My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: MRSL Survey and the future of media in Jamaica

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

MRSL Survey and the future of media in Jamaica

When you’re are alone
And life is making you lonely
You can always go
When you got worries
All the noise and the hurry
Seems to help I know

Excerpt from the song Downtown by Petula Clarke

With the recent 2009 MRSL All Media Survey now out and published (you can purchase a copy from the MRSL directly!), that which was made obvious from the advertisement about Telecom Provider CLARO on YouTube in the Sunday Gleaner, published Sunday January 31st 2010AD

The fact that Telecom Provider Digicel already has followers on Twitter and nearly 100,000 on FaceBook as stated in the articleDigicel gains 100,000 FaceBook Fans in under 100 Days”, published Wednesday, 17 March 2010AD by is now bound in the crisp printed pages of the 2009 MRSL All Media Survey for all in the Broadcasting to see – and it is not very reassuring.

These developments coupled with the increasing popularity of Telecom Provider CLARO 3G solution and the up and coming Telecom Provider LIME 3G services as well as the soon to be launched WiMax 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Network from Telecom Provider Digicel as sated in the article “Digicel to offer mini laptops with 4G service next year”, published Friday September 4th 2009 by Lavern Clarke, The Daily Gleaner.

 ZTE Corp of China as their build out partner of their new WiMax 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Network as stated in the article “Digicel signs ZTE as 4G Mobile WiMaX Internet Partner”, published Sunday, September 27, 2009, The Jamaica Observer.

Telecom Provider Digicel their possible foray into Broadcasting as stated in the article “DigiTV launch n 2009 - Mobile Provider branches into TV”, published Friday November 14th 2009 by Ross Sheil, Online Co-ordinator, The Jamaica Observer were early indications that traditional Broadcasters, namely Radio and Television and the Newspapers as we know them are slowly becoming extinct.

Granted, daytime Radio still has a following, salve for the aching and justice-denied Radio star wannabees, as Dr. Marcia Forbes asserts in her article “What fate Radio?”, published Saturday April 10th 2010AD, by Marcia Forbes, The Jamaica Observer but the declining numbers in both Radio audience and the lack of significant growth in Television indicates that there is a need for something more in these traditional Media Outlets than just playing music and reading the news.

It would seem that youth populism has taken over, as even Marcia Forbes has also resorted to the same level of experimentation by joining Twitter as stated in the article “Twitter, Twits and Tweets”, published Thursday 22nd April 2010AD by Marcia Forbes, The Jamaica Observer that I had to resort to while a student at the University of the West Indies for about four (4) years from 2005 to 2009 doing my degree over in the Physics Department, Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences, during which time I did an informal anecdotal study on young people, aged 14-18 and 18 to 30 and the trends in how they consume Media. 

Marcia Forbes column is finally coming alive and relevant to us younger people, especially longtime MySpace, Tagged, Hi5, FaceBook alumni and Yahoo! Messenger, Yahoo! Email, Google Blogger and Gmail fanatics such as myself. So her interest in Social Networking, albeit a bit late, is welcome, as her comments on her surprise on the degree of usage of  DVD’s and other gadgets among downtown folk is odd and unfortunate.

Especially when most of the bootleg DVD and Chinese knock-off for Apple iPods Apple iPhones originate from higglers (that is ICI’s – Informal Commercial Importers) from Downtown, which is much romanticized in the song DownTown by Petula Clarke.

I await more of her articles, as I am fascinated by the view that older experienced Media Practitioners have of the current Media landscape and its future, a future to me that is obvious, being that I have worked in the Telecoms Sector for so long since 2001, starting at C&W, then a graduate of University of Technology and ending at CLARO in 2009, now a graduate of the University of the West Indies: wireless high speed Broadband Internet.

But what exactly is this future?

My last comment is nothing more than a nebulous statement, as everyone knows that the World Wide Web is the accessible via the Internet and is repository of information stored in databases on servers, so what on the Internet and what Internet related services over Broadband or what trends in Mobile Internet technology, both hardware and software will be driving the future growth of wireless high speed Broadband Internet? That is what I am here to discuss, for like a good swami and his crystal ball, I see all and I know all about the future.

The best place to start is always research papers that supposedly learned PhD’s overlook, as their rigid logic dismisses statistical reviews as being “unscientific” but to me a diamonds slowly been exposed by years of erosion of the tough heeled feet of some of these PhD’s who seem to be very slow when it relates to Social Trends and Technology, something which non-PhD’s like myself spot with ease and alacrity. 

Matthew Robson, aged fifteen (15) years old, while he was an intern at Morgan Stanley in 2009, wrote a research note titled  How Teenagers Consume Media: the report that shook the City”, printed by the Guardian Newspaper, Monday 13 July 2009 10.23 BST, The UK Guardian that created quite a stir.

This target demographic was an elusive demographic and that one so young would choose to make a research note on his fellow peers may have made him seem a traitor to his fellow teenagers but a godsend to the advertisers and marketing people, till trying to figure out what young people want.

In his research note, he makes the observation that fewer and fewer people, both young people [teenagers]  in the age range from 12-18 are not even reading print news anymore, relying solely on TV as well as on the Internet on their Mobile smart phones for specific news that they desire to read. Matthew Robson’s research note is based on anecdotal observation and he is a young untrained observer and thus on this basis his research note cannot be regarded as scientific and only as being anecdotal, as it is not knows what exactly his research methodology was in collecting the statistics in his report.

Nonetheless, it is the best study possible, given that if it were conducted by an adult or someone seen as an authority figure, the young people featured in the study may have viewed the research, be it via casual questioning or questionnaires as a means of bringing them back into line, effectively a form of Social control as stated in “Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective”, authors Peter L. Berger, published by Doubleday and Company Inc, Garden City, New York (1963), p 68 - 92.

Hence on this basis, Matthew Robson’s research note, albeit not scientific, given the restrictions as it relates to adults asking the opinions of young people via questionnaires, must be admissible as evidence of the point being made by this letter: the future generation no longer read Newspapers in printed form and mainly get their news via word-of-mouth using the various form of communications technology that interconnect them, whether it be Social Networking websites i.e. Twitter, FaceBook, Email, Instant Messaging or Mobile phones all of which are devices that utilize the ever expanding database that is the Internet.

This is how they consume Media and it is all via electronic sources, for which the younger, more tech –savvy generation have specific preferences and taste.

To summarize, his article indicates that which I had known since I was a technician working at C&W between 2001-2004 with obvious evidence from such articles as “US Newspapers look to online editions as possible saviours”, published Wednesday March 28 2007 by Catherine Hours, AFP, Yahoo! News and now confirmed as all but gospel by the MRSL All Media Survey and Marcia Forbes going bonkers on Twitter. May the Lord be with her!!

So it is thus clear, then, to get straight to the meat of the matter. Most of our content will be delivered to us on Mobile devices that use the wireless high speed Broadband Internet than are slated to come on stream this Summer of 2010AD.

The Apple iPad, a larger version of the Apple iPhone, that sports the same operating system specifically designed for its unique screen size and is surprisingly fast or “zippy” in colloquial American slang for a tablet-like PC device which would have doubtful “techies” impressed as stated in the review “Early reviews: iPad is 'beautiful', 'blazingly fast', 'has a touch of genius'”, published Wednesday April 1 2010AD by Ben Patterson Yahoo! News.

A marked an improvement on previous suggestions for a tablet by Microsoft as stated in the article “How Apple's iPad Succeeded where Microsoft Failed” published Tue Apr 6, 8:00 pm ET by John C. Dvorak Yahoo! News (PC Magazine), Yahoo! News.

This despite no multitasking, no flash support, no front facing or rear facing camera, no-E-Ink for reading, no external ports (possibly missing to prevent hackers?), no dock or kickstand and worse, a problematic Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) service as stated in the article “Apple Addresses Complaints about Weak iPad Wi-Fi” published Wednesday April 7th 2010AD by Barry Levine, Yahoo! News (, Yahoo! News. My blog article entitled “Apple iPad and the Future of Computing” summarizes it nicely.

This is not even mentioning its gaming potential and the fact that it is a console killer as intoned in the recent prognostications in April 2010AD in Tokyo by Hideo Kojima who intones, quote “In the near future, we'll have games that don't depend on any platform. Gamers should be able to take the experience with them in their living rooms, on the go, when they travel -- wherever they are and whenever they want to play.

It should be the same software and the same experience” as stated in the article “Japan’s video game visionary: the console is dying” published Wednesday April 7, 8:44 am ET by Kevin Krolicki, Yahoo! News. (Reuters) evident from the main reasons indicated by Tom Merritt of CNET as to why to purchase the Apple iPad in the video CNET Top 5, aired March 26th 2010AD by Tom Merritt, Senior Editor, CNET News. My blog article entitled “Apple iPad in the Summer of 2010AD - The Death of the Video Game Consoles” summarizes it nicely again!

This is not to mention the Apple iPad original aim, which was to beat the Amazon Kindle eReader, which it seems to be on the way to doing, having sold more units than expected and thus resulting in a potential delay until May in international shipments for the Apple iPad Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) and 3G launch as stated in the video “CNET Loaded”, aired April 15th 2010AD by Natalie Del Conte, CNET News.

Amazon itself not only placed a Amazon Kindle App on the Apple iPad to take advantage of Apple iPad’s expected readership but also haggling with its traditional publishers pre-Apple iPad over book prices using the Apple iPad as a bargaining chip as noted by Brian Tong in CNET The AppleByte aired February 5th 2010AD by Brian Tong, CNET News.

This single device has the potential to change how Media is consumed in the United States of America, but worldwide, even here in Jamaica, when CLARO makes the decision to launch the Apple iPad, whether in the Summer of the Christmas of 2010AD as a Netbook killer to upset the potential challenge from Digicel’s WiMax 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Network rollout, expected to use Netbooks and WiMax 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) enable phones.

Thus with the coming Apple iPhone refresh (Apple iPhone 3GS or Apple iPhone 4G with iPhone 4.0 OS??) as stated in the article “Will iPhone 4.0 derail Microsoft's phone plans?”, published April 9, 2010AD 10:24 AM PDT by Ina Fried, CNET News - Beyond Binary, CNET News. An Apple iPhone is definitely coming for the Verizon Network and thus a CDMA 1900 Apple iPhone in the works as stated in the article “Verizon CEO has told Apple of iPhone interest” published Tuesday April 6, 10:28 am ET, Yahoo! News.

Telecom Provider CLARO would do good to launch these products from Apple. Heck, they could even make the ultimate step and become the Authorized Retailer and Customer Support for all things Apple in partnership with Amazing PC, which seems to be shaping up to happen, as Amazing PC is currently looking for technical staff based on word on the street in May Pen, Clarendon.

On the same theme, Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) is also another wave of the future. Since the debut (finally!) of the new Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) protocol as stated in the article “802.11n Wi-Fi standard finally approved”, published September 11, 2009 5:33 PM PDT  by Dong Ngo, CNET News – Wireless, CNET News. It’s now eight (8) years since it was first conceived; there has been a flurry of applications found for the new 300 Mbps with enhanced security protocols from SD Cards that have Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) built in as stated in the article “Wi-Fi finds back door into ordinary cell phones”, published July 23, 2009 3:04 PM PDT by Mats Lewan, CNET News – Crave, CNET News.

Newer protocols such as WiGIG, a P2P (point-to-point) protocol developed to interconnect MultiMedia Electronic devices wireless such as your Blu-Ray (DVD players are being phased out by 2012 the way!!) to your HDTV complaint Television Set is an IEEE (Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers) challenge to proprietary wireless HDMI standard as stated in the article “WiGiG Group finalizes new wireless standard”, published December 11 2009 by Lance Whitney, CNET News -  Blog Network, CNET News.

Wi-Fi Direct protocol also a IEEE Open Architecture challenge to proprietary BlueTooth as stated in the article “Wi-Fi is about to get a whole lot easier”, published  October 14, 2009, 12:01AM EST  By Olga Kharif, BusinessWeek – Internet, BusinessWeek.

Both of these Open Architecture protocols are backed by technology and component manufacturer heavy hitters and as such are soon to begin appearing in products as early as 2011AD.  Already there is a trend for Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) in products as diverse as Apple iPhones, Apple iPads., Google Android phones and other smart phones in general.

This is due to the fact that Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) in the United States of America and other developed countries where Telecoms Providers are held to high Customer standards as it relates to ease of access to wireless Internet, free Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) is de riguer.

This may too be the case for 3G and 4G in Jamaica both for Telecom Provider CLARO, Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider Digicel, as Customers and Subscribers may opt to purchase a 3G-to-Wi-Fi Router in the case of Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO or a 4G-to-Wi-Fi Router in the case of Telecom Provider Digicel that receives 3G from the Telecoms Provider and rebroadcasts it as Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) so that everyone in the household may be able to receive Internet as Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n).

That, plus the growing phenomenon of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) enabled Mobile smart phones and Netbooks due to the intensive nature of some Internet applications as well as the fact that it is a free complementary service as stated in the article “Wi-Fi smartphones to dominate”, published March 23, 2010AD 3:01 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - CTIA 2010AD. The crux of the article’s arguments resting squarely on a survey commissioned by ABI Research, which predicts that in between 2010AD to 2012, the number of Mobile phones, from smart phones to low end feature phones will be Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) enabled.

Currently since 2009 the percentage of Mobile phones that are Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) enabled is about 50%, with a forecasted increase to 90% by 2014 AD. Thus Telecom Provider CLARO would do good to stock up on Mobile phones that have Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n), be it devices such as the Apple iPad, Apple iPhone, 3G-to-Wi-Fi Router and definitely the popular Google Android phones being ported by Samsung, HTC, Sony-Ericsson or Motorola, all of who are now in Android’s camp as stated in the article  Sony Ericsson shows love for Android”, published February 14, 2010AD 6:18 PM PST by Marguerite Reardon CNET Reviews - 3GSM blog, CNET News.

This was which was earlier forecast in the article “Analysts predict bold growth for Google Android”, published January 25, 2010AD 2:18 PM PST by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength, CNET News. This is now confirmed by statistical analysis by ComScore in the article “Google Android growth outpacing the industry”, published April 5, 2010AD 2:36 PM PDT by Tom Krazit, CNET News - Relevant Results, CNET News.

This would be a good move as well for the Big Three (3) Telecoms Providers, Digicel, LIME and CLARO as the expected surge in  usage from Customers for its all Data services that mimics wired Broadband usage will no doubt soon occur as more and more people catch on to the trend of having Internet access wherever they go.

Even to the point of replacing traditional wired Broadband, once the performance and the price is right as stated in the article “Can 4G wireless take on traditional Broadband?”, published March 22, 2010AD 4:00 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - CTIA 2010AD, CNET News. This despite prior speculation to the contrary as stated in the articleWill 4G Wireless Really Threaten Wires?”, published August 13, 2009, 8:22PM EST By Stacey Higginbotham, Business Week – GIGAOM, Business Week.

Early indications that Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) will be big is somewhat evident from recent rumors in May Pen, Clarendon of a Cable Operator that has plans to roll out municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) in May Pen to be used for a fee.

There are other developments in the future that are a far way off in Jamaica but nonetheless will be trends of the new Wireless High Speed Broadband Internet. 

Trends such as:

1.      Gaming without the need for the software disc or game to be installed on your Mobile Internet device, just a fast wireless high speed Broadband Internet connection, as stated in the article about the impending June 2010AD launch in “OnLive game streaming service to start in June”, published Wednesday March 10, 3:19 pm ET by BARBARA ORTUTAY, AP Technology Writer, Yahoo! News, AP.
2.      The usage of augmented view and augmented view embedded services in Social Networking websites, a meshing of reality and computer information based on a Customer or Subscriber’s geo-location and angular orientation as stated in the article “Augmented Reality goes Mobile”, published November 3, 2009, 12:44AM EST by Rachael King, Business Week - AUGMENTED REALITY.

Geo-location based services especially in Social Networking and Mobile Social Networking sites, especially as FaceBook as adopted geo-location as according to the program “CNET’s Buzz Report” posted March 12th 2010AD presented by Molly Wood, Executive Editor, CNET News, CNET News. VoIP Calling on FaceBook, Twitter and other Social Networks as suggested in the article “Phone Calling comes to Twitter” published September 16, 2009 4:46 PM PDT by Daniel Terdima, CNET News - Geek Gestalt, CNET News.

Apple iPad clones are coming out of the woodwork, such as the Microsoft Courier, the HP Slate as stated in the article “HP preps its would-be Ipad Killer, the Slate” published Tuesday Apr 6, 11:13 am ET By Ben Patterson Yahoo! News all of which are expected to dampen Netbook sales as stated in the article  Ipad, tablets expected to dampen Netbook sales”, published April 6, 2010AD 8:17 AM PDT by Lance Whitney CNET News – Crave, CNET News.

This despite the fact that many of them are showing serious security flaws, such as  having SD Card Slots and USB ports and worse, running the slow Windows 7, as stated in the article “HP Slate more Netbook than iPad”, published April 19, 2010AD 11:25 PM PDT by Brooke Crothers CNET News - Nanotech - The Circuits Blog, CNET News. As these Mobile devices expand in their scope and degree of integration in the fabric of our daily lives, it is expected that their usage will be promulgated heavily by word-of-mouth whisperings, tweets and posts on the various Social Networks

Social Media and Social Networks is currently the main avenue by which the young [12-18 and 8-30] shed light on the main trends that drive their world. It also reveals how the Media in Jamaica can get in on a piece of the action, be it via advertising and going DSO (Digital Switch Over) a suggested in the article “Slow road to Digital switch-over - Cable groups mum; FLOW ahead but Network coverage behind”, published: Saturday  August 15, 2009 by Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer, The Daily Gleaner.

This is mainly by introducing more interactive VAS (Value Added Services) both for Radio or Television as a means of saving themselves from the foreboding extinction as the dire statistics from the 2009 MRSL All Media Survey and Marcia Forbes going bonkers seem to suggest.

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