Tag Archives: Adobe

Review of my 2011 predictions


Back in January I made 12 predictions for digital media for 2011. I did the same for 2010 – i.e. I made the predictions and then analysed them in December, and faired well. How did I do this year?

1. Rapid demise of Flash

Bang on here. We’re witnessing HTML5 rapidly overtaking Flash, mainly because users want to view sites on their iOS devices, which don’t support Flash. Flash for mobiles has been dropped in favour of Adobe Air – the problem with Air (an irony in the product name) is that it’s too heavy for downloading over mobile: Adobe Air apps are very large. HTML5 is both very powerful and not linked to a specific vendor, which is exactly the type of technology web developers embrace quickly.

Prediction rating: 10/10

2. Local local local

The use of Google on mobile devices is increasingly rapidly, and one of Google’s most powerful functions is to provide local results on mobile devices. Facebook Check In and FourSquare will continue competing in the future, providing more relevant functionality which is only good for end consumers.

Prediction rating: 10/10

3. LinkedIn to IPO

Yes, LinkedIn IPO’d in the summer at a market capitalisation of around $6bn. At the end of the first day of trading, shares were selling at over $94. They are now worth just under $65. The actual variance has been from $55 to $122. Personally I think the future is very bright for LinkedIn, as long as it sticks to it’s core, professional-only values and steers cleer of Facebook.

Prediction rating: 10/10 

4. More “paywalls” will increase the expectations of having to pay for content

I predicted that we’d see at least six mainstream publications start charging for online content. What was very difficult to predict was that this was going to be made possible via the iPad. The iPad has been the saviour of global newspapers by offering a simple charging model for content owners. Many newspaper websites are still free, but most apps charge for content. The main point is that user now expect to pay for content, but it took the shift to a new platform to illustrate this.

Prediction rating: 8/10 

5. Financial Services move into social networks

Banks have had other things to worry about this year, and whilst many are dipping their toes into the water with Twitter and Facebook, I’m not aware of any doing it particularly well. Searching for the popular high street banks on Facebook returns a rather fragmented list. I expect this to change in the near future. 

Prediction rating: 2/10 


6. Facebook to follow Compuserve even more

Try and name a brand that isn’t on Facebook. In January I said that we should expect a Skype messaging style interface and in July, we got Skype inside Facebook. I predicted we’d have a billion users by the end of the year, although this is unlikely to come true because in September, Facebook announced they’d broken through 800 million users – still an amazing feat. 

Prediction rating: 8/10

7. A clear leader will emerge in Interactive TV

Interactive TV is now firmly called Smart TV, and no, a clear leader hasn’t emerged yet. The remotes all look different, and operating systems are different, and with the latest XBox release, Microsoft is putting up a decent fight to use your games console as the Interactive device.

Prediction rating: 0/10

8. Rapid rise in CPC

I said that CPC rates would rise, and noted the cost of some terms. Here they are:


Cost in
December 2011

Cost in
December 2012

ebook  £0.55


sandwich  £1.00


drink  £1.00


laptop   £1.25


paper  £0.75


I estimated costs would increase at least 50% over the next year however they have mostly gone up a much smaller amount, with the exception of the highly competitive ebook market.

Prediction rating: 2/10

9. A $50 A5 eReader

I was $10 out – Walmart are selling an eReader for under $60. Bearing in mind there was nothing available for less than $120 at the start of the year, this demonstrates how mainstream eReaders have become. 

Prediction rating: 6/10

10. App stores will decentralise, leading to confused customers (again)

The term app store has become abused. Now everyone has an app store whereas a year ago their product had an ‘add-on’. If you go into a car showroom I’d half expect the optional extras to be available from an app-store! Fortunately the market hasn’t become decentralised as predicted – to the benefit of end users.

Prediction rating: 0/10

11. The economy will continue to splutter

Obviously this has come true. I predicted that companies would need to start demonstrating clear revenues, including Twitter, and this has materialised as $140million this year.

Prediction rating: 10/10

12. Chrome to far exceed Firefox market share

Perhaps ‘far exceed’ is an exaggeration, however in early December Chrome overtook Firefox for the first time, and it’s here to stay. I’m a big fan of Chrome for a number of reasons (all the settings are stored centrally “in the cloud”, it auto updates seamlessly and it’s very fast), and hardly use Firefox any longer.

Prediction rating: 8/10

So there we have it. Overall I was reasonably accurate with the predictions. I’m working on 2012 predictions, which feels more difficult at this time. Maybe it’s the economy/ general outlook. Any help would be appreciated!

Photo courtesy of lacomj on Flickr

10 years since joining


This time ten years ago I joined IMG as the Development Manager to build a new Content Management System.

The digital division within IMG was about four years old at that point, and had bought the digital rights to a number of sports organisations with the hope that the advertising and sponsorship on those sites would cover the costs of writing huge cheques to the sports organisations. ‘Hope’ is a strong word, because at the time the Internet bubble was at it’s height, and we all thought we’d be billionaires by Christmas.

When I joined, IMG was pulling out of a number of these deals, and looking for efficiencies with the tiny development teams.

The Internet was so different back then. Products were very expensive. Vendors and ‘experts’ were all learning as they were going along – so when we got stuck, we were well and truly on our own. For instance we tried different CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) to handle the huge amount of traffic we were experiencing, and ended up creating our own using Cacheflow servers. Just looking up the link just now made me laugh – because these boxes used to be the size of a fridge, and now they’re the size of a PC. Once we’d got the Cacheflows stable, we simply migrated to Akamai.

I remember people, including the CTO, would sleep in the office when we expected incidents to happen. I remember arguments with database vendors about licensing – some wanted to charge for every visitor that accessed the website, because they saw that as a database user. I remember running analytics reports on websites that used to take several days to compile, and when we wanted to run the report again with a different metric, all the numbers in the report would change! That same report in SiteCatalyst now takes a second to run and end users run it themselves.

Most of the really difficult stuff back in 2001 is now a commodity. Half of those products now have a freeware solution.

In around 2005/6 I moved to the client side – project management and operations. The CMS was very stable, and it was time to look at a decent off-the-shelf solution because we were losing pitches because of our lack of multi-lingual support, versioning, WYSIWYG editing and advanced SEO support.

We chose Sitecore as the CMS platform, and for the first time we looked at offshoring to India to migrate our sites. Three months of total pain followed. For the first time since joining IMG, we missed deadlines (in sport, although it sounds obvious you can’t miss deadlines – most of the time you might as well not deliver anything than deliver a project late). We pulled the projects back to the UK and an army of contractors joined the development team. Some were good, some weren’t. We started to offshore to Eastern Europe instead. And it was a revelation:

  • Being able to fly there and back in a day (not recommended, although possible and sometime necessary);
  • The cultural similarities; 
  • The push-back nature from developers on some of the requirements.

Then in late 2008 we looked to outsource more work to Romania via Endava. What started off at a simple outsourcing deal changed at the last moment, and the staff TUPEd over to Endava in January 2009.

Since then we’ve worked on some new projects outside of sport, and the Web has become a stable, maturing, controllable entity. In 2001 we were looking only to stabilise our clients’ sites.

Our traffic (bandwidth, visitors and page impressions) have all increased exponentially in ten years, with some exponentially, several times. Social Networks have come and some of them have gone. Do they compete? No, they simply direct more and more traffic to our clients’ sites.

And now to the future. In 2011 we are looking at providing data insights, personalised experiences, full integration with back off systems, and providing a true ROI for our client’s digital properties.

Twelve Digital Media Predictions for 2011


Well here we are. 2011 predictions below. My 2010 predictions worked out pretty good and I’ve been asked for the 2011 predictions for the last six weeks.

1. Rapid demise of Flash

Flash has two big problems in 2010: Apple (specifically, the iPhone and iPad) and HTML 5. I don’t see Apple relenting on their decision to enable Flash (specifically pre-compiled code), and users will start moving away from Flash sites out of necessity. Developers already like HTML 5, and it looks reasonably flexible to replace a lot of what Flash has historically need to be used for. YouTube is already using HTML 5 to deliver video. If the BBC iPlayer is using HTML 5 next year, let’s award 10/10 for this prediction!

2. Local local local

Local businesses will ‘never have had it better’. FourSquare, Facebook Pages and Places, and Google Places can all help local businesses. My local sandwich shop at work can now have a digital relationship with consumers for no cost. The rising use of smartphones will continue to provide more local results when searching (for example, type in hospital into Google on your smartphone – even at the moment it produces a list of local results).

3. LinkedIn to IPO

The Facebook for business, the most useful social network of them all if you want to hire staff, track companies, keep in touch with former colleagues, research ‘people’ will float in 2011. 

4. More “paywalls” will increase the expectations of having to pay for content

Paywalls will undergo new branding, and together with mobile apps charging a subscription fee, the days of free content will start coming to an end. I’m not saying all sites will become pay only within a year, however expect to see at least another half dozen main titles beyond Murdoch’s empire start charging for their hard work.

5. Financial Services move into social networks

Financial services are walking around social networks scratching their heads wondering how to approach the biggest B2C of all time. I predict at least one Financial Services organisation will get it right, and everyone else will copy and improve. Expect some big announcements of huge Financial Services brands linking together with the big social networks.

6. Facebook to follow Compuserve even more

I’ve likened Facebook to the walled garden environment of Compuserve before. Expect to see ‘new’ features in Facebook like sending files to friends, Facebook wireless access points or even broadband provision (remember – Compuserve started life as an ISP), premium (paid entrance) Facebook Pages, offline browsing or a phone service (think Google Talk or Skype). We’ll all think it’s brilliant, and then read the Wikipedia Compuserve article and realise we’ve been here before. I also expect Facebook to break into China and reach 1 billion global users.

7. A clear leader will emerge in Interactive TV

Buying a new TV at the moment? Which Internet/Interactive TV standard are you going to buy? There are so many types available, it’s really confusing to consumers. By the end of the year (Christmas 2011) there will be one or two clear leaders. And expect to see a wireless keyboard lying on your sofa next year or 2012 instead of a simple remote.

8. Rapid rise in CPC

Ad CPC (Cost Per Click) rates are rapidly rising. Take the biggest network, Google AdWords. The cost per click of the following items as of 29/12 is:

  • ebook – £0.55
  • sandwich – £1.00
  • drink – £1.00
  • laptop – £1.25
  • paper – £0.75

I estimate costs will go up at least 50% over the next year because of the growth of online businesses, and they will all want to advertise their products.

9. A $50 A5 eReader

eReaders will hit a critical mass when the price point is low enough. I estimate this to be around $50 (£35) because this is a reasonable price point where a consumer won’t be too upset at losing their eReader. At that point, schools will seriously consider replacing paper books with eReaders. Expect more mainstream books to only be available electronically.

10. App stores will decentralise, leading to confused customers (again)

The beauty of the iPhone’s app store is that all apps come through the store tested and vetted. It also provides a full backup solution if you regularly synchronise your iPhone with a computer. The Android Market is the opposite – it’s like anarchy! Apple are releasing their own full app store for Apple computers. Amazon will do something similar. You’ll have lots of app store logins, and it will all be confusing. In fact it will become so fragmented that it will be similar to how you buy software at the moment – one piece comes from Amazon, another from Apple, another from eBuyer, and so on.

11. The economy will continue to splutter

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work this one out. However the implications will be that brands will drive their marketing organisations to produce clearer ROI on campaigns (especially Facebook, to pay for the expensive UK based full time Community Managers). This is currently difficult to do, but marketing departments will drive analytics vendors to improve their products beyond just referrer stats. Despite huge funding increases at the end of 2010, Twitter will need to start generating some serious revenues, so expect ads on Twitter similar to the reach blocks on Facebook.

12. Chrome to far exceed Firefox market share

Chrome is here to stay, and will only increase market share when the new Google laptop (and tablet) arrives. Microsoft won’t back down on Internet Explorer either. Which leaves Firefox in third place, and will just slide further down because users won’t know why they’ll want a third browser on their computer.

Review of my 2010 predictions


Back in January I made 10 predictions for Digital Media for 2010. Being open and transparent, how did these predictions fair over the year?

  1. Reinvestment in Digital Media.
    2010 was a great year for agencies. We have implemented a number of very large websites, both brand new brands and existing ones. In terms of reinvestment, clients are now looking into cloud computing and full disaster recovery.
    Prediction rating: 10/10
  2. Lack of new products due to R&D being slashed in 2009.
    Looking back at new applications and products – what was released that made a big impact? The iPad (at the beginning of the year before being launched it was referred to as the iSlate). I predicted that the end of the year would see some launches, and Kinect was released in November. Before you start commenting that 2010 was the year of 3D TV, they were in fact launched in 2009.
    Prediction rating: 10/10 

  3. A number of live events on YouTube.
    Well, in September they launched live streaming. However I doubt most people really noticed. I’ll knock some points off because I said “live is where the value is”.
    Prediction rating: 8/10

  4. More Flex applications, less Silverlight.
    Hmmm – more site are using Flex (BBC iPlayer download for example). HTML 5 changed the landscape significantly, and due to the ongoing spat between Apple and Adobe, agencies are nervous about any single vendor, and will move to the latest version of HTML instead.
    Prediction rating: 3/10 

  5. SecondLife to further decline.

    Second-what? The LindenX has just flattened out for the last couple of years – which means no more money is coming into the platform.
    Prediction rating: 9/10

  6. The UK to start accepting blogging at the same status as the US.
    Absolutely. UK news programmes now interview blogging experts for their views and opinions. Blogs are quoted in the press (errr, but so is Twitter, so maybe it’s just reporters’ laziness).
    Prediction rating: 10/10

  7. Offline browsers make a comeback.
    Perhaps 12 months ahead of it’s time, this prediction didn’t materialise. Before you think there is a gap in the market, we have been approached by a number of vendors in this space.
    Prediction rating: 2/10

  8. The FIFA World Cup sees huge use of video over mobile & broadband.
    It’s easy to forget the World Cup this year. If you were streaming it though, your view of the summer was probably very different to England supporters. Internet traffic reached a record peak (of almost 1Tb/sec) due to video over mobile and broadband. 
    Prediction rating: 10/10

  9. Expect ebooks to take off.
    Ebooks have exceeded all expectations for booksellers, so I was correct there. However magazines, sports programmes and other paper publications have been slow to move to ebooks, mainly because Amazon and other ebook retailers want such a high slice of the revenue. So if you’re a football club that sells a programme for £3 or £4, you really don’t want a new middleman taking 20-30% of your revenue to sell the book electronically.
    Prediction rating: 5/10

  10. 2010… the year of Web CRM
    There is still a major opportunity for a cloud based platform with efficient pricing. I do not understand why there isn’t a white label SSO platform out there. Let me know if you can recommend one.
    Prediction rating: 0/10

Pretty good going overall. Any more accurate and I’d be an octopus.

I’ll post an article on 2011 predictions next week.

Photo courtesy of Shine 2010 – 2010 World Cup good news.

IE 9 early review


This morning I downloaded the latest version of Microsoft’s browser – IE 9. The browser is still in beta version, however we usually download beta versions of browsers to ensure our client sites are ready for the new browsers. (It’s like a moving target though, because the browser subtly changes between minor beta versions and you rarely get to hear about a firm date for a consumer launch).

After using IE 9 for the day, and making sure I wasn’t swayed by any other reviews, here’s my outcome.

It’s like a really slow version of Chrome.

When IE 9 loads, it still takes that trademark-long-time. I don’t know how Google get Chrome to load so quickly, but that to me is the best feature of the browser. Why do you want to have to wait longer than the fastest browser?

When IE 9 does eventually load (and I’m exaggerating about the length of the load time – it is much quicker than IE 8, but still the slowest out of Firefox and Chrome), it looks startlingly similar to Chrome. The favourite ‘star’ has moved to the left. The whole top area has moved to one horizontal area, making the actually web page a much larger area. The menus are now three small icons on the right hand side. Even the developer tools look the same as Chrome.

Microsoft will be marketing very hard that IE 9 is much faster at rendering web pages than the other browsers. They have a performance test page set up which I can only assume (but frankly can’t be bothered to do) is weighted against it’s competitors because Chrome and Firefox are so incredibly slow to IE 9 – more than you would expect from the hardware acceleration.

The sneakiest thing about the new browser though, is that Flash no longer works out-of-the-box. You have to reinstall it at Adobe.com. With Microsoft seeking domination for it’s slow-to-get-market-share Silverlight, in effect uninstalling Flash is near brilliance. Or it would be, if IE 9 came with Silverlight working out of the box. I was amazed that it didn’t work with IE 9. What an incredible own goal.