Eye Catchers at CES 2012

[Note:  this was originally published on 1/9/2012, updated on 1/25/2012 and 2/4/2012].

Glasses free 3D on an iPad or iPhone for only $30.  

Globalwave introduced sheets that turn screens from iPhone size to 23 inch that allow glasses-free 3D viewing.  Their “free” app can be found at http://www.pic-3d.jp

Photos from CES 2012 of products, services or just something interesting that caught my eye.

3D without Glasses
3D without glasses is getting closer to mainstream, as evidenced by the number of booths touting such advances.
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.
And another 3D printer - this one for about $3,000. Why limit yourself to plastic, how about printing chocolate or

Mobile DTV and its adoption by consumer electronic manufacturers and consumers was a major emphasis of a series of interrelated booths at CES 2012. It will be interesting to see how these efforts play out, both on a political and commercial level.

Mobile 500 -Alliance of broadcasters focused on creating and sourcing programming for Mobile DTV applications.
Of course, it would be good to be able to protect content, if one is going to charge for it.
Back to the future - Emergency alert via airwaves. Of course, couldn't this same thing be accomplished by via a broadcast SMS message with much less bandwidth?
Using DTV as an alternative to LTE or landline broadband for mobile signage applications
Viasat made waves with their low-cost satellite broadband for the home, but they have an equally compelling product for the jet set - Look for it in JetBlue planes.
Robots were everywhere - many used smartphones or equivalent as their "brains and sensors".
Wheels for feet
Interesting concept to augment short transit (<3 miles), but lots of questions as to the practicality
The booth with the best sign
My favorite booth for some reason
Is It a Wearable Computer or Virtual Reality? www.smart-goggles.com
Is It a Wearable Computer or Virtual Reality? SmartGoogles by Sensics - camera, sensors, speakers, earphones - give it connectivity and this Android 4-powered device will augment your
A wireless drone controlled by a wireless phone
Range about the same as WiFi, cost about $300 - A Wireless drone is cool, but an expensive toy from Parrot Wireless
image
What a cool promo from Nokia - a free bus ride from the airport to the hotel & you get to try the new Nokia Windows 7.5 phones via the T-Mobile Network. Very responsive and great display (worked well in daylight).

3G and LTE squeeze WiMAX- is the market window still open?

Summary:

Many pundits have declared the window of opportunity for WiMAX has closed.  Squeezed between he enhanced capability of 3G technologies (e.g. HSPA/HSPA+ for GSM) and accelerated LTE roll-outs, (notably Verizon Wireless) the claim is that WiMAX is DOA.  We disagree!  In particular, we believe there is a reasonable market for WiMAX fixed and nomadic/portable service in developing countries.  We also see possibilities for mobile WiMAX in Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Russia and other developing countries (but not necesarilly in the U.S. or Western Europe).

For more details on WiMAX in emerging markets, please refer to:

WiMAX Continues to Make Progress in Developing Countries

http://www.wimax360.com/profiles/blogs/wimax-continues-to-make

When used for either nomadic/portable or true mobile service, both LTE and WiMAX devices will need to have roaming and handoff between either HSPA/HSPA+ or EVDO rev xyz.  That is because those latter 3G networks will still be the predominant way users access the Internet- especially during the early days of LTE/WiMAX deployment.

While LTE is thought of as a mobile technology, it will be also used for BWA (e.g. Century Tel and VZW plan on LTE for rural BWA).  Similarly, IEEE 802.16e compliant WiMAX can be used to deliver both fixed/nomadic and mobile services if permitted by the regulator in the country where service is offered.

The LTE Express- has it really accelerated?

In the U.S., VZW’s aggressive LTE roll out plans have put pressure on Clearwire, which asserts that its mobile WiMAX network is superior to the LTE service Verizon Wireless will soon launch. Once projected to reach 100 million subscribers by the end of 2008, the new Clearwire joint venture is commercially available in just two metropolitan areas – Baltimore, MD and Portland, OR. What about the 7 other cities that were to be operational by end of 2009?

Clearwire plans to provide more details about its WiMAX deployment strategy on March 5, when it announces its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2008. Those details may include dates for commercial availability of mobile WiMAX service in Chicago, Washington, Boston and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, possibly very soon. Sprint Nextel’s WiMax division was already building networks in those cities before the joint venture with the original Clearwire was completed in December. Clearwire is also working on converting its more than 40 pre-WiMax networks to true, standardized WiMax over time. No plans have been announced yet for VoIP over WiMAX which negates any WiMAX smart phones (which Sprint has announced for its mobile WiMAX MVNO unit).  For more information see:

Clearwire readying WiMax game plan as rival LTE gains steam

http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9128221&intsrc=news_ts_head

Robert Syputa of Maravedis disagrees with all the hype about the VZW stepping up its LTE deployment.

"Verizon has not recently accelerated the roll out of LTE in their 700 MHz spectrum. If anything, recent announcements including Barcelona (WMC) amount to a 2-3 month push out from previous statements that they would luanch commercial networks by the end of 2009.

We have held that Verizon was posturing in their earlier announcements because suppliers could not be ready for commercial state deployment. What’s more, there has been no chance that there would be many devices available and too little time to do conformance and compatibility testing among vendors.

Verizon is pushing their own requirements which presage official LTE standard conformance and compatibility. This can be looked at as being similar to the way Sprint pushed the supply ecosystem including running their own test labs outside of those established by the WiMAX Forum. But this is jumping the gun; the LTE standard has yet to be published and chips, devices, and network equipment is at an earlier stage of commercial maturity.

This jousting of PR about availability should be evaluated in the context of what Verizon and other firms are attempting to achieve: Verizon has achieved the market position and PR image as being among the world’s leading networks. That contributes to their ability to hold onto and gain subscribers. Meanwhile, Sprint has succumbed to problems stemming from conversion of iDen, and upgrades to their 3G network and service problems. Even though they can now claim high 3rd party service reliability ratings, their image continues to suffer. Combined with pull from new phone and service offerings from Verizon and AT&T including iPhone, Google Android, and expanded push to talk, Sprint has continued to lose market share.

3G operators like Verizon can continue to build out higher density 3.5G HSPA & EVDO networks but added capacity comes at an escalating price tag. Both WiMAX and LTE next generation networks are, according to the competing camp’s AT&Ts network director, 1/4-1/2 the cost of delivering similar capacity on an advanced 3G network. Despite the higher cost, they say that they will continue to put most of their capital behind 3G over the next 2-3 years. The reason they don’t switch to LTE or WiMAX for the bulk of deployments is because LTE is at least 2-3 years away from being a mature ecosystem and it will require multiple mode or a transition to new devices in order to transition the customer base. The issue is hardly as simple as which technology works best.

What works best for Verizon is holding onto the image of being the leading network and not cannibalizing their fat 3G revenues more than is necessary until the market pressures them do to so. Eventually the market will press on for ever higher bandwidths and combined services that drives operators to adopt 4G. WiMAX and LTE are at a ‘pre-4G’ stage of evolution.. the systems and device evolution, needed disruptive re-farming of spectrum, and marketplace demands are building toward but are still years away from widespread adoption.

Verizon’s pursuit of LTE is pressing on but it will be more about holding onto image and 3G customers than about carving out revenue on a comparative scale for a few years.

A major advantage of 700 MHz is they can deploy thinly to achieve broad coverage. They will leverage that but it is not a panacea."

Opinion:   One thing I’ve learned in over 38 years in the telecom industry, is that new network infrastructures- especially a new high speed wireless network – takes much more time to be fully operational than anyone thinks. Once the infrastructure is in place, several levels of interoperability testing are required along with provisioning systems, monitoring, OSS and back end billing/accounting.

Will 3G Improvements Kill WiMAX?

The Ericsson view of comparisons between 3G/HSPA abd mobile WiMAX was outlined in a white paper released last month (January 2009):

"While the peak data rates, spectral efficiency and network architecture of HSPA Evolution and Mobile WiMAX are similar, HSPA offers better coverage. In short, Mobile WiMAX does not offer any technology advantage over HSPA. What is more, HSPA is a proven mobile broadband technology deployed in more than 100 commercial networks… [and] can be built out using existing GSM radio network sites and is a software upgrade of installed W-CDMA networks. Compared with other alternatives, HSPA is the clear and undisputed choice for mobile broadband services."

http://www.ericsson.com/technology/whitepapers/hspa_and_mobile_wimax…

But there’s a contrary point of you that favors WiMAX performance over 3G.  Many think that HSPA/GSM 3G will be overloaded when more mobile users access the Internet, upload photos and videos and watch streaming video on their devices.  Essentially, 3G is a TDM voice network with a data overlay. WiMAX is a flat (non-hierarchial) IP only network.

For EVDO/CDMA 3G, WiMAX avoids expensive royalty payments to Qualcomm, which owns most of CDMA intellectual property. Still, building a ubiquitous WiMAX network would be far more expensive than buying wholesale access to 3G with a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement.  But there is also the possibility of being a WiMAX based MVNO.  That is exactly what Sprint plans to do- using Clearwire’s mobile WiMAX network and supplying its own multi- mode (CDMA/WiMAX/WiFi) mobile phones that will operate on the CLEAR network. 

For more details, please refer to:

Sprint may sell tri-mode phone in 2010 that will include VoiP over WiMAX

http://www.wimax360.com/profiles/blogs/sprint-may-sell-trimode-phone

Conclusions

We do not believe the market window is closed for WiMAX.  The technology works, is available now, and can offer download speeds of 2 – 4 M b/sec per user (depending on cell size- number users per Base Station).  However, we continue to believe the most lucrative market for WiMAX will be for fixed/nomadic services in developing countries.   While most WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e compliant) deployments will actually be used for fixed BWA, the same network can also support mobile BWA at 2.3G, 2.5G, or 3.5GHz spectrum.  That’s a key advantage for network operators that want to deploy a combination of fixed/nomadic and mobile services to subscribers.

You need to segmrent the market for WiMAX.  It is definitely the answer for fixed/nomadic broadband wireless access in developing countries and rural areas.  It is also a success in South Korea (WiBro) as a fixed/mobile technology

It may or may not succeed as a globally ubiquitous mobile wireless technology.  The places to evaluate that are Japan, Taiwan, India, and other Asian countries.  I do not think people should be so hung up on whether or not Clearwire suceeds in the U.S.  Think global, especially Asia, for mobile WiMAX.    Once WiMAX netbooks, MIDs, other CPE, and smart phones are available, then there will be a better outlook for mobile WiMAX.  But that will happen, if and only if,: the regulator in the country permits mobile service at the licensed frequency(s), the operator builds out the mobile network, and implements roaming agreements with both mobile WiMAX and 3G carriers.  That remains to be seen. 

There is another market segment where WiMAX has huge potential- backhaul (WiFi hot spots, video surveillance cameras, etc) and wireless backbone for campus/ private networks.  This is a dark horse growth area in my opinion!

Addendum: In-Stat: 30% of subscribers will be 3G or 4G by 2013

In-Stat says that 30 percent of subscribers worldwide will be using some form of 3G or 4G cellular technology by the end of 2013. With mobile WiMAX needing to prove itself in the market as LTE deployments expand, In-Stat predicts that WiMAX networks will find favor in developing countries. In addition to expected LTE deployments in the United States and other developed markets, the research firm predicts that numerous vendors will pick up on the mobile WiMAX trend in emerging markets.

Viodi View – 02/07/2009

Super Bowl party at NTCA's 2006 Annual Meeting and ConventionThe Super Bowl is the ultimate social networking facilitator. This year the actual content (i.e. the game) made for good water-cooler talk. Of course, as written before, the Super Bowl is as much about the ads as it is football and a big part of the post-game buzz was discussions of the various commercials. Ironically, the commercial that, according to the Wall Street Journal, was in the top 2 was a user generated piece that was birthed as part of an online campaign.

Some of the best Super Bowl parties I have attended were at the NTCA Annual Meeting and Expo. There is nothing like being in a room with 2,500 of your closest friends watching the pinnacle in sporting entertainment. This year, NTCA’s Annual Meeting and Expo does not overlap the Super Bowl. Still, I look forward to seeing Viodi View readers at next week’s event.

Somewhere in the Viodi archives is a video interview with Todd Buchholz, who will be speaking on Wednesday, February 11. A noted economist, it would be interesting to get Buchholz’s take on the current economic climate and his feelings on the proposed stimulus package.


Check out Viodi View and ViodiTV sponsorship & video creation opportunities by clicking here.


Will the U.S. Stimulus Package Boost Broadband Deployments? by Alan Weissberger

Regarding the Stimulus Package, Alan Weissberger provides an excellent summary Alan of what is happening with the so-called stimulus as it relates to broadband. This is a much different picture than the speculation from only a month ago. Check out the comments to his article as well as my earlier post on the stimulus and please weigh-in with your thoughts.


TWC WiMAX Update by Alan Weissberger

Weissberger provides an update of how Time Warner’s recent financial results impact its WiMAX efforts in this brief article.


HTHH – High Tech Happy Hour by Roger Bindl

Roger reports on the Madison, WI technology scene in this brief video synopsis of the High Tech Happy Hour. Although it looks and sounds like he is in a casino, he does get the skinny on InTime Tools, a Software as a Service company that provides complete customer communication solutions (e.g. customer relationship management, web site, sales management, etc.).


Roger's report from WSTAWSTA 2009 PR/Marketing Seminar Day 1 by Roger Bindl

Reporting from the Wisconsin Dells, Roger provides an excellent video summary of WSTA’s 2009 PR/Marketing Seminar. His video includes interviews with Bill Albertson of Badger Communications who talks about the history of VoIP, Marty Snustead of Midwest Video Solutions on the future of IPTV and Don Stephan of the TDS-powered, Wisconsin Sports Network; a state-wide local broadband video network.


It’s a Phone, It’s a Camera, It’s Camera-Phone Envy???

A Touchscreen Phone?A Camera?I recently purchased the G-Phone. I have not yet finished the review; part of the reason for that will be in the review. The best feature of the G-Phone is the ability to easily and quickly snap and share photos via Gmail or Picasa. I am feeling a bit of buyer’s remorse or maybe I have camera-phone envy after looking at some photos of a new Samsung camera-phone that features a touch screen and an 8 Megapixel camera.


People on the Move:

Listen to Lowten's prediction regarding HDTV implementationLastly, with DTV transition being pushed off a few months, check out this excellent presentation from Peter Lowten and Doug Mielke regarding HDTV.  Given in 2003, it is amazing how much has changed and hasn’t changed.  Peter Lowten’s humorous prediction on when the tipping point would occur (his birthday, 2/17) is especially entertaining. Happy Birthday, Peter.

For those of you with the Showtime Television service, check out Blacks without Borders which debuts today at 4 PM (Showtime) and airs multiple times over the next couple of days. Longtime friend and colleague, Brian Stevenson had a hand in the creation of this series that is trying to get a regular slot in Showtime’s rotation. If you can’t view it on Showtime, check out the trailer on their web site, which provides a quick recap of this thought-provoking production.

I look forward to seeing Ed Heuck at next week’s NTCA, a leader in deploying video at the large independent telco, Hargray in South Carolina. He is now with Graycliff Enterprises, which is focused on construction and installation of telecom networks for service providers.


 The Korner – Kontests, Kontests & More Kontests

the dorrito's commercialThe Super Bowl Doritos spot, which was rated as #1 in USA Today’s Ad Meter, was a contest-generated commercial. The one million dollar prize Doritos offered to the winner will be an economic stimulus for the two unemployed, Batesville, Indiana brothers behind this piece of creative. It proves the mantra from Viodi’s Local Content Workshops that talent is everywhere.

Roger's pitch for adult beverages - have you no shame RogerOn the topic of user submitted commercials, Roger is involved with a couple of other contests that generate advertising through user participation. The first contest’s ads will never be suitable for television, at least as we know it today, as it promotes an adult beverage company. Roger appears to be in 4th place in the voting.

Roger is a finalist in DSL Modem maker Actiontec’s video contest which asks contestants why they love broadband. Roger recites a nice poem and has some good visuals, but he is going to face stiff competition from a 4 year old and her dad’s green screen. Voting for the finalists begins on Monday and will be at Actiontec’s web site. Good luck, Roger. Actiontec's contest on Youtube
 

Viodi View – 1/7/09 Issue

Contact Roger Bindl for sponsorship opportunities

As we enter the last year of the first decade of the third millennium, it seems like it was just yesterday that we were at the dawn of Y2K. Then we had the big tech meltdown, along with what was the biggest tax cut in history. Here we are again with the start of another year and, in some ways, it feels like we have been here before. Let’s hope for new opportunities that will help us rise from the ashes of 2008 and make for a better 2009.


Click here to see the ViodiTV 2008 year in review

2008 – A Year in Video

Roger captures some of the ViodiTV highlights of 2008 in this brief montage of video clips from many of the events we attended this past year. Thanks to Roger for capturing and editing these clips. And thanks to all of the sponsors, who helped make this possible; Badger Communications, Entone, Genesis Technical Systems, HEM Productions, Innovative Systems, Martin Group, NeoNova and Solarus.


An Academic Book with a Populist Title – Useful for Anyone Interested in Pricing or Its Effects

What has become a tradition for the first issue of the Viodi View in the New Year is a book review. The book “Why Popcorn Costs So Much at the Movies” is an academic title wrapped in a populist title. It provides insight into a variety of pricing mysteries, such as the price of popcorn at the movies, why so many prices end with “9” and the economics of rebates. Although what Richard McKenzie, Professor of Enterprise and Society in Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California of Irvine, has written is fundamentally an economic text book, it is useful for anyone involved in pricing a product. Click here to read the rest of the review.


A Broadband Stimulus – A Chance for Something to Pass in Short Order?

Last Week’s Wall Street Journal had a good article on the prospects for a near-term broadband stimulus plan. The article referenced a Free Press proposal for a 3 year, $44 Billion broadband stimulus plan. This plan just might have a chance, as it has elements that equipment vendors could embrace and incumbent carriers would like. For instance, the plan ties closely to OPASTCO’s point that there is an intrinsic link between video and broadband deployment.   Click here to read more.Farsa política
Creative Commons License photo credit: Daquella manera


 And the Independent Telcos Suggest Stimulus

Further reinforcing the idea that a broadband stimulus may be happening sooner rather than later and that it will involve rural telcos, OPASTCO released a letter written to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid outlining their proposal in a white paper. This white paper, authored by the Digital Policy Institute, an independent think tank at Ball State University, suggests immediate build-out of a minimum of 25 Mb/s to 5.9 million rural homes through the use of one-time grants as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.  Click here to read more.


Will Cisco Succeed in the Consumer Electronics Business? by Alan Weissberger

Cisco is thought of as a successful network equipment vendor selling switches and routers to enterprise customers and service providers. The company also sells (Linksys) WiFi routers and (Scientific Atlanta) set top boxes for use within homes. Sensing a new opportunity, the company now wants to make significant inroads in the digital home based entertainment market. Click here to read the rest of the article.


Are LTE and mobile WiMAX really 4G networks? A look at ITU-R IMT Advanced attributes by Alan Weissberger

There have been several recent articles comparing and contrasting LTE vs. mobile WiMAX as potential 4G network technologies. Indeed, SPRINT and Clearwire have been marketing their WiMAX offering as a 4G service. But is it really 4G? Is LTE a 4G technology? What about ultra-wideband?  Click here to read the rest of the post.


Some Upcoming Events

The Korner – And the Grand Prize Goes To…….

Click to view Roger's award winning video

As reported last month, Roger Bindl submitted a video to a Kraft video contest. One of the cool things about the Kraft contest is that Roger did not have to give up any rights to his video. This was a wise move by Kraft, as it opened up the contest to a more professional set of contestants. And congratulations to Roger, as he won the Grand Prize and a thousand dollars for his video submission!

Happy New Year!

Verizon CTO on their LTE Rollout and Use of Femtocells in the Home

Contrary to what you’ve might have read elsewhere, Verizon CTO Dick Lynch did not make a surprise LTE deployment announcement on 12/8/08 at Cisco’ C-Scape conference. What he did say was: "We expect to have LTE in service somewhere in the U.S. around this time next year. We’ll follow that up almost immediately with LTE to the home using femto-cells, which probably will have WiFi in them." There was no definite LTE committment from Verizon and no mention of locations or scale for their LTE deployments.

A similar statement was made by Link Hoewing, Verizon’s VP of Internet and Technology Policy, in early October at the US Telecom Association’s 2nd Annual Executive Business Forum in San Jose, CA. Hoewing stated that Verizon Wireless "plans to roll out LTE in early 2010 with possibily 75M bit/sec downstream rate." So Lynch’s LTE statement moves that up a few months, but was not indicative of an accelerated mass deployment. We think the VZW LTE deployment will likely be a very controlled test bed evnironment, limited to one or more select cities.


Our rationale: With the LTE standard not completely finished, there aren’t even any pre-standard LTE devices available yet. Hence, we think it’s quite premature for any large LTE roll out one year from now. Testing and device certification will be required for mass deployment and that is at least 2 years off, in our opinion.


The uncertain timing of LTE availability was highlighted by Enrico Salvatori, senior VP and general manager for Qualcomm Europe, speaking at the company’s inaugural European Innovation Summit on 12/2/08. He cautioned that commercial availability of Qualcomm’s LTE/HSPA+ multimode device, dubbed the MDM9000, "still depends on a number of very uncertain factors." According to a report in EE Times, there are still major standardization issues to be resolved, even though the important Rev.8 standard is due to be finalized in mid December, that there is still uncertainty about which spectrum ranges LTE would be deployed, and noted there are many important choices to be made on network topology.

http://www.eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212201711

Mr. Lynch stated that low latency (e.g. 10 to 15 ms delay vs 110 to 125 ms with 3G) would be a distinguishing characteristic of 4G technologies. Ubiquity will be critically important to success. VZ believes that "LTE will be the dominant provider technology to deliver 4G wireless broadband data services," according to Mr Lynch. The company is working with partners Vodafone and China Mobile to ensure LTE is embedded in many different types of devices for consumers and enterprise customers. "Think of 4G broadband technology in every car on the road, in every meter in the house, in consumer electronic appliances you buy," Lynch said. An example of a broadband wireless machine to machine was given: a camera wirelessly connected to a photo storage facility, with the capability for the camera to do auto uploads after the wireless connection was established.

Another key point made by Lynch was that femtocells would be used to deliver wireless broadband to residential users who want wireless (not wired) devices for use within the home. In this case, the network access configuration would be LTE to/from from the cell site and the home, with femto-cells used to create a micro cell site within each home for broadband wireless data delivery.
 

A few questions to ponder:

Do you think LTE will the dominant 4G technology or does mobile WiMAX have a chance given that it is now available or soon will be?

Does mobile WiMAX have a chance given that it is now available or soon will be while LTE is atleast 2 years (or more) from actual deployment?

If so, how can mobile WiMAX capitalize on this time to deployment lead?

Signs of the Video Times

The signs of the changing video landscape were literally signs in the case of these photos I snapped yesterday. The demise of Bradley Video, a once strong independent video store in Silicon Valley, is an indication that the traditional brick and mortar approach to renting and selling videos is quickly being substituted for other means of delivery; whether via snail mail, electronic downloads or streaming. It is sad for the folks whose livelihoods depended on this business.  The impact goes beyond the owner and employees, as this particular store used to be a big advertiser in the sports section of the local newspaper. 

 


Another Video Store Closing – This time outside of Madison, WI. Photo taken by Roger Bindl and added to post on 2/16/10