Your 2016 Olympics – Breakout Year for Streaming TV

I’m not a full on Olympics nerd like some, but this year I am really excited to watch – its a breakout year for streaming tv.  NBC is turning the 2016 Olympics into a springboard for the masses to adopt the streaming tv.  Its a taste of what we all want – more action from all the sports.  Its streaming sports we want to see it – when we want to see it.  NBC is streaming most events – and allowing us to go back and watch them when we want or as many times as we want.  The onset of set top streaming boxes makes it happen.

History – 2012 Olympics Event Streaming

In 2012, it was hard to get this to work.  You had to get a TV connected to your laptop.  Do you have an HDMI cable on your TV?  Do you have an HDMI out on your laptop?  Oh wait – that’s not HDMI, its a display port.  What’s a display port?  Can I get a converter for that?  Do I have a long enough HDMI cable?  How much is a 25′ HDMI cable?  Grab a kitchen stool and set it up between you and the TV, set the laptop on that.  Now hope it doesn’t fall.

It really was painful – every time you wanted to change the sport, you had to go use the mouse or the track pad.  The sound was crap, if you could get any sound to work at all and then you’d sit back down in the chair to watch and the live stream would hangup.  It was magical…but at the time, it worked – and everyone thought you were the cool.

What did it look like in 2012?

urlThe interface looked good for time, we would laugh at it now – but it worked.  It was streaming TV – the sports we wanted to watch.

You could watch most all sports – anytime.  Most people gave up trying to really watch it on the TV and just went into the den and watched from there.  It worked.  It wasn’t perfect – but it seemed high tech at the time.

The interface allowed you to keep track of the metal count, you could see the events – kind of carnival style and it still looked like a website.

How bad is internet in Australia?

Side note: the Olympics video streaming technically started at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, which is kind of funny really – Australia has been known for its slow internet speeds and in 2000 it was worse.

Other Side Note: There were some things rumbling back in 2008 for streaming “regular” TV.  But none has sports yet.

But it wasn’t what we all wanted.  We want all the bells and whistles of the NBC live Olympics show – but the ability to watch the sport we want, when we want to watch it.

2016 Olympics Event Streaming

Hello Roku.  (It works on many streaming players…but I am in love with my Roku 4.)

This is the breakout year for streaming TV - NBC Olympic coverage is the best it has ever been.

streaming_optionsNote:  You’ll need to download the NBC Sports app or go to the NBC website to view it there.

The coverage is amazing.  It could be the breakout year for streaming TV, I mean – you can see what has been on, what is on and what is coming up.  Its what TV can be when you break the mold and try some new things.  Its not perfect – but its really, really good.

I just got done watching women’s table tennis, recapped the 10m air rifle (which I had no idea was even an Olympic sport before now), women’s handball and a whole bunch of swimming events.

judo

Oh, and also – I can still catch-up on the NBC website too.  While researching this article – I found out the 112th ranked Zambian Judo dude beat the 6th ranked dude.

hakaI also learned what the “Haka” is and that I already knew what it was because of some silly rugby movie I watched 3 years ago, (It was Forever Strong or Invictus) but I didn’t realize the dance had a real name – hey, I’m ignorant.

bballI didn’t learn this, it was more of an expectation…the USA Basketball team was dunking all over china.  And I mean MONSTER dunks…not those other remedial dunks.

Breakout Year for Streaming TV – Thank you Olympics and NBC

The coverage is Amazong.  I have almost watched more Olympics this year than any year ever – and its day 3.  I have been exposed to more sports than ever and I am excited about some of the other, different sports I have an opportunity to see this year.  Its the Olympics my way, on my schedule.

It shows the future of streaming – its the way TV should be.  We don’t need to have Bob Costas tell us everything (but I will say – the informational piece he did with the CDC dude on why the zika virus is not a huge issue to you in Brazil unless your pregnant (if you are pregnant…stay the hell out of Brazil) – but if you are not and are in any water…it probably has poo in it.)

So if you give me what I want…what I really, really want

Compelling, streaming content.  I hope other providers, networks and media types are taking notes.  This is how I want my TV.  The sooner – the better!  I don’t want to mount a dish to my roof, I don’t want to put a TV antenna in my window, I don’t want to pay you $200 a month for the privilege of you spamming the crap out of me and giving me 130 channels I don’t want, so I can get the 7 I do.

Oh, and sports networks.  (Big 10, ACC, SEC, NBA, NFL, MLB (you’ve been trying) – and ahem, ESPN) – this live streaming of TV works great.  LIVE sports is the last mile – its what we all want people.

And, Monday Night Football – what if I could watch any camera feed I WANT.  How about that?  I can still hear the commentary, if I WANT.  Rewind the things I want…but I don’t want to see your repetitive shot.  Why does every football play have to be wide angle croud shot, cut to sideline coach calling in the play on the headset, cut to QB ISO, cut to rear view…make it stop.  Maybe all I want to see if the linemen.  I like watching the ground game – the trenches…let me see that please.

Let me know when this goes down…in the mean time, I’ll be watching the Olympics.  I hear that badminton and modern pentathlon are coming up.  And I need to watch that dude crash into the wall on the bike again.  What the heck…it didn’t even look like he tried to turn at all.  And why didn’t dude in the green shirt take a picture of that?

This Olympic bike crash gives new meaning to "breakout year for streaming TV"

Communication is hard.

Why is it so hard for us to communicate?  Seriously – communication is hard.  We seem to assume everyone has a google search box into our subconscious.  (Which may not be too far away.)

the-insties-emailI was looking at my phone yesterday – and Instagram (I like to call it “the insties“) had updated and the icon changed.  I was kind of surprised as it was a “drastic” change to the logo and I didn’t recognize it at first.  I kind of thought it was odd – but whatever…then, today I received an email from “the insties” and it told me to be on the lookout for the new app and logo.

Not that it really matters…but it I guess it surprised me.  As your “the insties” email probably told you, look for a updated app icon.  That is true – and it is very different…not sure I’m a fan of the gradient, but they didn’t ask me.  And they were making a big deal about how the “rainbow lives on” – I had never associated a rainbow with Instagram…but they did, wonder if they ever communicated that to people?

The email went on to explain how they had really simplified the app design.  I’m not going to lie, I didn’t notice anything except where it looked like they took the background out…if they wouldn’t have said anything, I would have figured Apple made a change…and moved on.

So – I guess what I am saying is this seems like a pretty big deal to “the insties”  – and I am sure a ton of time and energy when into this.  Taken from a guy who has spent no less than 300 hours in meetings about logos over the years…I can only imaging the discussions that happened when they started this process.  Seriously – the probably should have recorded it and broadcast it as reality TV…I would have binge watched that in a heart beat.  Nerds and designers fighting about what color rainbow gradient colors to put in the upper left corner versus the right lower…ha, Oscar stuff.  I am not joking – that would have been killer.  I mean to have a designer go on a tyrant about how that color yellow is too warm and people who use this app are cool yellow lovers and the warm makes it feel too much like San Diego and we are clearly going for a San Francisco yellow crowd vibe.  Stellar.

Everything I know about communication can be wrapped up in one statement – you really cannot communicate enough.  People desire communication and the more time which goes between communication opportunities – the more context is lost.

Good luck – don’t forget to communicate early and often and please call me if you will be discussing nay logo changes.  I’ll get on that conference call any day.

 

Exponential Change

I work for a company called Clickstop…and we’ve worked very hard to grow a lot.  We’ve averaged a 30+% growth path over the last 5 years.  That is when many companies were experiencing flatness and downturns.  And the growth we’ve experienced – its good.  But its not great.  Not like exponential growth.

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Exponential Change

It takes think VERY differently.  Because, if it didn’t – the you would have experienced wild growth in the things you are already doing.   So when I read information which talk about how companies are doing things different…it catches my attention.  And when the “things” are exponentially better than a BIG player – it REALLY catches my attention.  This is the case with Maple.

As fastcompany.com pointed out…Chipolte is the “current’ gold standard when it comes to getting more customers through lunch with a very fast 300 meals per hour or one transaction every 12 seconds.  Impressive.

Turns out, in February, they were pushing out 1100 meals – cooked and delivered in one hour.  Where can you do and see this wonderful feat…you can’t.  They have no retail.  Correct – there is not a store front, food truck or hot dog cart to visit.  The only way to get the goods is to go online.

The technology does stop there – they have a fully geeked out kitchen with advanced routing for its bicycle delivery troop which replies on highly efficient maps.

This is great – but you don’t have a food business.

Good point – how can you think like one?  What could you do differently that gets 10x more product out the door?  This is what Maple did.  And they save money doing it – because they don’t need high priced real estate to drive costs up.

If you think about it – this type of growth is all around us.  Look a the number of roads we have in the United States today vs what we had in 1955.  There are way more square feet of roads than ever before.  It’s very true with computers and Moore’s law.

How do yo do it?

If we had that answer – wouldn’t we be rich?  The fact is – it is hard.  You need to change people’s mindset and change the comfort zone.  This kind of change is not easy.

Entrepreneur as a cheat sheet and I added some of my own for good measure:

  1. Trim the fat – take into account the business process.
  2. Automate – especially if you are in a services business.  The rates will never go down – only up.
  3. Know your business – its a tight rope, you don’t want to be so close you can’t see the necessary change…but you need to change to live.
  4. Enable and Empower – you have to put the power in the people’s hands who see it every day.  They need to run the daily work and know they are trusted.
  5. Share – you must find others like yourself and share information and tricks.  This is a serious fast-forward.

Good luck in your endevours and let us know if you get food from Maple – for now we will just have to dream.

What is an Amazon Tap? Over priced Bluetooth speaker?

amazon-tapAround 18 months ago Amazon launched the Echo.  And it is pretty cool…its a wifi information center and bluetooth speaker.  But it was big.  And it needed to be plugged in.  And – it was kind of expensive.  I mean, I was able to get into the beta sale at $99, but it is now $180.  Is it worth it…I think it might be.  We have ours set up in the bathroom – and its a great information center for the family each day as we prepare.

So – in walks Amazon Tap.

Biggest difference…its not voice activated.  Here is Amazon Tap.  You tap it, then speak and let it know what you want to do.  With the right connections, you can do so many cool things:

  • Play songs from Prime music by just saying “Play Bruno Mars from Prime Music”
  • Play music from Pandora “Play Today’s Hits station on Pandora”
  • Order pizza “Ask Domino’s for my Easy Order”
  • Get a ride “Ask Uber for a ride”
  • Get information “What is the weather in Los Angeles”

When connected to Wi-Fi you can access Alexa, which the same cloud-based voice service that the Echo uses.  It is always improving – and getting “smarter”.   All you do is tap the microphone button and make your request.

Use Amazon Tap on your nightstand

Because it has a built in battery, the Amazon Tap has a battery which can play for 9 hours.  And when Amazon Tap’s battery is low Alexa will say “Just so you know, the battery is currently low.”

Also – a great charging cradle is part of the deal too – which makes a super simple to charge without all the hassles of plugs and cords.  Just set it in the cradle and its charging.

amazon-tap-02

Amazon Tap Details:

  • Just tap and ask for music from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn
  • Uses the Alexa Voice Service when connected to Wi-Fi or a mobile hotspot to play music, read the news, provide weather reports, and even order a pizza
  • Streams all your music via Bluetooth from your phone or tablet
  • Delivers crisp sound powered by Dolby, with dual stereo speakers that provide 360º omni-directional audio
  • Provides up to 9 hours of playback
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features and skills
  • Includes Charging Cradle

Amazon Tap Technical Specs:

Size: Amazon Tap: 6.2" x 2.6" x 2.6" (159 mm x 66 mm x 66 mm);
Charging Cradle: 0.6" x 2.6" x 2.6" (15 mm x 66 mm x 66 mm)
Weight: Amazon Tap: 16.6 oz. (470 grams);
Charging Cradle: 3.8 oz. (109 grams)
Battery Life Up to 9 hours of continuous playback. Battery life will vary based on device settings, usage, and environmental factors. Actual results may vary.
Wi-Fi Connectivity Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or mobile hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA, and WPA2 security using password authentication
Bluetooth Connectivity Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Amazon Tap.  Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices. Media control over AVRCP is not supported for Mac OS X devices.
Audio Dual 1.5-inch drivers and dual passive radiators for bass extension
System Requirements Amazon Tap comes ready to connect to your home Wi-Fi. The Alexa App is compatible with Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices and also accessible via your web browser. Certain skills and services may require subscription or other fees. When tethering to a mobile device hotspot, standard data rates may apply.
Warranty and Service 1-year limited warranty and service included. Optional 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year extended warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately. Use of Amazon Tap is subject to the terms found here.Included in the BoxAmazon Tap, Charging Cradle, microUSB cable and adapter, and quick start guide

Use your voice to type your next letter…voice typing

There are a number of commercial applications you can add to your computer to do “speech to text” and control your input.  Most people are familiar with the Dragon product line – these work great.  They have been a fantastic help to people who have trouble typing or just may be slow at the keyboard.

speech-to-textBut, as I was working on a employee review the other day – I was surprised by the little microphone that popped up in my Google doc.  I have to admit – the combination of speech to text and just moving the cursor around where I needed it worked very, very well.

Google introduces Voice Typing

Issac Green said, when they released the new feature – “We launched Voice typing in Docs to help you capture ideas, compose a letter, or even write the next great novel—all without touching your keyboard. Starting today, you can also edit and format your documents with your voice.”.

Here’s a video with more explanation: