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The Hyperconnected Holidays

Once again, we're full swing into the holidays and already beyond the biggest shopping days of the year. Like last year, we should ask ourselves what this means in terms of so many more connected devices coming online that were given as gifts during the holiday season. When these devices are removed from their packaging and connected, everyone involved in the ecosystem needs to be prepared to support the consumer.

In the spirit of the holidays and good fun, I present "The Twelve Days of Hyperconnectivity." I'll just ask that you allow a little leeway to make it work!

The first day of hyper connectivity gave to me, a connected device under the tree
The second day of hyper connectivity gave to me, a fully charged battery
The third day of hyper connectivity gave to me, Wi-fi and 4G
The fourth day of hyper connectivity gave to me, network services connecting
The fifth day of hyper connectivity gave to me, software patches loading
The sixth day of hyper connectivity gave to me, digital goods to shop for
The seventh day of hyper connectivity gave to me, gift codes to redeem
The eighth day of hyper connectivity gave to me, logins and passcodes
The ninth day of hyper connectivity gave to me, lots of apps downloading
The tenth day of hyper connectivity gave to me, lots of music and video streaming
The eleventh day of hyper connectivity gave to me, video games playing
The twelfth day of hyper connectivity gave to me, video chats running

In all seriousness, we are in a world where everyone from the connected device manufacturers and media, gaming and app businesses, to retailers, wireless carriers and broadband operators all need to be preparing. When someone first opens their connected holiday gift, they are going to want to use it, which means connecting, finding the content they want, obtaining the content and using the content. The quality of this consumer experience directly affects all the businesses involved. If part of the experience is poor, the consumer doesn't necessarily know who to contact to solve an issue, meaning anyone in the chain could get support inquiries. And if consumers can't solve issues they run into, then products are returned and exchanged.
This all takes planning and prep. Did the consumer get the right chargers and accessories from the retailer? Does the consumer have the right connectivity services and data plans to user their device? Does the consumer have the appropriate rights and access to get to the content they want or store it in the cloud? Will the consumer's private information be protected? Are the apps the consumer wants compatible with their device? Are the media in the right format for their device so it will play at the best possible quality? Are there enough game services to allow them to play online?  

By planning ahead, everyone involved can be ready to scale, ensure access to and optimize compatibility of virtual goods, protect users and their access rights, and ensure a great hyperconnected holiday experience. To learn more, visit Akamai's holiday planning site and keep track of holiday Internet conditions with our Real-time Web Monitor.

During CES 2013 in Las Vegas, I'll be discussing connected device and entertainment trends as part of the Digital Hollywood Inventing TV 2.0 panel and in a DCIA Content in the Cloud Conference keynote, both on Wednesday, January 9th.

Kris Alexander is Chief Strategist, Connected Devices and Gaming, at Akamai.

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