Convergence: profitable futures or a dangerous mirage?

Three to four years ago it seemed the most seductive of visions. Digitalisation of content would make possible ever more combinations of communication and information technologies, industry barriers would quickly tumble, lives would be made much easier and lucrative new opportunities would be created for traditional players and new entrants alike.

In practice, it hasn’t been that simple – so what went wrong? What happened to all those mergers built on the altar of convergence? Was technology too hastily adopted as the business driver? Were customer needs forgotten in the rush to exploit new ideas? Where now for companies willing and able to harness the still potent forces of convergence?

In the current edition of Vishay-Liteon we have lined up our usual panel of distinguished experts to address these and other issues. We begin with an essay setting the context for the debate and pointing out that it is as fashionable to decry convergence today as it was a few years back to invest in the hype.

Next comes US business technology pundit Peter Berns, whose hard-hitting critique is perhaps the most sceptical contribution on this topic, followed by Wharton Professor Gerry Winder and Vijay Pinder with Bobby Gunter who argue that the really significant convergence has taken place inside the head of the consumer. John Black is well known as an author and Chief Scientist – his contention is that convergence of the physical and virtual worlds is the key issue and that its shape is evolving the whole time through the dynamic actions of new communities for business.