater. You then use the device to stream content from any computer.
Apple's strategy with the iPod has been to create an ecosystem. This strategy has been extremely successful. iTunes is now the 5th largest music distributor in the USA. The enormous variety of peripherals available for the iPod also underscores the vibrancy of the ecosystem. The iTV is positioned to make it an easy incremental step for Mac and PC users to integrate their iTunes libraries of music, TV and movies with their TVs. I can see homes buying more than one iTV.
The pre-announcement of iTV may also turn out to be a brilliant pre-emptive strike against the Fear Uncertainty and Doubt surrounding the launch of Microsoft Vista. The next version of OS X, Leopard, is poised to launch early next year and will run on existing Apple machines. The same can't be said for Vista. iTV is a tantalizing Add-on solution for home theaters and set's Apple up for a great Christmas season. Potential customers will be able to consider the Mac as a great alternative to a Windows PC.
Apple is operating at the edge and gradually enveloping it's customers.
Rule #3. Instrumentation is private data and its capture is a customer's perogative.
One of the most powerful features of the Internet has been the network effects of data aggregation. The Architecture of Participation and the Collective Intelligence of the Communitythat has been discussed by Dion Hinchcliffe and others in connection with Web 2.0 have delivered entirely new ways to create linkages. As the Internet and our physical world converges the instrumentation that has occured behind the scenes on the Internet will seep in to our daily lives. We need to set the ground rules around the instrumentation of our lives - NOW!
I will address Rule #3 in greater depth in a forthcoming article. It is a subject that needs deep study and very careful assessment.
And now for something completely different...
A few weeks ago I published a post and a utility for Mac OS X users that allowed events to be created in Google Calendar using information from the Apple Address Book. Thanks to people that emailed me with messages of support. Since then I have been working on a new utility. This one for Apple Mail users. I hope to shortly release a script that will allow you to add the content of an iCal event booking file to Google Calendar. Watch out for that in a forthcoming post.