Viodi View – 05/12/14

Operational and incremental improvements using cable television infrastructure as a wireless network and as an enabler of the Internet of Things were big themes of the recent four-day Cable Show confab in Los Angeles. Although 4K was prominent in multiple booths and displays at the conference, much to my surprise, there were no blockbuster announcements from any of the major TV networks announcing 4K programming. Most likely alternative sources of content will prime the market for Ultra High Definition, as can be seen in the ViodiTV exclusive video in the Korner.


Innovation of Things at the Cable Show 2014

An image of the Internet of Things display at the Cable Show 2014.
Click to view

“Everybody’s looking to innovate,” said Matt Polka of the American Cable Association. Polka explains that innovation surrounding the cable broadband ecosystem was one of the themes of the 2014 Cable Show. He stresses that innovation is an important element to giving consumers’ what they want; whether that is new ways of viewing content or apps that help make for a smarter home. The following interview with Polka features video highlights of various demonstrations, exhibits and other highlights of the Cable Show.

Click here to view and read more.


Rural America Needs Advanced Services & Competition by Gene South

Snapshot of U.S. broadband from broadbandmap.gov
Click to read more

It is an honor to publish a two-part article from Gene South, a leader in the independent telco industry for a number of years. In part one,  he outlines how the view of the telecom industry changed from one of a regulated monopoly to one where competition is encouraged. In part two, he looks at the post AT&T break-up and the importance of rural citizens at the local level being able to determine their broadband destiny.


Open Video Rules Make BB a Reality for the Unserved

Ken Pyle interviews Gary Johnson of Paul Bunyan Communications at the 2014 MTA.
Click to view

An entity that has its ear to the consumer in rural Minnesota is Paul Bunyan Communications. They have almost tripled in size since the turn of the century by aggressively expanding outside their traditional service area to serve customers where incumbents had not kept up with market needs for broadband and video service. Using a little-employed federal law they have been able to work with Minnesota Townships to expand their service with fewer barriers than traditional regulatory structures.

Click here to view and read more.


Ethernet Tech Summit Reveals Many Paths to “Open SDN” by Alan Weissberger

One expert's solution to the multiple flavors of SDN: Overlays Complete Virtualization
Click to read more.

[Editor’s Note: After giving some thought to Alan Weissberger’s cogent analysis on the state of Software Defined Networking, perhaps the SDN acronym should stand for Still Don’t kNow (apologies to whoever invented the acronym I Still Don’t Know – which many suggested was the answer to the question of the market for ISDN back in the early 1990s). Weissberger makes the case that, despite several efforts to create “open” standards, there is potential for vendor lock-in around SDN and that there are issues of compatibility and single points of failure that point to multiple flavors of SDN.]

Click here to read and to contribute to the discussion on his article.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • “One of the most effective tools for ensuring Internet openness is competition,” FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler recently stated. Competition in the last mile is critical to ensuring not only cost-competitive, but innovative broadband offerings. Some other commentary on the upcoming Net Neutrality discussion can be found here.
  • Good article point-counter-point about net neutrality in Monday’s WSJ. Local barriers are often the difference between a duopoly and multiple competitors; at least in urban areas.
  • Also kudos to Brett Sappington of Parks Associates for his piece in that same WSJ section arguing that it is too early to buy a 4K TV.
  • At the cable show, a respected cable operator expressed the same concerns about new LTE-Unlicensed having the potential to relegate WiFi to second-class status. Click here for the Light Reading article on this topic.
  • Create, not cover the conversation. Need to provide reason for new generation to come to cable & their goal is for to help.
  • Twitter changed the game – immediate audience feedback. Don’t need to wait for Nielsen
  • “Cable collectively is already the largest wireless operator” [in terms of bits transmitted over unlicensed WiFi]. Interesting statement made by one of the cable executives; haven’t had a chance to verify. 

The Korner – The World’s Biggest Art Museum – In Your Hand

Ken Pyle interviews Sheldon Laube of Artkick with the Monalisa painting in the background.
Click to view

The ephihany from the 2013 Cable Show was that some of the first successful content for 4K will come from sources other than the traditional video networks. One of the things that intrigued me about Artkick when they reached out to me at CES is that they are creating a channel that could easily offer compelling 4K content.+  Artkick’s approach of viewing black screens as something more than TV has a potentially big impact on the way screens are viewed in the home.

Click here to read more and to view.

Viodi View – 06/20/13

Were there any surprises at last week’s cable show? Probably not, as what was demonstrated represents what has been shown for decades in proof-of-concepts, trials and even limited commercial rollouts of interactive television approaches from Qube to Videoway to the Full Service Network. The revolutionary thing about last week’s conference is that now the technologies, the associated cost and ecosystems and the customer appear to be ready to make the future the present.


On the Road… At the Cable Show

An image of the opening of the 2013 Cable Show.
Click to View Video

Service providers of all types are transforming from physical infrastructure companies to software companies, and cable operators are no different. This is the sense one was left with at the 2013 Cable Show. This three-day event, held in Washington D.C., provided operators and its association the opportunity to showcase this transformation from pipe providers to owners of a bandwidth ecosystem that is a platform for a variety of home-grown as well as complementary and, potentially even, competing third-party applications from over-the-top providers. Thanks Calix for picking up this post.

Click here to read more and view the video.


From Video to Broadband – Regulations Need to Catch Up

Ken Pyle interviews Matt Polka at the 2013 Cable Show.
Click to View Video

“Our members are moving from being cable video companies to broadband Internet companies,” said Matt Polka president and CEO of the American Cable Association (ACA). He was reflecting upon the how the business has shifted from video to broadband-centric services. His concern is that ACA members also need to have access to the same technology, on display at the 2013 Cable Show, afforded to the larger providers. Polka points out how his members maximize the use of their resources, as they make up for their relatively small size with nimbleness and resourcefulness.

Click here to read more and view the video.


The Voice Remote Control – A Trojan Horse in the Living Room

Comcast's Voice Remote is demonstrated in this video at the Cable Show.
Click to View Video

The voice-enabled remote control may become one of those 10 year overnight successes. The definition of success may be the question, as adding this piece of hardware as part of the user interface ecosystem may have far-reaching impacts beyond the obvious benefit of finding better content and finding it faster. Click here to read more and to see an exclusive video overview of Comcast’s XR11 voice-controlled, remote control.


Nailing the Content Search & Discovery Experience

Ken Pyle interviews Comcast's Amit Bagga regarding the challenges of developing the TV User Interface.
Click to View Video

“There is a significant initiative (about 200 people working on the challenge) at Comcast in terms of making it easier to find content that they want to watch,” said Amit Bagga, Chief Scientist, Search and Discovery, Technology & Product Development for Comcast. In this interview, Bagga suggested that maintaining the lean-back experience of watching TV, while making it easy to find the content they want to watch, is the goal.

Click here to view.


Analyst Opinions on Cisco’s CRS-X Core Router & Its Impact on Competitors by Alan Weissberger

The Cisco® CRS-X, which will be available this year, is a 400 Gigabit per second (Gbps) per slot core router system that can be expanded to nearly 1 petabit per second in a multi-chassis deployment. The CRS-X provides 10 times the capacity of the original CRS-1, which was introduced in 2004 as a new class of core routing system designed to scale network capacity to accommodate the proliferation in video, data and mobile traffic, which has taken place over the last decade.

Click here to read the opinions of analysts, including Alan Weissberger’s unique insight.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • “It is a momentous development,” according to Covington & Burling LLP, regarding last week’s amendments to the Mexican Constitution that is expected to lead to broad changes in Mexico’s telecom and broadcast sectors. Expanded competition, broadband and openness is anticipated. Paul Maxwell hinted about these changes and the potential impact to must-carry/retransmission rule in Mexico in this interview earlier in the year. Amazing how fast this idea worked its way through Mexico’s body politic.
  • A&E’s Saban: “Technology influences the nature of the content; for the better” #cable13
  • Disney’s Sweeney: “Consumer has taken control & not giving it back” talking about expectations for content on multiple screens. #cable13
  • Advice to operators from opening panel: Adopt agile development processes & learn to “fail quickly” #cable13

The Korner – A Nice Lasting Impression of the 2013 Cable Show

Ken Pyle interviews Janice Arouh of ESN at the 2013 ACA Summit.
Click Video to View

In the previous issue of the Viodi View, I wondered what would be my final impression of the 2013 Cable Show. Similar to the 2006 show, a programmer left an imprint – a more positive one than the 2006 show – an imprint that will stay with me. The kindness of Janice Arouh of programmer ESN will be remembered as her offer of a ride ensured I got to the airport in time and relieved some of the stress associated with my normal seat-of-the-pants travel.

I had met Janice at the 2013 ACA Summit and it was great to see her at the Cable Show. In this interview,  Arouh discusses the independent suite of networks that comprise ESN. What is different about ESN is they produce and distribute the content that populates their eight channels. By controlling the entire chain of copyright, they have the rights to provide the content to any screen; as Arouh says, “A 360 degree view.”

Click here to read more and view the video.

Viodi View – 06/07/13

After a seven-year absence, it is exciting to return to The Cable Show next week in Washington D.C. With speakers ranging from Jennifer Lopez to the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, this conference will provide a broad and in-depth view of both content and technology. The stories in this issue of the Viodi View provide a preview of what will be seen at next week’s show and how content and technology have become intertwined.


“TV Everywhere” Gaining Market Traction with Live Linear added to VoD by Alan Weissberger

Click to read more
Click to read more

“TV Everywhere (TVE)” services have begun to pick up momentum among programmers and pay-TV providers, according to some industry executives who have seen a surge of interest among subscribers, especially on major stories such as the recent Boston bombing and its aftermath shown on CNN. Click here to read more.


A Cooperative Using Its Roots to Help Out with IPTV

Ken Pyle interviews Corey McCarthy of NCTC at the 2013 ACA Summit.
Click to view video

Ubiquitous delivery of video via IP is what allows cable and telco operators to offer the multiscreen video services. In the above interview, Corey McCarthy of NCTC discusses their efforts to create a converged IPTV platform that could be used by any of its 400+ telco operator members as well as the hundreds of cable operators that comprise the NCTC membership. The crowdsourced process he describes for evaluating the technologies takes advantage of the power of a distributed membership, while providing the scale necessary to achieve significant cost savings for those very same members. Click here to view.


From Capture to Screen & Everything in Between

Ken Pyle interviews MobiTV executives at NAB 2013
Click to view video

“Delivering Television, particularly live television, to non-traditional screens is extraordinarily complex, said MobiTV’s CSO, Rick Herman. Herman discusses the challenges of delivering television to multiple screens in the above interview. Cedric Fernandes, MobiTV CTO, joins in and describes what they are doing as an open IPTV platform; one where content could flow over a managed or unmanaged (e.g., OTT) networks. Click here to view.


MVPD-Driven BroadbandTV

Ken Pyle interviews Paul Woidke of NAGRA at CONNECTIONS at CTIA.
Click to view video

A year can make a big difference in the world of technology rollouts; at least between 2012 and 2013. Paul Woidke of NAGRA/OpenTV points out how many of the developments around broadband TV are now being driven by the MVPDs, as compared to earlier when Over-The-Top providers were pushing the envelope. Woidke points out that the cable operators are integrating broadband TV as part of their overall product offering that they can sell to advertisers. Woidke points out that the business models will have to evolve to support the creation of content that people want to watch. Click here to view.


The Advent of Ultra High Definition TV

An example of a 4K television on sale in May 2013; they are real.
4K TV at Retail

A new generation of television is here. Designed to leave current HD TVs in the dust, 4K televisions showed up in force at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year and the associated production equipment was demonstrated at April’s National Association of Broadcasters’ Convention. As amazing as these televisions are, some question whether consumers will be able to afford them and how many will even be interested after only recently upgrading to HD. So what is 4K and is the product worthy of the hype? Click here to read more.


2013 TiECon- Part 3: Software Defined Infrastructure Presentations & Panels by Alan Weissberger

Software Defined Network is shown with OpenFlow control.
Image courtesy of IBM

In this third and final article on the information packed 2013 TiECon, we summarize key messages from the second half of the SDI (Software Defined Infrastructure) Track on May 17th, including the afternoon keynote and two panel sessions. The first article covered all the TiECon opening keynotes. The second article summarized the invited SDI presentations from the morning of May 17th. Click here to read more of this article, as well as the very informative interaction in the comments section below the article.


Some Tweets and Short Random Thoughts:

  • Looks like Broadband Service Providers have an ally with regards to patent troll concerns, as indicated by this quote from Bill Hughes, senior vice president for government affairs of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), when he said, “We welcome President Obama’s focus on this important issue. Increasingly, retailers are forced to defend themselves against infringement suits simply for using off-the-shelf products that incorporate patented technology. The prospect of costly litigation to resolve even the most dubious of claims enables patent trolls to generate settlements that neither reflect the intent of the law nor the actual value of their claims. Meaningful action must be taken to reign in this abusive practice.”
  • An excerpt from a recent Apple patent application, echos what we were trying to do at ZillionTV, “For example, watching ads could result in getting “tokens” that are redeemable for offsetting your mobile carrier costs, or even providing them completely for free.”  One former ZillionTV colleague indicated he would “be surprised if they get all these claims….I saw lots of these components working years ago.”
  • Meanwhile, TiVo reports that is, “has agreed to enter into certain patent licensing arrangements with Arris, Cisco, and Google. As part of the settlement, Google and Cisco will pay TiVo an upfront lump-sum payment of $490 million, bringing the total from awards and settlements related to the use of certain TiVo intellectual property to roughly $1.6 billion.”

The Korner – My Final Impression of the Last Cable Show I attended

A clever advertisement at the 2006 Cable Show.
An Ad That Made a Lasting Impression

It is amazing how sometimes the most trivial and most unimportant things can make an impression. Great advertising is that which makes the imprint that one remembers 40 years later. Clearly, those images from our childhood may be the most vivid; hence why there are limits regarding advertising to children (who out there still remembers cigarette commercial jingles).

The final image from the last cable show I attended left an impression on me. The advertisement was in an unusual place and I literally found it on my last stop of the last day as I was leaving the convention center. Although it was an image that will probably be forever etched in my mind, for some reason I felt compelled to film this unusual pitch and share it with the world. Since, then at least 1,000 other people have also seen what caught my attention.

It will be interesting to see what makes a lasting impression at this year’s Cable Show. Click here to read more and to view the video.

Viodi View – 02/15/13

Disruption in the Smart Home

Tom Kerber of Parks Associates discusses some of the things he saw at CES 2013 relating to the Smart Home.It is just getting started, but there already many alternatives for the consumer to create a smart home experience. Tom Kerber of Parks Associates points out that many of the smart home developments shown at International CES are from upstart companies that have devices and don’t necessarily rely on service revenue. An an example, he mentions a connected oven that includes a full audio and video system. He calls it a very exciting time, in terms of new product introduction. It will be great to catch up with Tom and the rest of the Parks Associates team at the Smart Energy Summit, February 25th to 27th.

To get a preview of that event, click here to watch the interview with Tom from CES 2013.


North to Alaska – Broadband Around the 49th State

Terry Nidiffer discusses GCI's efforts to wire rural Alaska.Alaska is a state like no other in terms of geographic size, topography, climate and low population density. In this interview, filmed at the 2012 ACA Convention, Terry Nidiffer of GCI descirbes GCI’s aggressive efforts to bring more reliable and faster broadband by replacing satellite back haul with a combination of microwave and fiber to reach underserved areas through a project they call TERRA. Click here to view and read more.

We will be looking for Nidiffer to give us an update in a couple of weeks at ACA’s 2013 Summit in Washington D.C.


Fiber to the Island

An image of the business newsletter that Home Telecom uses to help businesses on Daniel Island.From Alaska, we travel to Charleston, SC, where we were honored to catch up with Daniel Island Company president, Matthew Sloan. A 2007 recipient of the Urban Land Institute’s prestigious “Awards for Excellence”, Daniel Island is a national model of smart growth and a Fiber to the Home network is integral to its success. Sloan, describes their vision to create a distinct community, while serving as an extension of Charleston, South Carolina. Twenty years later, with some 3,000 residences, scores of businesses and 8,000+ people, Daniel Island is delivering on its promise to Charleston. Click here to view and read more.


From Online Video Platform to National Videographer Network

One of BizVision's videographers filming a medical continuing education seminar.Finding enough revenue streams to cover the fixed costs associated with a local content production is often a challenge for independent operators that are also producers of local content. BizVision, a privately held, Crocker Ventures backed company, looks like it could offer operators a couple of new revenue opportunities. In the past few years, BizVision’s platform has gained good traction in the professional education space and they are now moving into a complementary space by creating a national network of videographers. Click here to read more [Club Viodi Members]


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • Excellent resource website from FTTH Council. Example of its excellence is this white paper from Paula Chenchar Hänus of OmniTel Communications discussing the importance of corporate culture to FTTH success.
  • Interesting statistic from Federal Reserve study cited by FCC in its press release regarding its efforts with HUD to improve digital literacy, “…students with a PC and broadband at home have six to eight percentage point higher graduation rates than similar students who don’t have home access to the Internet.”
  • Pretty cool if this can be made practical for FTTN applications. It would represent the ultimate in optical isolation. One would think it would eliminate lightening issues with ONTs, as well providing lifeline power via the fiber (or, would it be called “lightline” power).

The Korner – Exercising the Brain with a Subscription Model

Dan Michel of Dakim Brain Fitness discusses their unique brain exercise program.Dakim Brain Fitness demonstrated the consumer version of their product at International CES 2013. Dan Michel advocates for exercising the brain for all people who are over 50. His product has been used by health-care professionals for years. At the consumer level, in March, they will be introducing a subscription model, where anyone can access the program from the comfort of their home.

As he points out, their service could be part of a broadband provider’s bundle and that it could be adapted to broadband or TV. Michel’s background is from the entertainment industry (e.g., Columbia Pictures), so he understands the importance of entertainment in keeping people engaged in what could otherwise be boring activities. He suggests their therapy creates new neurons and synapses, which build a cognitive reserve, helping to fight off effects of cognitive decline.

Click here to view.

Viodi View – 01/18/13

IOT – the Internet of Things is a hot buzzword and understandably so, given that we are on the cusp of an explosion of low-cost sensing capabilities. As suggested in a Forbes article, combining ubiquitous sensing and ubiquitous telecommunications will create a planet-wide, central nervous system. This sort of inter-connectivity was evident in many of the products and services demonstrated at last week’s International CES.


An image from the floor at CES.
Image from the floor at CES

Putting the “P” in CES

The International CES used to be called the Consumer Electronics Show, but in many ways it is probably appropriate that the CEA removed the term Consumer from the name. This show is so big, that it is easy to have expectations of huge announcements that immediately transform society. What excites me, however, are the incremental developments that offer the potential to improve the quality of life and make for a better world; instead of the C standing for consumer, perhaps the focus should be on P for people. Click here to view the Viodi summary video of this big event.


An image of the protected web site for ViodiTV CES video coverage.
CES Coverage Web Site

More CES Videos

  • Interesting interview, filmed and edited by Viodi, with Michael Strobers of Turner talking about how they are using 2nd screen to create richer stories. Using Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) systems they see the 2nd screen as a way to strengthen their relationships with sponsors and viewers.
  • Need content for your local content operation? We have a number of interviews and demonstrations from CES that could fit with a local technology show. Contact us at documonials@viodi.com for licensing information.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • Here is TV – Bruce Eisen’s latest venture provides a straightforward way to help viewers filter through thousands of television shows. Delivered as a daily email, this could be an interesting add-on service for operators wanting to simplify the customer experience.
  • Thanks Erin for organizing the great Raynet reunion last night. It was fun to catch up and turn the gears of time back 20 years and talk of what was, what is and what ifs (If Murph and I only had pursued the pizza and movie delivery service back then, instead of going down the VOD path……). Best of all, it was great to reconnect with some of the people who are part of the thread of a lifetime.
  • More Spectrum – everything you wanted to know about the reverse auctions for the broadcast spectrum can be found at this new FCC web site. –
  • Internet of Things – Turkcell reports a 5% water usage reduction because of Machine to Machine monitoring and control to the 1,200 businesses in the Kocaeli region of Turkey. They are planning to expand monitoring of this precious commodity to the residences in the area.

The Korner – Fiber to an Unusual Place

The image shows an ONT on the side of a building.
Fiber to an Unusual Place

Channeling our inner Bob Eubanks, a question we often asked service providers last year was, “Where was the most unusual place you have deployed fiber optics?” One of the more interesting answers was from Home Telecom’s Will Helmly who described their fiber to the septic tank project. We were lucky enough to capture the essence of that project in an interview with him.

This was the first of several videos we edited for Home Telecom and that have been published on Home Telecom’s YouTube channel. First and foremost the stories from Home Telecom, like so many other locally owned telecom companies, are about the importance of having people in the community to make things happen. As shown by this Fiber to the Septic tank story, the Internet of Things may be ready, but it still needs people and their vision to bring the IoT to life.

Click here to read more and view the video.

Viodi View – 07/13/12

The FCC’s 901 Auction (Mobility Fund Phase 1 reverse auction) is less than three months away and yesterday was the filing deadline for applications.  There many unserved places in the U.S that need mobile and fixed broadband, as shown in this interactive FCC map.  Bringing mobile to these areas will hopefully have the side benefit of bringing lower cost middle mile broadband to barely served areas.  There may be some unique partnerships to bring broadband and its benefits to citizens, particularly in rural locales.


A Cooperative Smart Grid Infrastructure

Smart Meter & Network

Cooperation among infrastructure providers, particularly in rural areas, offers a potential for improving efficiency and creating the opportunity for new revenue sources. In this interview, Ralph Dunn of McMinnville Electric System, describes the combination Wi-Fi and fiber network that is the underpinning of the nascent McMinnville Electric System Smart Grid. Click here to view.


Amazon Smart Phone Coming in 2012 May Challenge Carrier Model by Alan Weissberger

Amazon is said to be actively developing a smart phone that would present a direct challenge to Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android devices.  Two sources close to the project say the Amazon smart phone would essentially serve as an extension of the Amazon Kindle Fire – the  hugely successful tablet e-reader offering  (this author has a Kindle Fire and is mostly satisfied with it). Click here to read Weissberger’s analysis.


Beware of the Unforeseen Competitor – Still

Alan Weissberger’s article on the Amazon Smart Phone reminds me of a Viodi View post from several years ago regarding the unforeseen competitor.  As mentioned in this article from 2005, the unforeseen competitor could be from a big box retailer or, as Alan points out, Amazon.  Or, a current example of an unforeseen competitor is Valero’s promotion to give away a movie (via Red Box) or an MP3  with a purchase of a 44 ounce soda. Click here to read more.


A “Jinni” to Find “I Dream of Jeannie” and more

Yosi Glick – Jinni

The shortcomings of the traditional television grid guide is what drove Yosi Glick’s push to find a better way for people to discover content. Jinni’s approach uses algorithms to extract meaning from the synopsis of television shows. With 2,200 tags, their genome approach creates a user-centric guide. Click here to watch the interview and find out why providers, like Swisscom, are turning to Jinni to help their customers find content.


The Korner – Communications Needed on the Road Less Traveled

A car or cell tower nowhere to be found
A car or cell tower nowhere to be found

The road less traveled is Highway 6, starting in eastern California and traversing the mid-section of Nevada.  Although its neighbor highway to the North, Highway 50, was deemed the “Loneliest Road in America,” the two-lane ribbon of seemingly endless asphalt that is Highway 6 really deserves that moniker.  The condition of the road is great, but what is lacking is the complementary communications nervous system, so common along the Interstate system. The lack of wired or wireless network could mean life or death for the stranded motorist, as this author recently discovered.

Click here to read more and what this story has to do with the upcoming FCC 901 Auction.

A Honeymoon Period for Brands on Facebook

Although it states the obvious, as Jeremy Toeman pointed out in a tweet this morning, an AdWeek article about the results of a recent survey of Facebook users has some good pearls of wisdom  for independent communications companies wanting to create a fan base via Facebook.    

The people most likely to be supporters of a Facebook brand site are those people who already like and/or use a product. Getting people to a Facebook site is important, but to engage them one has to make them feel important.

"……And once there, fans expect more than downloadable coupons. Rather, they want to feel more like a VIP who can access exclusive content, information about new products and yes, promotional offers, before the general public can, DDB discovered."

As with a web site, the article points out that a brand's Facebook page has to remain fresh and relevant, even to the big supporters of a brand. The article cautions that creating and maintaining a Facebook presence is not trivial.

The presentation from DDB provides interesting statistics not referenced in the article. For instance, the fact that, on average, users spend 55 minutes per day on Facebook is a proof-point to the comment made by Mark Cuban that Facebook is the web for some people. Half of the 500 million users log-on at least once per day. The presentation defines “Earned media”, which is content created by the user community that promotes a brand.

One conclusion from the survey is that, “Until the novelty wears out, brands seem to have nothing to loose (sic) by creating a fanpage.” The report suggests that if users don’t find an official fan page, then they might join an unofficial page. Brands also have to carefully manage publishing frequency, while creating compelling content that resonates with their fans.  61% of the people survey who had unsubscribed or hid a brand on their newsfeed cited the aforementioned reasons. Only 32% of those who unsubscribed did so because they were no longer interested in the brand. 

One way to get around the challenge of keeping Facebook content current and compelling, as well as solve the challenge of not being able to control the data uploaded to Facebook (granted, Facebook has added hooks to allow one to export his data), is to post content on the brand's web site and have it trigger Facebook messages. Still, as it implies in the article and in the commentary, the definition of success will be keeping your current fans engaged and occasionally picking up other fans through the increased exposure that this supplemental online outlet provides. 

2011 – A Big Year for 3D to the TV?

3D Glasses at CES on a typical cnsumer2014- the year that Parks Associates predicts that 80% of the televisions sold will be 3D capable. According to Dr. Ajay Luthra of Motorola, Inc, 2011 will be a critical year in keeping the momentum going towards the widespread commercial deployment envisioned by Parks. I had a chance to catch up with Dr Luthra at the Set-Top Box 2010 conference in San Jose.

Luthra explained that the ecosystem, which consists of content production, distribution and display, are aligned for significant deployments next year; significant in that they will lay the groundwork for the beginning of a lifecycle which could be in the mainstream in a few years. The big question that remains and that has to be answered by the market is consumer adoption and satisfaction with 3D TV in their living room (click here to see an earlier post on 3D and the consumer).

The standards groups have made significant progress in a short period of time in terms of dealing with things such as closed captioning. For instance, the adoption of the AVC SEI standard for signaling tells the set-top whether the content is 3D or 2D and how its frames are positioned. This standardization is important, because it allows the transmission of 3D through the network without modifications to encoders and only firmware updates to set-tops, instead of forklift upgrades.

click here to watch a video interview with Howard PostleyStill, there are challenges that remain, such as how graphics are handled. As Howard Postley of 3ALITY Digital pointed out at Set-Top Box 2010, great care must be taken to ensure that graphics and text don’t jump around as scenes change. This sort of thing can cause motion sickness and dizziness. Postley, whose company sells equipment which facilitates 3D content creation, points out that the production process is critical to creating both compelling and longer-form content (click here to see an earlier video interview with Howard Postley). 

One of the things he emphasizes is the importance for all of the players in the distribution chain to pass through the metadata that is created in production. This data, which is a relatively small amount, relative to the audio and video stream, provides important information to ensure that the viewer has an experience that is truly better than what they would see in two dimensions.

He suggests that service providers need to be aggressive or else they could lose the 3D market to over the top services, whether these services use a PC or a gaming console. He said that 3ALITY Digital is seeing ten times the rate of adoption of 3D on the PC, as compared to the TV. Both the gaming and PC decoding platforms offer the advantage of powerful processors and can provide a much richer experience for a given bit rate. He also warned service providers about over-compressing, as it will degrade the service.

The video for distribution via a network will be encoded in half-resolution, while the Blu-ray standard uses full resolution. Both Luthra and Postley indicated that the bandwidth premium for 3D at full resolution will be no more than 20 to 50% compared to the same stream in two dimensions. Luthra suggests that starting at half resolution is a good starting step, as the investment required to bring 3D to the masses is relatively small. As 3D to the television finds commercial success and faces competitive pressure from the higher resolution of Blu-Ray, the electronic distribution chain can upgrade to full resolution.

The big question is customer adoption and acceptance of 3D on the TV. The 'aha' moment for people experiencing 3DTV will probably be different for everyone. The recent Masters golf event might have been the 'aha' moment for me, if I had seen it in 3DTV. Dr. Luthra told me that being able to see the slope of the green impressed him and literally gave the game a new dimension. It will be interesting to see how 3DTV develops and how it enhances different kinds of content (think downhill skiing).

Viodi View – 07/01/2009

Summer is here and the living is easy; at least I think that is how the song goes. Actually, summer is here and somehow I missed spring cleaning. Loose ends seem to be everywhere; web sites that are almost updated and articles not quite finished. With all of the clutter, my mind becomes blurred with visions of the way I picture things were supposed to be and the reality of what they became.


3G-HSPA, Mobile Linux and Open Source are the Big Winners in Intel-Nokia Technology Partnership by Alan Weissberger

The Intel-Nokia announcement of their joint push to work together to create a new breed of Mobile Internet Devices based on various versions of Open Source Linux, reminds me that what you see in press releases is not always what ends up being reality. Of course, we see this all of the time in the technology industry, but Alan Weissberger and several of his informed readers point out previous Intel announcements in the mobile space that haven’t quite led up to the vision of what was suggested. Another major thing missing in this announcement is Microsoft.  Click here to read Weissberger’s sharp analysis as well as astute commentary from his readers.


Connections at ConnectionsKurt Scherf of Parks Associates summarizes the 2009 Connections Conference

The Parks Associates conferences are good events for providing a glimpse of what might be in the consumer electronics’ world. In our ongoing video coverage from last month’s Connections conference event, Kurt Scherf, Vice President of Research for Parks Associates discusses how devices in the home are becoming more web-like and the on-going challenges of connecting these broadband devices.  Click here to view the video.


Via Licensing video interviewLicensing Pools with Via Licensing

I.P. (Intellectual Property, that is) rights owned by multiple parties are often one of the reasons standards take so long to move from concept to commercial reality.  In this video interview, Jason Johnson, of Via Licensing, a subsidiary of Dolby Laboratories, explains their newly formed partnership with the IEEE.  This partnership promises the expeditious creation of licensing pools, allowing standards to be commercialized much sooner than traditional approaches.  The upshot of this effort should be even faster innovation by consumer electronic companies to bring us new gizmos and widgets.  Click here to view the video.


What’s New with Vegas 9 Provegas 9 video reviewed by Roger Bindl

Matthew Brohn, Product Manager of Sony Creative Software, discusses some of the strengths of Vegas Pro video editing, and what’s new with Vegas 9… things like small footprint, direct editing of AVCHD and XDCAM, plus new effects. The video includes screen captures of real-time editing in Vegas.  Click here to view Roger’s review of Vegas 9 Pro.


People on the Move:

Congratulations to Nsight/Cellcom and for the award they received from the Femtoforum for, “Significant progress or commercial launch by a small carrier .” They won this award for their, “deployment of the world’s first IMS-based, CDMA femtocell network for consumers and enterprises.”   Rob Riordan of Cellcom was in London last week to accept the award.

As follow up to an article I wrote last year when I announced that I was involved with a stealth start-up, this is the official announcement that the referenced company is ZillionTV.


The Korner –  Loose Ends EverywhereViodiTV Revealed - the Video

Roger and I are always so busy producing content that often times the packaging around the content is somewhat unfinished. It is sort of like the last bit of molding on the remodel that just never gets installed; most guests won’t notice it, but, to the owner, will view it as an eyesore. We have a great deal of unfinished business on the Viodi View and ViodiTV web site, which may or may not be obvious to the visitor.

Despite the packaging, it is the content that matters. Roger recently put together a video to tell the story of ViodiTV. Roger is normally ruthless at cutting out extra content, but he found it difficult in this case, as we have had the good fortune to interview some really cool people and report on some really interesting stories over the past several years. This video is really a commercial for Roger’s talents, but it also provides the story of ViodiTV and our attempts to tell the stories of the Independent Telcos and their communities.  Click here to view the video.

3G-HSPA, Mobile Linux and Open Source are the Big Winners in Intel-Nokia Technology Partnership

Intel referred to it as "this year’s most significant collaboration in our respective industries." The Intel-Nokia strategic partnership will "align and shape the next generation of mobile computing." But it was very difficult to extract any tangible take always from the press conference announcing the partnership. That’s because no specific products were identified and no time frames were given to see the results of this highly acclaimed collaboration.
 
To a large extent, the press conference was a lot of hand waving and gesturing, without providing anything of substance that we might expect from such an important strategic relationship. This is the third time in the last decade that Intel and Nokia have announced a partnership, with the previous two attempts not producing much if anything at all. So the industry might have a right to be skeptical this time. Nonetheless, it certainly sounded exciting. 
 
Anand Chandrasekher, Sr VP and GM of Intel’s Ultra Mobility Group stated, "The leaders in both computing and communications are coming together to accelerate innovation while driving exciting new revenue opportunities. Intel and Nokia are joining forces to announce a long term strategic relationship that will align and shape the next generation of mobile computing."
 
We are all aware that smart phones and intelligent hand held devices contain powerful processors and need mobile broadband capability to unleash "the tremendous power and potential to reshape our lives." With many different wireless communications options, most of us expect that "the future will bring even more ways to be connected- a future full of different possibilities." Yet that kind of talk dominated the prepared remarks of Intel and Nokia during the conference. 
 
Nokia told us more of what we already know: "The Internet continues to evolve and touch every aspect of our daily lives. Today, there are more Internet users (at 1.6B) than there are fixed phone lines (at 1.3B). There are over 64B web sites exist and more are added every day. And the Internet continues to grow in every aspect. New applications will drive the need for more powerful compute engines and faster (mobile) broadband wireless access, Consumers looking for mobile devices to do more, e.g. sensors, new apps, new materials, new device design and form factors (e.g. netbooks MIDs). We need to extend computing platforms, build on common open platforms and explore new architectures."
 
Anand told us that Intel would continue to "relentlessly focus on driving down the cost and power requirements (of new devices), while delivering continuing performance improvements." Should we have expected something different? We were also told more of the obvious, "Mobile devices require high bandwidth- mobile broadband communications and ubiquitous Internet connectivity at a reasonable cost. Users should expect a rich experience, any time, anywhere. New and exciting services across a range of devices, including new ones the companies will be defining together."
 
So what’s really new? There are three aspects of the partnership, which is not limited to just hardware and Research and Development:
 
  1. Intel and Nokia will collaborate on several open source initiatives, most importantly Mobile Linux. Nokia pointed out that "Hardware and software are decoupled these days. Mobile Linux is an important part of the new converged mobile computing world." We would expect Intel and Nokia joint software development to be centered on two open source projects:
  • Moblin, originally an Intel project but now run by the Linux Foundation.
  • Maemo, a Nokia implementation created for an Internet tablet.
  1. Intel is licensing 3G HSPA modem technology from Nokia, complementing its own WiFi and WiMAX silicon. (Note that two years ago, Intel licensed an HSPA module from Nokia for use in notebooks. This technology transfer is intended for Intel to offer HSPA silicon for mobile hand held devices).
  1. Intel and Nokia have entered into "a long term strategic partnership to develop a new class of mobile computing devices." Those future mobile computing devices will be based on Intel architecture defined chip sets and will "leverage each company’s expertise." 
And what about Mobile WiMAX? Don’t expect anything from the partnership. In response to a question on further WiMAX co-development, Anand replied, " This announcement has no effect on WiMAX one way or another. We are still committed to it. In this announcement, we are expanding our wireless portfolio to be able to implement Nokia’s 3G HSPA technology."
 
–>This implies that Intel will no longer debunk HSPA technology in favor of Mobile WiMAX and suggest that network operators leapfrog 3G and move to Mobile WiMAX instead.
 
When a questioner pointed out that Nokia now had licensed 3G-HSPA to five different companies, Intel and Nokia responded as follows.
 
Intel: "3G HSPA technology has been licensed to build into future mobile offerings. No comments on products or timing. Nokia and Intel’s vision is very similar- bringing communications and computing together. This is not an exclusive agreement."
 
Nokia: "3G HSPA is what’s on the market today (implying Mobile Wimax is NOT really on the market). Nokia is licensing its 3G-HSPA-modem technology as widely as possible within the industry.”
 
When asked if Intel had made any other inroads in the mobile phone business (which the company has tried to crack for years, but has not succeeded), Anand replied, "Intel is not public on any wins in the mobile phone arena except for LG." Then when asked what type of LG device would be forthcoming, Anand would not comment on the specific LG device that will have "Intel inside." 
 
Author’s Note:  This was surprising, considering that Intel had previously touted the LG MID (with Ericsson HSPA module) as the highlight of this year’s Barcelona MWC.

 

The stonewalling continued in response to other very reasonable questions about partnership deliverables:
 
Question from Bloomberg News: “There have been a lot of announcements about visions of the future. Intel has tried to get into the mobile communication business for a number of years, yet they have not succeeded. There’s still a degree of skepticism until we know when the first Intel powered mobile device will be out there. Can you tell us?”
 
Intel: "We will work together on strategic technology collaboration which spans three areas: Intel Architecture defined chip sets for future mobile computing devices, mobile and MIMO collaboration to deliver a very rich software environment for applications and user experience, Intel licensing of Nokia’s 3G HSPA technology   No products announcements at this time- not for today’s discussion."
 
Question: "Do you expect the Atom family (Intel’s lower power micro-processors) or x86 family to be embedded in future mobile computing devices?"
 
Intel: "No comment on brands or usage."
 
Nokia: "Premature to say how we will apply the technology at this stage."
 
How will the Mobile Computing Industry be affected as a result of this partnership?
  1. Could these mobile devices, with open source operating systems like mobile Linux, cause MSFT to lose its software domination of the computing world? Could this mean the end of Wintel dominance of the computing industry?   Mobile Linux- one of the three focus areas for Intel-Nokia partnership – is a direct competitor of MSFT’s Windows Mobile. As people increasingly use mobile computing devices to do things that would have required a PC a few years ago, MSFT is likely to lose ground.   Mobile computing devices, e.g. smart phones, MIDs, all-in-one gadgets, etc are already replacing a lot of things we do today on PCs. This trend will likely accelerate as mobile computing replaces desktop computing.  
  2. Does this announcement negatively impact Mobile WiMAX, which already has been severely criticized for the lack of mobile devices with native mode air interfaces? After all the Intel talk about WiMAX MIDs, we are still waiting for those devices to hit the market in a big way. Will "the Internet in your pocket," be based on 3G-HSPA, rather than Mobile WiMAX?
An anonymous Intel employee provided his read on the partnership:
"This announcement does not change any of Intel’s plans on WiMAX which are solid going forward. Intel has not been a major player in Smart Phones/MIDs and we want to get into that space with the Intel Atom® Processor so this one part of this strategy. Also most smart phones shipping today at least have 2G/2.5G and many also 3G. So this licensing deal help fill a gap in our wireless technology portfolio. 
It also allows us to provide WiMAX solutions to Nokia once more networks get deployed and they want their mobile devices to have WiMAX support as well. So by no means does this negatively affect our WiMAX strategy. It only opens new doors for us with a large customer like Nokia."
  1. When will the new mobile computing devices hit the market? They will need to come quickly, if they are to compete with all the new smart phones from Apple, RIM, and Palm. We hear there will also be MIDs coming soon from Samsung and various Taiwanese companies. Previous Intel – Nokia partnerships, e.g. HSPA modules for notebooks, have not been successful so the industry is skeptical that this one will succeed. We would expect to see Intel-Nokia mobile computing devices on the market in less than one year and perhaps as early as this Christmas.
References:
Intel and Nokia Announce Strategic Relationship to Shape Next Era of Mobile Computing Innovation
 
Intel makes stab in the dark with Nokia deal  

http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/42977/118/ 

Intel- Nokia Partnership Facing Market Challenges

http://www.informationweek.com/news/hardware/handheld/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=218100945