Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 10 trends in telecom for 2009!

What will be the top 10 trends in telecom for 2009? My estimate is, it will be boring, but business as usual! Boring is steady, they say! So, let's see!!

Don't look around for too much of innovations though!

Here are what I feel will be the leading trends in 2009.

1. WiMAX vs. LTE -- the debate should carry on in 2009 as well.

2. Growth of 3G services in places where it hasn't taken off or started!

3. IPTV -- this really needs to catch up and grow substantially.

4. More of GPS enabled devices as mobile navigation attempts to grow stronger.

5. Near field communications or NFC. A report on the Web talks about NFC phones starting to roll out in Taiwan.

6. Further adoption of femtocells... have the standards been finalized? Are we there yet? Perhaps, 2009 will have all the answers.

7. Embedded Internet devices. Yes, Intel loves these!

8. Carrier Ethernet should gain steam.

9. More of mobile VAS and mobile Web

10. More of mobile OS wars.

I also wonder, whatever happened to the following technologies/standards, or what's the status! These were supposed to be hot not so long back! Oh well, TD-SCDMA, for instance, never has had the glamor as a 3G technology!


If you beg to differ, I'd be glad to know :) Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2009 dear friends!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Welcome to Techfools! To entertain and to fool around with tech

We all love technologies, don't we! And, most of us, love being fooled by the many 'romantic ways' that various technologies can be used!

How many gadgets do you own? A telephone, a camera, an MP3/MP4 player, a tape recorder, a DVD/movie player, an emailing device, a surfing device? Wow! That's quite a lot!

But hey, they squeezed all of these devices into that tiny thing we use to make calls -- the ubiquitous mobile phone! Oh, they call it a smartphone these days, coz it does all of these things!

Umm, hey, the smartphone offers all of the devices mentioned above, doesn't it? Did that fool you? Or, maybe, you knew all of this!

Well, you may be smart tech geek, but there are several others not so smart as you are! For instance, I know so many folks who can't be bothered about emails. Isn't it a wonderful feeling NOT to be glued to your emails!

Come on, get social! Get away from emails, they say! However, most of us, and surely I am, spend most of the day either receiving or sending emails...

Well, these are just two examples how technologies influence our lives.

Via this blog, I hope to entertain, and have fun (or poke fun) at technologies, about technologies, about what technology companies do (and what they should not do!), and so on and so forth!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

MHEG-5 headed for India

This post originally appeared in Pradeep Chakraborty's Blog!

MHEG-5 is an open standard middleware solution, an application program interface (API), designed specifically for low-cost memory constrained devices — particularly suitable for digital interactive TV (iTV) services and is platform agnostic. Simply put, MHEG-5 is a simple object-orientated programming language.

MHEG-5 was initially adopted in 1998 by ONDigital in the United Kingdom (rebranded as ITV Digital) for use in the world’s first pay-TV digital terrestrial television (DTT) network. ONDigital lead the industry wide specification and development task of the first MHEG-5 profile, which subsequently (after the collapse of ITVDigital) formed the basis for deployment of interactive services on the UK DTT platform (Freeview).

Developed by the ISO-MHEG group and DAVIC in 1995, it is intended as a UI for DAVIC interactive services and VOD. MHEG-5 has been standardized in ISO 13522-5 and adopted by the UK DTG in 1997.

Going by its history on IMPALA (The International MHEG Promotion Alliance), MHEG (Multimedia and Hypermedia information coding Expert Group) originally developed and standardized by Working Group 12 (WG12) of the ISO — officially known as ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29/WG12. It was developed in the mid 1990s as part of the DAVIC (Digital Audio Video Council) standardization effort to support interactivity and navigation of multimedia services on various small footprint devices.

WG12 issued a suite of documents (MHEG parts 1-8) as part of MHEG standard covering extensions for scripting language (MHEG-6), testing and interoperability (MHEG-7) and support for encodings in XML format (MHEG-8). Part 5 of the standard, officially known an ISO/IEC 13522-5, or more commonly know as MHEG-5 that is of primary relevance to interactive DTV.

So what’s hot about MHEG-5? Well, the standard’s profile evolved to UK Profile 1.06 (current); ETSI standard ES 202184. And now, new international profiles extend the UK profile. These include: New Zealand — extra Maori characters and EPG key; Hong Kong — Traditional Chinese font; Singapore/China - simplified Chinese font. Certain other extensions are said to be under development within DTG for possible deployment in 2008. These include IP interaction channel (return path), improved graphics, HD compatibility and support, and PVR support.

Heading for India?
What’s more significant is that MHEG-5 is said to be launching in India and in Hong Kong in 2008! Trials and evaluations are reportedly ongoing in Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey, India and Russia. There is said to be interest from other countries in Europe and Asia as well.

MHEG-5 has no known essential IPR. The MHEG middleware software is typically less than US$1 per receiver. It has had wide integration into iDTVs in Europe. Finally, MHEG is proposed as the UI for new Common Interface spec (CI+), as well.

I hope to be speaking with IMPALA sometime soon about its plans for India and update you appropriately.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Good to be back!

This post originally appeared in Pradeep Chakraborty's Blog!

It’s good to be back, especially after a long break! In my case, my long break was in form of an illness, which required surgery. I am still recuperating, and am only able to sit in front of a computer for a short while. Finally, I decided to make use of that short window and see if I could add anything worthwhile.

Well, this past month, I’ve missed a lot of events. Recently, the ISA’s Vision Summit got over, with lot of stalwarts from the overseas, such as Stan Meyers of SEMI, and Malcolm Penn of Future Horizons gracing the event.

As per an ISA-Frost & Sullivan report released at the event, the Indian semiconductor market is likely to generate $5.49 billion in revenues in 2009, growing at 26.7 percent CAGR. The report for 2007-08, said, the market in 2006 generated $2.69 billion total revenues in 2006, lesser than the estimated $3.8 billion in the previous report.

Now these figures may impress those new to the semiconductor industry, but there are other ramifications as well.

Speaking at the ISA Vision Summit, Jairam Ramesh, union minister of state for commerce, said that the Indian government had received seven confirmed investments in the Fab city at Hyderabad, with a total value of $7 billion for 10 years.

Five firms have been given principle approval with $1 billion investment. Proposals of three other firms — Videocon, Moser Baer, and Hindustan Semicon Manufacturing Corporation (HSMC), have yet to be considered.

Reliance is said to have put forward a proposal for solar/PV manufacturing facility with an investment of $5 billion in Jamnanagar. This proposal is under consideration.
The majority of firms proposed to set up in Fab city are mainly focused on solar/PV.

This last bit is the interesting part. If everyone focuses on solar/PV, who will focus on the other ancillaries required to complete the semicon ecosystem? What about the LCD, OLED plants, etc., that were mentioned in the semiconductor policy?

No matter, the coverage of this event has been disappointing/has disappointed me.

I also missed NASSCOM’s Leadership Summit in Mumbai. There was another CIO event, but no problems. CIOL has it’s C-Change 2008 running from Feb. 21-23, which I will again have to miss due to health issues. Nevertheless, this event will focus on the making of an agile enterprise, and a reality check on how agile Indian enterprises actually are!

That’s all I can manage in about 10 minutes. Maybe, more stuff will show up later on, as my health gets better. Till then, keep rocking.

Monday, January 28, 2008

On friends and friendship!

This post originally appeared in Pradeep Chakraborty's Blog!

With due respects to Francis Bacon, this is an interesting topic to write about. We come across many, many people in our lives — and most of those go on to become friends. However, on closer examination, we sometimes find that some of those are actually not friends, but merely seasonal friends!

There are some friends who need to be trusted and respected; some to be maintained at close quarters since they may be of help to you at some stage of your life; some, with whom you worked or met during life, but never really got that close, and hence, the distance was maintained; and some others — who only know you so they can ask for your help in their times of need! Some might disagree with these criteria, but then, these are just my thoughts.

They also say that a friend in need is a friend indeed. Rather, in hard times you find out who your true friends are. Now this bit is really the true test of the value of any friend that you may have. Suddenly, when you start applying this criteria, you may realize that most of the people you know are mere acquaintances, at best.

Most of us have Facebook and Orkut accounts, and dozens of other social networking accounts. Well, we enjoy adding as many people to our network. However, how many of those actually care about you or even bother to send you messages? This aspect came up during a discussion with a friend!

Interestingly, this friend has deleted some of his so-called close friends across social networking sites — on grounds that he was actually ‘done in’ by them! Well, he has his own reasons for removing or dropping friends from his lists.

On closer examination of his theory (or practice), I find that I have lists and lists of friends — but hardly few bother to stay in touch! Maybe, they are all very busy, as I am, as you are.

Right now, few know that I am indisposed, and though some of my so-called friends are aware of my situation, very few of them have even bothered to call up and ask about my well being. Now, I should be sad at their conduct! However, I don’t blame them!! I’m neither part of their family nor simply not important enough, and I can live with both the reasons.

What it’s also showed to me — and following on from my friend’s reasoning — that maybe, these folks are not exactly my friends! As he pointed out to me pretty clearly — some of them only come to me for some advice, or to speak something about their office or boss, or help find a job, or help with some technology stuff, or some other problem, which I, as a friend, pay attention to and offer advice, if asked. He bluntly told me, “They only exploit your good nature.”

Maybe, my friend’s correct! Maybe, they are all well wishers or acquaintances at best, who I have mistaken as friends. Maybe, some are gaining something from me — as my friend pointed out so bluntly, the other day! Nevertheless, I’m not the one to decide nor do I intend to sit and judge the actions of my various friends.

I believe that there are still a few good men and women around, who like me, believe in being there for their friends. If some of my friends are indeed selfish and unkind — as some of their own friends think them to be — well, best of luck and try to be much more honest with yourself, and with your so-called friends. To each his/her own!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Speaking the supplier’s language an art!

This post originally appeared in Pradeep Chakraborty's Blog!

Some people never seem to learn from their mistakes. Especially those, who have been at a job for several years and suddenly come face-to-face with a lot of new things. For some of them, it becomes a challenge to move with the times. For some, learning the ropes of a particular technology becomes quite a challenge in itself. Such folks are used to their comfort zones, and don’t want to come out of it.

I’ve mostly worked with various marketing teams and sales forces across Asia Pacific — who, I’ve seen slog hours and hours to learn about the industries they serve. On querying, they say: “If I don’t speak my supplier’s language, how will I succeed!”

It is really commendable on their part to make those efforts in learning things, which they actually may not be required to do. They are either there to sell space — in print and for online, or to develop concepts — based on the editorial calendars that they get.

Having got used to working with such dedicated people, it pains me a lot when I see others — equally talented, but lethargic folks — not making the requisite efforts.

There are several colleagues I can think of — Alfred, Stone, Alan, Eric, Kevin, David, Morrison, Willy, Wallace, etc. — in sales; and Sylvia, Joanne, Canis, Jambi, etc., in marketing. Their methods of learning are amazing. They’d religiously scan the Web sites daily, and then look for information on topics they did not understand on the Web.

It was only when they did not understand certain things, they’d go to editorial. Of course, it helped certain folks — who had an editorial background — and a very strong one at that. They hardly needed anyone to guide them on the technologies, as they knew what to expect and to do. This helped the team they worked with. How I wish, this can be replicated across media houses!

It pays to have strong sales and marketing teams, especially having folks with strong technology leanings. Otherwise, you are a sitting duck! Your clients won’t even entertain you, nor would you be able to prepare meaningful marketing concepts. It pays to know something the subjects that you are trying to sell! Or, in their own words — ’speak the supplier’s language.’

Here’s where leadership also plays a key role. Good leaders encourage their teams to brush up on technologies — especially in the media industry.