By: Brenda J. Trainor
Digital Transition Impacts Small Business
You can’t watch more than 30 minutes of television lately without hearing about the digital transition of broadcast channels set to occur in February 2009, and you may be surprised to learn that this transition might mean a few things for small business owners.
The surprising thing is that the implications for business are not related to television , but to digital - all things digital! The reasons that broadcast signals are going digital, is because pretty much all of our information processing is going digital. And if our information processing is all going digital it won’t make much difference how it is being transmitted—whether voice, video, or data, digital information is just so many bits on a path.
The policy wonks will tell you that going digital is going to enable new technologies to use the airwaves currently occupied by broadcast signals - for free over-the-air tv. And we’ll still have some free tv, but it will be in a digital format and it will require new equipment to receive it.
So what does this mean for business? It means that all our information appliances are going to start acting like each other - we’ll answer the telephone through the television, and replay tv shows on our laptops, and show our emails on our mobile phones.
So as we will all become used to the transference of information to whatever device is most convenient, the way we shop and make purchases is going to continue to evolve. We’ll want product and pricing information in a way that is easily transferable across technologies, and that is portable, from our house to our office or to the metro - or to the airport or the cabin by lake. Our work, our households, and our fun will be transportable, and more easily so because it will all be digital.
Television is a very powerful medium - it is words and pictures and sound, and is a very rich form of communication - and more effectively conveys emotion as well as information because of the depth and variety of pathways. And as consumers, we all know that our emotions affect what we want and what we buy.
When businesses connect with customers on an emotional level they design better products that meet more of their consumer needs. That is good business. So the implication of all this digital transition is that it will become more important for businesses to understand how to use video, and to create transportable messages that have emotional appeal.
And that means we have to look for creative tools that help us make good video messages. One of my favorite companies creating cool products is Pinnacle Systems, Inc. (visit their web site: www.pinnaclesys.com ). This is a company that makes affordable, simple, and handy devices that make the use of video really easy, and encourages creativity and effectiveness. While Pinnacle targets the consumer market, I have found that many of their products make it easier to do my work. If I want to transfer a video from the internet to watch on an airplane, I can use a Pinnacle Video Transfer to quickly and easily grab video from one device to transport to another - it has a USB port so I can pop a video onto a memory stick and not even have to use a DVD. It is handy and simple and easy to use.
Pinnacle makes a whole line of neat devices and software for both PC and Macs that make it easy to move video around across devices and makes it really easy to edit videos using only a standard laptop. That means I can incorporate video messages easily into my presentations, and create videos that I can post to blogs, or to websites. I can shoot demonstrations (even using the video feature on my cell phone) and easily compile some shots from the field to bring back to the office for management to review. If a picture is worth a thousand words, just think what a video compilation is worth - especially if it is quick and neat and easy to watch with high quality.
Pinnacle even makes a very small device that you can plug in to your laptop that turns it into an HDTV receiver - yep, I can snap this little gizzy into my computer when I’m stuck somewhere (like an airport) and pick up free tv - and it is digital and it looks great. and it will continue to work after February 2009. Change is getting good!
Brenda J. Trainor
Frontier Trail, Inc.
Monrovia, CA 91017