Viodi View – 02/02/10

Smart Energy Summit
Smart Energy Summit

In a nutshell, “smart energy” is about doing more with the same or less energy, as well as making better use of alternative power sources.  That would be the single sentence description of what was a crash course on the topic of “smart energy” at last week’s Parks Associates’ Smart Energy Summit.  Viodi worked with Parks Associates to provide coverage of this event that featured speakers from all parts of the ecosystem; from power utilities to consumer electronics and all the pieces in between. As seen in our interviews with industry experts, there are many moving parts to the creation of a more efficient and distributed grid.  Click here to view.

Cloud Computing Realities from a VC and IT Expert by Alan Weissberger

While there has been a tremendous amount of articles, white papers and other information written on cloud computing, most of it is from IT vendors or market research firms. In a Viodi View article last year, we reported that IDC said “the Cloud platform would be in a power position for the next 20 years with spending expected to ramp up in 2012.” But where will that spending be targeted? We’ve haven’t heard from venture capitalists (or other investment firms) as to what they perceive are the real opportunities for entrepreneurial companies pursuing deliverable cloud platforms or software. Until now.  Click here to read more.

2010 Infonetics Mobile Services and Subs Market Forecast

Mobile Market Growth to Stimulate Mobile Cloud Services by Alan Weissberger

Infonetics Research recently updated its report on Mobile Services and Subscribers: Voice, SMS/MMS, and Broadband, based on revenue reported for the first half of 2010 (1H10). This update resulted in increased short and long-term revenue forecasts by the company. Click here to read more.

TiE Angels Update: 4 Companies Funded; 3 Companies Present Value Propositions by Alan Weissberger

We have previously written about the significance of TiE Angels in light of the many start-ups today that are under the radar of the larger VC firms. (Early Stage Startups Get Wings from TiE Angels). TiE Angels was formed in the summer of 2010 as a platform for angel investors to work together to evaluate, and potentially invest in, entrepreneurial companies. In addition to funding four start-up companies (more on this later), TiE Angels encouraged over 70 companies to apply to present at its monthly meetings. That’s a pretty good track record for an organization that’s only been in existence for a little over 4 months!  Click here to read more.

Brian Jacquet of Roku
Brian Jacquet of Roku

1 Billion Served and Counting

Brian Jacquet, Director of Marketing for Roku, discusses who is using their product and how they got to 1 Billion views and 11 hours per week of playing time per device, while speaking at the Broadband Unlimited Conference at CES 2011.  Interestingly, their demographic tends to be older and less geek-like than the typical over-the-top video viewer. He also suggests that sales have increased as awareness of over-the-top video to the television has increased.  Click here to view.

Archos Media Player
Archos Media Player

The Evolution of the Personal Media Player

Way back in July 2002, Archos introduced the first portable media player.  Archos’ legacy continues with a series of touch-screen, android-based personal media players that they demonstrated at CES 2011.  Having previously written about these devices, it was exciting to get our hands directly on these hand-held computers that have evolved to do things beyond playing and recording media.  Click here to view.

Implications of Egypt’s Internet Shutdown by Alan Weissberger

Wasn’t Egypt supposed to be one of the most stable countries in the Arab world and middle East? Apparently not! The Egyptian government’s decision to pull the plug on the country’s ISPs has left most of Egypt’s 80 million residents and businesses without Internet access for the last five days. Experts say the situation shows how vulnerable on-line communications still are today.  Click here to read more.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts

  • Update from Cairo: March of a Million – This article demonstrates show how difficult it is to suppress information these days as long as one can get it out via a unicast method (e.g. a phone call), it can still spread via the Internet to the rest of the world.
  • Congrats to James Forcier – story about how he led OPASTCO to help Shanksville volunteer fire dept. is inspiring & typical of OPASTCO members
  • Campus film festivals are good potential resource for gathering unique content for local channels.  Russ Breault pointed this out with this link to a video, edited by his daughter who is a University of Georgia film major, about a crime where Atlanta is, according to the film, the biggest hub for this particular illegal activity.

Scott Burns of Reliant Energy
Scott Burns of Reliant Energy

The Korner – The Social Electric Network

Texas appears to have a thriving competitive market for retail electricity.  It is reminiscent of the early days of the long distance wars some 20 years ago.  Competitors are striving to find ways to compete and differentiate a product that is, in its essence, a commodity.

In this interview, Scott Burns of Reliant Energy talks about the competitive retail energy market in Texas and the techniques they are using to engage customers in energy management. He discusses how they are leveraging the smart meters to benefit the consumer. He explains how electronic communications is integral to their efforts and how that effort is evolving to use Google gadgets and, eventually, social media tools.

Look for additional interviews over the coming issues of the Viodi View regarding unique ways retail electricity companies are trying to get a competitive edge and some of the implications for Communications Service Providers.

Where's the Gee-Touch?

Watching my son and his friend tussle over a game on the Apple iTouch the other day provided first-hand evidence of the popularity of these devices as not only Portable Media Players (PMP), but as next generation portable gaming devices.  A new report from research firm IMS confirms the popularity of the Apple devices, as Apple is expected to have 30% of the market share by year-end 2009.  

Although there is still growth in the PMP devices that incorporate video, the market for PMPs is beginning to plateau and other devices, such as multimedia and smart phones will grab market share.  

The Zii EggIn a market that appears to be peaking soon, is there room for an Android-based offering; a sort of Gee-Touch?  Dan Frommer, writing in the Silicon Valley Insider, thinks this is a good idea, as he opines in this article.    

Archos 5 Internet TabletAnna Hunt of IMS suggests that, to some extent, the creation of such a product will depend upon,  "the development community's support of Android."  She suggests that the first devices are likely to be niche and on the higher-end side and more likely to be in the Mobile Internet Device category. She points to an Archos Device that has features such as a 5 inch touch screen, high definition video playback, and up to a 500 Gbyte hard-drive.    

Another device that looks almost like the iTouch, but with an Android operating system is what iRiver was supposedly working on this past summer.

A device that looks very interesting is from Creative's subsidiary, ZillLABS.  ZiiLABS has created the ARM processor that powers the Zii Egg and wants other manufacturers/developers to adopt their technology.  The Zii Egg is really a developer's kit with some cool features such as front and back HD cameras (think portable video conferencing), hardware GPS receiver, 10 point, multi-gesture capacitive touch display and OpenGL ES that gives it remarkable 3D graphic capability.  In short, it seems to have the hardware power to create an iTouch-like experience, while running on the Android or the Linux-based Plaszma Operating System.   

The following video of the Zii Egg reinforces my decision to hold off getting my son an iTouch, as it looks like there may be some viable Android-based, alternatives in the not-so-distant future.