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.