Monday, July 24, 2006

Yahoo! On the Go

On Wednesday, July 19, it was announced that Motorola will embed Yahoo! services on tens of millions of phones. Yahoo! formed a similar partnership with Nokia in January. The new ties between Internet companies and hardware makers promise to give consumers quicker access to personal Internet information compared to what is currently available on most cell phones today. Read more of the story here.

With more and more residents opting to forgo traditional land lines, and use the their cell phone as their primary phone, it is becoming increasingly important that they can count on reliable cell phone coverage. MDU owners have started to recognize this trend, and have started to add cell signal amplifier systems to improve network coverage and phone service for residents while they are at home.

Its paying attention to trends like these that will define which communities potential residents will flock to, and what properties continue to stand out from the rest. We'll keep you posted on more trends that affect the MDU market. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"Digital Living" on CNN

A CNN employee recently gave a tour of her new Atlanta condo, which features a full range of technology amenities, including access control, video surveillance, "digital artwork" and signage, a wired clubhouse and fitness center, and wireless Internet hotspots. There isn't any mention of any of the telecom services or other technology amenities that might be available in the living units, but it's worth the watch to see how much of an impact the other types of systems have on a typical resident's living experience and perceptions of her new home. Full video from CNN.

Monday, July 17, 2006

More Than Just High Definition

The Santa Clara Consulting Group (SCCG) says that by the year 2010, the market for products based on new blue-laser technologies should exceed $28 billion in worldwide factory sales. Read more Blu-ray technology sales projections here. Blu-ray, also known as Blu-ray Disc (BD), is the name of the next-generation optical disc format. The format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and this extra capacity combined with the use of advanced video and audio programming will offer an HD experience like never before seen. The technology is already supported by such companies as Apple, HP, Samsung, Pioneer and others. Seven major movie studios have already announced titles for movies they plan on releasing on discs using Blu-ray technology. "High-definition content will be a central focus for companies in the consumer electronic, gaming, entertainment and PC industries for the next five years. Blue-laser disc technology is a critical component to the development of these markets," said David Bunzel the managing director for SCCG.

For the multi-unit property owner or developer, this again raises the question, "How much bandwidth does my property need?" Blu-ray technology allows residents to record their favorite HD programs onto disk, and still retain the HD quality they love. Technology like this and others play a big role in your decision for service providers. If resident loyalty is what you want, it is now even more critical to make sure that you provide services and channels that residents will crave and that complement the gadgets they own. Stay tuned as the developments for Blu-ray and other technologies for HDTV emerge.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Microsoft in Your Living Room...Again

The folks at Microsoft are looking for a way into your residents’ living rooms… again. Microsoft currently has the Xbox 360 video game console and new computer software that focuses on multimedia. Their influence in the world of set-top boxes for digital television has been minimal at best, but they are well-positioned to become a huge player in the Internet TV (IPTV) market, having already secured deals with telecom giants such as AT&T and Verizon. Although IPTV isn’t mainstream yet, Forbes reports that industry estimates show there could be almost 90 million IPTV subscribers only five years from now. Full story from Forbes

Internet TV is slowly becoming worthy of the average property owner’s attention. It offers a number of great features, but will require a LOT of bandwidth, especially for people who still like to channel surf or have discovered the joys of HDTV. Add to that, a gaming system like the Xbox 360 that connects to the Internet, and music, photos and videos streaming throughout every apartment, and what you get is a lot of stress on the typical copper based property network. This is further confirmation that the need for FTTP technology is a necessary component for future MDU community planning. The need for bandwidth by residents is only going to increase. More than ever, prospective residents will begin to use a property’s ability to support their technology needs in deciding where to live. Even if they don't consider it at first, they’ll appreciate your forethought once they move in and start hooking up all their gear. Easy-to-use technology that anticipates users’ needs well into the future – now that’s something even Gates would appreciate.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Digital Music Sounds Better Than Ever

Market research company Ipsos recently conducted a poll that found that one in five Americans older than 12 owns some type of portable digital music device. Not surprisingly, younger customers and men are more likely to own such devices. Full story from BBC.

Younger residents have a fast-paced lifestyle that is centered around technologies that allow them to keep in touch with friends and tune out the rest of the world. Older residents, such as empty-nesters, want a refuge from the rest of the world and want to enjoy their music, movies, news and TV without any hassles.

With this in mind, you may want to consider planning your communities to provide better solutions that enable your residents to enjoy their technologies simply and seamlessly. For example, take the MP3 story above: the player that dominates this market right now is Apple's iPod (See our post on 06/08/06). Does it makes sense to offer a docking station for iPods in each unit, or maybe as an upgrade option? In competitive markets, quite possibly. Channel Vision, Sonance and others offer good options at prices that aren't terribly unreasonable. But watch out: Microsoft has an iPod contender of their own on the way.