The Blurring Lines of Channel Convergence
The traditional definition of convergence has evolved to mean something much more than the ability to view media across three screens (computer, mobile, television). The term now represents the blurring of the lines between media delivery, social interaction, mobile experiences, and even the physical and digital worlds. Here are nine things that happened in the last year to bring convergence into focus:
1. Distributed social experiences: Facebook's "Like" button and other social plug-ins. The Like button has only been around since April of last year, but it represents the most common way to share content or make a digital endorsement. The Like button paired with other social plug-ins have broken free of the Facebook environment and can now be found in most major web experiences. This allows consumers to bring their Facebook friends with them as they blur the lines between the social network and all other digital experiences.
2. Passive check-ins: Shopkick, Google Latitudes. Services like Shopkick, Google Latitudes and others show the beginnings of a future in which consumers’ devices act on their behalf to alert friends and merchants of their whereabouts automatically. You won’t have to actively check into locations to take advantage of offers, loyalty programs, etc. The future of day-to-day location-based services need to move to this more passive model to maintain viability. Apple even received a patent around disposable apps that are automatically downloaded to your device based on your location.
3. Entertain me now: Netflix. Multipoint entertainment experiences have been around for a number of years, but they'll become the norm as we move forward. This year Netflix made a big push to be available on the widest variety of digital devices (e.g., interactive televisions, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, gaming consoles, smartphones, tablets, etc.). It's really the closest example we have to ubiquitous content delivery, and it sets the standard for similar media experiences going forward.