I was invited to participate in a round-table discussion organised by Welingkar institute. The topic was Digital Convergence.
Before I share my takeaways and thoughts on the topic, I must say that it was a very professionally organized event. Students management was excellent and so was the format of the round-table, conduct of the participants & moderation. Welingkars' have amazing infrastructure for a business school. So, while the round-table discussion took place in their campus in Mumbai, it was also attended over video conference by their students and faculty of campus in Bangalore, an illustration of digital convergence!
What is digital convergence?
In my humble opinion, digital convergence is the convergence of:
- the content.... audio, video, data
- the media of delivery of the content.... various types of wired and wireless network & protocols, and
- the devices receiving, storing (?) and processing the content... desktop, laptop, mobile, tv, PDAs, kiosks
By convergence I mean interoperability and compatibility of the content, media and devices with each other. This means any content should be feasible to be delivered over any media on to any device that the user is using to receive and use the content.
Now, if this is the broad definition, then I guess, we haven't seen anything yet. This is because on one hand standards and protocols need to evolve, the media and end user devices must support the standards and protocols that are evolving. And on the other hand, regulations and laws need to take shape too.
What is drving Digital Convergence:
A number of reasons:
Convenience & End user experience - Consumers have to deal with multiple types contents on multiple types of devices. They are demanding convenience.
Affordability & Costs - Technology is making it feasible for businesses to deliver to their consumers highly cost effective solutions.
Reach and Penetration - It gives businesses tremendous opportunity to reach untapped or unreachable markets and consumers!
The missing link:
The student presentation at the beginning of the session and subsequent discussions mostly centered around applications developed for business to consumers space. My point to the forum was: Is digital convergence only about Business to Consumer space. Isn't Digital Convergence relevant for inter-enterprise or intra-enterprise applications? What do you think? Do you have any success stories to share?