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7/25/2007
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Businesses Can Benefit From The Boom In Consumer Digital Content

There isn't a clear-cut leader in the business mobility market, but there many opportunities for vendors that can taken the lessons learned from the consumer market and apply it to business.

Digital content is changing the way movies are created in Hollywood and the way people consume information. Enterprises are expected to jump on the bandwagon also, as consumer technology makes its way into business.

"Technology is enabling us to tell stories that cannot otherwise be told. One of the things we're focusing on is to present something to the consumer in a theater that they can't get at home. For us, that's 3-D movies," said Jon Landau, COO and producer of Lightstorm Entertainment, during a panel discussion at Cisco's Networkers conference in Anaheim, Calif., on Wednesday.

Landau is the mastermind behind an upcoming movie called "Avatar," directed by James Cameron. The movie uses various special effects, technologies, and digital content to create a Sci-Fi feel.

Digital content is expected to change movie distribution not only in the United States, but also overseas. Movie distribution in India, for example, currently comes from eight cities and there isn't a DVD business, said Dan Scheinman, senior VP and general manager of the Cisco's Media Solutions Group. But 53 million people in India are on the waiting list to get DSL because they're starting to demand quality content, Scheinman said.

Enterprises can learn a lot from consumers, who have adopted digital content in their daily lives. More than 40% of consumers download content on their cell phones and more than 75% download digital music for their MP3 players, according to Cisco.

"Much innovation is driven from consumer to business. People are coming into the workplace with a different set of expectations than they had before. In the workplace, we have to be more aggressive about adopting digital technology like digital media and telepresence to collaborate and communicate in a different way," said Martin De Beer, senior VP & general manager of Cisco's Emerging Technologies Group.

Application vendors can be viewed as a roadblock to innovation in business because they push applications to users instead of content. Microsoft, for example, tried to replicate the desktop interface on mobile devices that use its operating system, instead of focusing on how users would receive content when they used the devices. "It's not a technology problem anymore. In the consumer industry, providers understand that users want content, whereas in the business world, vendors think users want applications," said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at Yankee Group, in an interview.

There's not a clear-cut leader in the business mobility market that has figured out how to make content delivery easier in the enterprise. But there are many opportunities for vendors that can taken the lessons learned from the consumer market and apply it to business.

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