Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Media and Telecom, convergence?

August 2, 2010 Leave a comment

I went to a conference recently that was meant to focus on the intersection of media and telecoms. The list of speakers was full of A-list names from the top of telecom organisations so I was looking forward to it. After a coupe of hours of listening though, it was very clear that the conference should have added a question mark at the end of its title. The so-called “convergence” was not apparent. Telcos spoke their own language, which few media people could relate to. The elephant in the room was the fine line separating a telco from becoming a broadcaster or a “dumb” pipe and neither side was comfortable with either scenario. We still have a long way to go to understand each other’s priorities and drivers.

Categories: content, Technology Tags: ,

Wired iPad App

May 31, 2010 1 comment

Yesterday I tried the first Wired magazine app on my iPad. It was a brilliant reading experience that offers a promise of what magazines could morph into. When I handed the iPad to a friend he immediately had that characteristic grin that accompanies the sensation of a new experience.  It may or may not represent the definitive future of the magazine format, but I wanted to find out what others had thought. A quick look online revealed that the app’s first day was immensely successful with around 24,000 downloads. However, there was also a strong wave of opposition, mainly centered around the resemblance of the app to the multimedia cd-roms of the 90s. Who cares!? If it is a joy to use, feels good to read, and satisfies any number of people, then it is a positive outcome. Digital natives may not care that the
app generates a tactile feel similar to a print magazine, but then again they may enjoy it because of the interface and the richness of the content. Then again they may reject it as cumbersome when compared to a quick in and out of a googled wired article on the web. Irrelevant. What matters is that the experiments have begun. Editors and journalists are all toying with new forms and styles and technologies in the search for that elusive successful digital transition rather than just bemoaning the decline of their print business.

Categories: content, Technology Tags: , ,

Volcanic Connections

April 24, 2010 Leave a comment

After spending four days at MIPTV 2010, a volcano in Iceland with a tongue-twisting name has inevitably become the most dominant thought in the minds of the 11,000+ delegates. Most of them probably accompanied thoughts of volcanos with four letter expletives, yet the Icelandic eruptions have further reenforced how connected we, and our world, have become.

Borders are increasingly meaningless. A single volcano, helped by jet streams and wind directions, disabled not only aircraft but the flow of daily life for millions of people in tens of countries. Our economic connections are deeply rooted and transcend geographic borders or pre-conceived ideas of national boundaries.

Technological connections are increasingly personal. My trek back home took more than 24 hours across three countries, but I was never alone. My smartphone kept me connected like never before. While I did make some voice calls, the connections were mostly forged through access to various groups of friends, colleagues, and complete strangers. I was interacting with my friends on Facebook, being helped by colleagues back in the office over Messenger, taking advice from strangers over Twitter, and finding out about the plight of countless others through the comments on news sites. Sure I used my phone to check the status of airports, find flights, reserve taxis and book hotels, but the ability to stay connected to friends, family and colleagues was by far the most powerful of its capabilities.

MIPTV Theme 2: 3D

April 24, 2010 Leave a comment

It was evident during MIPTV that 3D has passed the hype stage and several companies are now committing funding to develop content for the format. Most notably, Sky has been experimenting with various genres in 3D (including a ballet) and will expand the content of its 3D channel in the UK beyond sports later in the year. The government of Singapore is establishing a dedicated fund to invest in 3D content. The expectation is that the adoption of 3D TV sets will take less time than HD. I hope this forecast is realised. At ADMC, we are hoping to be able to bring 3D EPL matches to audiences in the 2010/11 season.

Categories: Technology Tags: , ,

Apps Apps Apps, but not in our neighbourhood?

April 24, 2010 Leave a comment

There was a strong focus in MIPTV on mobile applications. Undoubtedly, the launch of the iPad is causing a stir with reactions ranging from the enthusiastic (everyone is announcing an App for iPad) to the fanatical (the iPad will be the saviour of [fill in the blanks]). The Middle East should be an ideal ground for new applications to be created and downloaded given the young population and the relatively high 3G penetration in some markets. However, the region is drastically lagging behind the world.

We don’t have the “sexy” platforms. The iPhone and its accompanying App Store have been the primary catalysts of application development. The iPad is ushering in a second wave of development while Google’s Android is leading an Open Source attempt to “liberate” applications from Apple’s devices. However, in the Middle East, our smart phones are dominated by Nokias and Blackberries. The former has had little success with its Ovi store while the latter, by most accounts, is very cumbersome to develop for. Neither has the region developed a proprietary environment for applications and services as happened in Japan. Although iPhones and Androids will continue to increase their market share, they are too expensive to achieve the same level of penetration as in other markets where operators subsidise the handsets. Finally, even if someone develops an application, they will find it hard to find customers who have the payment methods to enable them to generate revenues from their product since credit and debit cards are not as widely adopted for online payment as in other markets.

All this leaves us at risk of being mobile “have nots” with powerful phones being bought but nothing local to run on them. Changing this requires a concerted push from operators to encourage the creation of applications, the lowering or subsidising the handset costs, and the opening of mobile billing systems.


April 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Walk into any department store in Seoul, and the latest televisions being promoted are the 3D sets. With price points around $5500, one can easily anticipate 3D TV prices will be within the reach of mass audiences over the coming 12 months. Most 3D content on display right now is from demo discs but with ESPN and Sky both announcing 3D channel plans, it is only a matter of time before compelling content is being broadcast. You do still have to wear glasses, but you forget about them quickly. 3D is a great differentiator and those who take advantage of it early will benefit. We are hoping to be able to bring 3D English Premier League matches to the region at year end and I can’t wait to see that happen.

Categories: Technology Tags: