Live from Digital Directions 2011 – Gigi Wang @ MIT/Standford Venture Lab #DD11

The final speaker before lunch at Digital Directions 2011 was Gigi Wang, the chair emeritus of the MIT/Stanford Venture Lab, based in San Francisco. In a wide-ranging discussion Wang covered many of the trends that affecting media, from the rise of sensors and connected machines to the opportunities to use games and virtual goods to engage with consumers.

She also talked about the rise of ad network in mobile and online, and the ability to step and try new mediums, and about the rise of data exchanges and data sales companies such as BlueKai (whose CEO Omar Tawakol is feature in A Faster Future). Another hot topic discussed was vision computing, which makes extracts information from images and makes them ‘machine-readable’ and hence more interactive.

The final topic she discussed was cannibalisation, and the need to think more creatively about the way that content is monetised across different media. Online brings many more opportunities for engagement that can be monetised beyond the cover price.

“Don’t be afraid, just figure out the business models when you go digital – you can give away the app, but you don’t have to give away everything associated,” Wang said.