Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Forrester: I've Seen The Future, And Its Name Is Sync. (Too Bad It'll Take So Long To Get Here.)

Ted Schadler at Forrester posts on his Devices, Media, And The Future Of Everything blog about his wish for a "company that can synchronize everything in my little digital universe -- photos, songs, contacts, bookmarks, blog posts -- on my PC, phone, and any other device I happen to throw at you, will win my heart forever."

Schadler is frustrated that he can't syncronize contacts, emails and and photos between various platforms and devices. On the subject of photos, he notes that "Forrester's research shows that 53% of online consumers share photos via email and 15% of mobile phone owners send or receive emails on their phone."

Schadler knows he could probably figure out some techy workarounds but rightfully asks "why doesn't sync just work? Why does the digital universe make me work so hard to do the things that feel natural? The answer is that nobody ever thought about sync, they just thought about standalone devices, applications, and services."

Schadler rights about two sync startups at DEMO that are tackling the problem: Vizrea and SharpCast. He points out that "both firms offer a photo synchronization service that let me get pictures from my PC to my Phone to a Web Site and back again (oh, and a whole lot more, too -- check out their Web sites to get the details)," and "both companies have invested heavily in synchronization servers and software."

He believes this presents both an opportunity and a problem. On the opportunity front, the platform approach addresses sync's biggest challenges, "There is no single killer application; there's only my killer application," noting consumers want didn't features such as photo, contacts, video, and email sync. He thinks the "company that builds out and brings to market the best synchronization platform will win."

Schadler thinks the problem is that "each kind of synchronization involves a different application, a different retail channel partner, and a different stakeholder." This will require "dealing with all those different groups, one for each kind of synchronization will slow everything down."