When Steve Jobs resigned as Apple’s CEO, there was much discussion of how he seemingly single-handedly transformed the music industry. In the wake of his departure, it’s worth thinking about which other industries are about to be completely transformed by the power of the Internet. TechRepublic’s Jason Hiner sees four:
“Hollywood is experimenting with the idea of selling movies directly to consumers at home (streamed over the Internet) at the same time the movies arrive in theaters. Of course, movie studios will charge a higher fee (possibly $30). But, since many families already pay $50 or more to go to the movies and others would rather save time and watch it in the comfort of their own homes, there is definitely consumer demand for direct delivery. Thirty dollars may be too high, but this will happen eventually, and it will likely result in more people watching movies from home than traveling to a theater.”
Our Take: Agreed! Hollywood knows how many entertainment options are available to the American family. If it wants to hold our attention, it’s going to have to reach into our homes to grab it any way that it can.
“The move to electronic medical records — and a portable EMR that the patient (not the healthcare provider) controls — is long overdue. And, when it happens, it will not only shift the investment in healthcare dollars away from old processes and products and into a lot more IT systems, but it also has the potential to give patients more ownership of their own healthcare experience, which could have unforeseen consequences for pricing, provider choice and provider accountability”
Our Take: It’s hard to be optimistic about IT being some kind of magic solution for a system that’s so incredibly mired in profit motives, special interests and entrenched inefficiencies. But keep in mind that healthcare continues to be IT’s fastest-growing sector and perhaps a place to steer the next phase of your career.
3. Book Publishing
“The Internet is about to completely democratize the publishing process for books. The combination of e-readers, electronic audiobooks and print-on-demand have lowered the barriers to entry and made it so that authors no longer need publishing houses. They can take their work straight to the masses — or, more accurately, straight to their niche audiences, in most cases. This completely changes the economics of book publishing for an author by making it very profitable to sell only 5,000-10,000 books.”
Our Take: Self-publishing a book and selling 5,000 copies is unlikely to be “very profitable,” but more authors will get their voices heard. Still, we need publishing houses to find the best talent and alert us to it.
4. Financial Payments
“Most of us still carry a wallet full of plastic cards with magnetic strips in order to connect with a merchant and tell it which account to draw from in order to pay for a purchase. That’s about to change, thanks to a combination of smartphones and the mobile Internet. In what is sometimes called the ‘electronic wallet’ or ‘digital wallet,’ consumers will soon be able to carry all of their accounts as digital tokens in their smartphones and then interface with a merchant to verify identity (with two-factor authentication) and choose which account to pay from.”
Our Take: This may take a while. The U.S. is falling behind in this area, perhaps because competing service providers are not motivated to cooperate on standards.
What other industries are ready to be transformed?