Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
On the side, new service development is notoriously slow, which may contribute to KPN's undecisiveness. One reason is (semi) governmental agencies' unwillingness to move online. A reason behind this, as was stressed in my newspaper this week, is the fact that health workers are paid by the hour. They are completely disincentivised to embrace e-health, because it threatens to make their work much more efficient.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
- Paper: clearly on its way out, with Amazon's Kindle going worldwide. Still, nice for specific locations (public transport, restaurants, etc.). In the long run: a typical dinosaur.
- E-reader: saves newspapers a lot in terms of paper, ink and distribution costs. But who is going to pay? There is some resemblance to the femtocell conundrum. Will the end user be willing to pay for a piece of hardware that saves his provider a lot of money?
- Netbook: if newspaper companies adjust their websites to the specs of a laptop or netbook, then they won't need to venture into the risky e-reader market. Instead, they could subsidise netbooks. If they make their websites fully for-pay only, they could make an offer to their subscribers: if you give up your print edition, we will give you a netbook and you can download our newspaper every day for a reduced subscription fee. If they score an MVNO deal, they could have the download process automated and performed daily (or even several times a day) over a 2G or 3G connection (cf. Amazon).
- News: AP, AFP and Reuters aren't going away. Newspapers, relying on printing syndicated news from these sources alone, are on their way out.
- Background stories, in-depth reporting, interviews: here is where a newspaper's value is, I believe.
- Non-content: My NRC newspaper is venturing into community services that are especially appealing to its rather well-defined demographic: trips, books, CDs. Perhaps these services reduce churn somewhat, but I doubt they add much value.
- Content: Since newspapers are in the content industry, they could become portals for customised content by adding related content from a variety of sources. They could add books, blogs etc. to their daily newspaper download to the subsidised netbooks or e-readers.
- Other: newspapers have a billing relation and a more or less well-defined reader demographic, which in theory positions them to become MVNOs or even RSPs on broadband networks.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
This year's Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded for two scientific achievements that have helped to shape the foundations of today’s networked societies. They have created many practical innovations for everyday life and provided new tools for scientific exploration. In 1966, Charles K. Kao made a discovery that led to a breakthrough in fiber optics. He carefully calculated how to transmit light over long distances via optical glass fibers. With a fiber of purest glass it would be possible to transmit light signals over 100 kilometers, compared to only 20 meters for the fibers available in the 1960s. Kao's enthusiasm inspired other researchers to share his vision of the future potential of fiber optics. The first ultrapure fiber was successfully fabricated just four years later, in 1970.
Today optical fibers make up the circulatory system that nourishes our communication society. These low-loss glass fibers facilitate global broadband communication such as the Internet. Light flows in thin threads of glass, and it carries almost all of the telephony and data traffic in each and every direction. Text, music, images and video can be transferred around the globe in a split second.
If we were to unravel all of the glass fibers that wind around the globe, we would get a single thread over one billion kilometers long – which is enough to encircle the globe more than 25 000 times – and is increasing by thousands of kilometers every hour.