Viodi View – 11/01/13

One of the best things about conferences is catching up with people and hearing the progress they are making in helping their communities stay up-to-date with the latest in technology. Sometimes, there are just too many conferences. Fortunately, Kshitij Kumar helps out this issue with his reporting on what he saw at TelcoVision. Kumar not only reported, he spoke on a panel regarding the topic of how operators can leverage big data to their advantage.

The Vision of TelcoVision 2013 by Kshitij Kumar

A portrait of Big Data guru, Kshitij Kumar.
Kshitij Kumar

TelcoVision (formerly TelcoTV) was held in Las Vegas, NV Oct 23-25 this year. While the name has changed, much else was similar to previous years. The intent with the name change, of course, was to reflect that the sessions and audience interest is not just in TV, but all services provided by Telcos. Content this year was progressive, attendance and exhibits were pretty steady and the hallway chatter was interesting.

Click here to read more.

Broadband on the Shores of Superior

An image of a fiber spool and Arrowhead Electric Cooperative's office.
Click to view

A little more than a year ago, we visited the folks at Arrowhead Electric Cooperative, Inc. in Lutsen, MN and caught a glimpse of their efforts to bring broadband to the very remote area they serve. At that time, one of their biggest challenges, apart from completing as much construction as they could before winter set in, was putting all the elements of the mid-mile in place.

Click here to view and read more about the progress AEC has made in bringing broadband to its rural service territory.

The Broadband Generalist

An image of the SCTE Cable Tec Expo exhibit floor.
Click to view

Cooperation is a common theme of any SCTE event. Started as a grassroots continuing education effort some 44 years ago, SCTE has always been about individuals working together to improve the cable telecom industry. Having missed way too many of the Cable Tec Expos in the past decade, it was heartening to see that spirit of teamwork was as strong ever at this year’s cable tech expo. Of all the leading technologies, however, the one that impressed me the most was a miniature spectrum analyzer that plugs into an outside plant, passive device.

To get a glimpse of that as well as a flavor for the conference, click here.

Small Cells: A Bright Spot in Dismal Wireless Infrastructure Market by Alan Weissberger

Cell Tower
Click to read more

The global mobile network infrastructure business is in transition as the major equipment vendors reorganize. The manufacturers are eager to take advantage of the growth of mobile data, as consumers around the world shift away from making voice calls on their smartphones to accessing the Internet on phones and tablets. But the real action in wireless network deployment is probably in China.  The country restructured its telecoms operator to create three fixed/wireless carriers and this change has stimulated growth along with the much delayed auctions of 3G spectrum.

Read more, click here.

New FCC Chair Tom Wheeler Faces Challenges in 2014 by Alan Weissberger

Approximate Route of Highway 6 overlayed on FCC Map
Map of 

The Senate voted unanimously to confirm President Obama’s two nominations to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), overcoming obstacles by Republican lawmakers, especially TX Senator Ted Cruz. Tom Wheeler was confirmed as FCC Chairman  along with Michael O’Reilly as a commissioner. The highest priority FCC issue is likely to be the structuring of “spectrum incentive auctions,” in which the commission would sell licenses to mobile carriers and broadband Internet companies (e.g. Google) allowing them to use newly available bands of the public airwaves to transmit phone and data traffic.

Click here to read Weissberger’s take on these new appointments.

No Static at All – More FM, But Is It Too Late?

Interestingly, while the spectrum auction process is rightfully in the headlines, the FCC is implementing the 2011 Community Radio Act that allows for an increased number of Low Power FM (LPFM) stations. The LFPMs may be located at frequencies closer to an existing full-power FM radio stations than prior to the enactment of this law.

It will be interesting to see how many non-profit and educational entities take advantage of this no-license fee opportunity (there is still the FCC’s estimate of the $35k+ equipment and installation costs that the applicant has to contend with) . This initiative seems 20 years too late, as the spread of the Internet and WiFi gives everyone a chance to broadcast; and not be limited to the 3.5 mile or so radius of the LPFM.

Applicants have until November 14th to apply.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • The big news is that android 4.4 (KitKat) works on a memory footprint of 512 Mbytes, opening it up to a wider variety of phones. Of course, maybe deep search and how it will break down application silos and prevent “cart abandonment” may be even bigger news.
  • Nice to be a small part of the team that is documenting these broadband success stories.
  • Kudos to #comcast for coming out on a Sunday afternoon. Very helpful technician who understood what I was trying to do.

The Korner – The Refrigerator that Is a Speaker

A refrigerator that has a built-in Bluetooth-driven speaker and its benefits are discussed in this video.
Click to view

And finally, one of my favorite video interviews from CES2013.

At first blush, a refrigerator that is Bluetooth enabled and has a built-in speaker would seem like the ultimate in feature-creep. Tanu Greywall of Whirlpool explains part of their job is to simplify and unclutter things for their customers. In that context, a connected refrigerator that plays music and, perhaps provides other messages (e.g. recipes), makes sense. Although it is not in production, one has to think that it won’t be long before this sort of capability will be part of the next-generation refrigerator.

Click here to watch.

Viodi View – 05/28/13

A New Use for an Old iPhone

An old iPhoneand iPad being used as a security camera with an app from People Power.
Click to view video

What to do with the some 50 million iPhones that were replaced last year; put them in a drawer, junk them, resell them? People Power provides an interesting approach to reusing these functionally good devices through its recently released People Power Presence. The above video overview with People Power’s CTO and co-founder, David Moss, explains their app which turns the iPhone’s camera into a WiFi connected security camera, adding a layer of home security to their energy efficiency software. Adding credibility to People Power’s approach is its award from the recent TiEcon (read more about TiEcon by clicking here). Click here to view.

Highlights of 2013 TiEcon- Part I: Opening Keynotes

An image of the 2013 TiEcon.
Click to read more

TiEcon is the largest global conference for entrepreneurs.  It is organized by TIE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), Silicon Valley chapter each year in Santa Clara, CA. This article covers the opening keynotes of TiEcon,which featured insight from Venk Shukla, President of TiE-Silicon Valley, Satya Nadella, President, Server and Tools Business for Microsoft and Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn. Weiner provides interesting insight on what makes the LinkedIn culture successful as well as guidance to entrepreneurs to what it takes to be leaders. Click here to read more.

2013 TiECon- Part 2: Software Defined Infrastructure Presentations

A diagram depicting software based infrastructure.
Click to read more

Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) applies to compute, storage and the network within a data center and in the cloud.  This market segment is experiencing tremendous growth and innovation.  It is facilitating increased agility, flexibility and operational cost savings for enterprises and service providers.  The first step in SDI was compute server virtualization and that’s now mainstream.  Network and Storage virtualization are the current target areas. Click here to read more.

Proactively Promoting “Greenlining”

Aaron Deacon of KC Drive explains how his organization is helping to bring Google Fiber to all neighborhoods.
Click to view video

Those with concerns about the potential for redlining as Google builds its fiber networks, should listen to this interview with KC Digital Drive’s Managing Director, Aaron Deacon. KC Digital Drive is public-private partnership that was a vision of the respective mayors of Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. The intent of the organization is to drive usage of broadband and improve the local economic base, particularly in those areas where some of the population might not have the money, ability or desire to participate as in the digital world. Click here to view.

Driving Efficiency With a Price Insensitive Customer

Jarrett Simon of Centerpoint Energy explains the challenges of getting price insensitive customers to adopt energy efficiency.techniques.
Click to view video

Jarrett Simon of Centerpoint Energy talks about the challenge of driving efficiency when customers are somewhat price insensitive. He talks about the importance of being able to use the data from the Smart Meters and providing the consumer with specific actions that will help them with their energy consumption. Click here to view.

The Personal Cloud Is About Functionality

Brett Sappington of Parks Associates discusses the concept of the personal cloud.
Click to view video

“Today we are really looking more at the functional side of the personal cloud, rather than just the storage,” said Brett Sappington of Parks Associates. In this interview, filmed at CONNECTIONS , Sappington was referring to the idea that features beyond storage are driving customers to adopt the use of cloud for doing things that would have remained on a device in years past. Sappington talks about the customer’s view of privacy, the definition of data ownership and how applications are becoming integral to the personal cloud. Click here to view.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • It has been reported by a Viodi View reader that the Brandywine patent infringement letters continue – spreading to Texas operators.
  • I wonder if Santa Clause will start using the network of Xbox One’s to know when we are sleeping and know when we are awake. From the Xbox One website, “An all-new active IR camera enables it to see in the dark….Advanced noise isolation lets Kinect know who to listen to, even in a crowded room.”

The Korner – Reinventing the Telephone & Reinventing the Process of Product Development

Pictured is a pre-production version of UrbanHello's reinvention of the telephone.
Click to view video

Don’t tell the founders of Urban Hello that you can’t teach an old phone new tricks. At CES 2013, Urban Hello demonstrated a working prototype of their high-definition voice, high-fashion telephone.  This video was filmed two days after Urban Hello’s launch of a Kickstarter campaign. Although they didn’t make their campaign goal, they are to the point where they are taking pre-orders for this reinvention of the telephone.

The initial production run will be for the European market, but it is designed to serve the worldwide market. It works with existing DECT-GAP base station or with the CAT-iq advanced gateways. It’s beauty is its simplicity. They have interest in working with operators as a channel to get their devices to the consumers.

The way it is coming to market is as interesting as the design of this cordless and unique looking high-quality speaker phone. Designed by a pair of experienced engineers with relatively little upfront cash, the development of this product didn’t require a massive investment or layers of overhead like it would have, say, 20 years ago. Click here to view.

Viodi View – 05/03/12

A video travelogue of the telecom industry and its related applications is one way to think about the Viodi View or, at least ViodiTV. The intent of the video interviews and stories from around the country is to augment what is in the news or what should be in the news. The nuggets we get from folks in our interviews often have wisdom that surpasses the instant news cycle of the Internet and social media. It is an honor to interview so many subject matter experts in so many of the key technology, business and regulatory areas that impact broadband and its deployment.

Breaking Down Silos and Unifying The Experience

Ken Pyle interviews Parks Associates' Melissa Duchin at the Smart Energy Summit.A theme of the Parks Associates’ Smart Energy Summit was the cloud as central to smart energy realities. The inherent nature of cloud computing, coupled with broadband, will break down the silos between different types of services. Melissa Duchin, Research Analyst for Parks Associates, discusses this and other take-aways from the Smart Energy Summit in the above video interview. Companies originating from these different silos, whether retail, energy, security or service provider, will end up competing and/or will be working together, as the cloud breaks down the barriers. This conversation is sure to continue at the 17th annual CONNECTIONS™ at CTIA 2013, which ViodiTV will be covering for Parks Associates. Click here to view.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Ken Pyle interviews Brent Christensen at the MTA 2013 Annual Convention.“One of the things the FCC Transformation Order has failed to address is the value piece of telephone service; one size fits all is not the way it is,” said MTA president and CEO Brent Christensen. In this interview, Christensen reflects on the interactive video conference with FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn (who was just name interim FCC Chair, while Tom Wheeler nomination works its way through the process) that he co-moderated with NTCA’s Shirley Bloomfield.

He indicates that is important for regulators and lawmakers to visit rural areas and that the MTA is actively serving as a bridge to make those visits and connections happen. He also touches upon the role of Federal versus State regulation, as what is regulated changes from application (e.g. telephone) to platform (broadband). Click here to view.

“Service Provider SDN” Network Virtualization and the ETSI NFV WG by Alan Weissberger

This article will examine network operator motivation for “Service Provider SDN,” and then raise the question whether the solution might be some form of Network Virtualization instead of the ONS SDN-Open Flow standard(s).  We reference VMware’s version of Network Virtualization which is currently available and will soon be enhanced.  The ETSI Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) activity  is described and properly positioned, especially in light of mis-leading vendor support claims. Click here to read more.

Open Network Foundation & Other Organizations; ONF-Optical Transport WG; Ciena & SDN by Alan Weissberger

SDN Reference Architecture is depicted in this diagram.The above article examines the motivation and current work of the ETSI NFV WG and questioned whether service providers might prefer to base “software control” of their networks on that standards initiative, rather than SDN-Open Flow from the ONF.

Dan Pitt, ONF Executive Director (and a colleague of this author for 30 years) acknowledged the SDN carrier issue in an email: “During the Open Network Summit, there was a lot of interest and discussion around the impact of SDN on carriers, service providers and the telecommunications industry. At ONF, we are excited to continue our close work with the ETSI network-operator-led Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Industry Specification Group (ISG).” Click here to read more.

Looking Back at an Early Digital Divide

Ken Pyle interviews former ACA Board member, Tom Seale.Tom Seale, former CFO of Buford Media and early board member of ACA, talks about the formation of the ACA, the motivation for and the challenges of organizing independent cable operators into an association. He points out that there was a digital divide that existed between the smaller and larger operators at that time. Now, In the banking industry and out of the cable industry, Seale brings an interesting historical perspective to the ACA and the industry. Click here to view.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • More broadband to the farm is needed, based on an implication from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article on using drones as precise data collection devices, “Eventually, farmers will likely depend on third parties to analyze the data and images received by drones.” The implication is cloud and most likely significant amounts of data transmission from farm to data-center (particularly if they are transmitting infrared images to third-party computers for number-crunching).
  • Stumbled upon this article that was written a couple years ago and can’t remember ever seeing it when it was published. It is an accurate overview of what we did to help bring interactivity to a conference on interactive TV.
  • Is there a way to bridge Minecraft between Xbox & PC? Seems like a useful service (Bridging PS3 & Xbox another $1M idea)

The Korner – 3 Tips for Building Community Broadband – Part 2

Ken Pyle interviews Dr. Tim Nulty at the 2012 Broadband Communities Summit.In part 2 of this two-part interview, Dr. Tim Nulty suggests that those wishing to replicate‘s rural broadband network build-out should follow these three basic steps:

  1. Develop a lean business plan and and a lean network.
  2. Organize an institution that can implement the plan and maintain the network. He describes an interesting public-private partnership to make this happen.
  3. Finance the project, which is the most difficult. Nulty indicates that the capital for building the networks  is coming from both inside and outside the community and beyond in the form of tax-exempt loans made by individuals who want both a return, as well as fiber to their community.

In this interview, Nulty describes an organizational structure that is unique and one that separates politics from operations.

For additional alternative ways to think about financing an FTTH network, check out this 2008 white paper, co-authored by a Google policy person and pointed out this week by someone in a LinkedIn group. The condo model described in that paper, where a neighborhood or a group of farmers owns the fibers, is especially interesting for those looking at ways to jump start a fiber network initiative.

Viodi View – 02/25/13

Is there a chance the smart devices we are coming to rely on will control us? That is one of the questions posed in a provocative article in this past weekend edition Wall Street Journal. With forks that tell us how many calories we are consuming, scales tweeting our diet progress and trash cans snapping photos of our garbage to identify whether we are being good eco-citizens, the amount of data being collected is enormous. Hopefully, that data will help us live smarter, frictionless lives, instead of ones that become increasingly controlled by ubiquitous sensors and the algorithms that manipulate the data into actions.

Stuart Sikes of Parks Talks of Content & More

Stuart Sikes discusses developments he saw at International CES 2013.It will be good to hear Parks Associates’ thoughts on the Wall Street Journal article at their Smart Energy Summit this week in San Antonio. Smart devices, connectivity and low-cost sensors are pivotal to energy efficiency and management. In this interview at International CES, Parks Associates’ president, Stuart Sikes suggests that home monitoring and control and energy management have moved beyond standards and are moving towards commercialization. Click here to read more and hear Stuart’s comments about the set-top and its days being numbered.

Technologies to Monetize Data by Kshitij Kumar

Pictured is a collage of graphs depicting the concept of Big Data.[The collection of data and the analysis of it is a big task. In part three of this three-part article, Kshitij Kumar discusses technologies that allow service providers to monetize the data, either through more efficient operations or allowing the potential customization of an offer to meet an individual customer’s needs. Click here to read Part 2 of this three-part article.]

So far, we have learnt the basic definitions of Big Data from a Broadband Service Provider’s perspective and have understood what kinds of actionable insights may be obtained from such data. However, before we do that, the data must be stored and acted upon. There are some well accepted technologies that allow us to do so, and we shall understand those next. Click here to read more.

Infonetics Optimism on Service Provider Router/Switch Market contrasts with Cisco’s Cautious Outlook by Alan Weissberger

2012 Global Revenue Share of Router and Switches to Service Providers according to Infonetics.Market research firm Infonetics Research recently released vendor market share and preliminary analysis from its 4th quarter 2012 (4Q12) and year-end Service Provider Routers and Switches report. Infonetics is quite upbeat about this market segment for 2013, despite the cautious outlook from market leader Cisco Systems. It will be interesting to see if there’s a movement away from big iron switches into commodity based packet forwarding engines, as dictated by Software Defined Networking and the Open Flow protocol. Click here to read Weissberger’s post and commentary.

Efficient Multi-Channel/Multi-Screen Video Encoding

Image of iPhone playing video encoded from a TVS Multi channel, multistream video encoder.TVS president and CEO, Norman Gillaspie, describes an application whereby off-air channels, encoded at approximately 20 Mb/s, proved too much for the CPUs of legacy HD-DVR, IPTV set-top boxes. The TVS solution transcoded these channels to approximately 6 Mb/s, allowing the set-tops to record and stream multiple programs. Click here to read more and view the video.

BYOD Supreme – The iPad Meets SIP Phone

An image showing an iPad docked into the Mocet SIP Adaptor.What happens when the iPad meets a SIP Phone? Marc Abrams of Mocet explains in this interview at CES 2013. Abrams provides an overview of Mocet’s new SIP phone, which integrates with and synchronizes to the data in an iPad. By simply downloading an app, the management challenges associated with Bring Your Own Device are eliminated; all the switch configuration and account information is within the app, so when the iPad is docked into the phone, the iPad becomes an extension to the VoIP service. Click here to read and see why Service Providers product might this find product of interest.

Data Center on Wheels

Xi3 Data Center on wheels is shown in this image.Xi3, which has been producing pint-sized, high performance computers for years, is taking their low power consumption, compact devices to the data center. At CES 2013, Xi3 launched their portable data center that incorporates their modular computers into a self-contained, motorized rack. This unit is useful for disaster recovery or temporary data center needs. Click here to view.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • Diane Smith, co-founder of Auroras Networks that eventually became Avail-TVN, has a new organization and newsletter that will appeal to anyone interested in rural issues, American Rural.
  • Interesting study from IAB demonstrates that TV and Online video advertising are reinforcing, “Research demonstrated that planning and running video ads online prior to TV boosts brand recall for that same ad playing on television by 33 percent.” 

The Korner – The WiFi Washing Machine

An application that works with a WiFi washing machine.Several years ago at a Parks Associates’ event, a recurring comment was the need for a text-sending washing machine and dryer. The idea being that one would know when to change the laundry. Fast-forward several years later and a WiFi connected washing machine was demonstrated at Pepcom’s Digital Experience during the International CES 2013 event.

Warwick Sterling of Whirlpool explains  how the integration of WiFi into appliances will also provide consumers more  control of their energy management with less effort. This type of development and its associated business model, could be a no-cost competitor to service providers’ efforts to offer home energy management systems. Expected to introduced in the first half of 2013, WiFi in the appliance could be a long-term game changer. Click here to view.

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.

Think Like a Start-Up

Robert Kenney, OnProcess
Robert Kenney, OnProcess

“Think like a start-up,” was a recurring theme of the Digital Home Summit and a key message of the opening keynote by Robert Kenney, EVP of Sales and Marketing for OnProcess. Other speakers reiterated this line throughout the daylong event, as they stressed that the digital home is still early in its development. The opportunity and the challenge for service providers is that the digital home is still in its early stages.

Sam Harlan of CHR Solutions gave practical advice for operators when he suggested looking for niches in the digital home where their reputation and local presence can give them an edge as well as near-term revenue and customer retention/acquisition; niches such as personal media back-up.

One of the benefits to a conference like Digital Home Summit is the one-on-one interaction one gets that leads to discussions that, while somewhat off-topic, can be very valuable. In a side discussion, Harlan explained the intricacies of the FCC requirements for reporting for Eligible Telecommunications Carriers receiving high-cost support (download the CHR Solutions’ white paper that distills the process into a brief overview).

The interaction and relationship between the home network and the outside plant and metro networks and the impact of IPv6 on the digital home was presented by Steve Senne of Finley Engineering. His discussion of the networked lightbulb and how it might be programmed to flash every time a user received a Facebook update was amusing, but also thought-provoking as he discussed some of the potential security implications of the networked home.

And as much as the discussion was about what inside the home, panelists kept going back to what the operator could do outside the home, whether in the global cloud or local cloud. Panelists on the shared headend panel, emphasized the importance of local content; particularly hyper local content where the content that a person sees may be personalized or at least directed to a specific building, in the case of an MDU. Charlene Taylor of chaz taylor, Inc. suggested that local content can serve a greater, “human purpose.”

Eric Bruno of Verizon reflected on their rollout of their connected home product in his keynote. Bruno made an interesting point that technology, such as smart phone and broadband, isn’t making the world smaller, instead, “our reach is getting longer & deeper.” Now, thanks to technology, one can reach across the world or across their house to have a virtual presence without having to leave their couch.

Verizon’s central goal of its offering is to make their customers’ lives easier. He indicated that the best way to do this is to integrate into their existing routines with minimal disruption. He pointed to the fact that 60 to 70% of their customers use their smart phones to interact with their connected service as an indication that customers are adopting their home automation service as part of their daily routine.

Routine is one thing that the digital home is not. With innovation still to come, it is clear that the digital home is an area that remains both an opportunity and challenge for operators of all sizes.

Watch for video coverage of this event on the Telecompetitor web site.

Viodi View – 08/24/12

Same stuff, different day is the cleaned up song title that comes to mind when reviewing some of our recent interviews with folks who bring a bit of an international flavor to this issue of the Viodi View. Whether it is access to content on terms that are comparable to what can be had by larger operators or providing broadband access to the most rural of customers, the challenges for the smaller operators are the same, even if the terminology and the regulatory environment are slightly different.

Looking North for Ideas to Solve Programming Woes

Alyson Townsend of the CCSA

Ensuring the voices of the smaller independent television distributors (e.g. cable, telco, municipal operators) and the voices of their customers are heard among policy makers and vendors is what the CCSA (Canadian Independent Communications) does. In our interview at the 2012 ACA Summit CCSA president, Alyson Townsend, discusses the challenges faced by the small, Canadian broadband service provider. At the time, the hot-button issue was a CRTC-led mediation between the Canadian Independent Distributors Group (CIDG) (of which the CCSA is a part) and Bell regarding programming rights for the some 29 networks controlled by Bell. In this interview, she suggests that U.S. operators should take a close look at the CRTC promulgated rules about how vertically integrated program provider/distributors deal with smaller distributors.

More Efficient and Better Customer Support

Fiber to the Everywhere

Does automation mean a reduction in jobs? Not necessarily, as proven by this creative independent telecommunications’ cooperative that built on the productivity gains offered by its Fiber to the Home network to improve their quality of service. In this exclusive video interview, Kari Nishek, IS Applications Manager, explains how DRN retrained their work force to provide in-home customer/tech support, after they implemented an all-fiber network with auto-provisioning; this configuration reduces the need for truck rolls and reduces operational costs. Click here to view the video.

On a related note, Brent Christensen of the Minnesota Telecom Alliance and David Crothers of the North Dakota Association of Telecom Cooperatives co-authored an op-ed piece in the Grand Forks Herald that mentions DRN, its advanced network and the challenges it faces due to FCC rule changes after it had built the network under a different set of rules.

Local Operator Driving Global Telework Opportunities


Establishing a model for other operators is what Park Region Mutual Telephone Company is doing with the Minnesota Telecom Association with its telework program. In this interview, Park Region’s General Manager, Dave Bickett, provides an overview of their telework program, how they have worked with other local businesses and how they have had to educate the various constituents, from Human Resources staff to potential employees, about the benefits and nuances of telework. Click here to hear how their work in this area is positioning the people in its community to compete for jobs on a global basis without these new employees having to leave home.

Telecom Death Spiral Continues with ZTE’s Steep Profit Drop by Alan Weissberger

Sluggish telecom operator infrastructure spending, mobile device price wars and roadblocks in several western markets have all combined to cause China’s ZTE to report an 85% drop in profits (year over year) in the latest quarter that ended in June. Net earnings for the first half dropped 68 per cent  to Rmb245m, in line with a warning issued last month. That’s the steepest drop in net profits since the Hong Kong listed company went public six years ago! Click here to read Alan’s analysis and his thoughts on the what this indicates for the overall industry.

A Win-Win Demand Response Program

Smart Energy

Congratulations to Vince Groff for his promotion to general manager for the Cox Home Security business. This promotion complements Cox’s move to commercialize its home automation and security services. Groff is a fixture at the Parks Associates’ Smart Energy Summit and represents a leading voice as to how communications service providers fit into the home automation space. As he explains in this interview, part of his motivation for being at the 2012 Smart Energy Summit was to discover technology companies complementary to Cox’s strength in distribution of broadband services to the home. Click here to view.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • Excellent explanation regarding why there are so many independent Iowa telcos and how working together decades ago pays off today.
  • The real TVNext Conference Greg Fawson does a great job producing the TVNext conference. TVNext will be October 10/11th in Santa Clara. Don’t be fooled, like I almost was, by sound-alike conferences that are being held just prior to and nearby the TVNext conference.
  • With all the veteran cable talent at Inovobb, a provider of CPE for operators, I am reminded of the famous quote about “putting the band back together”.
  • This post on a little known battle of WWII that was a precursor to D-Day reminded me of Canadian and Telecom veteran, Tony Jamroz.
  • FTTB – Fiber to the Brewery – Only Roger Bindl could find the connection between Beer and Broadband.
  • Thanks Steve for adding the valuable link to the FCC site about Call Completion/Quality issues.

The Korner – Fiber by the Community

The “F” is silent

A single English mother, who becomes an author and gains a degree of fame for her inspirational work; Lindsey Annison’s story has striking parallels to J.K. Rowlings. Instead of writing about wizards and magic, Annison tackled the real-world challenges of creating a rural broadband network. She wrote about those challenges in a series of books.

In this interview, filmed at the 2012 Broadband Communities Summit, she talks of the process and the motivation for bringing broadband to a rural region of Northern England. Working with her community, Annison found a way to bring broadband to the English country side, where the large telecom operator dare not tread. By using community funding, farmers and volunteer labor, B4RN (Broadband for the Rural North) is bootstrapping the build-out of a fiber infrastructure that has evolved from a wireless last-mile network.

Click here to read the rest of the post and to view our interview when she visited America earlier this summer.

Viodi View – 05/30/12

In the previous issue of the Viodi View, the topic of discovery through travel was explored.  In this issue, we look at a present day discovery that emulates those entrepreneurs who made Silicon Valley what it is.

Home Energy Management as Content

John Steinberg of EcoFactor
John Steinberg of EcoFactor

“The furnace and the air conditioner in the average home accounts for almost 50% of energy use, so, it’s a big-ticket item about a $1,000 a year in the average home,” according to John Steinberg, EVP of Business Development and Co-Founder of EcoFactor.  EcoFactor provides an energy management service with an initial focus on heating and cooling, as these are the  items that have a big impact on the average consumer’s utility bill.  This interview was filmed just after EcoFactor’s announcement that they are providing the underlying software solution for Comcast’s home energy management application.  Click here to view.

Demystifying Home Energy Technology at Retail

Kris Bowring of Best Buy
Kris Bowring of Best Buy

Just down the road from EcoFactor’s Redwood City, CA headquarters is Best Buy’s San Carlos, CA store, which provides a glimpse of how retailers will market and sell home energy management. Kristen Bowring Senior Director, Platform Lead, Home and Energy Management at Best Buy, explains the motivation behind this effort when he states that, “Our job is to demystify the technology.” To hear the entire interview with Bowring and get an idea of his keynote at next week’s Parks Associates Connections Conference, click here.

Documonials to Inform, Inspire and Promote

email to transform your marketing

Press and conference organizers; contact us if you need video for your web sites or conferences.

Highlights of TiECon2012 Mobile Sessions-Part 1: mobile operators, emerging trends, applications and opportunities by Alan Weissberger

One of the highlights of TiECon2012 (The Indus Entrepreneurs annual conference – May 18-19th in Santa Clara, CA) was the Mobile Track.  All important aspects of the mobile ecosystem, its present status and future directions were explored in-depth during three TiECon mobile track panel sessions:

  • What are the emerging trends, applications and opportunities in mobile?
  • Considerations for deploying mobile in the enterprise and vertical industry apps.
  • How to distribute and monetize your mobile app

Click here to read the entire post, as well as comments from the moderator/organizer.

Stimulating and Driving the Broadband Bus

Kevin Beyer at MTA
Kevin Beyer at MTA

Skin in the game differentiated Farmers Mutual Telephone Company from other providers and was a key to their partnership with their local county, so says Kevin Beyer, General Manager of Farmers Mutual Telephone. For years, Farmers Mutual Telephone Company served residences in one-half of rural Lac qui Parle County.  He explains the process for how they applied for and won stimulus funding in partnership with the county and Minnesota’s Blandin Foundation to bring broadband to the other half of the county.

Click here to watch this video, where Beyer explains some of the challenges Farmers Mutual Telephone Company faces as they bring this project from idea to light.

A New Gig for U and U and U

Blair Levin of GigU
Blair Levin of GigU

Blair Levin, lead author of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, discusses his latest venture with 37 research universities in this video interview filmed at the 2012 Broadband Communities Summit. He hints at the May 23rd announcement of Gig.U partnering with Gigabit Squared to provide $200M of capital to support 6 Gig.U member-sponsored communities. Inspired by the Google Fiber Initiative, selections will be announced in November 2012 and March 2013.  Click here to view.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • The comments made to the FCC by Accipiter Communications, a smallish, FTTH-based CLEC north of Phoenix, do a good job of summarizing the uncertainty that operators face with the FCC’s Order on USF and Intercarrier Compensation and the concerns about the FCC’s methodology. The comments reflect what was said in this interview (Ensuring a Level Playing Field) by former RUS Administrator Hilda Legg regarding predictability of cashflow and how the Order is inadvertently retroactive with regards to a borrower’s contractual agreement with the RUS (page 10).
  • I got distracted from what I was doing, but Matt’s post is a must-read in this brave new culture of distraction.
  • Retweet of – Street Light of the Future would provide Wi-Fi, cell coverage and more.

The Korner – Discovery and Learning in Silicon Valley

“Learning is the process of discovering and exploring,” says former student and ClassConnect founder, Eric Simons.  Simons talks about the importance of putting rich (e.g. video, audio, interactivity) content into the hands of students to engage them in the learning process.  His company, ClassConnect, has content curation and creation tools that fit into a teacher’s workflow, bringing content from multiple sources into the learning environment.

Like the many Silicon Valley trailblazers he follows, some famous, like Hewlett and Packard and, some not so famous, he is placing the execution of his vision ahead of personal comfort and doing some creative things to turn his idea into reality (think living in an office building to avoid rent).  His drive and his story, as told so well in the front-page article of the San José Mercury, is what continues to make Silicon Valley a unique place of discovery and excitement.

Click here to read more and to view Eric Simons’ presentation given at the 2012 Media Innovation Summit.

Viodi View – 01/10/12

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

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

Youth – And the World Turns

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

Better Learning Through Better Content and Better Communications

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

Borderless Lifestyle and the Connected Home

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

The Connected Home and Broadband Service Providers

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

The Drive Behind An App for Saving Lives

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

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts

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

The Korner – Reflections from Roger By Roger Bindl

Click image to watch video

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

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

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