Monday, January 05, 2009

BPN 1291 Multimedia and e-Content Trends

Just before the end of the year the book Multimedia and e-Content Trends, edited by Dr. Peter A. Bruck, was published. The book is a selection of papers presented at the 2007 Academic network Conference in Graz. They were presented in the panels:
- Augmented Realties and Smart Interfaces;
- Mobile Location Based Applications;
- The Mobile Content Paradigm;
- Current mega Trends for e-Content Development;
- Teaching Models.
The book is intended for researchers and instructors in the field of e-content development. The articles reflect the preoccupation of the authors with the latest trends in e-content and communication technologies, such as going mobile or discovering new, innovative interfaces. The authors also introduce new learning methods with interactive media.

In the preface the editor notices that the industry ground shifts challenge the academia’s teaching canon. The changes affect as well all teaching and research in universities and colleges. Some key issues are worth recounting.

Wiki Movement. Users are challenging established ownership and distribution arrangements, whether through P2P networks or open access/open archive publishing conventions, or through new mass distribution and inter-community trading. Network availability and broadband applications create possibilities for new forms of expression by user. See the success of Wikipedia and currently 256 language versions where users are the content creators for entire encyclopaedias.

Different sector react differently. Scientific, technical and medical publishing has gone towards full digitisation and digital delivery while lifestyle magazines are staying largely print. In the games sector a new on-line segment multiplayer has developed where multiplayer involvement points to entirely new intensities and content formats. Intellectual property and copying issues remain crucial.

The modes of pay. Internet content is seen widely as having to be free of charge. Digital media subscription, pay per use/view and access charges remain the key ways for generating revenues. Companies survive if they are able to generate positive revenue feedback cycles when growing numbers of paying users foster marketing, development, and distribution of online content and services, which in turn might draw more paying users.

Content Gap and Economic Issues. The creative ICT applications and digital content industries are challenged to adapt to broadband, both mobile and fixed; to co-operate and change roles among value chain players (in particular between content owners, network operators, Internet service providers, hardware and consumer electronics suppliers); to fight digital piracy and deal with the role of file-sharing. Major concerns are the role of intellectual property in protecting ownership in both products and services, the enforcement of copyright in a digital world, defining and monitoring fair use and the boundaries of legitimate use, d the interaction between competition law and copyright: to create a regime for digital rights and customer authentication; to put into place efficient payment methods (especially for micro-payments).

Content Gap and SMEs. Operating in the new interactive content industries is highly complex and challenging: legal issues are critical, the definition of software and application products complex and licensing negotiations often more lengthy and complicated due to intricate technical issues and differing legal regimes across platforms and countries. In addition, oligopolistic content markets with a strong role of market leaders, exclusive access to content or networks (network access gatekeepers) make it very difficult if not impossible for SMEs to stay in the market in the longer run and deploy broadband applications and content.

Financing Cycles. The climate for private investment in the creative ICTs is a-cyclical to the technological advance: Three to five years ago money was readily available, but the technology mostly narrowband; today rich media (DVD-Offline) and broadband (Online and Mobile) can deliver new contents and innovative services, but many investors have been burnt five to seven years ago. Often, investment in digital content and digital delivery has to be sustained by margins derived from traditional market activity. Only few successful new ways of generating revenue have emerged.

Moore's Law is working to increase Content Gap. Performance increases and productivity gains also increase functionalities and reduce prices for users. Often, these gains require structural changes in content creation and delivery industries. On the supply side the new generations of ICTs are leading to changes in the market structure of telecommunications, information services and content firms. Essentially, all the players must reinvent themselves. Network operators need to generate revenue to support investment in next-generation network and replace loss of traditional business (see: Telecoms around Europe have started TV via ADSL in the last years > Triple Play). For intermediaries, the market churn is very high and there are few winners.

Market complexities increase. New sets of business activities and new roles emerge in the creative ICT and content industry: content design and aggregation, marketing of publishing offers, right acquisition / management, packaging and distributing content, content protection, management of emerging publishing services, design and sale of interactive advertisement spaces, profiling users, integrated billing management, payment management, customer relation management, security/control services, access management. In order to successfully manage multiple roles and the often combined but then again separate activities a critical size of company or organisation is required. They involve a high degree of co-ordination as well as competition along value claims.

Politics is simple. In many countries, public policies do not keep up with the changes in technologies and markets. They adjust individual policies and the regulatory environment sufficiently quickly for smaller market players. However, it is often the case that neither speed nor direction have been recognised and measured and that too little economic analysis is available for networked and traditional business in content sectors.

Key factors. Governments and their agencies have to recognise their role as content creators and model users, of the importance of procurement and the establishment of best practice know-how and guidelines (see:; World Summit Award Governments have to cooperate with industry to speed up the creation of infrastructures for and the public acceptance of micro-payment systems, electronic signatures, and authentication. They have to counteract piracy and assist in the clarification of use rights along content. Finally, governments should consider supporting and investing in the creation of content clusters and a digital content funding for al those areas where there is a significant public interest (health, education, cultural identity).

Editor: Bruck, Peter A. Multimedia and E-Content Trends, Implications for Academia
Series: Smart Media und Applications Research
Publisher: Vieweg+Teubner Verlag 2009
ISBN: 9783834807540
Pages: 195
Price: EUR 49,90
To order the book

Blog Posting Number: 1291

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