Monday, June 21, 2010

Digital Media Convergence

Back after a long time, it took a vacation for me to write a blog, this one is on digital media convergence, the buzz word, and will use quotes from H.G.Wells to keep it interesting:

“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.”

Digital convergence essentially refers to convergence of internet, information technologies,telecommunication, electronics, media, entertainment and services industry.

The key drivers for this is the convergence of networks and applications, data storage and delivery, services available across devices with various delivery mechanisms, web 2.0 and its connect across platforms, electronic commerce across devices, single hub providing multiple media access and applications/multilayered apps revolution.

Across the world, digital media convergence indeed is arriving.

“I must confess that my imagination refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and floundering at sea.

In a strictly technological sense, the core of convergence is the convergence of devices, applications and networks. This has to be facilitated by super-fast internet through broadband connectivity available with and without wires.

A special mention of South Korea has to happen to in any digital convergence discussion. South Korea has a 97% broadband penetration in terms of households, with the best quality score in terms of quality of broadband in the world. They have very robust, mobile internet in terms of mobile wimax, digital media broadcasting: mobile TV and IPTV. Their convergence spans through:

  1. Broadcasting: IPTV, Mobile TV
  2. Video/Internet TV
  3. Games: MMORPGs
  4. Media: Personal Media players
  5. Telecom: VOIP
  6. News
  7. E-governance
  8. Online education

“Nothing leads so straight to futility as literary ambitions without systematic knowledge.”

Coming back, another key challenge, which is getting surpassed across the world, is digitization of content. Now content across media is available in digital format to reuse and repurpose in a big way. Content I guess, is very much a commodity now, till an established expert writes about it, which is propagated on the internet through strong blogs and blog aggregations, but the generic content is very much down to commodity.

Looking at the future of convergence in India, I guess on the devices side, we are ready, and it’s the services, which is spoiling the party. The devices we use are ready to connect to best of internet services, in terms of 3G, Wi-fi, GPRS-Edge, but the services do not compliment them. On devices, where we are still behind, are the digital boxes for television, where in digital interactive services can be serviced, and it could be huge game-changer in terms of usage of services.

“The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.”

There are wide varieties of issues, right from network convergence, government regulations, telecom operators issues and so on, I wouldn’t get into details of all that, but the resultant is a weak infrastructural convergence, I have heard of many programs coming our way, but the proof will lie in the pudding, so far most of it, has been lip service.

Some of service providers like Airtel have started providing, telephone service, internet and television, with a Wi-Fi modem in households, with a single wire, now that is a good example of convergence moving ahead.

Hoping for stronger infrastructure and next level convergence in India.

“If we don't end war, war will end us.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Price Glory?

It is like a paranoia, when one thinks the new year has actually some thing new about it, believe me it doesn’t! As one goes through the daily actions of corporate life, especially being in a dot com, you would like to know, when will you be leveraging in form of hockey stick(J-shape). This is not just a financial comment, it is a philosophical comment, I hope you can decipher it. This Blog I will be using quotes of movie and also a book by John Grisham, “The Rainmaker”.

“Sworn in by a fool and vouched for by a scoundrel. I'm a lawyer at last”

It is outrageous the way things are moving here in India, on both social and economic front, money is the name of the game. The government is hell bent on economic policies, which are pushing wealth into a certain segment, and the differential between rich and poor keep increasing. I saw a movie called “Lost in Translation”, which has lot of scenes in which they have shown how people in Japan are madly following US ways of living and how ridiculous is that? One sees similar trends in India, with spends rising on cars, new homes, consumer durables and not to forget clothes, and all on debt. Now one big difference between India and US, is the percentage at which debt is picked up, we are serving the debt @ 11% on an average today, which is a huge number. In case you are running a 20 year home loan, for first three years, the principle is bared scratched.

What's the difference between a lawyer and a hooker? A hooker'll stop screwing you when you're dead.

The bank is a step ahead of the lawyer, and the government and the RBI, who is backing the bank on this is another step ahead. One simply, completely and totally fails to understand the growth in auto sales, and some other items. One also fails to understand as all other countries, like Singapore became affluent, they built on infrastructure and strong law enforcement. Also the people in these countries looked for better quality of lives, becoming independent and classy, more catching the positive vibes of the west. Where as in India, we have shattered infrastructure and people becoming whorish and lawless, in the malls, on the road, when you see, well dressed people in big cars, jumping lines shamelessly on toll roads, you imagine, are we getting somewhere?

Every lawyer, at least once in every case, feels himself crossing a line that he doesn't really mean to cross... it just happens... And if you cross it enough times it disappears forever. And then you're nothin but another lawyer joke. Just another shark in the dirty water.

Now seriously introspecting, one feels that is true for most of us, we do cross a line in many ways every day is pursuit of money, career, glory or something really petty. Exercise: can you try to think where did you cross the line today? Maybe our politicians and bureaucrats, have crossed the line enough times, maybe you and I have too! One feels like crossing the line, when he takes a step back in fear of loosing something, but later on, you would have lost a lot by not being what you are. How companies hypnotize us in buying things, and political parties into following them, is not difficult to understand. We are no longer confident about ourselves, our identity and individuality, this is the core reason of American sub-prime crisis, not the easy loans. People there wanted to live beyond their means, so that they could outdo each other, they bought the American-corporate dream.

Rudy Baylor: I'm curious.

Leo F. Drummond: About what?

Rudy Baylor: I'm just wonderin'... do you even remember when you first sold out?

Are we selling ourselves out? Lying through our nooses, pretending stuff which we are not, making commitments which we do not want to keep, and chasing life which is totally artificial. This may sound like an old fashioned rhetoric, but it is not, one has to seriously believe that countries, companies and families, which do well are on basis of high commitment and integrity. “Honda” builds the best engines, and intention is to create real value, Singapore has been built over hard work and real “patriotism”, and “Bush family” is a happy family, as George Bush only sleeps with his wife(courtesy: Mr. Bill Maher, pun intended!!), unlike some family called “the Clintons”.

Q: Did you achieve glory today? At what price?

A: Higher price than last year, greed is experiencing high inflation.