Wednesday, 2 January 2008

2008 Technologies reshaping Market Research

On January 1st, the BBC News website gives its prediction for 5 technologies that could become big in 2008.
  1. Web-to-go
  2. Ultra mobile PCs
  3. IPTV
  4. Wimax
  5. Mobile VoIP
While browsing through their predictions, I asked myself:

How will these technologies be able to contribute to the Market Research industry?

1. Web-to-go One of the biggest drawbacks of online survey is that most of them can only be used when there is an internet connection. But according to the BBC there are tools that are beginning to blur the online and offline worlds. Three new technologies were introduced in 2007: Google Gears, Adobe's Air and Microsoft's Silverlight.

These applications will influence how we use the Internet: these three applications enable us to use web content offline. For example Adobe has shown off an Ebay desktop application built using Air that would allow users to do much of the legwork required in setting up auctions offline. The next time the user connects to the internet the listing would be posted to the website.

Could the same apply to online surveys?

2. Ultra mobile PCs Various devices have tried to fill the role between a PDA and a full-blown laptop over the years, but none has taken off. But 2008 could be the year when the Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPCs) finally have their day.

The first devices were launched in 2006, but they have never gone mass market - partly because of a combination of high prices and poor battery life.

But towards the end of 2007 a series of new products started to hit shelves. The Asus EEE may be able to close the gap with its relatively cheap notebook (~300 Euro). It's about the size of a hard-covered book. Apple is supposed to launch an ultra-thin Macbook later this year.

Will these ulta mobile PCs close the gap between "cheap" paper-and-pencil and "expensive" CAPI research?

3. IPTV Internet TV has been hampered in the past and so have questionnaires based on ITV technologies. But with the increasing popularity of IPTV services as Joost (or for Holland Mine tv what will these bring to our industry?

4. WIMAX Wimax is a wireless technology that can deliver high speed broadband over long distances. It is already big in the US with companies such as Sprint and Intel backing the technology. The BBC predicts that Europe is next (they probably refer to UK only, I assume). Not sure what the relevance for our industry may be...

5. Mobile VoIP VoIP is a technology that allows users to make cheap phone calls over the internet. Skipe is probably the best known provider. Although some firms such as Jajah and Truphone have offered VoIP on mobiles the technology is still relatively nascent.

However, 2008 could be the year the technology takes off. Towards the end of 2007, network operator 3 launched a Skype phone that allows users to make calls using the service, already popular for making calls from PCs. Handset-maker Nokia also offers four phones with the ability to use the technology. Mobile VoIP is still at a very early stage but how may this reshape the way we organise CATI telephone interviewing? How may it decrease costs? How will we be able to connect to the increasing population of those who are not having a land-line telephone?

I am sure that in 2008 in the research industry we will have our usual mix of heartbreak and triumph but it makes for an interesting job! I look forward to 2008 and I hope so are you. I wish you all my very best for the New Year!


  1. I like your idea of adapting online surveys to use Google Gears. If you have any questions about Gears while you work with it or feedback feel free to contact me. I'm working with the Gears team now.

    Brad Neuberg
    Google Developer Program

  2. Anonymous02 May, 2008

    And the #1 thing all the technology makes possible…Offshoring everything:

  3. Five technologies describe here is really effective for market research.Great information provided in this blog.I really appreciate it..keep sharing such valuable knowledge for us..