Monday, December 17, 2012

Saving the Pakistani drama

Nowadays Pakistani media industry is criticizing the airing of dubbed soaps on the local TV channels. They say that our local drama industry will be destroyed as these foreign plays will replace the domestically produced dramas if the matter is not taken care of. Specially they will occupy the prime-time hours which have a significant history of showing us some of the finest Pakistani dramas that gained popularity not only in Pakistan but abroad as well. Last night, I saw a talk show on a news channel in which celebrities from our drama industry were invited to discuss this issue. I was deeply touched by a statement of the famous actor, Faysal Qureshi. He said, 'I'm very surprised to see that we need to explain it to people to give priority to the Pakistani dramas'. That is the point. Apart from the debate about the quality of our dramas. We should have a patriotic feeling about our TV dramas. At least it is something of our own, of our own country. It belongs to us.   

Pakistani drama industry has a dignified and glorious past of producing the unsurpassed dramas like 'Dhoop Kinaray', 'Tanhaiyaan', 'Chand Girhan', 'Dhuan', 'Alpha-Bravo-Charlie' and the list goes on. These plays were famous for creating a pin-drop silence on the streets. Even in the recent past we saw some noticeable plays like  'Manay Na Ye Dil', 'Qaid-e-Tanhai', 'Meri Zaat Zarra-e-Benishan' etc. The DVDs of the aforementioned and many other plays were interestingly seen overseas not only by Pakistani expatriate community but other nationalities also. Pakistani dramas are also shown in the acting schools of the neighboring country as inspiration.

There was a period when an attempt was made by the Indian TV channels to invade this industry through their low-quality soaps that had weak concepts and senseless stories. Those dramas left negative impact on our society such as hatred, jealousy, greed and revenge. These behaviors entered our houses and females of our country were largely affected. These substandard plays also influenced the fashion sense of our people. Honestly, I never saw a man wearing a shocking pink embroidered suit before. 

Then enters the dubbed plays. Urdu1 ventured into dubbed programming with a Turkish soap 'Ishq e Mamnu'. Pakistanis loved the Urdu-speaking ladies of the Bosphorus and the play went viral as far as the ratings are concerned. For channels, this is a jackpot. With minimal production cost, just buy foreign content, dub it in Urdu and you are good to go. I've read some arguments on the web that dubbed programming is a common feature of primetime across the world. I say, this might be a trend worldwide but the countries where this practice is followed might not have their own quality content. Pakistan is a different case. Pakistan has a legacy of producing good quality dramas. From writers to actors, from producers to directors, Pakistan has a vast variety of talent which is increasing day by day. We don't need any foreign content to amuse our television viewers. I agree that there are some shortcomings in our dramas but those deficiencies could be fixed. 

I'm not against the screening of foreign content of on our local TV channels. People like change and I agree with that. But, it should be controlled, it should be limited. The prime-time should be reserved for the original Pakistani drama only. We should also keep in mind that local production of the drama is also connected to our economy. A huge number of people are associated with this industry. Display of too much foreign content on TV channels will ruin the careers of people (including many labor and low category technical staff) associated with the drama industry. Let us save our drama industry from foreign influence before it is too late.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Internet of Things - The next level of technology

LeWeb is Europe's biggest technology conference and it takes place twice a year in Paris and London. This December, at the event in Paris, LeWeb is focusing on hyperconnectivity and 'The Internet of Things'. The idea is, it's not just us who are connected to the internet, but the objects around us too. The “Internet of Things” (IoT) will likely be one of the most important technological advances of this century. It is said that by 2020, an estimated 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. This hyperconnected world is driving the formation of an IoT that will bring devices, infrastructure and people closer. It’s about blending of the physical world and the virtual world.

We have been talking about connected objects for years now, but with smartphones, systems, networks and software platforms enabling them to communicate, it is finally becoming a reality. Any physical object can connect to the internet and can communicate with other objects to transfer information to people. In the future, many everyday objects will be connected to the internet and many tasks that we do with our hands can be automated through the information exchanged between these objects. 

The appliances and devices will work through radio frequency identification technology (RFID). RFID chips are small and inexpensive. These chips use radio waves to send data to the RFID readers that are connected to the internet. The IoT will use smartphones and devices containing embedded chips and sensors that allow them to connect and talk to each other.

In the house of future, appliances will communicate with each other to make our routine tasks easier and simpler. The shower will be on before a person wakes up. The breakfast will be ready by the kitchen appliances as soon as one comes out of the shower. The car will start as soon as you plan to leave for office.  Appliances like refrigerator would be able to place online orders as soon as the level of the stock goes low and you can pick them up from the stores on your way back home. All this would be possible through a task scheduling application running on a smartphone and is connected to all the appliances. 

The self-driving cars would become a norm in the days to come. These cars would take us to any desired location as scheduled or simply through a command if not preset. The data they transmit would adjust the tasks scheduled at the office according to the calculated arrival time suggested by the satellite traffic monitoring feature of the navigation system.

China seems to lead the IoT race. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao identified IoT as an "emerging strategic industry" in an interview on state media, Beijing has focused on developing technology by which devices can communicate via infrared sensor, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and other Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology. The government has established state-owned enterprise zones such as the Chengdu Internet of Things Technology Institute in Sichuan province, which is developing a health care system in which rural villagers can step into a telephone booth-sized "health capsule" to get a diagnosis and prescription from a doctor in a distant hospital.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will make our lives easy and organized, but on the other hand we would be completely relying on technology even for our simple daily routine tasks. The design standards of appliances and devices will dramatically change in the days to come so as our lifestyles. The next version of internet will impact a broad range of industries that are involved in making products and services for the humans.