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Technological convergence

This article is about technology convergence including dependent.[4] Educational institutions and modern Uni-
convergence of media technology. For consolidation of versities have started developing courses leading to spe-
media ownership, see Concentration of media ownership. cialized degrees.[5]
For the company, see Digital Convergence Corporation.

Technological convergence is the tendency that as 1 Definitions


technology changes, different technological system
sometimes evolve toward performing similar tasks. Dig-
ital convergence refers to the convergence of four in-
dustries into one conglomerate, ITTCE (Information
Technologies, Telecommunication, Consumer Electron-
ics, and Entertainment). Previously separate technologies
such as voice (and telephony features), data (and produc-
tivity applications), and video can now share resources
and interact with each other synergistically. Telecom-
munications convergence (also called “network conver-
gence”) describes emerging telecommunications tech-
nologies, and network architecture used to migrate mul-
tiple communications services into a single network.[1]
Specifically this involves the converging of previously
distinct media such as telephony and data communica-
tions into common interfaces on single devices, such as
A converged mechanical tool, the multitool. Within one device, it
most smart phones can make phone calls and search the
provides many tools.
web.
Media convergence is the interlinking of computing and Siddhartha Menon defines convergence, in his Policy ini-
other information technologies, media content, media tiative Dilemmas on Media Covergence: A Cross National
companies and communication networks that have arisen Perspective, as integration and digitalization. Integration,
as the result of the evolution and popularization of the here, is defined as “a process of transformation measure
Internet as well as the activities, products and services by the degree to which diverse media such as phone, data
that have emerged in the digital media space. Many ex- broadcast and information technology infrastructures are
perts view this as simply being the tip of the iceberg, ascombined into a single seamless all purpose network ar-
all facets of institutional activity and social life such as
chitecture platform”.[6] Digitalization is not so much de-
business, government, art, journalism, health, and educa- fined by its physical infrastructure, but by the content or
tion are increasingly being carried out in these digital me-
the medium. Jan van Dijk suggests that “digitalization
dia spaces across a growing network of information and means breaking down signals into bytes consisting of ones
communication technology devices. Also included in this and zeros”.[7][8] Convergence is defined by Blackman,
topic is the basis of computer networks, wherein many 1998, as a trend in the evolution of technology services
different operating systems are able to communicate via and industry structures.[9] Convergence is later defined
different protocols. This could be a prelude to artificial more specifically as the coming together of telecommuni-
intelligence networks on the Internet eventually leading cations, computing and broadcasting into a single digital
to a powerful superintelligence[2] via a technological sin-
bit-stream.[10][11][12] Mueller stands against the statement
gularity. that convergence is really a takeover of all forms of media
[13][14]
Convergent services, such as VoIP, IPTV, Smart TV, and by one technology: digital computers.
others, tend to replace the older technologies and thus
can disrupt markets. IP-based convergence is inevitable
and will result in new service and new demand in the 2 History
market.[3] When the old technology converges into the
public-owned common, IP based services become access- Communication networks were designed to carry differ-
independent or less dependent. The old service is access- ent types of information independently. The older media,

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2 3 TECHNOLOGY IMPLICATIONS

stroy it.
Media companies put Media Convergence back to their
agenda, after the dot-com bubble burst. Erstwhile
Knight Ridder promulgated concept of portable maga-
zines, newspaper, and books in 1994.[17] “Within news
corporations it became increasingly obvious that an ed-
itorial model based on mere replication in the inter-
net of contents that had previously been written for
print newspapers, radio, or television was no longer
sufficient.”[18] The rise of digital communication in the
late 20th century has made it possible for media orga-
nizations (or individuals) to deliver text, audio, and video
Example of convergent devices, 2010s-era smartphones, which material over the same wired, wireless, or fiber-optic con-
can be used for phone calls, text messages, email, surfing the In- nections. At the same time, it inspired some media or-
ternet, watching digital videos, paying bills online and so on. ganizations to explore multimedia delivery of informa-
tion. This digital convergence of news media, in partic-
ular, was called “Mediamorphosis” by researcher Roger
Fidler , in his 1997 book by that name. Today, we are sur-
such as television and radio, are broadcasting networks rounded by a multi-level convergent media world where
with passive audiences. Convergence of telecommunica- all modes of communication and information are continu-
tion technology permits the manipulation of all forms of ally reforming to adapt to the enduring demands of tech-
information, voice, data, and video. Telecommunication nologies, “changing the way we create, consume, learn
has changed from a world of scarcity to one of seemingly and interact with each other”.[19]
limitless capacity. Consequently, the possibility of au-
dience interactivity morphs the passive audience into an
engaged audience.[15] The historical roots of convergence
can be traced back to the emergence of mobile telephony 3 Technology implications
and the Internet, although the term properly applies only
from the point in marketing history when fixed and mo- Convergent solutions include both fixed-line and mobile
bile telephony began to be offered by operators as joined technologies. Recent examples of new, convergent ser-
products. Fixed and mobile operators were, for most of vices include:
the 1990s, independent companies. Even when the same
organization marketed both products, these were sold and • Using the Internet for voice and video telephony
serviced independently.
In the 1990s an implicit and often explicit assumption was • Video on demand
that new media was going to replace the old media and
Internet was going to replace broadcasting. In Nicholas • Fixed-mobile convergence
Negroponte’s Being Digital, Negroponte predicts the col-
• Mobile-to-mobile convergence
lapse of broadcast networks in favor of an era of narrow-
casting. He also suggests that no government regulation • Location-based services
can shatter the media conglomerate. “The monolithic em-
pires of mass media are dissolving into an array of cot- • Integrated products and bundles
tage industries... Media barons of today will be grasp-
ing to hold onto their centralized empires tomorrow....
Convergent technologies can integrate the fixed-line with
The combined forces of technology and human nature
mobile to deliver convergent solutions. Convergent tech-
will ultimately take a stronger hand in plurality than any
[16] nologies include:
laws Congress can invent.” The new media companies
claimed that the old media would be absorbed fully and
completely into the orbit of the emerging technologies. • IP Multimedia Subsystem
George Gilder dismisses such claims saying, “The com-
puter industry is converging with the television industry • Session Initiation Protocol
in the same sense that the automobile converged with the
• IPTV
horse, the TV converged with the nickelodeon, the word-
processing program converged with the typewriter, the • Voice over IP
CAD program converged with the drafting board, and
digital desktop publishing converged with the Linotype • Voice call continuity
machine and the letterpress.” Gilder believes that com-
puters had come not to transform mass culture but to de- • Digital video broadcasting - handheld
3

4 Converging technological fields ation of “black boxes”, intended to perform all tasks, the
trend is to use devices that can suit the consumer’s phys-
NBIC, an acronym for Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, ical position.[27] Due to the variable utility of portable
Information technology and Cognitive science, was, in technology, convergence occurs in high end mobile de-
2014, the most popular term for converging technolo- vices. They incorporate multimedia services, GPS, In-
gies. It was introduced into public discourse through ternet access, and mobile telephony into a single device,
the publication of Converging Technologies for Improv- heralding the rise of what has been termed the “smart
ing Human Performance, a report sponsored in part by phone,” a device designed to remove the need to carry
the U.S. National Science Foundation.[20] Various other multiple devices. Convergence of media occurs when
acronyms have been offered for the same concept such multiple products come together to form one product with
as GNR (Genetics, Nanotechnology and Robotics) (Bill the advantages of all of them, also known as the black
Joy, 2000, Why the future doesn't need us[21] ). Jour- box. This idea of one technology, concocted by Henry
nalist Joel Garreau in Radical Evolution: The Promise Jenkins, has become known more as a fallacy because of
and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies — the inability to actually put all technical pieces into one.
and What It Means to Be Human uses “GRIN”, for For example, while people can have e-mail and Internet
Genetic, Robotic, Information, and Nano processes,[22] on their phone, they still want full computers with Inter-
while science journalist Douglas Mulhall in Our Molec- net and e-mail in addition. Mobile phones are a good
ular Future: How Nanotechnology, Robotics, Genetics example, in that they incorporate digital cameras, mp3
and Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Our World uses players, voice recorders, and other devices. This type of
“GRAIN”, for Genetics, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, convergence is popular. For the consumer, it means more
and Nanotechnology.[23] Another acronym coined by features in less space; for media conglomerates it means
the appropriate technology organization ETC Group is remaining competitive.
“BANG” for "Bits, Atoms, Neurons, Genes".[24] However, convergence has a downside. Particularly in
initial forms, converged devices are frequently less func-
tional and reliable than their component parts (e.g., a
5 Appliances mobile phone’s web browser may not render some web
pages correctly, due to not supporting certain rendering
methods, such as the iPhone browser not supporting Flash
Some media obervers expect that we will eventually ac- content). As the number of functions in a single device
cess all media content through one device, or “black escalates, the ability of that device to serve its original
box”.[25] As such, media business practice has been to function decreases.[28] As Rheingold asserts, technolog-
identify the next “black box” to invest in and provide me- ical convergence holds immense potential for the “im-
dia for. This has caused a number of problems. Firstly, provement of life and liberty in some ways and (could)
as “black boxes” are invented and abandoned, the indi- degrade it in others”.[29] He believes the same technol-
vidual is left with numerous devices that can perform ogy has the potential to be “used as both a weapon of
the same task, rather than one dedicated for each task. social control and a means of resistance”.[29] Since tech-
For example, one may own both a computer and a video nology has evolved in the past ten years or so, compa-
games console, subsequently owning two DVD players. nies are beginning to converge technologies to create de-
This is contrary to the streamlined goal of the “black box” mand for new products. This includes phone companies
theory, and instead creates clutter.[26] Secondly, techno- integrating 3G and 4G on their phones. In the mid 20th
logical convergence tends to be experimental in nature. century, television converged the technologies of movies
This has led to consumers owning technologies with ad- and radio, and television is now being converged with
ditional functions that are harder, if not impractical, to the mobile phone industry and the Internet. Phone calls
use rather than one specific device. Many people would are also being made with the use of personal comput-
only watch the TV for the duration of the meal’s cooking ers. Converging technologies combine multiple technolo-
time, or whilst in the kitchen, but would not use the mi- gies into one. Newer mobile phones feature cameras, and
crowave as the household TV. These examples show that can hold images, videos, music, and other media. Manu-
in many cases technological convergence is unnecessary facturers now integrate more advanced features, such as
or unneeded. video recording, GPS receivers, data storage, and security
Furthermore, although consumers primarily use a spe- mechanisms into the traditional cellphone.
cialized media device for their needs, other “black box”
devices that perform the same task can be used to suit
their current situation. As a 2002 Cheskin Research re-
port explained: "...Your email needs and expectations are 6 Internet
different whether you're at home, work, school, commut-
ing, the airport, etc., and these different devices are de- The role of the internet has changed from its original use
signed to suit your needs for accessing content depending as a communication tool to easier and faster access to in-
on where you are- your situated context.” Despite the cre- formation and services, mainly through a broadband con-
4 9 MEDIA CONVERGENCE

nection. The television, radio and newspapers were the sumer device companies; search and advertising compa-
world’s media for accessing news and entertainment; now, nies become telecommunications companies (“telcos”);
all three media have converged into one, and people all media companies act like telcos and vice versa; retailers
over the world can read and hear news and other informa- act like financial services companies and vice versa; cos-
tion on the internet. The convergence of the internet and metics companies work with pharmaceutical companies;
conventional TV became popular in the 2010s, through and more. Mobile phone usage broadens dramatically,
Smart TV, also sometimes referred to as “Connected TV” enabling users to make payments online, watch videos, or
or “Hybrid TV”, (not to be confused with IPTV, Internet even adjusting their home thermostat while away at work.
TV, or with Web TV). Smart TV is used to describe the
current trend of integration of the Internet and Web 2.0
features into modern television sets and set-top boxes, 9 Media convergence
as well as the technological convergence between com-
puters and these television sets or set-top boxes. These
new devices most often also have a much higher focus on Generally, media convergence refers to the merging of
online interactive media, Internet TV, over-the-top con- both old and new media and can be seen as a product, a
tent, as well as on-demand streaming media, and less fo- system or a process. Jenkins states that convergence is,
cus on traditional broadcast media like previous gener- “the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the
ations of television sets and set-top boxes always have cooperation between multiple media industries, and the
had.[30] migratory behaviour of media audiences who would go
almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment
experiences they wanted”[31] According to Jenkins, there
are five areas of convergence: technological, economic,
7 Digital convergence social or organic, cultural and global.[32] So media con-
vergence is not just a technological shift or a technolog-
According to Harry Strasser, former CTO of Siemens ical process, it also includes shifts within the industrial,
"[digital convergence will substantially impact people’s cultural, and social paradigms that encourage the con-
lifestyle and work style]". The next hot trend in dig- sumer to seek out new information. Convergence, simply
ital convergence is converged content, mixing personal put, is how individual consumers interact with others on
(user generated) content with professional (copyright a social level and use various media platforms to create
protected) content. An example are personal music new experiences, new forms of media and content that
videos that combine user generated photos with chart mu- connect us socially, and not just to other consumers, but
sic. The German startup Trivid GmbH has developed to the corporate producers of media in ways that have not
Clipgenerator that enables users to create personal mu- been as readily accessible in the past.
sic videos with popular chart music and to share them in Advances in technology bring the ability for technolog-
social communities such as facebook, myspace and Bebo. ical convergence that Rheingold believes can alter the
“social-side effects,” in that “the virtual, social and phys-
ical world are colliding, merging and coordinating.”[29]
8 In the marketplace It was predicted in the late 1980s,[33] around the time
that CD-ROM was becoming commonplace, that a digital
Convergence is a global marketplace dynamic in which revolution would take place, and that old media would be
different companies and sectors are being brought to- pushed to one side by new media. Broadcasting is increas-
gether, both as competitors and collaborators, across tra- ingly being replaced by the Internet, enabling consumers
ditional boundaries of industry and technology. In a all over the world the freedom to access their preferred
world dominated by convergence, many traditional prod- media content more easily and at a more available rate
ucts, services and types of companies will become less than ever before.
relevant, but a stunning array of new ones is possible. An However, when the dot-com bubble of the 1990s sud-
array of technology developments act as accelerators of denly popped, that poured cold water over the talk of such
convergence, including mobility, analytics, cloud, digital a digital revolution. In today’s society, the idea of media
and social networks. As a disruptive force, convergence convergence has once again emerged as a key point of ref-
is a threat to the unprepared, but a tremendous growth erence as newer as well as established media companies
opportunity for companies that can out-innovate and out- attempt to visualize the future of the entertainment indus-
execute their ever-expanding list of competitors under try. If this revolutionary digital paradigm shift presumed
dramatically new marketplace rules. With convergence, that old media would be increasingly replaced by new me-
lines are blurred as companies diversify outside of their dia, the convergence paradigm that is currently emerging
original markets. For instance, mobile services are in- suggests that new and old media would interact in more
creasingly an important part of the automobile; chemicals complex ways than previously predicted. The paradigm
companies work with agribusiness; device manufactur- shift that followed the digital revolution assumed that new
ers sell music, video and books; booksellers become con- media was going to change everything. When the dot
9.1 Convergence culture 5

com market crashed, there was a tendency to imagine populate and live in an altered state where personal flight
that nothing had changed. The real truth lay somewhere is a reality, altered egos can flourish, and real money
in between as there were so many aspects of the current (US$1,296,257 were spent during the 24 hours conclud-
media environment to take into consideration. Many in- ing at 10:19 a.m. eastern time January 7, 2008) can be
dustry leaders are increasingly reverting to media conver- made without ever setting foot into the real world. The
gence as a way of making sense in an era of disorientat- Reuters Island in Second Life is a virtual version of the
ing change. In that respect, media convergence in theory Reuters real-world news service but covering the domain
is essentially an old concept taking on a new meaning. of Second Life for the citizens of Second Life (number-
Media convergence, in reality, is more than just a shift ing 11,807,742 residents as of January 5, 2008).[38]
in technology. It alters relationships between industries, Media convergence in the digital era means the changes
technologies, audiences, genres and markets. Media con-
that are taking place with older forms of media and media
vergence changes the rationality media industries operate companies. Media convergence has two roles, the first is
in, and the way that media consumers process news and
the technological merging of different media channels –
entertainment. Media convergence is essentially a pro- for example, magazines, radio programs, TV shows, and
cess and not an outcome, so no single black box controls
movies, now are available on the Internet through laptops,
the flow of media. With proliferation of different media iPads, and smartphones. As discussed in Media Culture
channels and increasing portability of new telecommuni- (by Campbell), convergence of technology is not new.
cations and computing technologies, we have entered into It has been going on since the late 1920s. An example
an era where media constantly surrounds us.[34] is RCA, the Radio Corporation of America, which pur-
Media convergence requires that media companies re- chased Victor Talking Machine Company and introduced
think existing assumptions about media from the con- machines that could receive radio and play recorded mu-
sumer’s point of view, as these affect marketing and pro- sic. Next came the TV, and radio lost some of its ap-
gramming decisions. Media producers must respond to peal as people started watching television, which has both
newly empowered consumers. Conversely, it would seem talking and music as well as visuals. As technology ad-
that hardware is instead diverging whilst media content is vances, convergence of media change to keep up. The
converging. Media has developed into brands that can of- second definition of media convergence Campbell dis-
fer content in a number of forms. Two examples of this cusses is cross-platform by media companies. This usu-
are Star Wars and The Matrix. Both are films, but are also ally involves consolidating various media holdings, such
books, video games, cartoons, and action figures. Brand- as cable, phone, television (over the air, satellite, cable)
ing encourages expansion of one concept, rather than the and Internet access under one corporate umbrella. This
creation of new ideas.[35] In contrast, hardware has di- is not for the consumer to have more media choices, this
versified to accommodate media convergence. Hardware is for the benefit of the company to cut down on costs
must be specific to each function. While most schol- and maximize its profits.[39] As stated in the article, Con-
ars argue that the flow of cross-media is accelerating,[36] vergence Culture and Media Work, by Mark Deuze, “the
O'Donnell suggests, especially between films and video convergence of production and consumption of media
game, the semblance of media convergence is misunder- across companies, channels, genres, and technologies is
stood by people outside of the media production indus- an expression of the convergence of all aspects of every-
try. The conglomeration of media industry continues to day life: work and play, the local and the global, self and
sell the same story line in different media. For example, social identity.”[40]
Batman is in comics, films, anime, and games. However,
the data to create the image of batman in each media is
created individually by different teams of creators. The 9.1 Convergence culture
same character and the same visual effect repetitively ap-
pear in different media is because of the synergy of media Henry Jenkins determines convergence culture to be the
industry to make them similar as possible. In addition, flow of content across multiple media platforms, the co-
convergence does not happen when the game of two dif- operation between multiple media industries, and the mi-
ferent consoles is produced. No flows between two con- gratory behavior of media audiences who will go almost
soles because it is faster to create game from scratch for anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment expe-
the industry.[37] riences they want. The convergence culture is an im-
One of the more interesting new media journalism forms portant factor in transmedia storytelling. Convergence
is virtual reality. Reuters, a major international news ser- culture introduces new stories and arguments from one
vice, has created and staffed a news “island” in the popu- form of media into many. Transmedia storytelling is de-
lar online virtual reality environment Second Life (www. fined by Jenkins as a process “where integral elements
secondlife.com, accessed January 3, 2008). Open to any- of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple
one, Second Life has emerged as a compelling 3D virtual delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified
reality for millions of citizens around the world who have and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each
created avatars (virtual representations of themselves) to medium makes its own unique contribution to the unfold-
ing of the story”.[41] For instance, The Matrix starts as a
6 10 REGULATION

film, which is followed by two other instalments, but in They contain an internet connection, video players, Mp3
a convergence culture it is not constrained to that form. players, and a camera. Another example, Rok Sako
It becomes a story not only told in the movies but in To Rok Lo (2004) was screened in Delhi, Bangalore,
animated shorts, video games and comic books, three dif- Hyderabad, Mumbai, and other part of India through
ferent media platforms. Online, a wiki is created to keep EDGE-enabled mobile phones with live video streaming
track of the story’s expanding canon. Fan films, discus- facility.[43]
sion forums, and social media pages also form, expand-
ing The Matrix to different online platforms. Conver-
gence culture took what started as a film and expanded it 9.3 Social movements
across almost every type of media.[42] Bert is Evil (im-
ages) Bert and Bin Laden appeared in CNN coverage of The integration of social movements in cyberspace is
anti-American protest following September 11. The as- one of the potential strategies that social movements
sociation of Bert and Bin Laden links back to the Igna- can use in the age of media convergence. Because of
cio’s Photoshop project for fun.[43] the neutrality of the internet and the end-to-end de-
sign, the power structure of the internet was designed
Convergence culture is a part of participatory culture. Be- to avoid discrimination between applications. Mexico’s
cause average people can now access their interests on Zapatistas campaign for land rights was one of the most
many types of media they can also have more of a say. influential case in the information age; Manuel Castells
Fans and consumers are able to participate in the cre- defines the Zapatistas as “the first informational guer-
ation and circulation of new content. Some companies rilla movement”.[45] The Zapatista uprising had been
take advantage of this and search for feedback from their marginalized by the popular press. The Zapatistas were
customers through social media and sharing sites such as able to construct a grassroots, decentralized social move-
YouTube. Besides marketing and entertainment, conver- ment by using the internet. The Zapatistas Effect, ob-
gence culture has also affected the way we interact with served by Cleaver,[46] continues to organize social move-
news and information. We can access news on multiple ments on a global scale. A sophisticated webmetric anal-
levels of media from the radio, TV, newspapers, and the ysis, which maps the links between different websites
internet. The internet allows more people to be able to re- and seeks to identify important nodal points in a net-
port the news through independent broadcasts and there- work, demonstrates that the Zapatistas cause binds to-
fore allows a multitude of perspectives to be put forward gether hundreds of global NGOs.[47] The majority of the
and accessed by people in many different areas. Conver- social movement organized by Zapatistas targets their
gence allows news to be gathered on a much larger scale. campaign especially against global neoliberalism.[48] A
For instance, photographs were taken of torture at Abu successful social movement not only need online support
Ghraib. These photos were shared and eventually posted but also protest on the street. Papic wrote, “Social Me-
on the internet. This led to the breaking of a news story dia Alone Do Not Instigate Revolutions”, which discusses
in newspapers, on TV, and the internet.[42] how the use of social media in social movements needs
Media scholar Henry Jenkins has described the media good organization both online and offline.[49] A study,
convergence with participatory culture as: “Journalism in the age of media convergence: a survey
of undergraduates’ technology-related news habits”, con-
...a “catalyst” for amateur digital film- cluded that several focus group respondents reported they
making and what this case study suggests about generally did not actively engage in media convergence,
the future directions popular culture may take. such as viewing slide shows or listening to podcast that
Star Wars fan films represent the intersection accompanied an online story, as part of their Web-based
of two significant cultural trends—the cor- news consumption, a significant number of students in-
porate movement towards media convergence dicated the interactive features often associated with on-
and the unleashing of significant new tools, line news and media convergence were indeed appealing
which enable the grassroots archiving, annota- to them.[50]
tion, appropriation, and recirculation of media
content. These fan films build on long-standing
practices of the fan community but they also re- 10 Regulation
flect the influence of this changed technological
environment that has dramatically lowered the
costs of film production and distribution.[44] 10.1 VoIP
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
9.2 Cell phone convergence has not been able to decide how to regulate VoIP (Inter-
net Telephony) because the convergent technology is still
The social function of the cell phone changes as the tech- growing and changing. In addition to its growth, FCC
nology converges. Because of technological advance- is tentative to set regulation on VoIP in order to promote
ment, cell phones function more than just as a phone. competition in the telecommunication industry.[51] There
10.2 Emerging trends 7

is not a clear line between telecommunication service 10.2 Emerging trends


and the information service because of the growth of the
new convergent media. Historically, telecommunication Network neutrality has emerged as an issue. Wu and
is subject to state regulation. The state of California con- Lessig (2004) set out two reasons to adapt neutral net-
cerned about the increasing popularity of internet tele- work model for computer networks. First, “a neutral
phony will eventually obliterate funding for the Universal network eliminates the risk of future discrimination,
Service Fund[52] Some states attempt to assert their tra- providing more incentive to invest in broadband appli-
ditional role of common carrier oversight onto this new cation development.” Second, “neutral network facili-
technology.[53] Meisel and Needles (2005) suggests that tates fair competition among application, no bias be-
the FCC, federal courts, and state regulatory bodies on tween applications.”[58] The two reasons also coincide
access line charges will directly impact the speed in which with FCC’s interest to stimulate investment and enhance
Internet telephony market grows.[54] On one hand, the innovation in broadband technology and services.[59][60]
FCC is hesitant to regulate convergent technology be- Despite regulatory efforts of deregulation, privatization,
cause VoIP with different feature from the old Telecom- and liberalization, the infrastructure barrier has been a
munication; no fixed model to build legislature yet. On negative factor in achieving effective competition. “Kim
the other hand, the regulations is needed because Service et al. argues that IP dissociates the telephony applica-
over the internet might be quickly replaced telecommu- tion from the infrastructure and Internet telephony is at
nication service, which will affect the entire economy. the forefront of such dissociation.”[61] The neutrality of
Convergence has also raised several debates about classi- the network is very important for fair competition.[62] As
fication of certain telecommunications services. As the the former FCC Charman Michael Powell put it: “From
lines between data transmission, and voice and media its inception, the Internet was designed, as those present
transmission are eroded, regulators are faced with the task during the course of its creating will tell you, to prevent
of how best to classify the converging segments of the government or a corporation or anyone else from control-
telecommunication sector. Traditionally, telecommuni- ling it. It was designed to defeat discrimination against
cation regulation has focused on the operation of physi- users, ideas and technologies”.[63] Because of these rea-
cal infrastructure, networks, and access to network. No sons, Shin concludes that regulator should make sure to
content is regulated in the telecommunication because the regulate application and infrastructure separately.
content is considered private. In contrast, film and Tele- The layered model was first proposed by Solum and Chug,
vision are regulated by contents. The rating system reg- Sicker, and Nakahata. Sicker, Warbach and Witt have
ulates its distribution to the audience. Self-regulation is supported using a layered model to regulate the telecom-
promoted by the industry. Bogle senior persuaded the en- munications industry with the emergence of convergence
tire industry to pay 0.1 percent levy on all advertising and services. Many researchers have different layered ap-
the money was used to give authority to the Advertising proach, but they all agree that the emergence of conver-
Standards Authority, which keeps the government away gent technology will create challenges and ambiguities for
from setting legislature in the media industry.[55] regulations.[3] The key point of the layered model is that
The premises to regulate the new media, two-ways com- it reflects the reality of network architecture, and cur-
munications, concerns much about the change from old rent business model.[64] The layered Model consists of 1.
media to new media. Each medium has different features Access Layer - where the physical infrastructure resides:
and characteristics. First, internet, the new medium, ma- copper wires, cable, or fiber optic. 2. transport layer - the
nipulates all form of information - voice, data and video. provider of service. 3. Application layer - the interface
Second, the old regulation on the old media, such as radio between the data and the users. 4. content layer - the layer
and Television, emphasized its regulation on the scarcity which users see.[64] In Convergence Technologies and the
of the channels. Internet, on the other hand, has the Layered Policy Model: Implication for Regulating Future
limitless capacity, due to the end-to-end design. Third, Communications, Shin combines the Layered Model and
Two-ways communication encourages interactivity be- Network Neutrality as the principle to regulate the future
tween the content producers and the audiences. "...Fun- convergent Media Industry.[65]
damental basis for classification, therefore, is to consider
the need for regulation in terms of either market failure
or in the public interests"(Blackman).[56] The Electronic 11 Messaging
Frontier Foundation (EFF), founded in 1990, is a non
profit organization to defend free speech, privacy, innova-
tion and consumer rights.[57] DMCA, Digital Millennium Combination services include those that integrate SMS
Copyright Act regulates and protect the digital content with voice, such as voice SMS. Providers include Bub-
producers and consumers. ble Motion, Jott, Kirusa, and SpinVox. Several operators
have launched services that combine SMS with mobile
instant messaging (MIM) and presence. Text-to-landline
services also exist, where subscribers can send text mes-
sages to any landline phone and are charged at standard
8 15 SEE ALSO

rates. The text messages are converted into spoken lan- tomer expectations have risen as consumer and business
guage. This service has been popular in America, where customers alike seek rich content, multi-use devices, net-
fixed and mobile numbers are similar. Inbound SMS has worked products and converged services including on-
been converging to enable reception of different formats demand video, digital TV, high speed Internet, VoIP, and
(SMS, voice, MMS, etc.). UK companies, including con- wireless applications. It is uncharted territory for most
sumer goods companies and media giants, should soon be broadband companies.
able to let consumers contact them via voice, SMS, MMS, A quadruple play service combines the triple play service
IVR, or video using one five-digit number or long num- of broadband Internet access, television, and telephone
ber. In April 2008, O2 UK launched voice-enabled short-
with wireless service provisions.[66] This service set is
codes, adding voice functionality to the five-digit codes also sometimes humorously referred to as “The Fantastic
already used for SMS. This type of convergence is help-
Four" or “Grand Slam”.[67] A fundamental aspect of the
ful for media companies, broadcasters, enterprises, call quadruple play is not only the long-awaited broadband
centres and help desks who need to develop a consistent
convergence but also the players involved. Many of them,
contact strategy with the consumer. Because SMS is very from the largest global service providers to whom we con-
popular today, it became relevant to include text messag-
nect today via wires and cables to the smallest of startup
ing as a contact possibility for consumers. To avoid hav- service providers are interested. Opportunities are at-
ing multiple numbers (one for voice calls, another one for tractive: the big three telecom services – telephony, ca-
SMS), a simple way is to merge the reception of both for- ble television, and wireless—could combine their indus-
mats under one number. This means that a consumer can tries. In the UK, the merger of NTL:Telewest and Virgin
text or call one number and be sure that the message will Mobile resulted in a company offering a quadruple play
be received. of cable television, broadband Internet, home telephone,
and mobile telephone services.

12 Mobile
14 Home network
“Mobile service provisions” refers not only to the abil-
ity to purchase mobile phone services, but the ability to Early in the 21st century, home LAN convergence so
wirelessly access everything: voice, Internet, audio, and rapidly integrated home routers, wireless access points,
video. Advancements in WiMAX and other leading edge and DSL modems that users were hard put to identify the
technologies provide the ability to transfer information resulting box they used to connect their computers to their
over a wireless link at a variety of speeds, distances, and Internet service. A general term for such a combined de-
non-line-of-sight conditions. vice is a residential gateway.

13 Multi-play 15 See also


Multi-play is a marketing term describing the provision • Computer multitasking (the software equivalent of
of different telecommunication services, such as Internet a converged device)
access, television, telephone, and mobile phone service,
• Convergence (telecommunications)
by organisations that traditionally only offered one or two
of these services. Multi-play is a catch-all phrase; usually, • Dongle, can facilitate inclusion of non-converged
the terms triple play (voice, video and data) or quadruple devices.
play (voice, video, data and wireless) are used to describe
a more specific meaning. A dual play service is a market- • Digital rhetoric
ing term for the provisioning of the two services: it can • Generic Access Network
be high-speed Internet (digital subscriber line) and tele-
phone service over a single broadband connection in the • UMA Today
case of phone companies, or high-speed Internet (cable
modem) and TV service over a single broadband con- • IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)
nection in the case of cable TV companies. The con- • Mobile VoIP
vergence can also concern the underlying communication
infrastructure. An example of this is a triple play ser- • Next Generation Networks
vice, where communication services are packaged allow-
ing consumers to purchase TV, Internet, and telephony in • Next generation network services
one subscription. The broadband cable market is trans- • Post-convergent
forming as pay-TV providers move aggressively into what
was once considered the telco space. Meanwhile, cus- • Second screen
9

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