Parks Associates Blog

Monday, February 28, 2011

What "Cloud Computing" Could Mean to Consumers

"Cloud" is such a buzz phrase today that it's easy to be overwhelmed by what's really happening on the consumer side. Parks Associates specifies the following requirements for a product or solution to fit in the "personal cloud" category:

• For hardware, appliance, and online solutions, the ability to upload all desired content to remote storage, not just a single-purpose site

• The ability to "push" - or share - only specific folders or files with friends or family

• Remote and ubiquitous access to content from multiple IP-connected devices

• For premium content service cloud offerings, the ability to offer multiple formats or work with hardware with the necessary transcoding capabilities to play content on a wide number of devices

To further complicate this market, there are several different types of consumer cloud solutions...

To read more about the What "Cloud Computing" Could Mean to Consumers, subscribe to Parks Associates' Parks Points.

Click here to subscribe to other Parks Associates complimentary newsletters.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Trends We Are Expecting to See in 2011 and Beyond

Connected products:

One popular theme among the products displayed at CES was the ability to be connected, whether to the Internet, other products, or a consumer’s smartphone. There were numerous products at CES that were designed to be part of a network, with the goal of delivering more useful, efficient, and compelling customer experiences. The television is one product that’s undergoing a major transformation, with virtually every TV manufacturer at CES displaying their web-connected televisions. These products have the ability to stream content and access applications such as Netflix, Pandora, and games.

The living room isn’t the only room that’s becoming more connected; the kitchen is also being overhauled to be “smarter” for consumers. Appliances in the near future will be able to take stock of the food in the kitchen, present meal suggestions based on those ingredients, and even guide consumers through the cooking process.

A new meaning of “green”:

Eco-friendly certainly isn’t a new product trend, but manufacturers are shifting the meaning of “green” to focus more on energy-efficiency than in the past.

Appliance manufacturers such as LG and Samsung are offering solutions that help consumers determine the best time to run their appliances. Panasonic’s version goes so far as to include solar panels, home fuel cells, an electric vehicle (EV) charging station and energy storage units.

Continued focus on digital health:

The digital health movement continues to move forward with products that marry cutting edge technologies with the growing need for medical devices that help consumers manage their health more actively and dynamically. Medical devices are becoming more and more like consumer electronics devices, with many wearable, mobile medical products already or soon to be on the market. Examples include smartphones that double as heart rate monitors and watches that have GPS locators to help keep track of elderly loved ones. There were also numerous therapeutic and diagnostic devices, medication monitoring equipment, and robotic prosthetics on display.

-- Content submitted by Home Toys

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Disney Acquires Kids' Social Network, Togetherville

Togetherville, a social network for for families to create safe online neighborhoods for their children under 10 years old, has confirmed that it was purchased by Disney according to It sets itself apart from other social networks for children by facilitating parent-child interactions.

Togetherville mimics adult social networks in a kid-appropriate way. Each neighborhood is built around each specific child and remains closed to outsiders. Kids have their own profile pages, complete with their photos. In Togetherville, kids can
  • play games and brainteasers
  • watch videos
  • create artwork
  • send and receive gifts
  • update their status with pre-screened text phrases, called "quips," such as "Who is going to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid?" and "Aced the test. Oh yeah!!"
  • send "safe" messages to friends
  • and comment on or "Heart" their friends' activities.

All achieved with active participation from friends and family. You and your child build the neighborhood by creating an account on You sign in with your Facebook login - no need to create a new username or password. Togetherville automatically finds your Facebook friends and their children who already have Togetherville, and you easily build your child's neighborhood from there. You can "allow" specific friends to become part of your child's neighborhood or invite others in who may not already have Togetherville accounts.

Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , , , , ,

Parks Associates Analyst Speaking at CableLabs Winter Conference

Bill Ablondi, Director of Home Systems Research, Parks Associates is presenting during the session "Competitive Assessments" on Tuesday March 1, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM ET.

The CableLabs Winter Conference will be taking place from February 28th to March 2nd in Atlanta, Georgia.

Twice a year, during the summer and the winter, CableLabs hosts members-only conferences which provide attendees with current information about changing technology and supporting business and strategy objectives, as well as providing a forum for them to interact with each other. Attendees receive information from cable experts, including the CTOs and CEOs of the industry's leading operators.

For the event website, please click here.

Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Parks Associates hosts "Social Gaming" Webcast - FEB 24

Join Parks Associates on Thursday, February 24th at 1 PM CENTRAL for the webcast, SOCIAL GAMING, and examine the current state of the social gaming industry and its business models.

Parks Associates research finds:
-- More than 200 million people play games on Facebook every month
-- 64% of U.S. broadband households with an Internet-connectable game console have it hooked to the Internet, a major increase from 2007, when only 25% had their next-gen console connected
-- PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have higher connectivity rates among the current generation of consoles, showing the power of multimedia offerings and popular game franchises in getting gamers online

Pietro Macchiarella, Research Analyst, Parks Associates will feature analysis and forecasts from examining:
-- How are social gaming publishers monetizing their popular games?
-- Are these companies at the mercy of social networks, or are they capable of developing brand loyalty?
-- Are open platforms, free distribution, and low development costs creating low entry barriers to this market?

Click here for registration information.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Parks Associates CEO Presenting at CABA's Digital Home Forum

CABA Digital Home Forum will take place in St. Paul, Minnesota on February 17, 2011.

Tricia Parks, CEO, Parks Associates will be presenting on the session, Connected Home Roadmap on Thursday, February 17 from 10 AM - 10:45 AM.

CABA’s Digital Home Forum, hosted by 3M, will bring together leading companies dealing with integration of consumer electronics and other cutting-edge technology throughout the home. Attend the forum to learn about current trends in the digital and connected home from a wide range of companies working in this space and explore future research opportunities.

Members of CABA’s Connected Home Council will share their research and insights, along with details about their current activities. Forum participants will be encouraged to openly discuss the research strategies as they relate to the industry and their respective organizations.

For more information, please click here.

Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Verizon NFL Mobile, Sprint Navigator, and Vodafone’s MusicStation among popular mobile content services

Almost 50% of U.S. mobile phone users pay for mobile Internet access, and the popularity of mobile data services will continue to grow revenues for carriers. Percentages of paying consumers are even higher for smartphone owners: 95% pay for SMS, 92% pay for Internet access, 83% pay for mobile email, 63% pay for mobile navigation, and 43% pay for mobile video.

In Mobile Data: Analysis and Forecasts, Parks Associates analysts forecast mobile data services, including messaging, Internet, apps, entertainment services, and machine-to-machine (M2M), will generate $500 billion in global revenues for mobile carriers in 2015, up from $204 billion in 2010.

Popular mobile content services include Verizon NFL Mobile, Sprint Navigator, China Mobile’s mobile newspaper service, and Vodafone’s MusicStation service. Carriers will derive most data revenues from access services, and content services, including mobile music, videos, games, ringtones, apps, and navigation, will supplement mobile access data services.

Global mobile carriers are poised to take advantage of consumers’ strong appetite for communications, information, and entertainment content on their mobile devices, but they must adapt to maximize these revenues in this hypercompetitive market.

Carriers must compete with their traditional peers as well as content owners, developers, and distributors, who can circumvent a carrier's ecosystem to offer content or services through app stores or on the mobile Internet. The old walled garden is porous due to disruptive forces such as Apple’s integrated business model. To stay relevant and dominant, carriers must focus on making their networks the most attractive option for content delivery and distribution.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Parks Associates is supporting Mobile World Congress

Parks Associates is supporting the Mobile World Congress on February 14-15 2011 in Barcelona.

The mobile ecosystem is in the midst of an unprecedented wave of transformation. As business models adapt, new verticals and players emerge. Technology evolves, perceptions shift, and lives are improved.

At the centre of this transformation is GSMA Mobile World Congress, the must-attend annual gathering of the mobile industry. Our participants - 50,000 senior mobile leaders from 200 countries - enable, accelerate and direct this transformation, leading us into the Mobile Future.

For the event website, please click here.

Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Friday, February 11, 2011

Philips Liveable Cities Award

IQare has been shortlisted for Philips Livable Cities Award! From more than 450 ideas received from 29 countries across the world, a shortlist of eight innovative ideas has been selected for the Philips Livable Cities Award - and now you can help decide the winning entry.

IQare is an innovative online set of tools, designed to offer organizations, large and small, a cost effective way to develop new service and delivery options.

The aim is to give users a simple to use touch screen 'home hub' that provides them with an easy way of keeping in touch, informed and remain independent and safe.

By using the iQare system, companies can release or redeploy existing resources. Key areas that are constantly under review now that budgets and resources are under real pressure.

Eve Hatton’s short listed idea, ‘iQare’, works by simplifying how elderly people in Edinburgh, UK, access the latest digital tools. Thus making it easier to remain independent, stay in touch with friends and family, and access service providers and retailers.

Visit now and cast your vote!

Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

IP&TV World Forum expands for 2011

Parks Associates supported "2011 IP&TV World Forum" has been renamed this year to highlight and encompass the increasing number of cable companies adopting IP technology, focusing on hybrid, IP and Connected TV. The event will take place March 22-24 at London’s Olympia and will feature a comprehensive program of more than 200 visionary speakers, including over 140 service providers from telcos, cablecos, broadcasters and content providers. More than 6,000 attendees and over 150 exhibitors are expected to attend the three day show to discuss the progression of connected TV and the increased adoption and application of IP.

The conference program is divided into four specific tracks focusing on IP Platforms for TV, Network Optimization, Service Management and The Business of Content. Each day will start with a keynote plenary session discussing the innovations and services in IP and TV.

New for 2011 on the exhibition floor is the Connected TV Zone which will showcase the wide variety of CE devices, application software and solutions available for connected TV. The event will also host the IP Workflow Summit, and the TVAppHub, which includes App demos and developer workshops.

For more information about this event, visit

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. broadband households with a next-gen game console have connected it to Internet

Multimedia content, such as Netflix streaming services, and popular games with online components, such as Call of Duty and Madden NFL, are driving households to connect their game consoles and creating a new foundation for future growth in online video. Parks Associates' new report Connected Game Console Update finds 64% of U.S. broadband households with an Internet-connectable game console have it hooked to the Internet, a major increase from 2007, when only 25% had their next-gen console connected.

PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have higher connectivity rates among the current generation of consoles, showing the power of multimedia offerings and popular game franchises in getting gamers online. Despite the Wii's built-in wireless capabilities, it has been less successful in getting users online due to less compelling online games and multimedia content. However, with its large installed base, it still is a significant player in this market.

Parks Associates forecasts households will connect more than 260 million game consoles worldwide to the Internet by 2015. Broadband connectivity enables new business models for game consoles and positions them as hubs for all household entertainment services. Both Microsoft and Sony are now leading providers of premium Internet video content and derive a large share of their gaming revenues from their digital video outlets.

Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Best Buy to “Future Proof” Tech Purchases with Buy Back Program at No Cost

Best Buy has launched a multi-media campaign to promote its new Buy Back Program and a special week-long offer to “future proof” technology purchases for free. Beginning with a Super Bowl commercial featuring star appearances from Justin Bieber, and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, the campaign encourages customers to take advantage of a special offer to receive the Buy Back Program at no cost when purchasing gear at Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile through Saturday, Feb. 12.

Best Buy officially launched Buy Back in January as a solution for customers who want to keep up with the greatest gadgets but are concerned that their gear will become obsolete. Best Buy customers may purchase the Buy Back Program when buying a new product at Best Buy and redeem it at a later time, for up to 50 percent of the original purchase price paid in the form of a Best Buy gift card, as long as the device is in good working condition and includes all original parts.

The campaign reinforces how Buy Back delivers a level of assurance, transparency and convenience that distinguishes it from other options like trade-in programs or reseller markets. With Buy Back, Best Buy customers don’t have to wait for payment, and can immediately apply the value of their Buy Back product redemption to the purchase of new products at any Best Buy or Best Buy Mobile store.

For the complete article, please click here.

Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

FREE Webcast: Enabling the Home Area Network

Join Parks Associates and the Z-Wave Alliance on Thursday, February 17th at 2 pm CENTRAL for the webcast, Enabling the Home Area Network: Solutions that work for Consumers and Utilities, and learn about the market outlook for residential energy management (REM) products and services.

Parks Associates research finds:
-- By 2015, less than 5% of U.S. households will have a utility-based home area network (HAN).
-- By 2022, that number will grow to almost 40%.


Presenters include:
-- Bill Ablondi, Director, Home Systems Research, Parks Associates
-- Dan Goodman, CTO, Radio Thermostat Company of America
-- Letha McLaren, Vice President of Product Management, iControl Networks
-- Steve Samolinski, Director of Solution Management, Connected Home Solutions, Ingersoll Rand

The interactive panel discussion includes industry executives from leading-edge companies and utilities as they examine the latest innovative solutions and share their perspectives on the key trends and opportunities in 2011. Attendees will learn what to watch in 2011 and what to expect from both consumers and business as this growing market continues to expand into the home.

Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, February 07, 2011

3 Reasons why Home Technology Integration is about to Ignite

We live in an “always on” world where we expect our Smartphones to provide us with media content, email, social media, and any other information on demand. It is time we realize that we can now expect the same functionality that we get on that 4.3” screen of our Smartphone from the 46” HDTV in our living room, the laptop or all-in-one PC in the kitchen, and even from the tablet we use sitting out on the patio enjoying nature.

The technology is here! What are you waiting for? The time is now everyone! Integrate that technology you love and surround yourself within your homes so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a rich new Integrated World.

Today we are literally standing on the brink of significant changes in the way we interact with the technology that surrounds us in our homes.The general population is ready for Home System Integration, the manufacturers recognize this, and the solution now becomes to educate the consumer on what his or her options are.

1. Streaming Internet Media

While streaming media has been going on for years now, there is suddenly a huge upsurge in popularity with the general public. Further building up the excitement and the market are Netflix and Hulu with new deals coming out practically weekly between them and the movie companies. There is no question that the world is paying attention to streaming media; from the consumer, to the device manufacturers, to even the film studios.

2. Hardware Advances

The technology is here that enables you to record, store, share, and stream your media content from just about anywhere, to just about anywhere! Best of all…it is fairly inexpensive and getting cheaper! Plus, the networking technology to move that media content across your network via Gigabit speeds or over wireless is here also. Now, everything is in place for...

3. Public Awareness

Finally, we come to the key part of the equation, the fuel that will ignite the Home Technology Industry ablaze: Public Awareness! It’s easy to see that people are becoming more aware of some of the options they have when it comes to scenarios like having the freedom to watch what they want, when they want, and literally WHERE they want. As public awareness becomes more and more widespread, the momentum of Home Technology Integration will increase exponentially to keep up with the demand.

The technology is here! What are you waiting for? The time is now everyone! Integrate that technology you love and surround yourself within your homes so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a rich new Integrated World.

--- Content submitted from Home Toys ---

Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , , , , ,

Google creates website templates for Google TV

The Google TV team published a couple of new design templates, as well as a still-in-beta Web UI library that Web designers can use to optimize their sites for Google TV.

Blockage of such "less-than-ideal" sites could actually have been what caused Google TV to have such a disappointing launch in the first place.

Within the first month of the service's availability on the Logitech Revue set top box, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and Viacom all made their websites unavailable to Google TV. The idea was that this would limit users' access to only the sites that the content providers designed specifically for Google TV.

If you're a Web designer, you now have some easy tools to rebuild your video site with a pre-made "10-foot UI" for Google TV. All of the templates are open sourced under the Apache 2 license, and they support sites that utilize HTML5, JavaScript, CSS and Flash.

For the complete article, please click here.

Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, February 04, 2011

Connected TV market to hit 76% by 2015

While their presence was more subtle than 3DTV and not as in-your-face as non-iPad tablets, connected consumer electronics devices were more diverse and pervasive at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, with every major manufacturer showing off new electronics that have their own built-in apps and can access content from the Internet.

With devices that incorporated complete Internet browsers, HDTVs that offered hundreds of applications, even set-tops that turned current HDTVs into a completely connected device, the theme of combining the home theater set-up with a PC experience was everywhere.

“We’re starting to see some real trends develop here,” said Kurt Scherf, VP and principal analyst with Parks Associates. “And connected TV is not just about online video.”

Consider: In 2010 less than a quarter of all HDTVs were connected, according to research firm Parks Associates. By 2015, Parks believes that number will hit 76% (more than 150 million units). The firm projects that by 2015 there will be more than $8 billion worth of transactions on connected consumer electronics devices, from e-purchases to gaming to VOD and streaming.

For the complete article, please click here.

Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Clash Over Canadian Broadband Caps

Among global nations, Canada is one of the most restrictive in terms of broadband usage caps. Recently, some major Canadian ISPs lowered their monthly caps to 25 Gb (a reduction of 90% or more for some providers), causing a stir among Canadian consumers. Since nothing gets the attention of political folks quite like angry voters, Canada's Prime Minister and Industry Minister have joined the fray, stating that Canada's regulatory agency (the CRTC) needed to rethink their approach. With the increased usage of video streaming and other bandwidth hungry applications, this clash seems like one that was destined to happen.

Will the CRTC back down? What do you think?

Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , , , , , ,

The Next Service Provider Race: Monitoring, Access & Controls

Grab an early lead in this market by determining consumer interest and price points for new IP-based features and applications.

This consumer study measures and analyzes interest in IP home services and features:
• Home monitoring and access control services
• Energy management and monitoring
• Digital health services
• Home controls

Sign up today for this project:
• Concept testing for a variety of IP services
• Inhibitors and catalysts for different combinations of services
• Three-year forecasts for subscriptions and revenues
• Current consumer activities pertinent to IP services
• Interest in core and related service features, plus price points for
additional fees

For more information, visit:

Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Companies have new focus on managing consumers’ electricity usage

Today there are 1.9 million homes with energy management networks. We are entering a period of pervasive growth. … We estimate there will be 16.2 million by 2015.

Parks Associates hosted the Smart Energy Summit in Austin last week. It focused on ways to find customers for such services. The three-day affair showed enthusiasm is high among corporations and entrepreneurs, who sense an emerging market. Parks Associates' Director of Research, Bill Ablondi said there were about 75 companies in the market last year, but now there are as many as 250, including such big names as GE, Intel, Verizon and AT&T.

Consumers, however, remain largely in the dark about the possibilities. Smart grid technologies promise to provide big gains in efficiency for electricity generators, transmitters and consumers. That means cost savings, less pollution and fewer power plants.

Integrating information technology into the electric power grid should also make it far easier to connect renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

The technologies should also make it possible to manage a fleet of electric cars so that they can be fueled without putting crushing demands on the system and double as available storage devices for power when parked.

But with electricity prices flat or falling (they were down 11.5 percent last year in Dallas), consumers are not motivated to jump in.

Oncor and other Texas electricity transmission companies have installed more than 3 million smart meters across the state under a mandate from the state government. The meters are providing an ocean of data to the utilities about electricity consumption, but consumers have seen little advantage.

Reliant and TXU Energy can also use the smart meter data to send e-mail alerts to consumers when their electricity usage starts to balloon, along with recommendations on ways to conserve.

A thermostat equipped with wireless radio communications, however, can be configured remotely. TXU Energy offers thermostats that can be programmed from a smart phone.

Parks Associates said energy management systems independent of smart meters would outsell the utility plans for several more years. He estimated that wireless thermostats would grow into a $1.1 billion market by 2015, and that remote-control lighting systems would equal that market.

Speaker after speaker at the conference said the key to this market, however, is raising consumer awareness of the cost savings such systems can bring — without sacrificing comfort or demanding a lot of skill.

To view the full Dallas Morning News Article, click here.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mobile technologies motivate growth in digital health

U.S. revenues from digital health technology-enabled solutions and services will exceed $5.7 billion in 2015, fueled by chronic-care monitoring solutions, senior aging-in-place services, and connected wellness and fitness apps and programs, a new industry report from Parks Associates forecasts.

According to Delivering Quality Care to the Digital Home: 2010 Update, industry revenues in 2010 hit $1.7 billion, and the projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the next five years will be 27%. Mobile broadband will be a key growth driver as many emerging health devices and services rely on high-speed connectivity to track vital signs or enable interactive features.

The digital health industry has many subsectors, and near-term growth will be uneven across these segments. Adoption of chronic-care monitoring will grow slowly, and medication management and senior fall-detection programs will expand at above-average rates. The real engines of growth in this industry will be mobile care solutions and tracking applications.

For example, CES 2011 featured the "Fitness TechZone," which showcased digital innovations such as mobile apps designed to promote healthy living. In 2010, Philips, already a large player in the home health industry, introduced its consumer-focused DirectLife service, which includes an Activity Monitor that tracks a user's physical activity and helps with fitness and wellness management.

Parks Associates is optimistic about the future of digital health industry but notes that the political impasse over the new healthcare law could delay investment in new healthcare technologies and create funding challenges for new business models. “To move forward, this industry needs smart entrepreneurs and visionary industry leaders and a regulatory and reimbursement system amenable to innovative, effective, and cost-saving technology advances.”

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

PlayStation Phone Coming Soon

Various screenshots have revealed the codenames "Zeus" plus "R800i," and it's now clear that this HSDPA phone with Gingerbread will be marketed under the Xperia brand, with a hint of PlayStation here and there.

In terms of specs, we can confirm that the Xperia Play has a 4-inch multitouch 854 x 480 LCD, which is what the X10 has as well. In fact, the LCDs on both phones have similarly good color performance and viewing angles, but upon closer inspection we noticed that the Xperia Play's LCD is brought closer to the glass, which may be why it produces a slightly darker black.

The phone has a single-core processor inside that clocks from 122.88MHz to 1GHz (and note that the MSM8655 can even go up to 1.2GHz), and it's coupled with an Adreno 205 GPU. This combo, along with Gingerbread and the generous 512MB of RAM, scored a chart-topping 1,689 on Quadrant and an impressive 59fps on Neocore. Other benchmark scores include: about 35 MFLOPS on Linpack, and around 43fps on NenaMark.

For the complete article, please click here.

Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Netflix rolls past $2 billion in annual web sales

Netflix keeps on churning out the financial milestones. This year’s accomplishment: generating more than $2 billion in e-commerce sales.

For the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2010, Netflix reported:

•Total revenue increased by about 29.4% to $2.16 billion from $1.67 billion in 2009.
•Net income was $160.9 million, a 38.8% increase from net income of $115.9 million last year.
•Subscribers increased by 63% to 20.01 million from 12.27 million.

More than one-third—over 2.5 million—of Netflix’s 7.7 million new subscribers are signing up for the pure streaming plan and not receiving discs in the mail, the company says, “We expect that percentage to grow over time. The balance of new subscribers primarily takes our $9.99 1-DVD combination plan. Very few of our existing subscribers are downgrading to the pure streaming plan,” says Netflix.

For the complete article, please click here.

Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , ,