One of the most promising applications of broadband is convergence. Basically it’s the voice and data in one pipe. There have been many promises made so far about the “potential”; however, there has been no clear cut direction from TRAI. Witness the unholy mess in DTH sector (which could bring about convergence in real terms by upgrading the bandwidth alloted to it), we are absolutely rudderless.
Broadband could be the potential trojan but only if and when the telecom companies scale up. The biggest stumbling block isn’t the content in my opinion, it is the hardware to play the goodies. In order to capture the market, I am sure the Indians are going to rely on cheap Chinese imports giving no REAL choice the consumer. Take it or fucking leave it. Witness what BSNL has been shoving down our throats. In similar vein, the DTH operators are giving their ‘co-branded’ crap hardware which neither excites nor exude any confidence for it’s utility.
Reliance is planning to tie up with Microsoft (or perhaps it has- the exact details elude me) for the content delivery via it’s Entertainment players. Microsoft is “evil” and I am sure Reliance would be shooting itself behind it’s puckered hole (often associated with an ass) for handling consumer complaints. It would enable them to set up centralised servers to stream content via telephone wires ( I can’t think of any other way) to the televisions. Computers are a significant minorty and are still aspirational symbols for majority of Indians.
In part, this post was “motivated” by Robert Cringley’s write up on Apple’s strategy to dominate the entertainment market in the near future and absence of any equivalent response from Microsoft. The winds of change and content delivery via iTunes store format still has to make it’s debut in India. Majority of the venture capital funded start ups have failed to make any significant dent.
In the increasingly ‘me-too’ market, the competitors would have to ensure something “different”. I would part on Robert Cringley’s write up on Apple’s strategy via iTunes, VoIP (and teleconferencing) and Microsoft’s failure to capitalise on convergence. This has a relevance to India too; any one would want to “socialise”.
….Now what about that USB port on the back of each iTV box? Giving his tour of the gizmo last week, Jobs rushed right past the USB port. What could that port be for? It’s not for a USB hard drive, that’s for sure, because the key brain in this system is back in your Mac or PC and its very large hard drive. Nor will Apple (immediately) enable the iTV to act as a digital video recorder, because that might step on TV network toes before Apple is ready to do so. The USB port is clearly intended for an Apple iSight camera, a webcam to go with your HDTV. It’s iChat for Grandma.
This is the heart of Apple’s emerging communication strategy. I was tempted to write “voice-over-IP strategy,” except that wouldn’t have been correct. For Jobs, this particular road less traveled is about video conferencing, not voice. VoIP is replacing a $20 phone with a $1,000 computer. What Apple has in mind is creating an entirely new form of computing experience, but this time — because it will take place mainly on a TV and not on a computer — many users may not think of it as a computing experience at all.
What has to be especially satisfying about this plan for Apple is that there is literally no response even possible from its greatest competitor — Microsoft. The level of technical sophistication and application integration required to make this work is beyond Microsoft within the next year or five years from now. So where Windows Vista will bring a variety of older Apple OS features to the PC desktop, Apple’s Leopard will go far past the desktop metaphor altogether and introduce friggin’ TELEPORTATION.