The 20th Annual Genesys Partners Venture Dinner — Genesys XX– Tuesday night at the Union League Club in New York included nearly 100 invited venture capitalists, investors, journalists, entrepreneurs, and industry executives. As always, Jim Kollegger — CEO of Genesys Partners and one of the pioneers of the information industry — was an elegant master of ceremonies. The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) presented the Peter Jackson Innovation Award to Jim for the innovation and leadership roles he has played in the content industry.
Following his template of at least the last five years, Jim introduced the various sponsors, next day panelists for the SIIA Conference, several startup CEO’s, and a few of us who speak each years. Following is a synopsis of what I had to say.
Like a broken record, I offered the normal upbeat view of the future of the Internet but prefaced my remarks by asserting that we are only 10-15% of the way there. In other words, of all the things that could be done on the Internet that would save us time and make our lives better, only 10-15% of them are there. It may sound low, but consider retail e-commerce. Although there has been continuous double-digit growth of retail e-commerce for eighteen years, it still represents just 5.5% of total retail (as of the end of October).
I made a side reflection about the fact that while the total United States retail e-commerce for 2013 will come in at somewhere around $250 billion, one company — Amazon — amassed nearly $70 billion in revenue during the past year. Why isn’t retail e-commerce 25% instead of 5%? Much is written about that here at patrickWeb and in my book, Net Attitude, but the short version is that there are still a lot of lame web sites. “Click here for the location of our nearest dealer where you can visit” or “call to buy the product you just found” or “Click here to download this form and fax it to us”. How about healthcare? How is it fairing in terms of exploiting the Internet? Oh, if only it could be 5% of the way there! Don’t you love the ubiquitous clipboards at doctor offices where we take a pen and provide a lot of information information that they already have? In the years ahead, I am hopeful that healthcare delivery will operate more like Amazon.
I then offered my view of the status of the Internet and health care. This is one man’s view of the evolution of the Internet including the seven characteristics I discuss every year. The things going on under each characteristic continuously change and Jim asks me once a year to do a thumbnail sketch of my latest thinking.
Broadband in the U.S. is not a pretty story compared to other parts of the world. The problem is that the FCC is a political organization and there are too many lobbyists – AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon have more lawyers than the FCC does. The FCC has developed rules to preserve Net Neutrality. The concept is not to disallow different pricing for different user demands, but to prevent balkanization of the Internet where an operator and a content company might form an exclusive arrangement that blocks access for others. Verizon sued the FCC and was upheld. However, the Federal judge ruling also validated the FCC’s ability to regulate broadband. Certainly more to come. Verizon may end up sorry they sued.
WiFi is part of the fabric of the world. The big shift is streaming of data — not just tweets, but data from *things*. Bridges, toll booths, traffic lights, buildings, cars, and health monitoring devices attached to people. Hospital physicians may soon be adjusting the drip rate on infusion pumps in the hospital from their office based on real-time data from the patient. The creation of data is staggering. In healthcare, always on means better care for patients with chronic illness and home healthcare telemonitoring may grow ten-fold over the next few years. Gigabit WiFi is here and will provide dramatic performance improvement for office buildings, campuses, and homes. Ultra HD 4K TV will be streaming to multiple large flat panels throughout the home — with no network cables.
In last year’s “Everywhere” I talked about the billion computers (including tablets), one billion cars, one and a half billion televisions, two billion Internet users, and nearly six billion paid cellular subscribers. Last night I talked about 3D printing. It is happening everywhere and having the effect of the industrial revolution. 3D printing touches every segment, but I am most impressed with what is happening in regenerative medicine. Researchers in the U.K. have developed a technique to simultaneously print a scaffold and living stem cells to create human bone tissue. Eventually, any body part will be replaceable. Today, Alan Meckler launched a new mutual fund exclusively investing in 3D printing. Symbol is TDPIX.
Social networking continues to be fundamental to healthcare and spawns vertical sites such as patientslikeme.com. Further empowering consumers are sites like zocdoc.com that allow you to make doctor appointments in a simple and useful way. The newly emerging trend is for consumers to perform self-diagnosis. Doctors worry consumers may self-diagnose, then self-prescribe, and possibly self-destruct. However, new techniques such as Isabel can put patients in the loop, gain highly accurate information through differential diagnostic technology, and improve the productivity of doctors.
The biggest growth of intelligence is occurring in the field of analytics. Exabytes of data are being stored. Analytics will enable businesses to make sense of it, model their business, and continuously adapt to what is going on. IBM’s Watson took on humans on the Jeopardy Show, but what is more interesting is the ability for a primary care physician to call and get a recommendation based on patient data they describe to Watson. Within a couple of seconds Watson will be able to review all relevant medical information in the world and make a useful suggestion. Within 5-10 years, Watson may be available on a smartphone.
This may be the year for TV to get easier. Last year I talked about the three remotes — BlueRay, Cable box, and TV — including 153 buttons. Even a savvy child could not possibly master this impossible user interface. Boxee TV has produced a good model of the future of TV. Since last year, they were acquired by Samsung and Samsung is now working with Opera to develop a really easy to use platform for TV. I suspect that an upcoming Apple TV will be what finally provides the needed cable TV regime change. An Apple TV remote has three buttons.
There are many dimensions to trust — both with the Internet and healthcare. Last night I talked about Bitcoin. With Bitcoin, we are trusting the Internet and cryptography. The evolution of Bitcoin has all the trappings of the web of 1995. Rather than repeat myself, please visit this link for several stories I posted about Bitcoin in the last couple of weeks.
If you are interested in the healthcare comments, you may want to take a look at the posting from last year’s dinner. See Genesys events. You can find me at