The market responded to the new reality by "integrating" products and services and creating new distribution channels capable to cater the "enhanced" customer needs and expectations. A series of partnerships, M&As took place in the global market (also in the Greek market) based on the new requirements: "content, software, hardware and infrastructure" consolidated in the form of "integrated solutions".
Apple led the way by offering the hardware (Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV), the software (iOs, applications), an exclusive supply chain (iTunes, App Store) and powerful agreements for the promotion of digital content (music, cinema, TV series, etc). A similar path has been chosen by Google with the Android technology. Microsoft responded with the Windows 8 platform, XBOX One and Windows mobiles (by acquiring Nokia) establishing Windows Store and - always looking further than the competition – is nowadays ready to begin producing own digital content, in the form of movies and TV series.
A similar "consolidation trend" has been recorded in the distribution of TV digital content (news, sports, series, movies, etc). As the client requires access to content from all devices - not just TV's - a provider is required to distribute the same content in the form of satellite signal, digital terrestrial signal, mobile phone signal and through streaming services. Innevitably, alliances or M&As between traditional media (satellite or terrestrial), IT companies (internet providers, cloud and big data systems service providers), and telecommunications companies (terrestrial and mobile). This is something we have seen in Greece in various forms, and we shall not be surprised to see more sonorous acquisitions in the near future.
The consumer now has access to digital content from any device, either at home or on the go, in a car or even on a plane during a transatlantic flight! The"digital social networking" became equal to the traditional forms of socialization, and in some societies or social groups even the most necessary form of socialization. As in the case of e-commerce in previous years, once again we experience the "integration of the physical and digital world"
Next Gen Consoles and the Integration of digital and real life
Our perception of 'video gaming' and 'consoles' is about to change dramatically with the advent of SONY PLAYSTATION 4 (PS4) and X-Box ONE. These two are simply the next step in uniting the industries of IT, telecommunications and entertainment industry. When you consider the availability of various digital content and data storage services, such as i-Tunes, NETFLIX, HULU, SKY DRIVE, iCloud, etc. and devices such as smartphones, tablets, handheld devices, DVR, Smart TVs, streaming devices, in-car-entertainment, etc., what SONY and Microsoft are trying to do with the new platforms might not seem so innovative. Some even challenged the final decision of Microsoft to cut the "always online" feature of XBOX One as a technological step backwards that prohibits true gaming evolution and innovation (read PC magazine US edition, Jan 2014). However, the synchronization of all available devices such as PC, game console, handheld game console, phone, tablet, etc, and that automated digital social media (watching the game your friend plays while discussing online, publishing files-pictures-video on facebook, etc) produces new "forms of communication" and heightens the "integration" of technology in "real" life.
The future of social media
In the years to come, leaving equally in both the physical and the virtual domains shall become mandatory. In each personal device new automated features of social networking shall be incorporated supporting and facilitating this new form of socialization of modern man. It will be the easiest way to prove your existance. Once someone put the philosophical question: "If a tree falls in the forest with no one around to hear it, will it make a sound?" In the near future, if an event is not "certified " by a simultaneous recording in the virtual domain, for many it will be as if it never happened!
The Greek Status
The changes to come in the entertainment industry (film, music, television, video game, and the management of related IP rights) are expected to be huge, so does the impact in our everyday lifes of the upcoming technology, and it is rather difficult to predict and describe them in details: «4K Ultra HD», «flexible displays», «smart glasses», «paper screens» and the creation of specialized data networks shall allow 'social' and 'professional' interfacing in ways that make contemporary science fiction losing its charm.
Things in Greece are a little different. We still stand back 30 years, trying to establish a ... "public television network"! We have not yet incorporated in our everyday lifes technologies of the 1990s such as HD, the multi-channel audio systems, the EPG, subtitling for the hearing impaired, etc etc etc.
We should not wonder why there can be no development in our country and why we cannot become competitive in the global market: Simply because we have not reached an appropriate capacity point yet. It is not just the problematic infrastructures, the beureaucy, the lack of experience, the inadequate laws, the illiquid banking sector, the state-business mentality, but also the low-capacity human resources available within our society. Do not take me wrong! I DO believe that most have the "potential" to develop high competitive "skills"; unfortunately, they still have not done so, because the Greek environment did not provide (and still does not) the appropriate conditions. We have no quality paradigms within our daily lives: not in our TV, not in our media, not in education, not in the way we do business. We chose the train of history over the train of the digital age, somewhere back in the 1980s!
Inevitably, for many years the experiences of the Greek people has been based on qualitative characteristics far different than those established over the time in other advanced countries. So today the Greek society appears remote from a technological culture. I am afraid that, the more technology enhances its role in daily life of modern man, the more -here in Greece- we may be left behind; unless we redefine our qualities, we expedite the pace we consume technology and integrate it within our daily lifes.