The Resurgence Of Convergence

from the it's-baaaaaaack dept

For a while, it seemed like the idea of “convergence” was going out of style. It would come and go as people talk about various devices and services picking up more features. However, convergence means more than adding a camera to your phone or an internet connection to your TV — but in figuring out what entirely new opportunities these combinations open up. Om Malik is pointing to a piece by Ramesh Jain suggesting that the future of convergence is about combining content, communication and computing — but that too many are only focusing on two of the three aspects (or really just understand one of the three). True convergence occurs when a company clearly understands all three, and what the implications are of that convergence beyond feature creep. We’ve already mentioned that one of the “unexpected” side effects of convergence is that it’s also converging business models — leaving some companies out in the cold when they discover their business model no longer makes sense. Witness Cablevision’s ability to give away phone service. Of course, telcos are looking at convergence on their own, and this can be seen in SBC’s announcement today that they’re working on a set-top box that goes beyond what most current set-top boxes do. Basically, they’re yet another company trying to create the ultimate “digital entertainment hub” with a DVR, internet access, photo/video/music storage and more. Of course, it’s likely they’re attacking this from a broadcast (content) perspective, rather than a communication one, but it’s pretty clear that these battles are heating up, and companies who aren’t figuring out the interplay between content, communication and computing aren’t going to be around very long.

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