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IT's walking the 'animated' talk or is it?

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MUMBAI: FICCI Frames 2004 is abuzz with the 'A' word - animation. With two sessions dedicated to animation on day two yesterday, prominent Indian and international personalities met again today to talk about the buzzword.



"Animation will outperform IT," that's what Crest Communications CEO AK Madhavan would have you convinced. Other than that one IT v/s animation statement, the FICCI Frames 2004 seminar on IT and Animation: Walk the Talk was mostly about developing the nascent animation business as an IT enabled business on the lines of BPO, SCM and ERP businesses.



The seminar that was held today on the third and last day of FICCI frames 2004 was hosted by Vijay Mukhi and on the panel were Crest Communications CEO AK Madhavan, iGate president and co-founder Ashok Trivedi, Jadoo Works CEO Rajiv Marwah, and Alias Wavefront South Asia Pacific regional manager Paul Cousen.



Develop animation as an IT enabled business

Create sustainable business models

Utilize the best practices of the IT industry

The industry is starved for money and this is where IT can help

Lack of adequate manpower and formal training

However, before a PIXAR comes out of an Indian IT giant, there would be many a teething troubles to deal with.



"This industry is starved for money and this is where IT can help," said Trivedi adding that while the animation businesses had weak and flexible processes, they could utilize the best practices of the IT industry especially as to managing the human capital. He further emphasized that for Indian IT companies to graduate to animation, sustainable business models would have to be created.



The main concern of panelists across the board was prominently the lack of adequate manpower and formal training available to establish a resourceful pool of talent unlike the IT industry where quality certifications and credentials exist.



Fortunately for the animation businesses, there are more opportunities available in this date and age - for instance the Bangalore based Jadoo Works is using the open source engine to develop its business which is something that even a PIXAR did not have 10 years ago, informed Marwah.



While on the ground, the animation business is yet to take off, panelists at Frames 2004 sounded buoyant about the future of the industry. "Animation is an emerging market - it is just a matter of time (before it grows into a full fledged one)," said Marwah. And as Madhavan put it, "We are at the beginning of the curve."



DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT IS A DEAD DUCK



Meanwhile, in another seminar on digital rights management (DRM), one thing that was crystal clear was that unless effective legislations to enforce digital rights were brought in and unless these legislations entailed adequate civil and criminal liabilities, DRM would be dead even before it breathes its first.



While India has its set of copyright laws, in the age of convergence, what is needed is a greater understanding of the control of intellectual properties (IP) and DRM technology that is embedded across different end user products like PCs, mobile phones, wireless devices et al.



"Interest in the PC related DRM is now dead. What people are talking about now is DRM for wireless devices and set top boxes," said Quentin Staes Polet of IBM Digital Media Solutions Asia Pacific.



The seminar was held today on the third and last day of FICCI frames 2004 and was hosted by Amarchand & Mangaldas managing partner Shardul Shroff. On the panel were Quentin Staes Polet of IBM Digital Media Solutions Asia Pacific, WIPO counselor Carole Croella and Bertrand Moullier of FIAPF, France.

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