An avid cricket fan, say Swami was watching the India-Pakistan cricket match in Mumbai at his office. Since it was a long weekend, he had to catch a flight to reach his home in Bangalore. So, he left the the small TV sets in office albeit reluctantly. But, Swami was keen to stay in touch with the scores all through. So, while he was waiting for a cab, he sent an SMS to an cricket-SMS channel about latest scores. In the car, he asked the driver to put on the live radio (and cursed his luck for not getting the FM mobile connector with him) Then, at the airport he enjoyed the match on a flat screen plasma TV. In the plane, he enjoyed live satellite TV (note: he had booked a KF flight knowing that there would be a match on) . Next, after alighting at Bangalore, he called up his friends, for expert commentary on phone – who in turn advised him to go to this new cool website on internet for live commentary. So, he checked the mobile internet on GPRS for the match. So, finally he reached home, where he quickly put on his LCD tv and logged onto the internet for a detailed scorecard as well! Clearly, Swami had not missed a moment of the match!!
Notice something here? The service offered was essentially the same – ‘Providing Cricket Match updates’! But check the communications media used. Sounds incredible right? Well, I haven’t even brought the social networking aspect yet into the above scenario. Clearly, communications is evolving and fast!
The moot question in all of this is – how will this impact the society? Well, the answer is simple – the effects are already seen. Due to so many communications media available, news gets around extremely quickly. People are becoming more aware. Example: the recent floods in northern Karnataka, AP and southern Maharashtra. The news spread like wildfire. I am sure, these communications media can help in more ways than one in such crises (its another matter whether they are used already or not, but thats not the question here) On a global context, the relevant issue was on the Iran elections and how twitter was used to post updates about happenings in Iran then.
Given all this, what is the future of communications as a service? I am of the opinion that it will evolve as a service which can effectively cover all of these media and provide real time updates. It is this critical success factor which is making people in the USA gaga over the internet industry- twitter and facebook in particular. The concept of real time updates is here, and is here to stay.
In the Indian context, however, the media convergence is a few steps away, but not far off. While internet on the ‘computer’ may not get as popular as in the USA, but one device has the potential to reach most of the 100 crore population – ‘the mobile phone’. Many believe the convergence of media would happen on the cell phone. And in that context the 3G auction is going to be critical since the 3G spectrum allocation can truly place power in the hands of the users’ pockets. We are getting closer to communication media convergence for sure.
The point is, whether the end consumer accept this change? And are the telecom operators willing to see this as an opportunity? Even in the USA, Google voice as an application ran into trouble. How will the telecom industry as a whole react to this inevitable change? That would truly decide the pace of media convergence in India….
Comments, thoughts invited…
Right, so this Friday – 6 October, 9 pm to 1030 pm – Strat. In is hosting its first live chat. The subject is going to be CAT 2009. There will be 4-5 from among us at the chatroom – . This group includes CAT 100 percentilers as well. Please let your friends know about this event on strat.in . Details about the same follow tonight.