An airplane at the Museum of Flight in Greybull WyomingDriving along at 110 miles per hour, it is easy to overlook how difficult it was for the pioneers who carved out the trails that grew to be the asphalt-paved network of roads and highways that facilitate commerce across this great country. Similarly, the copper infrastructure started by the early communications pioneers is giving way to all-fiber networks. The only way to gain an appreciation for the vast expanses of the heartland and the importance of a robust communications and highway infrastructure is on the ground; flying over just isn’t the same. I have been spending quite a bit of time the past few weeks driving around the heartland.

Futurist David Zach speaks at the TOC.At the TOC in Fargo North Dakota, noted futurist David Zach, discussed the importance of connections in this brief video interview. His thought-provoking keynote at the TOC gave attendees a glimpse of applications that will continue the need for greater bandwidth to the person; bandwidth everywhere. One of the visions he painted was the idea of contact lenses whereby the images that one sees could be changed out, depending on what the individual wants to see. So, my spouse might be able to change upgrade the image of me to Brad Pitt through a download; the 21st century version of beer goggles.  Click here to watch our video interview with David Zach.

[note; to see some images of the TOC, click here]

ViodiTV @ WSTA coverage brought to you by Solarus

ViodiTV @ WSTA coverage brought to you by Solarus

Click here to watch Dave Burstein of DSL Prime and Steve Ross of Broadband Properties for their interview of each otherThe next video interview is a definite upgrade in terms of the on-air talent. First, Dave Burstein of DSL Prime fills in for me as he interviews Steve Ross of Broadband Properties. In his WSTA speech, Ross prescribed a high fiber diet to reduce churn as well lay the groundwork for new services and increased economic development in rural areas. He suggested that the current approaches to video are being commoditized and that telcos need to look for value-add services.   In his speech, Burstein gave WSTA attendees ideas as to how to remain competitive with cable. [thanks Steve and Dave for filling in for me].  

The reason I was not in front of the camera for the video interview with Steve Ross and Dave Burstein was that I was busy preparing for a US Telecom Webinar which I found myself moderating. Cable/IPTV Consultant Dick Jones, Attorney John Hane of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLC and Surewest’s Product Marketing Manager, Jaime Montes gave an excellent overview of challenges of content acquisition and packaging. I appreciate their efforts to make this a worthwhile event. This highly recommended webinar was recorded and is available for 90 days online.  Click here to view. 

Products on the Move

Kudos to long-time Viodi sponsor, Innovative Systems, for their 100th order of APMAX within 12 months of its introduction. Used in conjunction with Nortel’s CS1500 softswitch, this South Dakota designed and manufactured device allows telcos to offer their customers features such as caller ID on TV, unified messaging and conference calling.     

Cellular backhaul is a topic of a panel at this week’s RICA Annual Meeting in Chicago. In a timely email, Tac Berry reports that Engage Communications has substantially reduced the amount of bandwidth required for back-hauling cellular traffic from base station. The upshot of their solution is that standard off-the-shelf wireless radios can be used for cellular backhaul. 

The Sony-Cable MSO deal regarding integration of Tru2Way (formerly OCAP) into televisions is big news and in an indication that this technology is moving into the mainstream– the announcement of the MOU was just on CNN. Momentum is definitely building for this approach to interactive television. 

Bagel Walk Victory

Click here to watch the video of the WSTA Bagel Walk 2008Foot power is a form of transportation I haven’t used nearly enough in the past few months. So, I jumped at the chance to join in the Bagel Walk at the WSTA Convention last week. Actually, I didn’t jump, as it was a 6:30 AM start. The real motivation was guilt, as Roger was going to film the event for ViodiTV and I figured I better go with him in the name of teamwork; little did I know that I would become part of the story.

Unlike many of the roads I have been traveling on lately, the Bagel Walk had no destination other than the starting line. The objective is to predict how long it will take to complete the course and the one closest to win the prize. It is a race that anyone can win, regardless of physical ability. I would like to say that knowing one’s self is the key to success, but my Bagel Walk victory is due to the sage advice and similar pace of the Iversons of Amherst Telephone. 

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