Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Not Quite eReady

Happy days: Channel 4's 4oD service is now available in the Republic of Ireland (or Eire as they call it - but hey, I don't mind). So no excuse for not seeing the new series of the excellent My Name Is Earl.

Apparently the success of 4oD and the BBC's iPlayer service has nearly brought the UK's broadband infrastructure to a halt, so I wonder if we'll see the same happening here (especially if the Beeb launchs the iPlayer in Ireland - or even Eire for that matter)? I wouldn't be too sanguine about the possible impact: according to the latest EIU E-Readiness Ranking 2008 we are in a lowish 21st position in relation to our 'ability to leverage digital channels for communication, commerce and government in order to further economic and social development' (unchanged since last year). Two components of the index drag our score down: connectivity (e.g.: broadband access) and 'government policy and vision' (yes, we know ...).

One example of a country that is perhaps more e-ready than Ireland (even though the EIU places them at number 28 bizarrely) is Estonia. There the state electricity company has set up an internet service called KOU that uses the electricity grid to provide ubiquitous wi-fi for €19 a month. The kind of thing we need to do in order to move up the rankings.

But maybe the big driver won't be wi-fi but rather will be gaming. The Wii Fit has already sold out in the UK - and will likely do the same here (now that it's just launched). As I've noted before, I'm too old to really get gaming, but I can certainly see its power to drive innovation and technology adoption. Maybe the Government should issue a Wii Fit to every household: we'll get a better e-Ranking, and better health to boot ...

4 comments:

  1. There the state electricity company has set up an internet service called KOU that uses the electricity grid to provide ubiquitous wi-fi for €19 a month

    The ESB were looking into something simular a few years back. Don't think they thought it was worth it in the end.

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  2. 4oD isn't available on Mac. Stupidity.

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  3. I think I remember that Simon, back in the days before ubiquitous laptops, iphones and Nokia N95s. Maybe they'll rethink it.

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  4. Agreed Piaras - I'm writing this on my beloved iMac, but I have to watch 4oD on a fairly low spec Dell laptop. No comparison.

    Microsoft have an armlock on 4oD through their Windows Media Player package - so I won't hold my breath for a mac version any time soon.

    Even more frustrating - the BBC iPlayer is mac compatible: but not available in Eire alas. I'd even consider joining the Commonwealth if they'd stop blocking our IP addresses ;-)

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