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A demographic dividend will shape the world??

June 30, 2010 Leave a comment

The future is quite a blurry, messed and “chaotic” concept, defined by a huge array of concurrent factors, unprecendented events, unforeseen changes. That is why I have always thought those big-mouth-know-it-all statements on what is going to be were born out of a waste of brain cells..

Still..

Information give you the possibility to see through the fog, or at least to define which one of the possible futures it is the one most likely to affect your world… some data from a Booz&Co report are pointing out at India as the going-to-be engine of global economy considering the “demographic dividend” that sets the Indian sub-continent apart from global country system competition.

The report states in 2020 the Indian population will have an average of 29 years, compared with 37 in USA and China, a stunning (negatively!!) 45 in Europe and 48 in Japan, this without considering that around 70% of India population in 2025 will  be within “working age”, rising from the current 61%..

Now, this alone will not suffice for the country success, unless coupled with a systemic advance and fine tuning of all parts to accomodate the greatest asset a country may have these days: a massive force of young people, born out of the evolutionary trends today we all boast, ready to be trained to be a real propeller and not a burden. This also suggests the overall culture of the country should be geared at creating a generation able to take the place of the former one, whilst it is rather sad to say it seems today the older generation still controlling the “power” (economic, political, social..) is trying to build a cohort of “yes-man” totally useless when the future will knock on our doors.

So much for getting wiser whilst ageing..

Categories: General stuff..

If content was the king, so how about eContents?!??!

June 22, 2010 Leave a comment

As we all know, the entire ecosystem of digital interactions, both in terms of user terminals, services, and usage patterns are mutating every single day, or better every single time someone is actually producing and launching a new gizmo.. now is “slate” time.. and war, to come to that (courtesy of UnitechBlog)!!

But, but.. since long we have been witnessing a surge of “contents” as the golden nugget inside any tech advance.. for the PC industry in itself, Internet was all about “contents”, advertising was the same, the hardware market has running the race (storage anyone?), and then new form-factor devices to optimise the experience, and then..and then..

Now, the availability of high speed network connections, Wi-Fi (both devices and massive “hot spot” distribution), and also the rise of social networking have all put “digital contents” back on the radar screen and quite likely transform them into the new battlefield for domination (I personally do not trust all that much all business models based on advertising, despite the fact that Google has made more than a decent living out of it.. there will be evolution in this field, more personalisation, opt in, personal adv engines and eBooth to go and control for the ads I have asked to send me, less bothering whilst browsing around..).

Overall, digital contents, eContents have been on the rise for quite a while, GigaOm analysts estimate an hefty US$36 billion, ramping up from the 2008 US$ 16,7 billion, quite a low-ish figure if compared with the very recent Italian Confindustria (the Industrial Association) eContent research that puts a mark at €5,8 billion for 2010 (do I really have to believe that Italy accounts for more than 19% of total market value – Euro @ 1,23 against US$ as of today exchange rate..), 8,8% rise vs last year.  As I said before, advertising may not be the ultimate revenue booster, since the aforementioned research points out that the adv market grew by 5%, whilst paid digital contents business stream posted a nice 10,2% jump…

Anyway and however.. it seems that this is the area we need to analyse and monitor, the rise of digital contents, also including the digitalisation of paper-based documents, will inject new “information” into the wider Web, let people access a plethora of new contents on line, whilst on the move, anywhere really (purpose-driven content availability matrix: please develop the concept before I do and go back being one of the most interesting brain around..!! ), and revamp other IT-related sectors (storage-in-the-cloud, so to allow massive content distribution and some “decapitalisation” of IT)..

Let alone the latest iPad, is the stuff running on it that makes that conglomerate of plastic an interesting object.. usage, user needs, interests.. is “attention economy” back into the spotlight?!?

Nice..

Broadband what???

June 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Very briefly.

Data from the OECD research shows that Italy is 21st in terms of broadband penetration, lagging behind anyone, basically. This is a fundamental driver to innovation, systemic evolution and, for Heaven’ sake, a modern country, despite the fact that there are studies determining the impact of broadband on overall GDP (like 1.21% of GDP growth every 10% point in ICT – broadband in this case  – penetration, according to a World Bank document )

Now, provided that data thrown in the conversation count for “food for thoughts”, but still, this is quite an interesting point to raise when discussing about “how to face the challenge posed by the crisis”..

Couple this with  “credit crunch”, mainly addressed to SMEs in a system made by SMEs (90%?? more???), in which bad credits are generally due to the topmost 1% of large companies (53% if I recall correctly), and if you do go down to the top 10% of companies (in size..), bad credits go up to more than 80%…

So, if you do not allow for investments to be made by the largest and healtier part of the economic system, and do not allow for upgrading the economy with the most relevant weaponry, but rather spend your available money in public (useless) infrastructures such as bridges over troubled waters between Sicily and continental Italy, or do not tight up the public expenditure, how on Earth are you going to keep afloat? By serial miracles?? I have been obvious here, but seemingly “obvious” is not that anymore..

Eventually.. we are in Italy after all..

Apologies for being country-centered..

The Italian Mobile Internet.. a two-fold story (and I am being kind..)

June 15, 2010 Leave a comment

I have just read an article on “mobile internet” in Italy that really surprises me.. some research done by the Observatory on Mobile Internet and Contents of the Milan Politecnico School of Management (a rather simple search item, isn’t it?)(would post the link, but it is unfortunately in Italian.. Mobile Italian Internet..gosh..), shows that Italy boasts some 12 million mobile internet users today (+17% from 2008… ), traditional services over mobile are dropping between 2 to 4% (really!?!?? gosh, that is unexpected, isn’t it???… do come along, please..), and mobile content sales sunk (-20%) due to the creation of “apps store” of some sort..

Now, it has always been a surprise to me the fact that, regardless the globalisation, some lessons are not to be understood regardless.. I do remember that, long time ago, we did some custom work (was in IDC at that time) for a mobile service vendor, and quite interestingly the DoCoMo model was coming into play..revenue sharing, I got the network, you got the service to sell, I got a share, you got your share of money, clients happy, experience unforgettable, market opening, sales growing.

Was not too difficult to understand. And yet we had to wait until Apple decided that allowing a bunch of people across the World to create an incredible array of application was the best way to define the new experience level on mobile environment.

Today we have:

  • 4.7 billion of mobile SIM around the World (consider two or three SIM per user..)
  • mobile traffic that grows with a CAGR of 131% until 2013
  • more than 1/3 of total mobile users will have a mobile internet enabled phone (a REAL one..)
  • users with iPhone are more likely to surf the mobile internet than those without the Apple phone (87% vs 23%) (form factor is indeed a factor!!!)
  • Pizza Hut is making US$ 1million of direct revenues after three months of online selling presence, eBay expects US$ 1.5bn worth of transaction done via mobile internet, 50% of mobile clients of eTrade stated they will ONLY access services via mobile phones, Apple has already got US$ 60million worth of contract for the iAD advertising platform which is not even running yet…
  • (some data courtesy of Forrester Research)

and we, in Italy, do not manage to make some profit out of a de-facto standard situation such as this? After years and years of global marketplaces (indeed, Japan..) telling the same story, with different words?

I am honestly puzzled..

iPhone, iPad, iEverything and the mobile world.. I may buy one of those “things”!

June 8, 2010 Leave a comment

I was at a Forrester Research event this morning, all geared to define and explain a bit of the current mobile environment and how to engage the user base..

The room was pretty full, different kind of people, from the utter Milanese professionals, some rather geeky-looking folks, a fair segmentation between men and women, let’ say a good sample. Advanced users of complex tech ecosystems, I dare say, the tip of the iceberg.

This tip of the iceberg was almost entirely, no, let’s put the mark at 80%, devoted to Apple! iPhones everywhere, therefore most for business usage (it was, after all, a business meeting!!), and to top it up a fair amount of coveted iPad(s)!! The chap next to me had a WiFi-only model, someone in the back of the room was pontificating about the marvels of the new object, how the screen resolution was finally making odd videos looking fab…

Thing is, as it comes out from Forrester data, iPhone users almost double (something like..) the “normal smartphone users” in surfing the mobile web, in using the device to do all sort of things better and to a larger extent than any other mobile phone addict!

I did sort of agree with the analyst (kudoos to you, Thomas, nice job!) that we were discussing about a “pre-iPhone” era and a “post-iPhone”, since all usage paradigms are and will be completely changed. For good.

So, yesterday came in the news about the iPhone 4, a nice attempt to close the gap (am I mad??? Apple has got a gap to fill in the mobile market??) in terms of “lateral features” such as a rather more decent (finally…) camera (at least on paper..5Mpx and a led-flash), a less bulky chassis (yes, iPhone is bulky, so what?), some HD recording features, the infamous video-call back into action thanks to Face Time (do I really want to see/be seen by everyone..ok, opt in/out but say it to your girlfriend/office boss/whoever..)..

More importantly, a new OS (to contribute to the mobile OS war..) that features a bunch of advances such as …Multitasking!!! few, finally.. and a better eMail handling (considering that 75% of iPhone users do actually email – European users data from Forrester), and iAD, the mobile advertising platform..

Stop here, you will be overwhelmed with infos on the new toy but, you know what, this time around I may get convinced and buy one of those “things”!!!At least for the REAL camera that seems to have been put into the iPhone now… I am so happy with the shots I can manage with my Samsung Innov8 Touch.. but using mobile internet quite heavily is not exactly comfortable, albeit there is no problems whatsoever with the website rendering, the touch keyboard or anything else.. it is simply “tiring”… (ok, YouTube on this smartphone doesn’t put me into a blissful state..)

I have to read a bit better about tech specs and so forth, and make my mind around the fact that “being an Apple user” does define you as driving an Honda or a Ducati, going to all-inclusive holiday resorts or DIY your holiday in rural China…

Actually, are we heading towards an all-inclusive mobile resort with the Apple environment? Still, sometimes should be nice to sit down, relax and play away on your mobile without a worry in the entire World!!!

Do we really like it or we have to, since this is the only direction to go?!?!? I don’t know, there is something here that I don’t quite like, something off-tune..

Unless…