Viodi View – 05/22/15

IPv6 – Is There a Better Way? by Abraham Chen 

A diagram of what it would take to extend IPv4 , as an alternative to IPv6.
Click to read more

Late last year, we published an article that drew parallels between the early days of broadband and where we stand today with the autonomous vehicle. That article triggered Abraham Chen to ponder the similarities between Internet Protocol addressing and telephone network numbering. Since then, this MIT graduate and Avinta CTO has been researching, refining and evaluating with industry peers an idea for extending the existing IPv4 protocol to solve for the explosion of “things” in the so-called Internet of Things.

Click here to read his abstract.


Highlights of 2015 TiECon Grand Keynotes by Alan Weissberger

The lobby of CenturyLink's technology center in Monroe, LA.
Click to read more

Alan Weissberger provides an excellent summary of the Grand Keynotes at the 2015 TiECon, which featured corporate icon Jack Welch among others. Telecom providers will find Weissberger’s summary of comments from Gary Gauba’s of CenturyLink Cognilytics. Cognilytics was acquired by CenturyLink and Gauba provides insight into CenturyLink’s transformation into a major cloud player and how they are proving out their ideas in places like their Technology Center of Excellence.

Click here to read more.


A Cooperative Form of Crowd Sourcing

Corey McCarthy of the NCTC talks how  cooperation between independent companies can help them provide better solutions to their customers.
Click here to view

“It’s what a cooperative is about; sharing ideas and bringing a community together,” said Corey McCarthy, CFO and SVP of Business Development of the National Cable Television Cooperative. He was referring to the NCTC’s efforts to crowdsource ideas from its members, as well as bringing together members to devise technology solutions that would be impossible for an individual member to undertake.

Click here to view


Technology Facilitates Outside Plant Construction – Part 2

A typical scene in cattle country  located in the middle of Florida.
Click here to view

Brian Nordtvedt of FARR Technologies discusses some of the techniques he and his group uses to more efficiently design outside plant for their clients. Additionally, he talks about the nuances of building in rural areas versus relatively urban areas. He also provides insight on relatively recent state legislation that has eased the cost of railroad crossing easements and rights of way. Nordtvedt emphasizes the importance of planning for all the contingencies and including these in the project schedule.

Click here to view.


Something That Can Transform Transportation

Cars talking to each other in a V2V world of tomorrow.
Click here to view

The biggest challenge we face right now is a proposed [FCC] rule-making that would potentially open up that spectrum to other users that might, through their operations, effectively jam the safety messages,” according to Ken Leonard, Director of the ITS Joint Program Office of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The proposed FCC rule making Leonard refers to would expand the spectrum available for WiFi and encroach into the 75 MHz (5.85-5.925GHz) band that the FCC allocated in 1999 for Intelligent Transportation Service. This FCC rule making, which has been open since 2013, made the national news this week in an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Click here to read more and to view.


The Korner – Open Architecture, Mobile Laboratory in Silicon Valley

Am image of Michael Robinson talking to Doug Davenport at the ProspectSV event.
Click here to view

Most people would think that self-driving and race car are terms that do not go together, according to Michael Robinson, Creative Director and CEO of ED Design. Robinson points out that in the early days, the race track was a petri dish of sorts for testing and stretching innovation in the automobile field. In the above video, he explains that ED Design’s announcement of the TORQ, autonomous race car is part of a bigger project to test and refine autonomous vehicle concepts into real-world prototypes and products.

The MAAL (Mobile Autonomous Automobile Laboratory) approach Robinson is advocating is an open architecture environment for multiple disciplines and organizations to understand the impact of autonomy on mobility. As he mentions in the above interview, he believes Silicon Valley has an important role in the development of his unique vision for the revolutionary changes we will experience over the coming decades.

Click here to view.

Viodi View – 05/08/15

The Internet of Things is the next step along a path where technology is woven into our every moment and into our very being. Even the simpler things in life, like fishing, are not immune to the invasion of connected sensing and intelligence that we are seeing in formerly mundane devices. Skip to the Korner to read about an IoT fishing accessory that its maker hopes will help facilitate deeper connections between family members by making an old-time pastime even more enjoyable.

Summary of IoT Sessions at 2015 GSA Silicon Summit – Part I by Alan Weissberger

Click here to read more
Click here to read more

The Internet of Things (known as “IoT” or for Cisco, Qualcomm and others “IoE”) was the driving theme throughout this superb symposium. GSA says: “the IoT is driving the expectancy for ubiquitous connectivity and universal access to data, immersive technology is changing our expectations on how we interact with the physical and virtual worlds.”  The excellent GSA summit offered two intriguing IoT sessions this year.

Click here to read part 1


The logo for the BroadbandTV Conference.
Click to learn more about the BroadbandTV Event

IoT Sessions at 2015 GSA Silicon Summit – Part II by Alan Weissberger

MEMS in mobile devices from Virtuix.
Click to read more

In this second of a two-part article series, Alan Weissberger reviews the afternoon IoT session at the April 15, 2015 GSA Silicon Summit. The topic was MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) and Sensors, Shaping the Future of the IoT and featured speakers from GE Global Research, InvenSense, Atmel and Virtuix. This conference points to the future – a future where, according to one of the speakers, “Our new machines will augment human desires…immortality, omniscience, telepathy and teleportation.”

Click here to read more.


16 Million Reasons to Challenge CAF

An image from rural Missouri where a fiber optic cable runs parallel to a dirt road.
Click here to view

With this headline, “Connect America Fund Offers Carriers Nearly $1.7 Billion to Expand Broadband to Over 8.5 Million Rural Americans,” a dispute over $16M would seem like a rounding error. It is a rounding error, unless you are in a place that can’t receive broadband. Making it even worse is if the $16M is to fund areas that not only already have broadband, but that have fiber to the home (FTTH), gigabit-capable broadband.

Click here to view and read more.


Technology Facilitates Outside Plant Construction – Part 1

Brian Nordtvedt talks about the technology for engineering OSP Services
Click here to view

It is the construction of the network that is sometimes the biggest barrier to realizing FTTH. Fortunately, technology, such as GPS, is helping outside plant engineers be more efficient in the design process. In part one of a two-part interview, Brian Nordtvedt of FARR Technologies discusses some of the techniques he and his crew use to help their clients build FTTH networks.

Click here to view.


One Step to a New Age of Mobility

Peter Dempster of DriveNow describes their unique car-sharing service.
Click to read more

“A free-floating car-sharing service…it is a total hack of the car-sharing model,” is how Peter Dempster describes DriveNow. Dempster, Business Development and Sales Manager for DriveNow, Gmbh, KG, goes on to explain that DriveNow allows one to pick up and drop off cars in different places, keep the car as long as they wish, while paying by the minute ($12 for the first 30 $0.32/minute thereafter)¹. It turns out, the DriveNow service can be very affordable, compared to alternatives, as, for instance, taking DriveNow from the San Francisco Airport to Union Square would typically $12, as compared to approximately $60 via taxi.

Click here to view and read more.


Bandwidth is the Important Thing

A screenshot capture of ITS Fiber's Cloud University.
Click here to view

In this interview filmed at IP Possibilities, Jeff Leslie of ITS Fiber suggests that providing businesses superior speed and quality bandwidth leads is a foundation that can lead to new services. Leslie talks about how ITS Fiber has used that bandwidth to become a supplier of IT services to local businesses. He also talks about the importance of defining the scope of the services, so that the customer has clear expectations of what is included in a given project.

Click here to view.


The Korner – The Internet of Fishing Things

An image of the Deeper Fishfinder app.
Click here to view

The Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener began yesterday and represents the start of the summer tourism season. As its name would suggest, a big part of this event is about Minnesota fishing and opening of fishing season. It is fitting that the above video, about a high-tech way to catch fish, made its debut on the ViodiTV channel at the 2015 Minnesota Telecom Alliance’s Annual Convention and Conference.

Although Friday Lab, the developer of the Deeper Fishfinder, is based in Lithuania, the problems it solves is universal. As Friday Lab co-founder/CMO, Rolandas Sereika, explains, their device floats on the water and uses Sonar to detect the location of fish and Bluetooth to communicate information to a smart phone app. He describes how they have recently enhanced their app to provide additional data for ice fishing.

Given that the MN Governor’s Fishing Opener falls on Mother’s Day weekend, the Deeper Fish Finder could be a great present for the mother who likes to fish. And their excellent YouTube video describes the fishing experience as  much deeper than what appears at the surface (the video is reminiscent of the iconic Harry Chapin song about a father-son relationship).

Viodi View – 04/24/15

Maybe it was the look of confusion as I stumbled across him while fumbling for my smart phone to find the just-in-time directions for my next move. Having earlier struck up a brief conversation about only one airline serving the regional airport, it was probably obvious to this stranger that I didn’t have a clue about how I was going to execute my next step. After hesitating for a moment, I said yes to his offer to give me a ride to my hotel; a hotel which I discovered was some 30 miles from this rural airport….Go to the Korner, below, to read the rest of the story.


Lots of Possibilities With the Right Mindset

David Seda discussing the flop that service providers must do.
Click here to read more

Mindset change, new business opportunities and cybersecurity are three terms that describe some of the highlights of last week’s 2015 IP Possibilities conference and trade show. The sessions were terrific and the exhibit floor featured some interesting innovations, but the best part of the show, was the interaction with innovators from around the country. In the near-future, we will point readers to a series of Viodi-produced videos about the event, but, in the meantime,

Click here for written highlights.


The logo for the BroadbandTV Conference.
Click to learn more about the BroadbandTV Event

The Road to FTTH Success Begins With….

Click to view
Click here to view

Even before the first fiber is pulled and equipment selected, the road to Fiber to the Home success begins with cost accounting. In the above interview, filmed at the 2015 Minnesota Telecom Alliance Annual Conference and Convention, Darrell Bolen, Director, Separations of FARR Technologies, points to the important interplay that needs to take place between the accounting, engineering and regulatory disciplines to optimize the network design.

Click here to view and read more.


The Burden of Uncertainty

Bob Gessner at the 2015 ACA Summit
Click here to view

“There are really significant burdens of which we are uncertain and that uncertainty, as always, leads to concern about how you invest capital and how you grow,” said Bob Gessner, president of MCTV and Chairman of the ACA. Gessner was referring to the impact of Title II rules on operators’ investment in broadband (the LA Times reinforces the idea that these rules have created uncertainty in this article). As he pointed out in his opening comments at the 2015 ACA Summit, broadband is the future for ACA members.

Click here to view and read more.


53 Areas of Harm?

53 areas of harm from the Comcast/Time-Warner proposed merger, according to Jeff Blum of Dish Network.
Click here to view

With Comcast backing away from its merger with Time-Warner, this interview with Jeff Blum of Dish Network at the ACA Summit last month was prescient. Now, with the Comcast/Time-Warner in the rearview mirror, will the DirecTV takeover by AT&T move to the front burner for groups that were opposed to the Comcast/Time-Warner deal? What will be next for Time-Warner, Comcast, Charter, Liberty Global given this new reality? Lots of questions.

Click here to here to see what Jeff Blum said about the proposed merger.


Detroit or Silicon Valley?

Prospect SV's April 2015 event at their Silicon Valley location.
Click here to view

Connecting vehicles to each other, to infrastructure, to other modes of transport and even pedestrians will be increasingly important, as in the future, traffic will include a mix of human and self-driving vehicles. There may not be consensus on when autonomous vehicles will be commonplace on the roads and highways of America, but one thing all experts can agree on is that testing, testing and more testing will be required.

Click here to view and read more.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • Will automating features in cars make us even more inattentive drivers? These studies hope to find out.
  • CS&L has officially been spun-off from Windstream as a Real Estate Investment Trust. Look for them to be calling on independent operators to add to the 64k miles of fiber and other assets that they will lease back to telecom companies. It will be interesting to see how this impacts investment in infrastructure in rural America.
  • As the popularity of connecting TVs directly to the Internet increase and people cut the cord the need for advertisers to easily target messages cross-platform and to very localized groups will be increasingly important and this is the direction things are headed.
  • Hoosiers in Guatemala helping build infrastructure. How cool is that!
  • Time for Congress to Reform Cable TV Laws | Commentary – Beltway Insiders

The Korner – Don’t Accept Rides with Strangers – Except in America’s Heartland

A groundhog in Jefferson City, MO.
A groundhog in Jefferson City, MO.

Taking a page from the 80s and the introduction of just-in-time manufacturing, I often apply this principle to travel. That’s really another way of saying I am not as diligent about mapping out or paying attention to every detail of travel as I should. The plus side to this is it sometimes leads to unexpected adventures and discoveries. Fortunately, there always seems to be a guardian angel that swoops in to help me.

Having earlier struck up a brief conversation, it was probably obvious to the stranger who was educating me on the local geography that I didn’t have a clue about how I was going to execute my next step. After hesitating for a moment, I said yes to his offer to give me a ride to my hotel. As we walked to his car, the thought did go through my mind that this could end up like a bad horror movie on late night TV.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Viodi View – 04/11/15

An apparent spring on Capitol Hill.
Capitol Hill

It is easy to be awestruck when visiting the Washington D.C. area. One can sense the energy when stepping off the airplane and into this center of power. The region is overflowing with smart people, powerful organizations and more history of this great republic than anywhere else. It is understandable how the servant leaders who work in the “beltway”, could forget that much of this awesomeness emanates from the people and businesses inhabiting the other 3.8 million square miles of these United States.


 

The Cablization of the Internet

Patrick Knorr of Wave Broadband discusses how Title II regulation could lead to the
Click to View

Unintended consequences are probably the worst thing about laws and regulations. It’s difficult to predict the reactions from both individuals and corporations to outwit a new rule. Patrick Knorr, EVP of Business Services and IP Technology for Wave Broadband, suggests that that one of the unintended, potential consequences of Title II regulation of broadband providers is that “content providers” may begin to charge fees for their content (some of the Disney properties already charge for operators for their broadband content) in a way that is similar to what has occured with traditional, franchised cable television services.

Click here to read more and view.


 

Opportunity Across the Silos

Click to View

A take-away from TIA’s Connected Car Workshop is that opportunity exists for those who manage to shatter the silos of once disparate disciplines surrounding the transport of people and goods. That is, the transportation industry is on a cusp of a major revolution that will be manifested through connected vehicles, combined with increasing automation that eventually leads to elimination of the driver. TIA CEO, Scott Belcher, provides highlights of this one day conference held in conjunction with the Contra Costa Transit Authority’s (CCTA) unveiling of its GoMentum Station Connected Vehicle / Autonomous Vehicle Program test facility.

Click here to read more and view.


 

The Logistics of Working from Home – Parts 4 & 5

Dave Fridley discusses the logistics of working from home.
Click to View

Dave Fridley discusses the logistics and the tools FARR Technologies uses to support their 24 offices. One of the challenges they found was that their uploading requirements provided a challenge for some of the 14 providers to connect their employees. He points to the importance of recognizing nuances of online communications and the importance of reading between the lines.

Click here to view part 4.

Click here to view part 5.


 

CableTV Icon Wendell Woody Passes

Wendell Woody, a Cable TV icon.
Click to View

The CableTV and telecommunications industry saw the passing of Wendell Woody this week. Woody, an icon in the cable industry with 49 years of service at companies such as Jerrold, Catel and Monroe Electronics. Many Viodi View readers may recognize Woody as Mr. Emergency Alert System, as he became one of the industry experts on this technology. This author had the pleasure of working with Woody at Catel. A few years ago, we caught up with him in this interview where he explained, “CAP”.

Click here to view.


 

The Korner – A Cooperative Book on a Cooperative Business

Vern Dosch discusses the cooperative business model and how it can work for its members.
Click to View

Life presents different challenges in rural America, as compared to urban and suburban America. Services aren’t convenient, windshield time is great and the elements have a bigger impact than in the city where there are greater resources on a per capital basis to defend against mother nature. Perhaps, it is because these and other challenges why rural regions have given birth to so many cooperative forms of business organization.

Wired Differently provides the secrets about what make cooperatives successful. It is a book about a culture, but it is also one man’s story of how the culture of the cooperative shaped him and how he and his colleagues shaped the culture of the cooperative, so that it could continue to be relevant to its members.

Click here to read more and view the interview.

Viodi View – 03/27/15

The Minnesota telecom industry is a family, stated Brent Christensen in his opening comments at the MTA’s annual meeting this week in Minneapolis. Extending his analogy, the annual Convention and Tradeshow is a family reunion of sorts. And it was sad news to hear the passing of family member, Gene South.

An image of Gene South.
Gene South, 1947-2015

As many readers of the Viodi View know, Gene had an illustrious career in the telecommunications industry with multiple independent operating companies. His good work extended beyond his customers and employees and extended to his peers. He was a leader in helping make the case in Washington for the importance of having robust telecom and broadband in rural America. What I didn’t realize is this humble servant was a two-time Purple Heart award recipient.

Click here to read more about Gene, as well as the details for the celebration of his life that will be held this Saturday in Annadale, MN. Condolences to Gene’s family.

[It was an honor to publish Gene’s two-part article on the importance of broadband to rural America.]


Updating Regulations & Laws to Facilitate Broadband Deployment

Brent Christensen speaking at the 2015 Annual Meeting
Click to View

Updating regulations and laws are important steps governments can take to facilitate broadband rollout and lower-end costs. At the 2015 Annual Meeting, and in the above interview, MTA President and CEO, Brent Christensen outlined three bills in the Minnesota legislature that the MTA is championing that would further these goals.

Click here to read more and view.


Pulling the Plug on ISPs

Donnie Miller talking about the extra work and turmoil created by Google's decision to change its ISP program.
Click to View

“Overall, it’s been a very good experience on the platform. We would prefer to stay on it,” said Donnie Miller in the above video interview. Miller was referring to Google’s upcoming discontinuance of its Google Apps Partners Edition™ program offering. He points out that this is adding to his small staff’s workload, as it is a significant project to migrate end-customers to a new system; and there really isn’t a system out there that duplicates all that Google Apps Partners Edition™ program offered.

Click here to view.


Talking About the Rising Costs of Cable Programming

A summary of how one operator informed their customers about the source of rising cable prices.
Click to View

The link between rising programming costs and the source of those costs aren’t obvious to many consumers. Because of that indirect connection, the last-mile provider is the one that takes the brunt of the consumer backlash to programming prices that typically outpace inflation. Shentel’s Vice President of Cable, Tom Whitaker, talks about the campaign to educate and raise attention to this issue of continually increasing programming costs.

Click here to read more and watch the interview.


2015 RTIME Round-Up – Cautious Optimism

Some highlights from the 2015 RTIME conference in Phoenix.
Click to Read More

“Economic development is at the heart of what we do,” said Dave Osborne of VTX, a rural broadband operator serving a large swath of south Texas. Osborne was part of a panel at NTCA’s 2015 RTIME that focused on how operators are using their broadband networks as a basis for new applications that are helping their communities compete.

Click here to read more.


Advantages and Challenges of Working from Home – Part 3

Dave Fridley suggests taking a shower.
Click to View

Low overhead, employee empowerment and more personal time for employees are some of the advantages of working from home. There are challenges as well. Dave Fridley talks about some of the benefits and challenges managing a virtual business that has “24 offices”. He discusses how they overcome those challenges. His best advice may be, “Take a shower.”

Click here to view.


From Mobility to Mobility Services

A couple of images from the SV Prospect Forum on the future of automobiles.
Click to View

BMW is known for its high-end premium cars and associated premium brand. Through the BMW i Ventures investment vehicle, BMW is exploring how it will transition from mobility to mobility services. Silicon Valley-based Mark Platshon, Senior Advisor to BMW i Ventures, explains how this could mean venturing into areas as far afield as products and services like home solar, electric car charging and home electric grid management. Of course, a little closer to their core product, autonomous vehicles and their ramifications are top of mind within BMW i Ventures.

Click here to view.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts


Tell Us a Story – Another Example of Creativity in Rural America

Jack Johnson, Jr. discusses the children's books he recently wrote.
Click to View

One of the intangible benefits of trade shows like the ACA Summit, MTA Annual Convention & Tradeshow and RTIME, are the in-person connections that are made. The above video is a result of a chance connection in the hotel elevator at the RTIME 2015 conference.

Jack Jones, Jr. is the typical low-key and humble person one would expect to meet at an event like RTIME. Just like so many of his rural brethren, peel back a layer and there is a level of creativity and cleverness this author wishes he had.

Jones’ creativity is on display in the two children’s books he recently authored. Rusty’s Life gives the perspective of his dog to true-life events. His second book, Marriah’s Easter Egg Hunt was penned for his grand-daughter and explains the meaning of Easter in words she can understand.

Click here to read more and to view.

Viodi View – 03/13/15

A collage of photos from NTCA's 2015 RTIME.
RTIME 2015

There aren’t many places you can go and have an impromptu lunch with leaders of the telecom industry and get their perspective on the issues that affect their businesses as well as the industry at large. It is this peer-to-peer networking that may be the most valuable aspect to an event like this week’s NTCA’s RTIME. Fortunately, we captured some of the experience of NTCA’s members in the form of video interviews, which will be published over time. Despite the many challenges, there was a general sense that NTCA members will continue to find ways to evolve.


Cybersecurity – A Necessity and A Potential Competitive Advantage – The Webinar – March 20th

A security camera depicting the import of cyber security.
Click to Read More

One of the sessions that we had to defer at last week’s event was a conversation with Jeff England of Silver Star Communications. England has been the voice of the industry at the FCC and NTIA regarding cybersecurity. Fortunately, we have an opportunity to catch up with Jeff online in a webinar format, next week, March 20th.

Learn more and register here.


Uncertainty Filled the Air

Bob Gessner talking to attendees at the 2015 ACA Summit.
Click to View

Uncertainty filled the air at the 2015 ACA Summit this week in Washington D.C. Precursor, LLC president, Scott Cleland, summed up the concerns of many at this conference of independent broadband operators with his analogy of how to boil a live frog. Using that analogy, he suggested the FCC’s vote on Title II regulation of the Internet is the equivalent of putting operators in a pan of water on the stove. In the beginning, operators will feel like they are still in their familiar pond, but he believes the FCC will slowly heat the regulatory waters until one day operators will find their businesses engulfed in a boiling cauldron of regulations and rules.

Click here to read more and view.


 Unity of Interest

Representatives Latta and Welch with Matt Polka at the 2015 ACA Summit.
Click to View

“Peter and I both decided that’s it very important that rural parts of America are represented on our committee [the Energy and Commerce committee],” said U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) in the above interview. He was referring to the bipartisan working group that he and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) put together to ensure that issues and challenges relating to telecommunications in rural areas are adequately addressed. The working group is an opportunity for members to share feedback and ideas from their constituents and to find common ground to help meet the unique needs of their rural districts.

Click here to read more and view.


Preview of the Merger Mix-Up at the ACA Summit

Ross Lieberman discusses merger implications at the 2015 ACA Summit.
Click to View

Almost lost in the noise from the recent FCC’s actions are the ongoing FCC deliberations about the proposed Comcast/Time Warner and AT&T/DirecTV merger/acquisitions. Discussion of these proposed mergers was one of the many timely topics at the 2015 ACA Summit. In this interview. Ross Lieberman provided the voice of ACA and their nuanced perspective on these proposed mergers, which, as he points out, probably won’t be until at least mid-year.

Click here to view.


IDC Directions 2015: Major Network Transformations Needed to Adopt to 3rd Platform by Alan Weissberger

IDC - Slide 6 - Task at Hand
Click to Read More

Network realignment was a very hot topic at IDC Directions 2015 last Wednesday in San Jose, CA. We review selected presentations that cover the types of new mobility and cloud network transformations that will reside on the 3rd platform (cloud, mobile, social business, big data/analytics). New strategies and partnerships are forming to address these challenges for wireless and wire-line carriers/MSOs as well as for newer players providing cloud connect solutions such as cloud exchanges.

Click here to read more.


 Target the SOHO Businesses – Part 2

Dave Fridley discusses working from home in this video filmed at ITS Fiber.
Click to View

Do operators have a program that targets the Small Office Home Office/Virtual Business? Dave Fridley of FARR Technologies poses that question and points out the importance of this neglected market. He explains that FARR Technologies was born as a virtual company and its people are living the reality of the challenges of this sort of environment.

Click here to view.


Racing to the Autonomous Future

Mike and Iron Man at one of Samsung's many displays at International CES 2015.
Click to View

“I am really excited about creating the emotional machine,” said Michael Robinson, Creative Director and CEO of ED Design, in the above interview filmed at International CES 2015. Robinson was referring to his long-term goal that is even bigger than automating the driving experience; a concept he already proved 15 years ago with his design work for Lancia and the fully functioning, Nea; a car capable of autonomous driving. His aim is to create a human-machine interface that is akin to what is seen in movies like Iron Man.

Click here to get a sneak peek of the self-driving concept car he introduced at last week’s Geneva Auto Show.


The Korner – What Is That Gizmo? Is it TV? It’s Everywhere

Green lawnmower as displayed on the Gizmomedia interface on Southwest Airlines.
Click to Read More

It’s not unusual to run into someone you know on an airplane. Last week, someone at the ACA Summit said they saw me on a Southwest flight a couple of weeks ago, I had to wonder as it had been since January since I had flown Viodi’s corporate jet (aka, SWA). Turns out, he had seen a video segment I had provided to Gizomedia for inclusion on their gizmo video channel, which has appeared in some hotel chains and, now, much to my surprise, on Southwest Airlines.

Click here to read more.

Viodi View – 02/27/15

Root Canal and FCC Open Commission Meeting

It seems fitting that this author listened to the FCC Open Commission Meeting yesterday, while undergoing an unplanned root canal. The irony is that I couldn’t get the thought out of my head about how much of my monthly wireless data allotment that the FCC’s streaming video feed was consuming; all I really needed was streaming audio, but the FCC didn’t provide that lower bandwidth stream. I also had to wonder, under the Title II rules adopted yesterday, will the carrier I use be able to continue to offer different plans and use pricing as a signal?

As Greg Ip in a Wall Street Journal article points out, paid prioritization is just another term for price discrimination, which is commonplace in other markets. Although in its official release the FCC reinforces the idea (pdf) that they will forbear price regulation, will future regulators have a different interpretation of what Title II means? The only thing that is probably clear from yesterday’s actions is that the story of Title II regulation of broadband and the Internet will continue to unfold.

In the meantime, here are some attention grabbing tweets from the past couple weeks on this topic:


Discovering Insights With the Data That’s Already There

An image of an operational Maxxian solution.
Click here to read more

Next week will be a fun time catch up with ACA members and others to get their perspectives on what transpired yesterday. It’s not to late to register for the ACA Summit. To get an idea of what the ACA Summit’s exhibit floor is like, check out the following interview with R.J. Juneau where he talks about operational and revenue improvements by data correlation techniques that have led one operator to reduce customer support required truck rolls by 15%.

Click here to view.


Past, Present & the FUTURE of Cars

A collage of images from the SV Forum's event on the future of the car.
Click here to read more

There once was a conference where experts tried to find a solution to the increasing problem of congestion, pollution and the associated ill-effects of the transportation system. The attendees didn’t find a solution and it looked like modern civilization was headed in the wrong direction. Spoiler alert, this conference certainly wasn’t the one produced by the SV Forum last week, which dealt with topics such as the connected and autonomous automobile and how society is once again set for a major technological disruption.

Click here to read more.


Better Eyesight Than Humans – The Advent of Low-Cost LiDAR 

The prototype LiDAR on top of a ski rack on a Mercedes.
Click here to read more

“You have the information you need.” [to control a self-driving vehicle], said Louay Eldada, CEO and Co-Founder of Quanergy. In an interview filmed during International CES 2015, he explained that his company developed a relatively low-cost, LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) system that includes lasers and detectors, as well as the associated processing. This allows vehicle manufacturers to easily add 3-dimensional “eyesight” to their existing drive and control systems, without requiring vehicle-to-vehicle communications or integration with external communications’ networks.

Click here to read more and view the video


We Can Figure This Out – Part 1

Dave Fridley Fridley of FARR Technologies discusses working from home .
Click to view

Dave Fridley of engineering firm FARR Technologies imparts a positive message about how independent operators can turn the disruptions and uncertainties of today’s telecom business to their advantage. He points out that operators have faced and met similar challenges in years past. He uses ITS Fiber as an example of an operator that has found opportunities outside of its traditional service offering, which is helping it become even more independent and sustainable in the long-term. This is the first of three videos from Fridley’s presentation filmed at the Beyond Fiber & Into the Data Center conference hosted by ITS Fiber.

Click here to view.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:


The Korner – More than a Flying Selfie #CES2015

A palm size drone at International CES 2015.
Click to view

An informal, but popular discussion at the Beyond Fiber and Into the Data Center conference was the topic of flying drones. One of the attendees had brought a drone to south Florida and showed some amazing pictures and practical uses for these flying robots. The conversation reminded me what I saw at last month’s International CES 2015.

Imagine the interesting memories that could be recorded if you had someone invisibly filming a family vacation. Now, imagine how great it would be if this person was 50 feet tall and could capture virtually impossible perspectives. Imagine no more, as the ZANO drone from the Torquing Group promises to be a kind of miniature flying selfie stick.

With over 12,000 backers, the Torquing Group easily reached its Kickstarter goals and is well on its way to production, which is slated for June, 2015. Although this is Torguing Group’s first foray away from its defense market roots and into the consumer electronic realm, they are well positioned for market success with this product. With its rich feature set, its simplicity and a relatively inexpensive price of $270, this should not only capture the hearts of many consumers, but also their images.

Click here to read more and to view the video.

Viodi View – 02/16/15

Value Added Business Services Drive New Revenue

A picture of the entrance to ITS Fiber's business office.
Click to read more

“An all-star line-up of speakers that was assembled,” said Jeff Leslie, CEO of ITS Fiber. He was referring to this week’s event, Beyond Fiber and Into the Data Center and he was right, as all the speakers delivered great insight. As we discovered, what ITS Fiber is doing is even beyond the data center. Many operators are well-positioned like ITS Fiber is, to use their combination of fiber, data center and local presence to create a mix of high-margin, high-value services that are difficult for larger, out-of-town competitors to match.

Future issues of the Viodi View and ViodiTV will feature insight from this one-plus day conference. In the meantime,

click here to read an overview of the aim of the conference.


Cyber Insurance in Less Than 5 Minutes

Interview with Rudy Johnson of R.V. Insurance at the Seminole Inn in Indiantown, Florida.
Click to View

“Cyber insurance has made great strides in the last 20 years and we now have a mainstream product,” explains Rudy Johnson, president of R.V. Johnson Insurance. In the above video, filmed at the historic Seminole Inn in Indiantown, Florida, Johnson describes an application form that, for companies with less than $100M in revenue, is only one page long and can be completed in less than five minutes. Given the myriad of cyber risks faced by the small business owner, this sort of protection seems like a no-brainer.

Click here to view and read more.


Cyber Security – A Necessity and A Potential Competitive Advantage – The Webinar

A security camera depicting the import of cyber security.
Click to read more

One of the sessions that we had to defer at last week’s event was a conversation with Jeff England of Silver Star Communications. England has been the voice of the industry at the FCC and NTIA regarding cybersecturity. Fortunately, we have an opportunity to catch up with Jeff online in a webinar format on March 20th.

Learn more and register here.


73 Magic Management Words Plus Two – A Brief Review

73 Magic Management Words+2 book review.
Click to View

One of the special goodies in the goody bags (sounds like a kid’s party), was Everett Christensen’s book, 73 Management Words+2. Everett, owner of Christensen Communications an independent operator in Madalia, Minnesota, reports that he has been giving these books out to business customers as a leave behind and that not only do people appreciate them, they purchase additional copies. I recently edited my video review of his book for Everett for use on his forthcoming website.

Click here to get a sneak peek of the video that will appear on his web site.


Wholesale CLEC & MVNO without Infrastructure Additions

Fritz Hendricks talks about the process for an operator to become a wholesale CLEC.
Click to View

Expanding outside an ILEC’s traditional service area without having to pay for upfront infrastructure is what Fritz Hendricks and Chris Brown of Onvoy discuss in the above interview, filmed at the 2014 Minnesota Telecom Alliance Convention. As Hendricks points out, this capability provides operators a potential for revenue growth. It also provides a low-risk way to edge out into areas outside their traditional wired service boundaries without major upfront investment.

Click here to read more and view the video

[Note: registration for the MNTA 2015 Annual Convention & Tradeshow is now open]


Managing Change – Staying Relevant

Alan Plott disucsses managing change at the 2015 Wireless Symposium.
Click to View

Radio took 38 years to reach 50 million listener penetration, while the application Angry Birds took 13 days to reach the same number of players. Alan Plott, Sr. Vice President of Operations for NetAmerica Alliance, made this point, in the above interview, to illustrate how change, thanks to technology, has accelerated over the decades. Plott summarizes his 2015 Wireless Symposium keynote speech, which focused on how organizations need to manage change, if they are to stay relevant.

Click here to read more and to view.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • @AjitPaiFCC (pdf) – “Will taxpayers subsidize a big corporation’s spectrum auction scheme? On abuse of the FCC’s small business program.”
  • Since broadband is now 25/3 Mbs, will lower speed offerings escape regulation? Does the 332 page book of Net Neutrality rules explain?
  • Interesting Freedom of Information Act (pdf) request to the FCC regarding further study of the competitive effects of statewide franchising. Initial review by these researchers suggest even threat of competition from adjacent overbuilders helps reduce price of basic service, while making no difference with extended basic. They point out that more study is required and, hence, their FOIA request.
  • The Drone Tractor – autonomous farm machinery is getting closer to full commercialization as Kinze will be building upon its program that found select farmers in the Fall of 2014 completing their harvest with the help of self-driving implements. This trend could have a huge impact on farmer productivity.

The Korner – Avocado of Things

An image of the MERA booth at CES 2015 featuring Avocados from Mexico.
Click to View

Avocados from Mexico had one of the clever commercials of the 2015 Superbowl. That they are marketing direct to the consumer isn’t a big surprise given that they were part of the MERA booth at International CES2015 last month. What might even be more clever and innovative are the kiosks they will be rolling out in groceries stores.

Bill Timm, VP of Business Development for MERA USA, the company that behind the technology for these points of presences, explains how these kiosks communicate to apps via integrated Bluetooth beacons. The sorts of things they will communicate include customers recipes and, potentially, special offers.

This unique application points to the way the Internet of Things offers the potential to create direct relationships between producer and consumer.

Viodi View – 1/30/15

FCC AWS-3 Auction Ends; Raises Record $44.9 Billion! by Alan Weissberger

A photo of a typical cell tower.
Click to read more

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has just closed its auction of AWS-3 wireless spectrum licenses, raising a record $44.9 billion in the process. The Wall Street Journal reports that this is the largest amount of money the FCC has ever collected from a spectrum auction, and is more than double what was earned in 2008 during the much publicized 700MHz auction.

Click here to read more.


To License or Not to License – the $62 Billion Question

An image of Mike  Bergmann of CEA along with an image of  the CEA unlicensed spectrum report.
Click to View

Unlicensed spectrum adds $62 Billion in annual Incremental Retail Sales Value to the U.S. economy according to a study led by CEA Sr. Director, Technology & Standards, Mike Bergman.This $62B annual amount, which FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel suggests could be as high as $140B, is an interesting juxtaposition to the one-time fee of the AWS-3 auction, referenced above. There is also an argument to be made that any money that flows into the government coffers will eventually be paid for by the consumer, as, to paraphrase President Reagan, businesses don’t pay spectrum auction fees, they just pass them on.

Click here to read more and view the video.


From Wired to Wireless – One Operator’s Story

Lee Chambers of Sandhill Telephone Cooperative is depicted in this image.
Click to View

“We didn’t even have towers. We had no idea how to get into the wireless business,” said Lee Chambers, CEO of Sandhill Telephone Cooperative. In the above interview, he explains how this incumbent local exchange carrier built a wireless network within an 18 month period. This LTE data-centric network has allowed Sandhill to reach out beyond their traditional boundaries and serve customers; many who only had access to the Internet through dial-up or satellite.

Click here to read more and view the video.


Defining a New Global Network by Steve Gleave, SVP, Metaswitch Networks

A man holding tablet over an image of a global network.
Image Courtesy of Metaswitch Networks

[Editor’s Note: The following blog post, originally published on the Metaswitch Networks Blog, provides a glimpse of what Mr. Gleave will be discussing at the event Viodi is producing with ITS Fiber. ITS Fiber is an independent operator that made the transition from copper-based rural telco to one that provides business services via an all-underground fiber network that connects to their state-of-the-art data center. Thanks Metaswitch for your support of this upcoming event!]

Communications network infrastructure is on a path to become more software-centric: virtual network functions running on commodity hardware, in the cloud. Intelligent software, separated from hardware, driven by the double-header of both network functions virtualization (NFV) and software defined networking (SDN).

Click here to read more.


 Beyond Fiber and Into the Data Center

An image showing the interior of ITS Fiber's Data Center.
Click to learn more

There is still time to register for this event, hosted by independent operator, ITS Fiber in Florida on February 10th and 11th. In case you can’t make it, three of the sessions will be simulcast, so you can participate from the comfort of your computer or phone. Click the links below to register for the following sessions:

Thanks Calix for your support of the transition from CO to Data Center tour.

Thanks IIS Group for your support of the  transition from CO to Data Center tour.

The Metaswitch Networks logo is what this image represents.

Thanks to Calix, IIS Group and Metaswitch for their support of this event!

REGISTER HERE


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • Ironic, the same day Google announces they are skipping over San Jose to provide FTTH and a day before the FCC’s redefinition of broadband to 25 Mbs/3 Mbs, the Silicon Valley ILEC that passes by my household lets me know that they can offer me…”High Speed Internet Basic gives you up to 768Kbps download speeds and up to 384Kbps upload speeds.”
  • At the /29/2015 meeting, FCC Chairman Wheeler “Would be great if there were an Uber for 911.”  Hmmm, I wonder what sort of local/state/federal power struggle that would cause?
  •  “Like to see Congress … factor in the value of unlicensed spectrum, thus giving it an incentive to help create more of it.”

The Autonomous Korner –  Ensuring the Insurance of the Autonomous Future

Michael J Scrudata of Munich RE discusses insurance and the autonomous automobile.
Click to View

That a representative of an insurance company of insurance companies was at International CES2015 to learn about autonomous vehicles and their impact on the transportation of tomorrow is an indicator that the automation of transport is well on its way. In the above interview, Michael Scrudato of Munich RE, points out that autonomous vehicles offer the potential for significant societal benefits, including the reduction in deaths, injury and associated emotional damage from car crashes.

Scrudato explains that they have looked at this market for the past 12 to 18 months, as auto insurance represents about half the U.S. property and casualty insurance industry. From an insurance standpoint, he suggests that they expect insurance regulation will continue to be on a state-by-state basis. The big question is when will autonomy be practical. Whenever that date is, it sounds like the insurance industry will be ready.

Click here to view.

While we are on the topic….

  • The most interesting thing about this article about driverless car testing in North Dakota is the idea of an autonomous, north-south highway through our nation’s heartland.
  • $2,700 is the potential net benefit per Canadian household (>5% of household consumption) according to a recent report (pdf) co-authored by CAVCOE (The Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence). This report, although focused on Canada, is something that U.S. local, state and federal officials involved in city planning, transportation, economic development – really anyone interested in the impact of automated transport on society – should thoroughly read.

Viodi View – 01/16/15

The Chicken & Egg Spectrum Auction

Carri Bennet at the Wireless Symposium
Click to View

Overload; one word to describe everything going on regarding the activity surrounding telecommunications regulation and policy in Washington D.C. Carri Bennet and Jill Canfield, two very knowledgable people on these topics drove home the point of how complicated telecom policy is when they described where the FCC stands with next year’s auction for 600 MHz spectrum. Fortunately, I had a chance to spend a few minutes with Carri after her presentation at the Wireless Symposium and have her give a thumbnail for this release of spectrum that could be a critical piece to helping bringing broadband to unserved remote rural areas.

Click here to learn more.


Cybersecurity – A Necessity and A Potential Competitive Advantage

Even more important than the policy and regulatory turmoil in the Beltway is the war with the fanatics who will use any means possible to enslave or eliminate the rest of us. And, as we know, their terror goes beyond physical weapons as the Internet allows these thugs new opportunities to impose their twisted will. It will take a united front of citizens, business and government to stand against these evil forces.

A security key pad is just an outward view of the importance of having excellent internal controls.
Click here to view

Silver Star Communications has been a leader and on the forefront of working with government to fight this war. Jeff England, CFO of SIlver Star Communications is relatively new to the telecom industry, coming to it from a firm that dealt with cybersecurity audits. He has been representing the Silver Star and, by extension, independent operators through his work with the NIST and the FCC. His perspective is sought out because he brings a broader perspective to cybersecurity as compared to the typical IT representation. England explains that cybersecurity is about “risk management” and that, “The NIST Framework provides a bridge between the technology and leadership and where an entity stands on risk.”

England believes there is an opportunity for service providers to use cybersecurity as a competitive advantage. Operators attending the event Viodi is producing in conjunction with ITS Fiber will get a chance to learn Jeff’s thoughts on this topic.

Learn more at: http://www.viodi.com/heartland/agenda/

Thanks Calix for your support of the transition from CO to Data Center tour.

Thanks IIS Group for your support of the  transition from CO to Data Center tour.

http://www.metaswitch.com/

Thanks to Calix, IIS Group and Metaswitch for their support of this event!

DISCOUNT HOTEL RATES END 1/23

REGISTER HERE


Gigabit Broadband – Better than Indoor Plumbing

An image of Star Valley, Wyoming, home of Silver Star Communications.
Click to View

Speaking of Silver Star Communications, the Governor of Wyoming recognized Silver Star Communications in his state of the state address last Wednesday for their efforts in expanding broadband in the Cowboy State. Late last year, we caught up with Representative Marti Halverson who spoke of the importance of Silver Star to the region she represents. In doing so, she relates an amusing story about a misconception one reporter had about the Equality State.

Click here to read more and to view.


Wireless Symposium – A Training Boot Camp for CES

Images of the 2015 Wireless Symposium are shown.
Click to View

One of the best things about the Wireless Symposium, that was held in conjunction with International CES 2015, was the opportunity to meet with old and new friends. In this video, Steve Pastorkovich, VP of Training and Development for NTCA and Tanya Sullivan, CEO of RWA, explain that the Wireless Symposium, co-produced by their organizations, is a great way to ease into CES.

Click here to read more and to view.


Wireless – A Common Connection Before and During International CES 2015 – Part 1

An image from the Wireless Symposium at CES
Click to View

The Internet of things has transformed International CES 2015 into the show of everything. In 2015, CES continued its expansion in way that is similar to how electronics are increasingly making dumb objects into smart sensors, controllers and indicators. Wireless connections were clearly a key building block for connecting the multitude of devices seen at this enormous conference.

Click here to read more and to view.


The Internet of Tasty Things – #CES2015 – Part 2

Ken Pyle drinking a very tasty beer at the PicoBrew booth.
Click to View

Despite filming 35 video interviews and being at CES and its associated conferences and other events from Sunday to Wednesday, I was in the main convention center for about an hour and a half. That’s the nature of CES; there is too much to see over too wide an area. In some ways it may be easier to get the big picture by staying home and reading and watching coverage. Of course, one wouldn’t be able to see a blue-tooth shoe that gives directions, shoot a basketball that tells you how to improve your shot or taste a craft beer from an Internet-connected, personal brewing machine.

Click here to read more and to view.

[A big thank you to Calix for its support in making the above part 1 and 2 CES highlights a reality! Click here to check out their CES photo collage.]


The Korner – Paving the Way to an Autonomous Future

Alain Kornhauser discusses the future of the autonomous vehicle.
Alain Kornhauser discusses the future of the autonomous vehicle – Click to View

Apollo 11 is a distant memory in the rear view mirror of life for those old enough to remember the glory days of America’s space program. It was a privilege then to meet someone who was involved with that historic program. Space, however, was not the final frontier for Dr. Alain Kornhauser, a Princeton Professor, as, in the decades since, he has been looking forward to how technology could help the transport challenges here on earth.

In the above interview, filmed at International CES 2015, Kornhauser discusses how decades of theory are rapidly turning to reality, as new features are making cars safer and setting the stage for full autonomy; as Kornhauser says, “At some point, they [cars] become so good, that they chauffeur us.”

To the naysayers, he suggests that the,

“Technology will pay for itself through the insurance savings….It will essentially allow the consumer to have the technology for free, as long as they continue to pay the insurance premiums.”

He points out that the technology is following cost curves that are similar to consumer electronics and will follow trends similar to Moore’s Law; hence, one of the reasons CES has become such an important conference for automakers.

Click here to read the complete summary and view the interview.