My Favorite Technologies of 2012
During a string of panel discussions punctuating the last two weeks, one question persisted: What were your favorite new technologies of 2012?
Here’s my short list. Two were actually new in 2012; one was new to me.
Fav #1: Voice mail that comes over as a transcripted email. I learned about it word-of-mouth from a Comcast person during the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, and immediately signed up.
I like it because it saves at least four steps common to retrieving messages. Plus, the transcriptions are so bad, they’re great! Most of the time, in fact, they’re downright hilarious, usually involving at least one suppressed guffaw.
Recent example: “Hi Fred, it’s Vicky. How many animals in the evening? It’s interesting, have you ever had pneumonia done on all of that? Anyway Wednesday is the day for working out of the bath. Doggone it what number should we try to reach you on?”
And all the while, you know essentially who called, and why. (The proprietor of the local beekeeping store), about a meeting she was planning (Wednesday), and that I’d have to join by phone (doggone it!)
The steps saved: Instead of having to unlock your phone (step 1), dial into voice mail (2), enter a password (3) and listen through who knows how many other messages (4+), you get an email transcription.
They’re almost always this entertaining, and a corollary part of what makes the service so fun is forwarding the message on to the person who called. (Please! Comcast! Don’t fix it too much!)
Fav #2: “AnyPlay,” another Comcast service, which plays out live, linear video to my iPad.
Those of you who check this column with any regularity know that I maintain an over-the-top video lab at the office – but it and all of its screens are in a back room. Near my desk, alas! No TV. Until AnyPlay. With it, I can happily tune in to “House Hunters International” for hours of TV background noise, while working.
Fav #3 in 2012: Pandora. At least until I learn how to use Spotify. (Anybody, anybody?)
That two of my top three favorite new technologies in a year come from a cable operator is both surprising and delightful. And because this week contains Thanksgiving, I’d be remiss in not thanking the home team. Thanks cable people!
This column originally appeared in the Platforms section of Multichannel News.