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.

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