Myth of the New India

The New York Times had an op-ed by Pankaj Mishra:

The increasingly common, business-centric view of India suppresses more facts than it reveals. Recent accounts of the alleged rise of India barely mention the fact that the country’s $728 per capita gross domestic product is just slightly higher than that of sub-Saharan Africa and that, as the 2005 United Nations Human Development Report puts it, even if it sustains its current high growth rates, India will not catch up with high-income countries until 2106.

Nor is India rising very fast on the report’s Human Development index, where it ranks 127, just two rungs above Myanmar and more than 70 below Cuba and Mexico. Despite a recent reduction in poverty levels, nearly 380 million Indians still live on less than a dollar a day.

TI’s Success

The New York Times writes:

How did Texas Instruments, which posted revenue of $13.4 billion last year, arrive at the enviable position of considering itself primed and ready to assume Intel’s mantle as standard-bearer for the entire chip industry?

In short, it pulled off its own resuscitation a decade-long effort by abandoning ill-fitting product lines, focusing more closely on its core integrated circuits business and linking up with large but underestimated companies eager to champion new uses for its chips. It dusted off a chip called a digital signal processor and convinced Nokia, which had yet to become the leader in cellphones, to make it the core of its products. It dusted off a second underutilized chip called a digital light processor and wooed Samsung Electronics, then a scrappy South Korean electronics company trying to conquer the American market, to use it in big-screen, high-definition televisions.

What Should Digg Do?

Seth Godin has some ideas:

The Diggers, the posters, the surfers… these are very highly-leveraged people. Call them the Legion of Super Surfers. Okay, bad acronym, maybe not. Call them the league of the leading edge.

The leading edge has always been important. Now, though, since they have a megaphone, since Digg and the others are amplifying their movements, they are far, far more important than ever before.

And that’s Digg’s asset. They have aggregated the league.

So what now?

Get permission.

Get permission to fead the League tidbits about the future. The reason they are Diggers is that they like being first, they like discovering cool stuff and then sharing it. So organize that process and monetize it.

Socially Integrated Media

Robert Young writes:

Social integration targets the ownership of critical assets in the social media supply chain (e.g. social networks like MySpace or People Aggregator, socially-programmed video services like YouTube or VideoEgg, social photo services like Photobucket or Flickr, socially-curated news sites like Digg or Newsvine, etc.). But in a radical departure from the old vertical and horizontal integration strategies of traditional media, social integration recognizes the fact that social media, by definition, shifts much of the media supply functions directly into the hands of the audience itself.

In other words, with social media, the consumers are in control of production, programming, and distribution which is a complete reversal of the traditional media model. This reversal in control leads to some interesting consequences, the most obvious being the impact it has on the translation of core competencies within traditional media organizations (they become largely obsolete in the context of social media). But the greater long-term consequences of social integration involve strategic market development.

Casual Games on Mobile

Stephanie Rieger writes:

Do current mobile games allow for quiet time, playful time, competitive time, learning time, contemplative time, silly time..?

We have a unique opportunity with mobile devices in that they can be insanely personal and private while being incredibly social and contextual (presence, location etc.) They can offer small moments of quiet play or learningno peers, no pressureor small moments of highly networked interaction and competition. Not to mention hybrids of the two.

I think we’re currently just scratching the surface.

TECH TALK: Video on the Internet: Set-Top-Box

Ars Technica offers a tutorial on the first approach using special hardware at the customer end in the form of a set-top box (STB):

First things first: the venerable set-top box, on its way out in the cable world, will make a resurgence in IPTV systems. The box will connect to the home DSL line and is responsible for reassembling the packets into a coherent video stream and then decoding the contents. Your computer could do the same job, but most people still don’t have an always-on PC sitting beside the TV, so the box will make a comeback. Where will the box pull its picture from? To answer that question, let’s start at the source.

Most video enters the system at the telco’s national headend, where network feeds are pulled from satellites and encoded if necessary (often in MPEG-2, though H.264 and Windows Media are also possibilities). The video stream is broken up into IP packets and dumped into the telco’s core network, which is a massive IP network that handles all sorts of other traffic (data, voice, etc.) in addition to the video. Here the advantages of owning the entire network from stem to stern (as the telcos do) really come into play, since quality of service (QoS) tools can prioritize the video traffic to prevent delay or fragmentation of the signal. Without control of the network, this would be dicey, since QoS requests are not often recognized between operators. With end-to-end control, the telcos can guarantee enough bandwidth for their signal at all times, which is key to providing the “just works” reliability consumers have come to expect from their television sets.

The video streams are received by a local office, which has the job of getting them out to the folks on the couch. This office is the place that local content (such as TV stations, advertising, and video on demand) is added to the mix, but it’s also the spot where the IPTV middleware is housed. This software stack handles user authentication, channel change requests, billing, VoD requests, etc.basically, all of the boring but necessary infrastructure.

In an article on Converge Digest, Ben Wagner and Charlie Gonsalves from Texas Instruments outline the potential of using IP STB:

A prime example of just how compelling IPTV can become is its potential for personalization. The total content offered over IPTV will certainly expand considerably as the marketplace continues to mature. And IP STBs that leverage the flexibility of a programmable architecture will open the door for television channels and services customized to each viewers tastes and preferences. Indeed, programming and advertising could be customized demographically for each member of the household. As an example we see so-called micro-market content such as that provided by video blogs and PodCasts which feature personally produced audio, video and still images continue to increase in popularity. These applications clearly illustrate the potential for finely tuned IPTV content that could be delivered upon request of each individual. Other examples of narrowly-defined differentiated content include international or multilingual channels, new formats like HDTV, exclusive sporting events or movies, and repackaged content.

Other symptoms of this drive toward the use of personalized TV content are the increasing deployment of personal video recorders (PVR) which are capable of capturing only the programming the viewer is interested in and video-on-demand applications where users can pick and choose the content they want to view.

The ability of IPTV to support interactive programming is another factor that will differentiate the content provided by next-generation IP STBs from competitive and incumbent services. Gaming, virtual storefronts and multimedia communications are some of the interactive possibilities. In fact, two-way, audio and video capabilities could be put to good use in a video phone or TV phone application, should consumer demand peak in this area.

Besides the telcos, companies like TiVo and Akimbo have taken this approach.

Tomorrow: All-Software

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