(This article was written by Ben Bajarin for Time).
There is a high degree of probability that the next TV you buy will be a connected Smart TV. My colleagues at Display Search project that in 2014 there will be 123 million connected TV’s sold worldwide. This next generation of TV’s will bring an entirely new, interactive, and social experience to audiences.
If we consider how much the Internet changed PC’s and drove new businesses, new experiences, and new levels of social interactions, it is only logical to assume that the same will be true with connected and smart TV’s.
What t-Commerce Means for You
It is important to note that when a device, appliance or other piece of electronics gets “smarter” it almost always means that it gets more personal and more useful. Therefore the premise for Smart TV is that TV will become more personal.
Consider this: Currently 24 minutes of every programming hour are commercials, most of them largely irrelevant to you the viewer. Imagine a world where commercials and product advertisements are more targeted and more personal to your specific interests.
Layer on top of that the possibility of information from your social graph to encourage you to further explore a product or service. For example, a commercial comes on for a new product or service, then along the side of your TV a “social widget” pops up showing you which of your friends owns or recently purchased this product.
These are the types of new experiences that could drive more economic transactions through the TV known as t-Commerce.
Which Companies Can Make t-Commerce a Reality?
It would be easy to conclude that the usual suspects who drive much of the e-Commerce world stand the best chance to drive t-Commerce. Companies like eBay and Amazon or even larger retailers like Wal-Mart or Target are all logical choices. I would, however, add one more company: Facebook.
I throw Facebook in there for two reasons. First because of their size, with over 500 million active users. Second, because of their ability to use social data to drive transactions. Facebook is already doing this to a degree with the ability to “Like” a brand, product or service.
The next step for Facebook to drive more social transactions could be an “Own” button or a “Recommend” button. If Facebook could tie that data to actual product or service advertisements, they would have a fairly compelling social recommendation engine.
This is not to say that other companies can’t add this same social data that’s useful to e-Shopping; only that Facebook is in a fairly strong position to bring this to fruition.
Ultimately t-Commerce won’t be fully realized this year or even next year. It is simply one of many things I see when I look out at the digital horizon. The question is: When it comes, will you be ready?