Convergence is a nice word that hides complexities. While that might sound like chaos to many, in the brave and eternally changing world of Information Technology, that spells more opportunities for firms to please customers, face the competition and make money, say industry experts.
Internet-based software and protocol are meeting telecom networks, blurring the distinction between communications and Information Technology, while loads of data and content in the form of text, sound and video are being uploaded by millions of people in an ever-expanding World Wide Web.
“The point of intersection is where you see innovation, disruption and opportunity,” John Gantz, Chief Research Officer in global information technology industry researcher, International Data Corp (IDC) told a conference that outlined industry directions for 2008.
These opportunities exist in fields like IP television, where video programming is pumped over Internet-technology based networks, in carrying voice over IP and in managed services where data centres are managed to blend telecom with software applications.
The new wave also includes services like business process outsourcing (BPO), familiar to India, which has been one of the early beneficiaries of global telecom networks that use Internet technologies.
But content services worth $1 trillion ($1,000 billion) are now being created in the form of advertisements, gaming and distribution, while an astonishing 161 exabytes of data existed on the Internet in 2006. That is as much as a stack of books piled up from the earth to Jupiter, Gantz said.
This is likely to grow six-fold by 2010, while 70 per cent of the new content generated will be by consumers. For informationa technology companies, managing such humongous volumes of unstructured data provides business opportunities.
New threats to security, such as identity theft online, and mandatory reporting of financial details through online means, also provide scope for new business.
IDC forecasts that worldwide infotech spending will grow 6.5 per cent in 2007 from the previous year’s level of $1.17 trillion.
The expansion of infotech to small and medium businesses is also throwing up opportunities in creating affordable combinations of hardware and software for such firms, said Pradeep Gupta, Managing Director of IDC’s Indian unit.