Viodi View – 01/04/13

Springactive's Exoskeleton at CES 2012
Faster Stronger than Before at CES

With the holidays now behind us, it is time for International CES and for retailers to begin planning for the 2013 holiday season. And next week’s CES promises to provide an entertaining look at what will be hot. Based on the announcements thus far, it looks like there will be no end to the advancements and refinements of consumer electronics; particularly as consumer electronics continues to literally become part of the consumer (as seen in this 2012 CES video highlighting some bionic technology).

Reply to this newsletter to let us know what topics we should cover.

Big Data is a topic that is sure to be part of the buzz at the 2013 CES. Kshitij Kumar has published the first two-parts of a three-part series on this topic, particularly as it relates to Broadband Service Providers. It is an honor to have Kumar’s contribution to the Viodi View, as he brings the perspective of an entrepreneur who brings a broad vision to the telecommunications and media distribution business, while understanding technology, such as “Big Data”, and how it can be used to make these businesses more efficient.


Big Data for Small Providers – Part 1 by Kshitij Kumar

Pictured is a collage of graphs depicting the concept of Big Data.
Click to Read More

Big Data is all the buzz today. There is no dearth of articles about Big Data, Data in the Cloud, Data Mining, Analytics, etc. But what exactly do these terms mean? This series of articles will explain Big Data and how it applies to Broadband Service Providers. It will explain what they can do with it, why they should do it, and show how Big Data techniques may be implemented by Broadband Service Providers to benefit their business. Click here to read more.

Actionable Insights from Good Data – Part 2 by Kshitij Kumar

The aim of any Data Analysis effort should be to provide “actionable insights”. An actionable insight is an understanding (an “insight” obtained by professional analysis of data) that points to a course of action. Insights that help in understanding network status or customer behavior may be interesting, but are not useful to the Broadband Service Provider unless they are actionable. Click here to read more.


Global Telco Capex May Surprise on the Upside in 2013! by Alan Weissberger

After several years of disappointments, global telco capital expenditures (capex) might increase stronger than expected next year. That might breath new life into the struggling telecom equipment and module market, which has been in the doldrums since at least 2001 with ever shrinking profit margins for telecom infrastructure gear makers. Click here to read Alan’s unique look at 2013 telco capital expenditures.


Will Speedier Rivals Impact Cable Operators?

Fiber construction in a business park.
Click to Watch Video

Are cable operators doomed by the limitations of the very same infrastructure that has given them the competitive edge in many urban markets? This question was posed in a recent Wall Street Journal  article, Speedier Internet Rivals Push Past Cable. This article highlighted operators that have fiber networks that can deliver more bandwidth than the traditional cable architecture.

Many of these cutting-edge companies referenced in the article have been interviewed by ViodiTV over the past few years and can be found in the video playlist at this link.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:


 

The Korner – Community at the Broadband Communities 2012

 

Speakers discuss various ways to provide broadband.
Click to Watch Video

A 60 to 1 compression is what achieved in the following video. That is, more than 3 hours of videos are reduced to about three and a half minutes of soundbites (the MPEG-4 compression is pretty amazing as well). It is clear from those who are leading  the way, that broadband is more than a high-speed connection; community is the recurring theme heard in those soundbites.

The video at this link provides highlights from a sample of the dozens of speakers at the 2012 Broadband Communities Summit. These speakers discussed creative ways to fund broadband and some of the ways broadband has sparked economic development in rural and urban locales. Click here to view.

ThreeD for DDDummies

[Editor’s note: contact the 3D version of Peter, email him at peter.lowten@viodi.com]

For some years 3D TV content providers have been seeking overnight success. Heavily researched, beautifully made (mostly cartoon /animated) cinema productions have indeed captivated audiences, and stirred significant investment aimed at bringing the 3D viewing experience into the living room.  January’s CES showed how far we’ve come.

This technology review ain’t about that aspect of 3D.

There are many  instances of breakthrough high-end technology flowing through too much more mundane uses – remember CMX video editing systems (if you are old like me), character generators, computer graphics systems, and desktop publishing. How can the common man/company/school start to use 3D to improve its ability to communicate, inspire and impress?

As an example: consider a startup company wanting to explain its product and its financial opportunities to a number of crucial analysts – how to stand out from the rest?

Interestingly, at CES there were a number of attention-grabbing software and hardware concepts that indeed start one thinking about the worth of 3D beyond the high-end entertainment stratum. After all, 3D enhances the visual medium, and (done right) should augment the impact and value of everything from classroom-taught subjects, to corporate communications, to a broad range of packaging, R&D and medical development, and many more.

So this forward-looking team decides that 3D will add a new dimension to its impact on such a jaded group of  analysts, and appoints a ‘3D-izer’ to get familiar with the ‘state of the art’ in 3D, and become an early adopter. Here’s a couple of things the 3D-izer found.

RCA showed a software /hardware package that allowed the viewer – using a basically standard hand-held remote – to modify the look of a 3D video by changing the perceived depth of the 3D field. So the impact of the ‘3Dness’ could be set from ‘flat as a pancake’ to ‘in your face’.  Not fully baked yet but reveals how malleable the 3D experience may become – making an important figure ‘jump out ‘ of a graph (done subtly) should generate attention!

Why look at a picture when you can print a 3D object. Priced around $1,299 and with cartridges around $3 to $4, 3D printing looks like it will move from the machine shop to the backyard workshop.

A Hungarian company with the somewhat tortuous name Leonar3Do International Inc. ( http://leonar3do.com/  ) brought their latest version of a 3D visualizer –my term for a tool that allows one to build a 3D construct in a work-space that artists,  teams and students can share interactively. A hard model to visualize but this YouTube video shows the concept well –if a 2D picture is worth a thousand words, a 3D picture must be worth at least the cube of the square root of a thousand. {See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYKdmeJ8E5k}. Leonar3Do offers (among other products) a training package to get the 3Dizer up to speed on generating 3D ‘stuff’ efficiently

The 3D-izer adds all this innovative capability to some new entries into adjacent spaces, such as affordable 3D printers and ‘no-glasses 3D screens’. 3D Systems Corporation specializes in such 3D printers from home version for $1,300 to a production version for over $250k. A small wristwatch size object would cost about $3-5 per copy. The 3D-izer returns to his team and interactively builds a spectacular 3D presentation, and 3D prints an early version of their ‘Widget2.0’ product. The analysts are hugely impressed……….

This scenario is clearly ‘out there’ – however the opportunities for industry changing products, marketing creativity, and interactive invention bring a whole new dimension to the future of 3D.

Viodi View – 01/25/12

Springactive's Exoskeleton at CES 2012
Springactive's Exoskeleton at CES 2012

If the crowds of CES 2012 correlate to economic activity, then the economy is definitely on the upswing.  At times, it felt like the record-breaking crowd of 153k+ attendees and 3.1k exhibitors filled every inch of the crowded shuttles which ferried attendees between the convention center and the various hotels where there were additional exhibits and private demonstration rooms.  It is definitely a show where having a clone would be useful for one who is trying to cover the event in any sort of depth.


The Augmented Life or the $6M Man Becomes the $6K Man

Steve Austin was a hero for those of us in the 1970s who wished to be, “Better than than he was before.  Better, stronger, faster.”  The $6 Million Dollar Man was science fiction but without weird space alien creatures.  Kids on the playground could relate, as the main character was a regular person, but his super-human powers (e.g. superior vision, amazing strength, could communicate wirelessly with his commander, etc.) derived from the weaving of advanced electronics along with “bionics”; an integration of the mechanical with the body to enhance Austin’s body parts.  Click here to read why this is relevant to telecom providers.  Click here to read more.


I Can See for Inches and Miles

Augmented Vision

Innovega demonstrated at CES 2012 nanotechnology designed into contact lenses that, when combined with a special set of glasses, allows one to focus close to read a heads-up display projected on the glasses, while seeing far. They can also be used for delivering full-field 3D or for 360 degree gaming experience. In this video, Randall Sprague, CTO of Innovega, explains how this device works and potential applications.  Click here to view.


Wind Power for Off Grid Telecom Applications & More

Urban Energy

Electricity generation via wind power is often associated with modern-day version of windmills spread through the hillsides and plains of the country side.  Urban Green Energy aims to change that with a product line of relatively low-cost wind turbines.   Designed to make little noise and to run at low revolutions per minute, such that birds and bees and see their outline, these spinning wings may be installed anywhere; in a dense urban area to a remote, off-grid, rural area.  Click here to view.


advertisement

New for 2012: Documonials 

A documentary style video with elements of education and entertainment plus a touch of product promotion through testimonials. Check out some of our recent works and contact at sponsor@viodi.com or 408 676 6496 for pricing and cost savings opportunities.


Powering Telecom Progress

Images near Pine Grove, CA - Volcano's HQ

Wind power may be the only tool that Volcano Communications is not using in its quest to provide reliable communications. Reliable power be even more critical in rural areas, compared to urban areas, as the economics of a rural build don’t support multiple last mile networks and the physics of a rural area often don’t allow wireless communications. Nowhere is this more evident than at Volcano Communications, which has a service territory that ranges from the foothills made famous by the California gold rush to the spine of the Sierra Nevada.  Click here to watch an exclusive interview with John Lundgren of Volcano Communications.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts


The Korner – Some More Eye Catchers at CES 2012

The booth with the best sign - Click to see images ranging from 3D Printing to Mobile DTV
My favorite booth for some reason. Click to see images ranging from 3D Printing to Mobile DTV

CES reminds me of the S&H Green Stamps catalog my mom would get when I was a kid.  We called it a wish book for all the potential things we could get with our bounty of Green Stamps.  I don’t remember actually getting anything from those catalogs and, if we did, the newness probably wore off very quickly, but it was fun to look and dream at how cool those things would be.

CES is similar in that it is sort of like a real-life catalog of things that seem very cool on the surface.  Some will prove practical and make it in the real-world, while others will be ahead of the market or missing a critical element that prevents it from reaching any sort of mass market.  With that, here is an update of some photos of some of the booths that caught my attention as I wandered the massive floors of the event known as CES.  Click here to view.

The Augmented Life or the $6M Man Becomes the $6K Man

Springactive's Exoskeleton at CES 2012
Springactive's Exoskeleton at CES 2012

Steve Austin was a hero for those of us in the 1970s who wished to be, “Better than than he was before.  Better, stronger, faster.”  The $6 Million Dollar Man was science fiction but without weird space alien creatures.  Kids on the playground could relate, as the main character was a regular person, but his super-human powers (e.g. superior vision, amazing strength, could communicate wirelessly with his commander, etc.) derived from the weaving of advanced electronics along with “bionics”; an integration of the mechanical with the body to enhance Austin’s body parts.

Almost 40 years later, the Eureka exhibition at CES showed technologies that promise to make many of the elements of the $6 Million Man, an affordable reality.  To be clear, some of these technologies are not yet in production, but they are to the point where the companies behind them are looking at licensing their technologies to established entities.

  • Perpetua
    Perpetua

    Look Ma, No Batteries – Perpetua Power Source Technologies demonstrated a wearable heater-exchange system that generates electricity from the heat of the human body.  This sort of technology could be a boon for embedding medical sensors or pacemakers, eliminating the need for batteries.

  • Everyone Hears Voices – Although established for a while and not part of the Eureka display, Bluetooth-enabled hearing-aid solutions, such as the CES 2012 award-winning Bluetooth streamer and remote from Siemens, could be a great application for the Perpetua technology.  Working with standard Bluetooth transmitters, literally anyone can have their radio (or multiple cell phone conversations) delivered directly to CICs (Completely in the Canal hearing aids), bypassing the unsightly external headset.
  • Click to Watch Video
    Click to Watch Video

    I Can See for Inches and MilesInnovega showed nanotechnology designed into contact lenses that, when combined with a special set of glasses, allows one to focus close to read a heads-up display projected on the glasses, while still being able to through the transparent lenses.  Other potential applications include delivery of full-field 3D or for 360 degree gaming experience (see this video for an explanation of the technology from Randall Sprague, CTO of Innovega).

  • Strong Without Working OutSpringactive, Inc. produces an exoskeleton that has found a home in the military.  It allows a soldier to carry 300 pounds for miles and miles by leveraging advanced mechanics.  This company is also putting its technology to work in other applications, such as prosthetics.  Like Perpetua, they also have a human-generated power solution (3 to 6 Watts of continuous power), but Springactive’s is based on converting motion to electricity.
  • Brain Wave TV at Haier
    Brain Wave TV - Haier

    Mind Control – In their booth on the main CES show floor (this demonstration wasn’t part of the Eureka Exhibits) Haier demonstrated Brain Wave TV.  Brain Wave TV consists of a head-band that uses one’s brain waves to control a TV (or philosophically speaking, does the TV control the person?).  From this reporter’s brief observation, it wasn’t clear how well it worked or how practical it would be in the real-world, but versions of this type of product have been available for several years for gaming applications.

Beyond the larger question of how society will deal with a world where machine and human become intertwined in ways that are unimaginable, what are the implications for the telecom provider as the developments described above become commercially viable?

Clearly, the Personal Area Network embodied in devices that are part of the body has to be wireless.  The question will be what sort of range will be required; will it be measured in tens of feet or tens of miles?

Bandwidth requirements will probably increase as new applications will generate more data (e.g. real-time recording of health data).  Reliability will also be a necessity, especially for those apps that are life-critical, and there may have to be redundancy in some cases.  Security will become another factor that has to be an integral to the design (the 1981 Chevy Chase movie Modern Problems provides a humorous illustration of the possible consequences of poor security of human control).

These are some of the questions that Communications Service Providers need to ask, as technologies that were once science fiction are on the cusp of a consumer reality – a reality that, unlike the $6 Million Man, could be more like the $6,000 person and could represent a new mass market and change the way we live and what it means to live.

Viodi View – 01/10/12

Connections, not only the name of one of my favorite PBS TV shows and industry conferences, but it is hopefully something the Viodi View and ViodiTV helps facilitate for its readers and viewers. And just like the TV show from so long ago, it is neat to look back and see how the path from A to B isn’t often a result of chance meetings and interruptions to a grand plan. My introduction to Roger, thanks to the FCC, is recounted in this issue’s korner – meeting him helped me realize dreams I never even knew I had.

A good dream is that every child receives an education that maximizes their potential. For the last couple of months, we have been gathering video interviews with various experts on youth and the latest in technology called “blended learning”.  The following link provides a listing of these videos:

http://www.viodi.tv/category/youth-2/


Youth – And the World Turns

youth and the world turns video“The Japanese do American better than we do,” so says Kathleen Gasperini, senior vice president and founding partner of Label Networks.  She talks about the global youth and how they are different, yet related and how they influence each other.  She suggests the Japanese youth take American culture and reinterpret it in new ways.  China is feeling the impact of its one-child policy in ways that might not be obvious; think strong women.  With 300 million youth – almost as much as the entire population of the U.S. – today’s youth of China will have world-wide influence for years to come. Click here to watch this exclusive video interview with Ms. Gasperini to hear her insight on this important topic.


Better Learning Through Better Content and Better Communications

Expert Roundtable Research Findings New IdeasEvery day, 6,000 kids drop out of school, according to  Lisa Gillis of Integrated Educational Strategies.  88% of those kids who drop out of school actually had passing grades.  She explains how blended learning and digital tools are part of the solution.  Gillis points out that communications can erase geographic barriers and leverage highly qualified teachers; this can have a major impact on children from rural areas.  In this same panel, Eric Simon talks about helping teachers discover, organize, collaborate and share content.  Click here to view the video.


Borderless Lifestyle and the Connected Home

ann schab of verizonA theme from Verizon at CES 2011, at least if the banner in the press is an indicator, is the borderless lifestyle. The borderless lifestyle is what Ann Shaub of Verizon talks about in this interview filmed at the Media Innovations Summit. That is, the connected nature of broadband coupled with home networking allows people to blur the lines between work and home life; chores and play; efficiency and abundance. Making the user interface simple to use and one that transcends devices is key to customer adoption of this so-called borderless lifestyle. In this interview, Shaub discusses the challenge of selling Verizon’s home control product, their TV Everywhere offering and the trust factor involved when customers put their data in the cloud.


The Connected Home and Broadband Service Providers

Jerry Kurtze Of Motorola/4HomeThe future is now, at least when it comes to the technology associated with the connected home.   With the proliferation of broadband, home networks, low-cost devices and easy-to-use input/output devices (e.g  smart phones and tablets), all the pieces are in place to make the connected home a reality.  The question, posed in an article in yesterday’s San Jose Mercury News, is when will this sort of activity become mainstream.  The  video found at this link provides a glimpse of the connected home technology described in the Mercury News article.


The Drive Behind An App for Saving Lives

iOnRoad-Main-Screen“Saving lives is more important than money,” so said Alon Atsmon, CEO of iOnRoad, a subsidiary of Picitup , a company with a core technology of creating three-dimensional, computer vision solutions for online retailers, such as ebay. iOnRoad is starting to disrupt an entirely different and still nascent market segment known as Advanced Driver Assisted Systems (ADAS). As Atsmon pointed out in a pre-CES briefing today, the beneficiary of this disruption could be the mobile carrier.  Click here to read more.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts

  • Photos from CES 2012 of products, services or just something interesting that caught my eye (this will be updated).
  • Sezmi now SezKit – Kit Digital acquired certain assets & liabilities of this innovative hybrid broadcast/OTT company – http://www.sezmi.com/
  • 10 year old creates WordPress Plug-in – applies what he learns at a free Wordcamp – this is the future of learning – wptavern.com/plugin-created

The Korner – Reflections from Roger By Roger Bindl

ken-roger-thumb
Click image to watch video

The end of 2011 started with scanning as I began scanning old slides and looking at old video footage. The memories made me realized what a wonderful life I’ve had, and the great people I’ve enjoyed it with. Plus, I didn’t have to jump off a bridge to realize it.

The scanning gave me with warm feelings and another realization that I’ve had wonderful opportunities to participate in a history many only viewed. My wife has always been a part of this, and the old photo’s reminded me of that in a warm feeling I’ve enjoyed for days. I am fortunate that we had bought a good 35mm SLR camera back in the days. The quality of the scanned slides has been amazing so especially enjoyable. We’ve documented many events in our lives which include my art works and involvement in leading edge technologies so I’ve got lots of material to “broadband enable”.

Looking back I also realized this month had other significance. I had been lucky to work with leading edge technologies most of my career but 10 years ago something happened the would change how I participate in broadband trends. I was working with the most advanced TV over DSL technology in the world and traveling the country talking about it. Unknowingly I was participating in history being made while some of those communications turned up in a report. That resulted in a meeting that eventually became an unusual yet best business relationship I’ve had in my career……Click here to read the rest of Roger’s heartfelt post [thanks, Roger!]