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Technology, Media and Telecom Revolutions

It starts with consumer's desire to enjoy the entertainment they want, whenever they want, on any platform they want -- and ends with a wave of technological change that will sweep away the video and audio entertainment media businesses as we now know them.

It's the latest stage of the Technology, Media and Communications (TMC) revolution -- and it's about to make previous technological upheavals look minor in comparison. A new white paper from iSuppli Corp. examines the TMC revolution, including its drivers and enablers, and offers ideas and insights on how companies can manage this wave of technological change.

The TMC revolution centers on a set of relatively new products that combine elements of computing, consumer electronics and wired and wireless communications. Demand for such products has been spurred by the proliferation of devices that deliver time/place utility to consumers, such as mobile phones, which allow users to communicate in any location and whenever they chose.

Consumers have become accustomed to such ubiquity in mobile phones, and now have extended this expectation to the realm of entertainment. Simply put, consumers want to enjoy any entertainment they chose, on the platform they chose, at anytime and in any location.

"This desire for greater choice and personalizationin entertainment has become the driving force for consumer behavior pertaining to technology and content," said Mark Kirstein,vice president, Multimedia Content and Services for iSuppli. "Because of this, TMC stands not only to impact traditional technology markets, but to completely reshape the telecommunications and entertainment media businesses, resulting in the demise of many traditional corporate powerhouses."

These changes represent just the latest wave of a series of TMC revolutions that have progressively extended the dynamics of the high-tech industry to new markets. The first TMC wave was marked by the rise of PCs and wireless communications to become the primary applications for the high-tech marketplace.

More recently, the rise of broadband has transformed telecommunications into a major engine for high-tech growth and innovation. Virtually all telecommunications companies are investing enormous sums to upgrade their networks to support new broadband-enabled services, particularly Internet Protocol TV (IPTV).

Ironically, this second TMC wave has had a withering impact on the telecom industry itself. Once the most stable of companies -- the low-risk investment of choice for widows and orphans -- some telecom companies now have entered a period of brutally competitive market conditions that has shaken their traditional security.

"For the first time, the telecommunications companies were exposed to the realities of the high-tech market, including speedy technological development, constantly-shifting competitive landscapes and quick extinction for any company not nimble enough to keep pace," Kirstein said. "The result is that the telecommunications industry has gone from stability and dominance to insecurity and concern over how many companies will survive the current wave."

Even in countries where telecom companies still manipulate the public policy and regulatory processes to favor their vested interests, analysts know that this traditional defense is equivalent to living on borrowed time. Eventually, all will be forced to embrace a level playing field, where nimble competitors will exploit their apparent weaknesses.

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