Technology Convergence: Move towards a mature Information Society
by Dr. Rasananda Panda,
Assistant Professor in Business Economics and Finance at MICA.
Traditionally, communications and media were quite distinct-broadcasting, voice telephony and on-line computer services. They operated on different network platforms: TV sets, telephones and computers, each regulated by different laws and different regulators. Nowadays digital technology allows integrated consumer devices for purposes such as telephony, television or personal computing on a global scale.
Recent examples of new convergent services include Internet services delivered to TV sets via systems like Web TV; e-mail and internet access via digital TV decoders and mobile telephones; Web casting of radio and TV programming on the Internet; voice telephony through the Internet.
Convergence is not just about technology. Convergence is a debate about the impact of technology and a quantum leap towards a mature information society. Convergence will certainly expand the overall information market and be the catalyst for the next stage in the integration of the world economy. Even small business can market them globally, courtesy World Wide Web. We can now use technology to create a new digital life style that will organize our life and keep us healthy.
For years computers and software called PIMS (personal information managers) have helped to keep many of us on track. Hand held PDAS (personal digital assistants) have also become popular. At many new websites, one can enter an event and have an email reminder sent to you at the proper time. Or better still, have the website give you quick telephone call as a reminder. With increased dependence on cell phones, that reminder call is a real convenience. It is expected to see these digital life style web sites expand even more in the near future. The credit goes to the new wireless approach. Multi-point technology can simultaneously synchronize a Website planner with an individual user's device like a PDA or a desktop organizer.
The jump into the wireless world is also exciting. It can be safely assumed, these PMS will be keeping track of our busy lifestyles in order to organize our lives, manage our time, and health- both with and without wires.
Convergence technologies with audio and video will really change our personal and professional relationships. If one is not nailed to his/her office for information access and communications, one will have more flexibility to manage professional and personal time effectively. One can go to the office when necessary, see his kid's game at school, and book a call to his son staying abroad when most convenient for everyone involved and stay connected. Distinctions between work and personal activities are blurring and will become almost indistinguishable in the future. In fact, for many people, the home and office will be the same- Idea of a Virtual Office.
The main reason that convergence is so important today is because people are looking for efficiency, convenience, information and pleasure all at the same time. Convergence makes all these come together through technological advancement. People want quality products that can benefit them in as many ways as possible, even if that means paying more money. Society today is fast-paced and technology must keep up with the consumer's need for efficiency.
An Economist's Look :
Through industrial convergence, companies are able to promote one another's company, as well as combine their services. When companies combine their services they bring in more business because consumers are looking for products that integrate programmes that work together, in order to save them time, effort and above all the economics also.
Business India , “Technologies United”; December 20, 2004 – January 2, 2005 .
Govt. of India , Consulting paper on TRAI; September, 2005
Mukheerjee, Arpita (2002); “Trade potential of Audio Visual Sector in India ”, Working Paper, ICRIER New Delhi
The author is extremely grateful to Prof. Ravi Dixit and Prof. Anupam Tripathy for the series of informal discussions. However, the usual disclaimer applies.
Profile of the author:
Assistant Professor in Business Economics and Finance at MICA. A Ph.D. in Applied Economics, having current research interest in Industry Analysis, Data Analytics and Business Intelligence.