Viodi View – 06/22/11

A Connected Living Boom for Boomers

Panel at 8th Annual Boomer Venture Summit
Panel at 8th Annual Boomer Venture Summit

Declining population and an aging demographic are challenges for many rural U.S. telecom operators and their communities. These challenges may be even greater in other countries, such as China where it will only take 26 years for its population aged 65 and over to increase from 7 to 14% of the general populace (as compared to 76% for the U.S.). Where there are challenges, there are also opportunities and the focus of last week’s 8th Annual Boomer Venture Summit at Santa Clara University was on the opportunities to serve an aging population through new devices and services.  Click here to read more.


United in Aging Technology

The Aging Technology Alliance At CES
The Aging Technology Alliance At CES

Revenues for technology and services for digital health services and associated aging in place are expected to triple by 2015, according to research from Parks Associates.  “The digital health industry has many subsectors, and near-term growth will be uneven across these segments,” said Harry Wang, director of Parks Associates’ health research team. “Adoption of chronic-care monitoring will grow slowly, and medication management and senior fall-detection programs will expand at above-average rates. The real engines of growth in this industry will be mobile care solutions and tracking applications.”  At CES 2011, we had the opportunity to catch up with a relatively new alliance that was formed to help its members communicate their message regarding this growing sector that Parks Associates is tracking.  Click here to view.


Captions – By Law or By Court Ruling?

Speech to Text not quite ready for prime time

Could a lawsuit in California trigger increased regulation of Internet-delivered video or is this just a pointer as to where things are going with online video?  The San Jose Mercury News reported in its 6/15 edition that a Berkeley, CA-based non-profit, Disability Rights Advocates, is suing Time-Warner for failing to caption the streaming video from its flagship online news service, CNN.com.  Click here to read more.


Multi-Screen Video Survey – Operators Email Us To Participate


The Set-Top or Set-Brick

Set-Brick instead of a Set-Top?
Set-Brick or a Set-Top?

A few years ago, a colleague and I were trying to figure out a way to simplify the installation process for a Internet-based set-top and we were looking for an Ethernet over AC solution combined with a power AC to DC power supply (ie. AC plug on one side and Ethernet and 12 VDC on the output).  We never quite found an off-the-shelf version of what we were looking for, but if the latest reference design from Sigma Designs is an indication, there is something even better coming down the design pipeline.  Click here to read more.


Working White Spaces

White Spaces Demo at NAB at Adaptrum
White Spaces Demo at NAB

Darrin Mylet of Adaptrum demonstrates their white space solution at 2011 NAB. Using TDD OFDMA technology, tunable from 400 to 1,000 MHz, they were able to achieve 94% efficiency on a 6 MHz television channel with aggregated data rate of 11.1 Mbps.  This is an exciting development, as Mylet suggests that the approach they demonstrated could be the, “Next Generation of WiFi.”  Click here to see the video and associated article which provides more details about this potentially disruptive approach to spectrum management.


Ericsson accelerates move to software & systems integration with Telcordia by Alan Weissberger

Ericsson is paying $1.15 billion to acquire Telcordia Technologies Inc in a debt free, cash-only deal. Formerly known as BellCore or Bell Communications Research, Telcordia has been up for sale for some time by it’s financial industry owners Providence Equity Partners LLC and Warburg Pincus LLC.   Click here to read Weissberger’s analysis.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts


The Korner – Fiber Optic Memory Lane and More….

Larry Johnson of the Light Brigade
Larry Johnson of the Light Brigade

Larry Johnson of the Light Brigade briefly describes the temporary museum erected at the 2011 Broadband Properties Summit.  The row of signs described evolution communications using light; from the development of the laser and fiber optic cable to the integration of these technologies.  What’s interesting is that I have been around long enough to see various aspects of that history and it evoked a memory of a project  was involved with that was the first digital video transmission over fiber optics for a cable television network.

One event associated with that project that stands out is when I wiped out service to 160,000 cable subscribers by shorting a power supply bus on a chassis that housed fiber optic transmission equipment.  Unfortunately, there was no built-in redundancy in the power supplies (or short-circuit protection) and it was mostly hard-wired, so fixing my mistake wasn’t just a matter of snapping wires together.   Click here for the rest of the story.

And, please feel free to add your favorite fiber optic stories to the comments sections of that post.

Captions – By Law or By Court Ruling?

YouTube Caption Example of a ViodiTV Video - Speech to Text conversion - not quite ready for prime time

Could a lawsuit in California trigger increased regulation of Internet-delivered video or is this just a pointer as to where things are going with online video?  The San Jose Mercury News reported in its 6/15 edition that a Berkeley, CA-based non-profit, Disability Rights Advocates, is suing Time-Warner for failing to caption the streaming video from its flagship online news service, CNN.com.

Unlike franchised cable services, providers of video over the Internet have not had to follow FCC rules for closed captioning.  Instead of the FCC’s rules, the Mercury News reports that California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act and Disabled Persons Act is the basis for the lawsuit by DRA on behalf of its 3 plaintiffs.

Independent of this lawsuit, the FCC is in the process of implementing the `Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010‘, signed by President Obama last October.  This law provides a legal basis for addressing closed captioning as well as  emergency alerts on Internet-delivered video content.

The process for implementing the closed captioning portion of the law will not occur overnight, as the FCC-appointed committee (the Video Programming And Emergency Access Advisory Committee) has 18 months to determine final recommendations for procedures, protocols, technical specifications and regulations.  At that point, the normal FCC process would kick in, which with NPRMs (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) and comment periods, it will not be at least 2013 until there are rules and it could be several years after that before they take effect.

The committee comprises of 45 people, including those who represent interests of persons with disabilities, closed captioning and video description providers, device manufacturers, Internet and software companies; broadcasters and video programming distributors and providers.

There are many questions that need to be addressed by the committee, such as.

  • An individual who uploads video is exempted from captioning requirements. What about the individual who posts a video that goes viral and then makes money from it (e.g. with online ads or inline ads)?  Will that person no longer be given an exemption?
  • What about the small business which only sells B2B and has only a few hundred hits?  Will they have to comply with the law, given the specialized nature of their video?
  • What are the costs and returns for the different approaches to implement the law?

To this last point, technology is changing every day, so the committee has a challenging task to provide recommendations that guide and not hinder.  With content identification technologies being commercialized for other applications, there may be a strong enough economic incentive to deploy this type of technology based on market forces (the Mercury reports 36 million people have partial hearing loss and 1 million are functionally deaf).  Granted, as shown with the above image, speech to text technology isn’t quite ready for prime time today, but by mid-decade things could be different.

It will be interesting to see if the FCC’s actions, along with what is happening in the market, will influence the California court as to how it proceeds with the case brought by the DRA.