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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Digital Convergence : Long Road Ahead

Digital Home and Digital convergence are hot topics – these are expected to change the lifestyle of people atleast in rich countries to start with and more importantly open up new opportunities for business in allied areas. Initiatives like DAVIC, MCNS were launched to work towards standardisation and specifications.As we stock of the situation – it is clear that disarray defines the state of "digital convergence, & true convergence remains elusive and shows no sign of happening in the near future. IHT writes,"The development of a seamless digital home is happening only gradually," quoting Rudy Provoost, head of Philips Consumer Electronics, who adds “We are still a way off from the truly digital environment, but we are making progress each year." Some say the progress is haphazard and barely perceptible. Harbor Research observes, current efforts are “a fragmented landscape full of narrow-point solutions, time-sink gadgetry, entertainment obsession and software/platform incompatibility." Philips identifies two reasons why the seamless digital household was only slowly taking shape.

A. Companies such as Philips are being forced to work with competitors or outsiders in unrelated fields – companies (like Microsoft, IBM, Yahoo) provide content or software, for example - to sell their latest digital hardware. This means that for Philips, "the days of being a stand-alone maker of home electronics are long over phase is characterized by major manufacturers building multilateral alliances to advance digital technology.

B. A second and more thorny hurdle, is lack of activism form the regulatory authorities in removing regulatory barriers to the spread of digital technology. Differing copyright laws across the region and lack of a common digital broadcast standard. For global device makers like Philips, the multitude of standards is complicated and costly. The approach differs fundamentally from earlier approaches like standardizing GSM mobile standards, which facilitated rapid adoption of mobiles across the world.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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