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10 Ground-Floor Tech Businesses to Start Now

The internet is still rapidly evolving, and entrepreneurs are finding creative ways to keep up.
March 17, 2006
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/173348

We're living through the mother of all digital convergences. Broadband internet access is becoming ubiquitous, new high-speed wireless networks are coming online, old media are going digital, and new media are being born every day. And the software, hardware and services to support it all are astonishingly cheap.

We're entering a golden age for entrepreneurs, says James Behrens, CEO and co-founder of Orb Networks . "The big companies have not fully recognized how disruptive this is," says Behrens, whose company delivers TV through any device that can stream video. "They're all trying to put up tollgates, but the internet is open."

Orb is among thousands of startups riding this wild wave of advanced internet and mobile services. Here are 10 rapidly evolving communications technologies that offer serious entrepreneurial opportunities--and in most cases, will also help you run your business better.

Most organizations just use MPEG Nation to display videos on their websites. But others are finding ways to make businesses in new media. For example, one company targets the Indian marketplace in the U.S. by selling subscriptions to videos of Indian performers in concert. Internet TV is rewriting the business model for media. Says Wolf, "You can sell your indie film or build your own TV channel that covers just car mechanics." What are you waiting for?

Podcasting

Audio downloading isn't new, but podcasting makes it simple. Your grateful public uses free podcasting software such as Apple's iTunesor Juice Receiverto download your MP3 voice or music files, which they listen to on digital music players or PCs at their leisure. A fine way to distribute customer information or training, it's also spawning homegrown radio stations.

"You use IM for problems you want to solve right now, and the entrepreneurial world is in no way slower than the corporate world," Marshak notes. Additionally, IM suppliers are now tailoring their products for small business and bundling an array of communications alternatives, one of which is ....

Digital Video Broadcast Handheld technology, which is optimized for streaming video to energy-efficient handhelds like Nokia's new bigger-screen phones, appears ready for prime time. Video-enabled phones will be arriving in the tens of millions in the next couple of years, predicts Sam Leinhardt, CEO and co-founder of Penthera Technologies, which creates software for DVB-H networks. New technology always brings new opportunities, says Leinhardt, but trying to predict them "is like asking me 15 years ago, How can the internet be used?"

Eric Bender is a former executive editor of PC World magazine.