Akimbo and TV Networks

John Robb writes: “If I was running one of the TV networks, I would be talking to my compatriots at the other networks about buying Akimbo. This would enable me to bypass the cable barons, the telephone companies, and Apple to boost revenues and bring on demand TV direct to the audience. It would also allow new business model development since it would enable me to build new networks. There would be no need to fight with the cable barons for bandwidth or bundling preference.”

New Skype-eBay Ecosystem

Forbes writes:

“New types of services are possible,” said Saul Klein, the VP of Marketing for Skype. He uses this example: Suppose a San Francisco businessman needs to conduct a call with a potential client in Rio. He can search for Portuguese translators on eBay and get a list of them, their location, their rates and their ratings by other users. He selects one and can then instantly conduct a three-way conference call via Skype and pay for the translation service via PayPal.

Who will the winners be? Klein sees four areas where companies will benefit from the Skype-eBay combination: hardware, software applications, voice services and personalized Skype content.

Microsoft’s Mid-Market Plans

Information Week writes:

Microsoft is making a big strategic shift in its 5- year-old business-applications division toward a simple but so-far elusive idea: Different kinds of workers use computers differently, and software should be designed for an employee’s role in the company. After two years of research, Microsoft managers have identified more than 50 everyday job roles at midsize companies they believe will benefit from desktop environments created just for them–everyone from a president or CFO to account managers in a sales department to workers on a manufacturing floor. Receptionists, too, get a unique data view on their PCs.

Instead of dozens of screens and menus, workers will get Web pages intended to show only the information they’re most likely to care about, often at a glance. Companies will be able to customize those entry points into Microsoft’s applications, too. Microsoft will deliver the first two dozen of these role-based apps later this year as part of an upgrade to its Great Plains ERP suite. Next year, it plans to roll out 25 more, as upgrades to its Axapta and Navision business-app suites.

Broadband Impact

David Kirkpatrick writes in the US context that broadband could add $500 billion to the US GDP.

Mark Anderson, a tech pundit and analyst with Strategic News Service, defines the minimum connection that deserves to be called broadband as 1.5 MBPSenough to receive a single good video stream. By his definition, the U.S. doesnt have 32 million broadband homes, as the FCC estimates, but rather almost none.

Boosting true broadband access, Anderson contends, will help increase online spending and make the economy grow faster. According to data compiled by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 59% of broadband users bank online, compared to only 35% of those who use a dial-up telephone line to access the Internet. Broadband users also consume more news, buy more products, and play more games online. And they read more blogs and download more music.

WSJ writes about Japan:

When it comes to actually using those blazing-fast lines for tasks other than Web browsing or email, the going is slower. “In general, broadband capacity has not been fully utilized by consumers,” says Ren Tanaka, who’s in charge of corporate and strategic planning for broadband at Japan’s largest broadband provider, Softbank Corp. “Due to the lack of attractive content, the market has not really taken off.”

A look at one of Softbank’s offerings gives clues to why things are off to a slow start. Two years ago, the company launched a service called BB TV that streams television and movies to consumers over their broadband Internet connections. For the equivalent of around $27 a month at current exchange rates, users have access to 32 television channels and their pick of the provider’s 5,000 movie titles. The service is meant to be used with a set-top box that allows people to watch from their living-room TV.

A Softbank spokesman says the service has attracted fewer than 100,000 subscribers among the company’s nearly five million broadband customers.

TECH TALK: India Empowered: My Views (Part 2)

Intelligent Enterprises: Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the powerhouse of an economy. We need Indias SMEs to leapfrog into the digital area so they are not the weak links in real-time value chains. For this, Indian SMEs will need to automate their operations by investing in technology and choosing the right business processes. As IT becomes a utility, SMEs need to think of how they would run their businesses differently if everyone in their organisation had access to both a desktop computer at work and a data-enabled mobile phone. SMEs need to use the Internet effectively to participate in information marketplaces to open up new markets. In other words, SMEs have to stop thinking of staying small and mid-sized but have greater ambitions. For this, they will need to start embedding intelligence across their organisational hierarchies to process information better and faster.

Internet Energised: We have not leveraged the Internet to its fullest potential in India. For a variety of reasons ranging from poor and expensive connectivity options and inadequate venture capital to lack of imaginative ideas, the Internet in India continues to stutter along. We have missed the bus for Internet 1.0. But we do have an opportunity to catch the Internet 2.0 bus. In this world, mobile phones and network computers will connect to centralized services. Our lack of legacy in India makes us possible to jump to the next Internet if only we can start building out the digital infrastructure for it. This will mean ensuring that there is a massive buildout of broadband across the country. After that, entrepreneurs and services will take over to energise not just the Internet but also the economy.

Increasing Expectations: Finally, we need to raise our expectations across the board. For long, we have accepted mediocrity as being good enough in every aspect of our life. Our chalta-hai attitude needs to be shed in favour of a best mangta hai desire. This will make us protest against all that is below par and perhaps force change in a bottom-up manner. By 2006-end, one in ten Indians will be empowered with a mobile phone. This can help create smart mobs who can use collaborative technologies like wikis and blogs for social activism to bring about change starting from the neighbourhoods we live in. Over time, hopefully, it will also help raise our expectations from the political leadership to the point where we can get positive change agents in the right places in government. We thus have to reset the bar on what we consider acceptable in all that we see around and make sure that we raise our voices to commend the good and condemn the bad.

India Empowered is thus Indians Enlightened so that they can combine Insight and Experience with Inspiration and Emergence resulting in Incomes Enhanced. India Empowered is a land where Irrational Exuberance Is Encouraged!

Continue reading TECH TALK: India Empowered: My Views (Part 2)