Customization – In a time when getting consumer attention is more competitive than ever, what better way to get their attention than by customizing standard offers to meet their specific needs or interests.
Nike has provided the option for custom shoes for some time as an example, but consider how interactive discussions can be taken to the next level with customers with solutions like customized magazines, endless recommendation engines, and customizing product catalogs so that customers see them in ways that suit their needs. This realm is getting increasingly sophisticated, and, if done well, promises some real returns to consumers and retailers alike.
Mobile IP Telephony – Some interesting news this week from the mobile world. Consider the release (US) of the iPhone version of Skype mobile (with Blackberry to follow in May) – which allows access to your VOIP account via wifi. iPhone is only one small portion of the market, and you can already do the same with fring on windows mobile and iphone and with various other solutions and handsets.
The interesting point of this release is that this comes directly from the VOIP provider, hopefully moving mobile VOIP one step closer to the mainstream from the hardcore geeks who use it today. AT&T and the other wireless carriers are wary of allowing solutions like this on the phones as it will negatively impact their wireless revenues in the long run, so its existence in any form is a coup for consumers.
HD Downloads – Apple announced this week the ability to complete HD digital downloads to iTunes. While it’s possible to download movies of all sorts online, the big challenge is doing it legally and moving the media the last few feet to the big screen TV in the home. Apple is the first to offer a relatively simple solution to get that video to your TV. You can use Apple TV to get it directly to your TV in this instance, which is technically feasible for many consumers.
Another option without using Apple TV is to buy a $50 cable to connect your ipod to your TV after syncing your movie rental. For the more initiated, using Boxee on Apple TV hardware is also possible, but HD is less available so far, and don’t forget the bandwidth required to download an HD movie. Movies which are already over 1Gb in SD, will be 3Gb in HD. With a limit on downloads, there may be extra costs from your internet provider, and it will take some time to download these beasts, and some space to store them if you purchase.