The morning is off to a great start with a few home networking/digital media boxes for consumers. The battle for the home is in full swing between MSFT’s vision of the PC as the gateway to the home and companies like Akimbo, BravoBrava!, and Molino Networks bringing full digital media management to the set top box. It is truly quite amazing how much functionality continues to be added to these consumer devices, and how easy they make it for the consumer to view, listen and share their CDs, DVDs, downloaded video, and pictures. See Jeff Nolan’s blog for more information. If I were Microsoft and Tivo I would be worried.
One of the problems with collaboration via Webx and Placeware is that it is still not easy to use, the pricing is not friendly, and it requires users to schedule meetings in advance. Today’s companies, Convoq, Sightspeed, and GoToMeeting (Expertcity-a portfolio company) are all designed to allow users to take advantage of the daily, ad-hoc and spontaneous meetings that are not currently captured by the incumbents. Not only do they bring disruptive technology to the market making it incredibly simple to organize meetings and web video conferences but also disruptive pricing to increase usage. So if I were Webx and Placeware, I would keep an eye out for these companies which will allow users to host unlimited meetings for fixed monthly costs.