Viodi View – 10/12/11

The forces of creative destruction unleashed by the combination of broadband and computing power have transformed virtually every industry in the past 20 years.  Two closely intertwined sectors, government and education, have been relatively untouched through this time of tumult. A growing chorus from a variety of groups indicates that at least the education part of the equation is in for a change; and this may create new opportunities for both service providers and the creative community.

Digital Learning – A Boon for Broadband

On the political front, there is at least one bipartisan effort, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which is trying to improve the quality of education through the integration of digital learning.  Last December, former Florida and West Virginia governors Jeb Bush and Bob Wise, a Republican and Democrat, respectively, unveiled a roadmap for local, state and federal officials to weave digital learning into education.

This report suggests there are 10 elements to digital learning.  What should be of particular interest to communications service providers are elements 9 and 10, which call for funding and infrastructure to support digital learning.  That is, broadband will be central to what experts are calling blended learning.   We look forward to sharing what we learn about blended learning and digital education efforts from this week’s Foundation for Excellence in Education Summit in San Francisco.

Cloud Networking- Provider & Vendor Perspective

Speaking of learning, The IEEE ComSocSCV event tonight in Santa Clara, CA will be a good event to learn about the challenges and opportunities in Cloud Networking.  Click here to read Alan Weissberger’s description of the speakers and topics which include discussion of the Savvis Converged Cloud, followed by   will then provide a network equipment vendor perspective of Cloud Networking with Juniper Networks and Arista Networks.

Role of Telecommunications & Benefits of Cloud Computing (ITU-T FG Cloud) by Alan Weissberger

As way of background for the above meeting, Alan Weissberger penned this article describing October 7, 2011 ITU-T FG Cloud document ”Cloud Benefits” which is based on their recent meeting in Seoul, South Korea.  Click here to read the entire article.

The Blurring of the Physical and the Virtual

Yesterday’s news regarding the first implementation of UltraViolet is a significant milestone by the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, LLC, as it represents an industry-wide effort to bridge the physical and streaming worlds of media distribution.  Warner’s release of Horrible Bosses and Green Lantern will be available online, via computers, iPhones, iPads to those who purchase the DVDs or Blu-ray discs.  It is in the first stage, as the future promises availability of content on an operator’s set-top box as well.

Interestingly, Surewest’s imminent deployment of Seachange international’s T-Commerce application is taking a different approach to merging physical and streaming media.  In phase 1 of their implementation, customers will be able to purchase DVDs from the convenience of their remote control by selecting a “Watch Now” icon from the VOD menu or within the program.  Thanks to an arrangement with a third-party fulfillment house, Surewest customers will receive a copy of the DVD via traditional mail.   This promises to be a convenient way for a customer to purchase a title they wish to view multiple times.

It will be interesting to see which approach proves to be more popular with the customer.

The Connected Yahoo!

How do you hide the complexity from the consumer?  This question, raised by Russ Schafer, Senior Director, Global Consumer and Business Marketing (Developer, Advertiser, Channel) at Yahoo!, may be the most important one in determining the success of interactive television.   He suggested that ease of use and convenience are critical to ensure customer adoption.  Yahoo has quietly been building a presence in interactive television through its presence online and as part of the connected TV.  Click here to view a video interview we had with Schafer  and read some of his comments from the TV Next Conference.

Some Short Thoughts and Tweets:

  • Open Range, Rural Wireless Provider, Files for Bankruptcy  – will this be the  Solyndra of the Telecom Industry?
  • “If I was 25 and just getting out of college, I probably wouldn’t buy a TV. I would buy an iPad.” – panelist at TV Next 2011 – me too.
  • Could the Xbox LIVE announcement regarding partnering with content and distribution partners be bigger than last week’s iPhone4s?
  • Correction:  In our previous issue, HickoryTech was incorrectly identified as Hickory Tech.

The Korner – Local Content Success Story – Schools, Community and a Local Presence 

Schools provide opportunities for building stronger communities.  They provide a reason for people of different backgrounds to meet and pursue a common goal; educating kids.  Schools serve as a central meeting point for the community at large and both the community and the schools benefit when there are strong ties between the educational institutions and other local entities.

This image exemplifies the positive results of a close tie between a community organization and the local school system.  Ryan Thompson, CEO and General Manager of Santel Communciations Cooperative and Mitchell Telecom in South Dakota, sent this picture of a high school football game that they filmed and distributed on their IPTV networks.  The TV above the snack bar provides a glimpse of the coverage that encompasses approximately 150 events per year.

The secret to their local content success story is board/management support and finding those individuals who have the passion to create something out of nothing. Thompson explained to me that Scott Peper, Mitchell Telecom Subsidiary Manager, and Greg McCurry, Santel marketing manager, are the ones who found creative ways to work with the schools and other local institutions to create a channel that serves their community.

As Thompson put it, “I couldn’t be more pleased with their efforts, especially considering they’ve done this all on the top of the many others things small technology company employees need to do every single day.”

Look for the specifics of the different approaches these individuals took to achieve local content success in a future issue.

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