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NFTs create new digital business opportunities, but beware the potential pitfalls

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This post was written by Christophe Uzureau, research vice-president at Gartner.

From the first tweet selling for $2.9 million to the famed “Disaster Girl” meme selling for more than $500K, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are not only making headlines, but they’re making some of their creators lots of money. And as with any new, potentially lucrative technology, NFTs are leading executives to wonder: Can this create value for my business?

An NFT is a blockchain-based, monetized record of unique, noninterchangeable information that represents a digital asset. NFTs can link to any form of digital asset, such as art, text, videos, photos, songs or lines of code. NFTs can also represent, in a tokenized form, any digitally represented artifact (a physical asset that has been digitized).

While there has been much excitement around NFTs, the technology has also faced significant hype and skepticism. Critics of NFTs cite factors including:

  • The value manifested in the NFTs is often intangible, highly volatile and based on sometimes inflated social media concepts of reputation.
  • The NFT market has different layers of decentralization so it’s not economically friction-less.
  • The underlying asset can be altered, even deleted or moved after the NFT sale.
  • The party purchasing the NFT doesn’t necessarily get automatic ownership or control over the underlying asset.

The nascent version of NFTs and their ecosystem certainly has these potential flaws, and it’s clear that the digital infrastructure, business processes and governance supporting NFT exchanges still needs to evolve. However, NFTs are not just another speculative asset.

NFTs present an opportunity for digital business leaders, as they enable organizations to create new business models, extend the value of existing products and services and enter new markets. They also provide an alternative way to invest in and finance projects, as well as opportunities for trading and investing in a new digital asset class.

Here are four things executive leaders need to know about the opportunities presented by NFTs and how the technology can impact digital business.

NFTs demonstrate the value of programmability

NFTs are programmable instruments. They can be programmed using blockchain-enabled technologies to reflect and execute predetermined conditions or rules set out by the issuer.

For example, the music group Kings of Leon recently issued NFTs representing access to digital files containing a new album release. Some of these NFTs included software code that guaranteed purchasers of the NFT rights to front-row seats at future Kings of Leon concerts.

This kind of programmability affords an opportunity to target specific conditions or rights that can be executed as an embedded part of a transaction. These economics create a different kind of commercial landscape, customer experience and engagement model and reinforce brand resonance with targeted audiences.

NFTs support the decentralization of finance

NFTs operate on the principle of decentralized finance, in which assets and participants in a market operate on a person-to-person basis. Cryptocurrencies tend to be the preferred medium of exchange, and the intention is that there will be no centralized intermediaries involved in the market. However, it’s important to note that there is currently intense competition to become the dominant NFT marketplace, so there’s a risk of centralization of market power as the market matures.

A benefit of decentralization is that it provides the capability for value to be captured directly by the asset creators, initially at sale and potentially as a form of annuity. For example, artists can now be directly compensated by patrons through NFT purchases; artists can also define the royalty rates and decide whether to transfer copyrights.

Consequently, NFTs provide another building block in the decentralized finance infrastructure to accommodate nonhuman actors, such as smart machines. The rollout of 5G and IoT infrastructure and blockchain-enabled smart cities provide core mechanisms that autonomous agents can use to conduct transactions. NFTs could be one type of digital asset that monetizes those transactions. As potentially billions of autonomous agents go online and become “ machine customers ,” this presents a significant economic opportunity for enterprises to monetize previously illiquid assets.

NFTs generate new digital products

The centuries-old economic structure of relying on government-issued currency imposes limitations on how commercial transactions are conducted and how assets are valued and exchanged. These nondigital financial systems inhibit the creation and fair distribution of economic value.

The ability to make all assets interchangeable, whether physical or digital, and to enable new forms of assets to be valued — such as social media reputation or social behaviors — accelerates digital business. This opens the door to bring a huge array of new digital product development to a vast new audience.

For example, the National Basketball Assn. rolled out a Top Shot Moments initiative this spring that creates digital tokens of video clips of memorable dunks or other scores. In this instance, the data exchanges within the community of fans and the NBA could themselves become data assets. Using NFTs would enable the valuation of data assets generated by an enterprise, such as sales or customer behavior.

In this way, NFTs provide an opportunity to explore the digital fractionalization of commerce. Any type of asset can be digitized, and that digital representation is monetized and shared on a peer-to-peer basis. Terms and conditions of doing business are set by the commercial participants, not by a centralized intermediary. This means previously disenfranchised actors can now access and use assets that were unattainable. Instead of global commerce being limited to a largely known quantity of asset stock, with NFT and decentralized finance the sum of the parts is many times greater than the whole.

How to create digital value using NFTs

To take advantage of these opportunities and guard against threats, executive leaders building a digital business need to take steps to prepare for the future of NFTs.

First, since the introduction of NFTs signals the restructuring of industries, products and processes, it’s important to map the business’ ecosystem to acquire a better understanding of how value flows through customers and business partners.

Then, track and monitor NFT early adopters. The obvious disruptive shifts in the music, media, art, gaming and sports industries will be felt first. There will also likely be pressure facing the financial services industry as it introduces financial products in the form of NFTs as collateral. Organizations in all industries can consider adopting new funding and payment mechanisms that account for a decentralized financial approach.

Finally, consider participating in data market creation. Any of the many industries involved with the creation of data assets should consider the opportunity provided by NFT protocols to monetize that data by creating new markets.

Although the current versions of NFTs are predominantly limited to a small set of digital assets, the groundwork is being laid for broader applicability moving forward. Executive leaders should pay close attention to these developments and consider experimenting with the creation of NFTs to assess the opportunity and risk implications for their businesses.

David Furlonger, distinguished research VP at Gartner, contributed to this article.

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YouTube brings picture-in-picture to iPhones and iPads

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Cutting corners: It’s been a long time coming, but YouTube is finally bringing support for picture-in-picture to iPhones and iPads. While the rollout is beginning with Premium subscribers, it’ll soon be available for all iOS devices, at least in the United States.

Picture-in-picture allows users to continue watching a video outside of the app, making it possible to watch a clip while working on a document, browsing the web, or editing a photo. Picture-in-picture support at the OS level first launched on iPad with iOS 9, before making the leap to iPhone in iOS 14, where it works surprisingly well on Apple’s larger-screen devices.

Before now however, YouTube didn’t officially support the feature, at least not on the app. Some users were able to do picture-in-picture by visiting YouTube in Safari on their iPad. But YouTube has confirmed that the feature is due to officially launch for Apple devices and not just for paying customers. “Picture-in-Picture (PiP) allows users to watch YouTube videos in a small mini player while simultaneously browsing outside of the YouTube app on their mobile device. We’re starting to roll out PiP for YouTube Premium members on iOS and plan to launch PiP for all US iOS users as well.”

We can only hope that expansion to other countries is also on the cards. For now, users can get ready for the feature by downloading the free YouTube app on their iPhone or iPad.

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How to Turn off a PS5 Controller When Paired Using Bluetooth

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If you pair the Sony PlayStation 5 DualSense controller with your smartphone, tablet, or PC using Bluetooth, you need to manually switch off the controller when you’re done playing to save battery life. Here’s how.

Even though the DualSense works perfectly well using Bluetooth, it doesn’t power itself down when you’re done using the PS5 controller. If you shut down your PC or switch off your phone, the DualSense will keep trying to connect to the device that it was paired with. This leads to battery drain, which you can avoid by manually switching off the PS5 controller.

To turn off the PS5 DualSense controller, hold down the PlayStation button for around 10 seconds.

The PlayStation button on the DualSense controller

You can confirm that it’s turned off by looking at the lights around the touchpad. If they’re no longer lit, then the DualSense has been successfully turned off.

To turn it back on again later, just hold the PlayStation button down for a moment until it lights up.

RELATED: How to Use a PS5 Controller on Windows 10



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Maybe we can manifest our way to a pink iPhone 13. What do you think, Apple?

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This render of a pink iPhone 13 was posted on Instagram before going viral on Twitter.


@aliartist3d

iPhone 13 rumors are coming fast and furious, especially those that pertain to the phone’s alleged design. Two new color rumors have especially got the internet in a tizzy: pink and matte black. Dreams of a bubblegum pink iPhone 13 all started with an Instagram post. Artist and Instagrammer Ali Sayed Ali, who specializes in 3D models and renders (mostly of iPhones), posted a photo back in February showing a very ~aesthetic~ pink iPhone surrounded by what appears to be other pink Apple accessories (AirPodsAirPods Max and an iPhone case). “Should we start seeing these colors more often?” the caption said. 

It was only a matter of time before the great algorithm in the sky brought millennial pink and iPhone leaks together in capitalist matrimony. 

Read more: Here’s how we think the iPhone 13 will compare to the iPhone 12

On May 5, a Twitter account called Peng Phones created a frenzy when it tweeted the same photo without sourcing, referring to it as a “Rose Pink” iPhone 13 Pro Max render and teasing a December 2021 release date for the color option. (Subsequent tweets from the same account also mention November 2021 releases for “Pink,” “Rose Pink” and even “Rosegold Pink” iPhones.) The tweet netted over 40,000 likes and more than 30,000 retweets, causing searches for “pink iPhone 13” to spike. The photo has since been removed from the tweet for copyright violation.

Much of the Twitter reaction was of the skeptical variety:

But still, many Twitter responses expressed hope (or at least a capitulation to capitalism that one could interpret as buying intent): “Capitalism is bad but the pink iphone is so sexy,” one person tweeted. Another just tweeted “manifesting” between two candle emoji with an image of not only a pink iPhone 13, but a pink Nintendo Switch, too. 

pink-iphone-13

Another render of a pink iPhone that’s been going around Twitter.


@itsleighchan

This rumor is actually more of an iPhone wish list item since the original creator of the image says she created it just for fun. But that doesn’t stop us (and the aesthetic devotees of social media) from wondering about its plausibility anyway. Could Apple actually make the pink iPhone happen?

The veracity of the alleged release dates and color names tweeted by Peng Phones is pretty hard to vouch for, not having originated or been corroborated by notable leakers with solid Apple-leak track records, and especially because the photo in the tweet was merely fan art.

But the variation in color and release dates actually isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Apple’s iPhone 12 release schedule was almost as complicated as its price structure, with the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro arriving earlier than the iPhone 12 Pro Max and Mini. And Apple’s Pro line, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, come in different colors than the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini, too:

iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max colors

  • Silver
  • Graphite
  • Gold
  • Pacific blue

iPhone 12 and 12 Mini colors

  • Black
  • White
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Product red
  • Purple

Apple hasn’t officially said anything about either a release date or any color options for the iPhone 13 (if that’s even what it’s called), so right now we can only speculate. But the odds of a pink iPhone 13 coming out in 2021? They’re not terrible. 

First, this wouldn’t be the first time Apple has released a pink iPhone. The iPhone 5C, released in 2013, was available in pink. 2018’s iPhone XR came in coral, and the iPhone 6S from 2015 was sold in rose gold. Pink has been a popular color for tech ever since. Just this past February, Samsung also released phantom pink and phantom violet models of its flagship Galaxy S21 phone, with a more metallic sheen than the iPhone 13 render.

Purple iPhone 12

Apple’s purple iPhone 12, unveiled in April alongside a colorful array of iMacs.


Sarah Tew/CNET

And second, Apple just released a new purple color option for the iPhone 12, another bone thrown to the aesthetic crowd. In fact, Apple also unveiled a redesigned iMac at an April virtual event available in a variety of throwback hues to match the company’s rainbow logo of yore. One of those iMac colors is, you guessed it, pink.

pink Apple iMac 2021

The pink iMac, unveiled at Apple’s Spring Loaded event in April.


Screenshot/Apple

Apple does usually swap out one iPhone color from generation to generation, leaving the rest consistent. So it’s possible that a candy-colored pop of pink could oust the iPhone 12’s deep blue or mint green (or even the new purple). 

We won’t find out for sure until Apple announces the iPhone 13 (likely in September). Until then, follow along with all the juiciest iPhone 13 rumors here. And in the event that Apple doesn’t make our aesthetic dreams come true? You can always just buy a pink phone case.


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