The CommPuting-as-a-Utility model that we have discussed is not going to be limited to just the emerging markets. It also has potential in the worlds developed markets, though for an entirely different set of reasons.
Whereas the key rationale in emerging markets is the need for a solution which addresses the twin problems of cost and complexity, in the developed markets, the situation is different. The complexity issue is still one that needs to be solved, but cost is less of a consideration. In fact, the problem is that of plenty a surfeit of computers (desktop, laptop) and other devices (cellphones, PDAs) for every person mean that the problem is one of data synchronisation. With high-speed broadband networks available almost everywhere in these countries, it becomes entirely possible to centralise data, and treat the various devices as presentation and interaction devices in other words, network computers.
Brian Roberts, Comcast CEO, says: Customers want to drive the car; they want to be in control of the remote and not have to live with the linear schedule. We call that the personalization of television that what has happened on the Internet is now going to happen on television and on-demand is a big part of that strategy…The goal is that five years from now it’s virtually unlimited, using the great progress of Moore’s law, where the servers get cheaper and capacity gets greater. You’ll have 30,000 to 40,000 hours someday. We’re really building a whole new cable system inside the cable system in the on-demand world. Computers and television are converging.
Ramesh Jain builds on this point: The convergence of PC-TV is finally here. Clearly Comcast views TV business going more towards becoming a server-based time-independent video content business. In this model, TV will be more like a so-called portal and to access content, powerful search and exploration tools may be required.
Masayoshi Son, CEO of Softbank, Japans leading broadband provider, adds: I think the TV or the PC or the handheld device all become just a subset terminal output device for the internet broadband service. So in broadband service you have lots of content or services in the server, in the network. You don’t need that much on the local thing. Everything would be network computing, and innovation would happen along the network.
Consider another point. Every computer being currently used in the developed market on the desktop and in homes is likely to get replaced in the next four years, given the traditional PC upgrade cycle. This creates the opportunity to overlay a new computing architecture one that conquers complexity and assumes the presence of a ubiquitous global broadband communications network.
The first wave of computing adoption in the past two decades has addressed the needs of the top 10% of the world. The CommPuting Grid offers a potential to focus on the next 90%. The building blocks for grid computing low-cost network computers, broadband connections, commoditised software platforms are now becoming available. India and other emerging markets have an opportunity to leapfrog into the next-generation of computing just like they did with mobile telephony.
TECH TALK CommPuting Grid+T