High Five with Kathleen Maher of JPR

Kathleen Maher

Kathleen Maher is the editor of Jon Peddie Research’s TechWatch Report: a bi-weekly account of the PC graphics industry. She is author of several reports, covering subjects such as 3D modelling and CAD. Maher also looks at video animation, print and audio software. She is also editor of GraphicSpeak, a website covering graphics hardware and software; contributing editor for Computer Graphics World; and a contributor to Connect Press and the Handbook of Visual Display Technology (2011).

1. What do you consider are the five most important market developments in the last five years?
They are all interrelated, I think, so their power is multiplied. First is the evolution of the smartphone and the App Store. In 2008 we all went crazy for apps – dedicated, low-cost products that do one or two things really well. The iPad followed In 2010 – which is amazing, as it seems like we’ve had them forever. It has come to be a work device, a home appliance and TV replacement.
Next is Smart TV. Google and Android have helped to popularise the idea by providing access to alternative sources of entertainment, like Netflix. In the US, at least, there is a revolt brewing as people have decided against against paying high monthly fees and instead opt for pay-as-you-go options.
The above points mean that people can now consume content wherever they are, using whatever device they have handy.
Last, Windows 8. Yes, really. There is a chasm between mobile apps and our everyday work tools; transferring between the two worlds is awkward. The Windows 8 interface does a good job of solving that. It’s pretty easy to use once you stop whining about how different everything is! It is a continuation of the work Steve Jobs did to make the tablet an appealing device.

2. What will be the five hot topics over the next five years?
The coming five years are going to be all about the real world. Wearables like Google Glass will be huge. We’re also seeing growing enthusiasm for 3D printing and 3D scanning, though their real usefulness will be a better way to create and use 3D data. Finally, the internet of things is coming home. More and more devices are connecting to the internet and making it easier to run a house.

3. What are the five most interesting upcoming technology developments that you can see?
NFC is an obvious winner for vending machines, shopping and maybe social networking. It’s really a further enabler of this idea of melding the digital and physical worlds. I also think Dolby 3D is worth watching; the ability to access 3D visual data without necessarily requiring glasses could be interesting. When the technology was first introduced (by Philips), it was suggested that the data could be shown on lenticular displays to allow people to actually look round objects.
While we’re on the subject, the idea of a 3D camera is alluring, but the reality (see: the Lytro) has been less so. However, they could make a fantastic difference in the future; for instance, they might make a welcome addition to help cars park and drive themselves. I’m more than ready for the self-driving car revolution; I honestly believe it will help us Americans break our ruinous addiction to personal automobiles. It could happen!
Holograms! Let’s have 3D content we can walk around in. Filmmakers are already taking those first baby steps when they work with 3D scans of buildings and objects that can be used to create resusable virtual sets.

4. What are five things you/your company stand for?
Jon Peddie Research has evolved over the years to be an advisor for companies we work with closely. We love helping start-ups; but the largest part of our client base is made up of established companies. We help them with finding and evaluating new opportunities, as well as advising about plans, presentations and pitches. We try to find and present the truth as clearly as possible, and we make connections: introducing people to companies they should know about and introducing companies to people they should know about.

5. What are the five most important things or people in your life?
The most important person in my life is my husband, which is handy because he’s also my business partner. We have a very great team here at JPR including our core people: Robert Dow, Carolyn Dombey, Marilyn Novell, Randall Newton, Alex Herrara and Ted Pollak (so, yeah that’s more than five – sue me!). We are also very lucky to have great clients, many of whom we think of as friends.