Echoes of E-Content
The term e-content has been widely described in a broad set of symmetrical patterns throughout this book. As this book is a compilation of various definitions, implications, contextual and practical meaning, current scenario and future vision of e-content, throughout this world, to reach to a conclusion is a rather difficult proposition. But still as it is compulsory I would like to give this book a conclusion like all others.
E-content has a new definition in every country of the world. This particular word “definition” is highly affected by the economic status of the country. This is something that leading thinkers from across the globe explained. But as it came through the interviews and opinions, the e-content is dependent on the mindset of the people of that country.
Economic status of a country does count, but what counts more is the attitude of the population: this means that the population should be knowledge thirsty. If the population of the country does not want growth; technologically money cannot play a very big difference in the technological front.
As it has been clear, e-content roadmap, which is organized country wise in this book, is also organized continent wise, so that e-content trend can be analyzed as per the continent.
» Africa e-content
» European e-content
» South and Latin American e-content
» North American e-content
» Asia e-content
» Oceania and Australian e-content
» Arabian e-content
With the help of this distribution it is easy, to understand how the meaning of this particular word varies from country to country.
E-Content in Africa
Africa as the very geographical description shows is not at all a very small continent. And to develop a new theory or to establish a new program in the economies of this continent is quite a difficult job. The most important reason supporting the above statement is, the big geographical areas of the countries in this continent and the economic instability in some of the big countries. Another major reason is the vast divide in the form of languages, for e.g. Northern Africa and South Africa.
The countries that we have included in this book under the heading of Africa e-content are:
» Burundi » Ghana » Zimbabwe
» Cameroon » Morocco
» Gambia » Sudan
The development of e-content in most of the countries varies, ranging from Health and Education to Business governmental works. I would surely like to portray Sudan as a exception because in this country, e-content has been very effectively adopted by the civil society, unlike other countries like Gambia, Ghana and Zimbabwe where private sector business households and various governmental institutions have adopted e-content, as a path towards their development.
Unlike European countries the scope of development for e-content in Africa is quite high. The reason behind it is a blooming market where people are knowledge thirsty.
Various fields of e-content are being explored in these countries such as:
» Business » Government » Learning
» Culture » Health » Science
» Entertainment » Inclusion
Slowly but steadily the continent is approaching towards a huge technical leap, which is surely to bypass all the developed nations at one point of time. The only hurdle is the governmental or economic instability, which the countries have to pass.
E-Content in Europe
The continent of Europe might be small in size but is one of the most diverse and intellectual in opinion. To bring the whole continent under one umbrella is more or less creating another Noah’s Ark.
As most of the countries in Europe are either developed or are in the last stages of their development, e-content has very specific roles to play in these countries.
The countries that have been scoped here are:
» Austria » Egypt » Romania
» Ireland » Slovakia » Croatia
» Italy » The Netherlands » Cyprus
As we can see from the list, most of the countries are developed and also economically stable, with the exception of Italy, which usually sees a wonder every six months, in the form of government changes.
More or less the forms of e-content here are same as that of Africa, but the level of improvement in the field of technology is at a much higher level than that of Africa.
The most striking feature that hits us when we compare this particular continent with the rest is that the number of computer users here is more than 92%. Which is a great achievement by the continent. Countries like Austria, The Netherlands, Croatia are some of the biggest players in e-content, because the private sector has a great level of input in these countries, be it in the form of trading houses or web companies.
Unlike Romania where the government is the biggest provider of e-content, henceforth a sort of monopoly will always persist. As a matter of fact, there is also one very important field where e-content has played a major role and that is the defense sector, at the same time the prospects are quite high and value earning.
E-science and e-entertainment have also shown quite a good amount of increase in these countries and the market for these sorts of products have also been established. Another country, which needs specific mention here is Ireland, which though is the biggest software and services exporter in the world, has not been very successful in leveraging its advantageous situation in the e-continent.
E-Content in South and Latin American
The only continent, which has shown a considerable development in the field of e-content in this part of the continent, is Brazil. A small big country, but it has a huge amount of prospect behind it.
The government is the biggest supporter of e-content in Brazil. The private players have got very specific goals dealing in the field of investments and entertainment. The universities in Brazil have adopted e-content to improve their pattern of studies. Digital media has been introduced to spread education in far-flung areas. The universities have done an incredible job in this field. One thing I must mention before I conclude with Brazil is, that the government has very neatly distributed laws regarding e-content, because of which the growth rate is high.
We terribly missed the contributions of other South American countries like Ecuador and Argentina who could not contribute in this book by the time it was sent to print.
E-Content in North America
The world’s most developed nations form a part of the North American continent – United States of America and Canada
The geographical boundaries of these two countries might not be very big but these countries still excel in all forms of development related activities. The population of these countries is not under any threat of political instability, because of which venturing into development in all fields is possible. Economic stability allows playing with funds and taking up experiments.
In the case of Canada they state “Canada is clearly a leader in content innovation and production in the world”. Truly so, they also claimed maximum number of entries among the 40 finalists of World Summit Award.
In Canada the highest growth rate in the field of e-content is seen in the field of information technology and innovations in science. In all other fields also the country has shown a very rapid growth rate, like health, business, entertainment etc.
The United States of America, which is the most developed country in the world, also suffers from a digital divide, because of a difference in the earning capacities of the masses. The US has one of the highest users of personal computers in the world and hence development of e-content is not only derived from government and corporate sectors but also at an individual level.
The government also is not behind in this race with the masses, it has various projects up its sleeve related to all sorts of e-content, and it also asks people to come up with various new ideas, and supports such ideas.
Interestingly, US and Canada are at a stage of e-content development, where they need to look at the quality and effect of their e-content on the rest of the world. Needless to mention the influence should learning and healthy.
E-Content in Asia
Asia is one of the largest continents in the world and also probably the most complex of all. Asia is a continent of conflicts and paradoxes, diverse ethnicity, co-existence of multi-racial and multilingual, extremely diverse situation of infrastructures and development.
The countries that have been interviewed here are:
» China & Hong Kong » Mauritius
» India » Philippines
» Indonesia » Singapore
In all the above-mentioned countries I would rate Singapore, China and Hong Kong, and India as the most developed in the field of e-content. The most important reason for the development of e-content in these countries is, ‘people want to know’, and their ability to adjust with situations.
If we compare the statistics, Singapore has about 58.3% of total Internet users whereas Philippines have only 2% of Internet users. It is heartening to note that Philippines, which has one of the lowest Internet penetration has the highest exchange of content on mobile. Mobile is a culture in Philippines, so much so, that there are strict restrictions for children to use mobiles in schools. According to an anecdote, Philippines is the only country where the masses are capable of writing texts in their mobile without looking at it.
We however, need to learn from China and Hong Kong how to create quality content. Although, China and India’s problem is quite similar in terms of language technology as a barrier to mass-produce content; India, however, has been successful in showcasing some of the best prototypes of ICT usage in rural sector. India also has the credit to have more than 40% of ICT for Development related projects deployed all across the world.
E-Content in Oceania and Australia
This part of the globe is completely segregated from the rest of the world. Hence the feeling of competition is not very well developed in these countries, which are:
» New Zealand
Education is probably the biggest player in this part of the globe when it comes to e-content. Private players including the government specifically limit themselves to culture and the banking sector. The main aim of the people here is not to develop in the field of technology in particular, but rather to put their country in world focus. And that is only possible when they develop their infrastructure in the form of Internet, which allows people to witness their culture.
The government is the user of e-content in Australia and it is ranked among the top five countries in governance, health and defense.
In Australia another field given a great amount of importance and is the field of entertainment. Global players in this field have been thronging Australia because of its development in the field of e-content and a highly energetic work force.
E-Content in Arabia
The very name Arabia suggests that something exciting is coming up. Usually this part of the world takes our mind only to deserts, but it would be highly interesting to know that these countries are also on a march towards development. Especially countries like:
Arabian countries are a unique set of countries, where one can find fairly established infrastructure, but the effort to leverage the infrastructure to create knowledge society or e-content is sub-standard.
Individual and private sector’s effort is poor and alarming. However, it is interesting to note that most of the Arab countries are largely managed by outsiders and it is difficult to expect outsiders to work on local e-content. Therefore the business content is well represented, but localized, cultural, heritage, and educational content is scarcely available.
Some proactive governments, however, has been showing some interest in the information economy, and e-content is becoming a necessary issue of attention for the concerns.
I would like to conclude by mentioning that each continent has specific advantages and experiences, which could be shared with other continents to overcome the content gap. For example, Europe is extremely rich in content and its transformation to electronic format for global access. India is one of the biggest contributors of human skills spread across the world. Such Indian community (diaspora) could be instrumental in bringing forth India’s content for global access. Philippines is a brilliant example of how mobiles can become a driving force to create e-content. Arab region can be a guide to show the advantages of creating infrastructure.
On the other hand, Americans can teach us the side effects of e-content creation and therefore how it should be developed holistically.
We have built a dedicated website for the global e-content scenario through the local voices represented by individual country experts selected by UN’s World Summit Award. The idea of the website is to constantly update the latest development in each country as far as e-content is concerned. Starting with as many countries as scoped in this book, we hope to reach 136 countries, all of which are nominees with WSA, in the next couple of months.