Viodi View – 08/09/2014

Computer on top of a Prius optimized for best WiFi reception.
Optimized WiFi Reception

“High speed and reliable broadband is becoming as essential as water and electricity,” to paraphrase what I heard last week from a general manager of a provider that offers all three of those services. I have had many opportunities to reflect on those comments, as my travels since then took me to the Southwestern U.S. where water and broadband are often in short supply. Continue to bottom of this newsletter to read some of the random thoughts from someone who was broadband starved over the past week.


FCC Acts to Improve Rural Broadband Service with $100M Fund- Census Blocks Released by Alan Weissberger

An image of Redwood Estates, an area of Silicon Valley that has some high-cost broadband locations.
Click to read more

Roughly 10% of the U.S., mostly in remote rural areas, is eligible to take advantage of $100 million the Federal Communications Commission is allocating for improvements in rural broadband service.  The FCC this week released a list of the U.S. Census blocks that would qualify for a piece of the $100 million fund the agency created earlier this month. Interestingly, there are several locations in the county of Santa Clara, home to Silicon Valley, that are unserved and potentially eligible to receive support.

Click here to read more.


Network Neutrality is Dead: Netflix deal with AT&T; VZ Throttling- FCC? by Alan Weissberger

Netflix announced last week that it had agreed to pay AT&T for a direct “peering” connection to AT&T’s network. The two companies arranged the deal this past May and have been working since then to connect their respective networks. AT&T had been pressing Netflix to pay for an upgraded connection between their networks since at least March when Netflix asked for a free peering arrangement.

Click here to read more.


Lights, Set-Top, Action

An image of the CableLabs NCTA 2014 Cable Show demonstration of an Internet of Things demonstration showing how lights can be controlled by a set-top based on the content being viewed.
Click to view

What happens when you mix a home lighting system with a set-top box? Clark Stevens of CableLabs demonstrates this unlikely convergence of the so-called Internet of Things and how CableLabs envisions being able to help cable operators create applications that marry these two disparate “things” into a better experience for the consumer (e.g. viewer hits the play button on the remote and then the lights dim).

Click here to view.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • Wow, if this idea turns into legislation it would remove the operator as middleman and seemingly end blackouts and retransmission disputes.
  • @MATTatACA Financial Panel — I still remember the guy from last year’s panel I thought kept saying, “content craters…” Cre-A-tors! 🙂
  • Roger Bindl gets a bird’s-eye view – filming from a bucket truck.
  • Frank Chindamo’s latest venture brings his comedy to the room. Great idea.

The Korner – Random Notes from a Summertime Journey Through the Southwest

An image of human shadows on a wall of the Grand Canyon.
Ancient petroglyph???

The great thing about portable electronics and broadband is that one can work anywhere or anytime. This isn’t necessarily a good thing if one is trying to recharge and disconnect from work. Of course, my work with Viodi isn’t really work, as it is fun and its impossible to turn off thinking about the next issue of the Viodi View.

Here are some of my observations from my week-long journey to the 4 corners and beyond.

  • Reception of WiFi was extremely poor inside the car. Had to move the lap-top outside the car for adequate reception.
    WiFi using Comcast hot spot.

    Operators need creative ways to convince owners of 2nd homes to sign up for broadband. A part-timer plan was highlighted in the previous issue of the Viodi View as one such way. Based on my experience with my brother-in-law, another approach would be to bundle broadband into something like a home monitoring service, specifically designed for second home owners.

  • As it was, the 4G wireless hot spot, that my brother-in-law thought was broadband, didn’t meet the needs of someone who had to upload several 100+ Megabyte video files over the course of several days. As a work-around, one morning, I did pay the equivalent of $70/month for a decent broadband connection (with a free cup of coffee as a bonus). This wasn’t ideal, as, besides being against my inherent thriftiness, the coffee shop wasn’t open late at night when I wanted to upload the files.
  • This gave me a chance to use the Comcast app to locate their WiFi hotspots. The app identified multiple businesses which had Comcast hotspots where I could “roam” without an extra charge.
  • Computer on top of a Prius optimized for best WiFi reception.
    Optimized WiFi Reception

    It was difficult to receive the signal outside the business (the hot spots were most likely built into the indoor, Comcast-supplied cable modem/wireless routers). This meant placing the laptop next to a business’ window or, in the case when my car was my portable office space, the laptop had to be placed on top of the car to avoid the shield effects of a big metal container. Properly positioned, the WiFi connection worked great.

  • The Comcast app shows the name of the business and address of the business. It also showed the name and address of one location that looked to be that of a resident. Although the information provided really isn’t any different than what one would find in a telephone directory, one has to wonder if the average consumer realizes their information will be included in an app for the public to see.
  • T-Mobile’s coverage is inferior compared to its competitors in rural America. This is something observed from years of traveling with colleagues who have AT&T and Verizon and was reinforced by the lack of coverage found on this trip. With the Sprint merger off the table, perhaps one approach is for T-Mobile to partner once again (like they did years ago in Iowa) with small carriers and others to give them coverage and feet on the street in rural America.
  • Meanwhile, with a new CEO, what will Sprint do? Will Sprint land back in the arms of the cable operators that helped give birth to its wireless operation some two decades ago? Will they, as Alan Weissberger asks, focus on being a carrier’s carrier?
  • An image of a Google Fiber billboard in Provo, Utah.
    Google Fiber in Provo, UT

    Speaking of which, Windstream’s spin-off of its network from it operations is interesting. As a REIT, the actual network and associated equipment may be closer in structure to that of data centers. In the long-term will this mean that the Windstream operations group might branch into running network infrastructures for other entities, such as municipalities?

  • Regarding a former municipal-owned fiber faculty, I snapped a photo of this Google Fiber billboard in Provo, Utah promoting their broadband offering. Simple message from a company that is adept at cutting through the clutter.
  • Sometimes its good to put down the broadband and stop and smell the flowers.
    Smelling the flowers

    Visiting National Parks and other points of interest, I found myself yearning for good wireless broadband to power the augmented reality apps that may or may not exist. There were a couple practical reasons for this desire; 1) not everyone likes to read park information signs and there is often tension between the readers and the lookers in a group, 2) When the projector breaks (as it did at the Grand Canyon), it would be nice to be able stream it to a personal device. Then again, maybe it is better just to be disconnected for a few days.

The Autonomous Vehicle and What It Means

Editor’s Note:

An automobile industry executive and subject matter expert, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote the article that follows this preface. It is in response to my June 2nd article that speculated on Google’s long-term plans for the autonomous vehicle. This article provides additional insight into the AV market with some excellent references, while having some more fun imagining the type of vehicles we may see in the future.

Graph showing evolution of the vehicle in the digital age.
Image courtesy of Michael Robinson and ED Design

This article also introduces images from ED Design’s Michael Robinson, a Hall of Fame vehicle designer and leader in “Experiential Design”. He is at the forefront of determining what autonomous vehicles (whether on wheels, rails or wings) will look like and their impact on society. He wants to ensure that, in addition to achieving a safety goal of zero accidents, the autonomous vehicle doesn’t kill the love affair people have had with their cars (check out the presentation he gave to the Passenger Experience Conference in April of this year).

More importantly, he wants the autonomous vehicle to be an extension of the future digital home; an environment that stimulates emotions and thoughts and not one that is simply a mobile couch potato transporter. As he points out, removing the steering wheel changes everything as far as vehicle design and he even suggests a scenario where regulators outlaw steering wheels and driver-less cars are mandatory in 2040 (coincidentally, the same year as my story takes place).

It is important for broadband providers to stay abreast of the direction of the AV market and the thinking of visionaries like Robinson and the anonymous author of the following article, as this mobile Internet of Things, known as autonomous vehicles, will have an impact on broadband networks at some level. Broadband providers will either find new opportunities in this arena or let the Googles of the world grab the opportunity.


The Autonomous Vehicle and What It Means by Anonymous Contributor from the Automobile Industry

Ever since the Google Car made its debut in May, we have been inundated with articles on the autonomous vehicle (AV), for good or for bad.

An image showing how swarms of insects and birds as an analogy for what autonomous vehicles will do in the future.
Image courtesy of Michael Robinson and ED Design

The fact of the matter is that the AV is here to stay. This is most definitely confirmed by Carlos Ghosn in his address to the French Automobile Club on Tuesday, June 3. Mr. Ghosn lauded the UN’s accomplishment of successfully pushing through an amendment to Article 8 of the 1968 Convention on Road Traffic which allows for AV driving if, and only if, AV “systems can be overridden or switched off by the driver.” In his address he stated that “the problem isn’t technology, it’s legislation, and the whole question of responsibility that goes with these cars moving around … and especially who is responsible once there is no longer anyone inside.”

Knowing that the AV is not going away, governments have begun addressing the AV legal framework, such as California in the United States. More recently, UK Science Minister David Willets has called for a change in UK road laws to accommodate the AV. Therefore, if governments are using monetary resources to develop legal frameworks, then the AV is not a passing fad, but a paradigm shift in the way we will live and view transportation for the next one-hundred years.

With that said, what the AV means to our way of life is very simple. The automobile will no longer be viewed as a status symbol because most people will not own automobiles. Instead, the AV will be looked at as a service. We will reserve our AVs through reservation service providers based on the litmus test of Time, Place, and Occasion (TPO). For example, I have made a short list of AVs which could be available based on a TPO for Yokohama, Japan:

  • No Thrills (Basic AV to get you to/from Points A and B. Has reclining sofa chairs and relaxing music and images so you can sleep well during the commute. Imagine going to work in an Enya video.)
  • Shopping Mall (Large Size AV with security compartments for valuables. Great for people who enjoy shopping at different stores but who don’t want the worry of getting anything stolen.)
  • Family Trip (For families who want to go somewhere for a weekend or holiday. Has essentials for short trips, such as refrigerator, food storage, Internet, DVD, and Radio.)
  • Work Commute (For people working during their commute. Has all the desk essentials, TV Conferencing Equipment, plus coffee maker, tea pot, toaster, and breakfast, lunch, or dinner foods)
  • Business Meeting (Same as Work Commute but a larger size AV arranged in boardroom style)
  • Car Pool (Same as Work Commute but a larger size AV so people have room to work and not disturb one another. Great for people working in the same office building or business area.)
  • Image showing what a vehicle might look like without a steering wheel.
    Image courtesy of Michael Robinson and ED Design

    Tea Time (The tea time AV could come in three sizes: S, M, L. It would be like a restaurant booth equipped with all the tea time essentials, such as water, pot, cakes, sandwiches, scones, and a variety of tea and coffee. For those traveling in Yokohama’s China Town, it could be equipped for Chinese tea time.)

  • Game Center (Japanese love to play video games. This AV could come in three sizes: S, M, L)
  • Karaoke Kar (A Karaoke AV complete with its own Karaoke system and beverages. For those at the legal drinking age, it would come with alcohol.)

And for the #1 Japanese AV……

  • LOVE MOTEL (Yep, You got it! A Japanese-style love hotel on wheels. Equipped with a waterbed and all the love hotel essentials. Need I say More.)

Viodi View – 05/27/14

Beware of the Unseen Competitor was a title of an article written many years ago that warned broadband operators of the rise of competitors from completely different market sectors. Of course, it is the Internet and the intelligence of the things that helps turn products into mere features and brings in competition from seemingly disparate industries. In the Korner below, there is an example of this sort of disruptive development that could signal a revolution in the transport industry.


FCC Net Neutrality Proposal Stirs Up Controversy- Reclassify or Not? by Alan Weissberger

An image of Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC,.
FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler (image courtesy of FCC.gov)

On May 15th the FCC Commissioners narrowly voted to approve a framework for rules that would create an Internet fast lane, while trying to patch up the loopholes that would make that fast lane possible. The proposal from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler would ban broadband providers from blocking or slowing down websites, but leaves the door open for them to strike deals with content companies for preferential treatment, or fast lanes to customers.

Click here to read the rest of Weissberger’s article and add to the lively discussion that follows.


Cable Show 2014 Musings

The following are some observations from and reactions to the recent 2014 Cable Show.

A picture of the Comcast booth at the Cable Show 2014
Click to read more
  • Impressive Demos
  • Open Up DNS, Comcast
  • Is it a Revolution or More of the Same
  • Freedom to Be Creative
  • Tap a WiFi Hot Spot
  • 4K, 4K, 4K
  • Stay Tuned

Click here to read more.


The Name Says It All

Ken Pyle with Steve Weed of Wave Broadband at the ACA Summit 2014
Click to view

CBO (Community Broadband Operator) might be a better term to describe operators traditionally described as CATV (Community Antenna TeleVision). The vision of Steve Weed, CEO of Wave Broadband, and his team has become reality as they now have more broadband customers than video subscribers. With that context, he looks forward to the day, in the not-too-distance future, when a new form of Over-the-Top video provider – a virtual MSOs (Multichannel System Operators) – ride over Wave Broadband pipes, giving consumers more choice in video packages and bringing more value to the broadband connection.

Click here to read more and view.


An Incremental Approach to SDN/NFV

Ken Pyle interviews Andy Randall of Metaswitch
Click to View

“All the intelligence and all the value is moving into software in the cloud,” said Andy Randall, GM Networking Business Unit & SVP Corp Development of Metaswitch. Randall talks about the transition to using commodity hardware with software defining how that hardware is used. Ultimately, a software-based approach will allow for operators to be more nimble in responding to customer and market demands.

Click here to view.


Are the Internet of Things (IoT) & Internet of Everything (IoE) the Same Thing? by Alan Weissberger

An image of an Internet Connected Water shut-off valve is shown.
Click to read more.

For quite some time, Cisco and Qualcomm have used the term Internet of Everything (IoE) to describe what almost everyone else refers to as the Internet of Things (IoT). McKinsey Global Institute’s Disruptive Technologies report calls out the Internet of Things (IoT) as a top disruptive technology trend that will have an impact of as much as $6 Trillion on the world economy by 2025 with 50 billion connected devices!

Click here to read more.


TiECON Flash: U.S. Dept of Commerce & TiE in Partnership to Promote Exports by Alan Weissberger

TiE Silicon Valley President Venk Shukla kicked off TiECon (The Indus Entrepreneurs annual conference) by stating that “wealth creation through entrepreneurship” was TiE’s principal mission (or reason for being).  Also, that TiE was “deeply ingrained in Silicon Valley” through its members (over 11,000 from over 50 countries) which are at start-ups, established companies, VCs and private equity firms. The surprising announcement at TiECon is that the U.S. Dept of Commerce and TiE have entered a partnership to promote TiE U.S. member companies products and/or services that are sold abroad.

Click here to read more.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • One step down, two to go. Big thanks to the city for bringing San Jose one step closer to getting 
  • Live demo of a voice to calendar feature that took about 8 hours development at #mforum14Wow!
  • Using Amazon Web Services as a virtual lab to test 20M circuits. 1/60th cost. Great idea. #mforum14

The Korner – The Software Driven Car

A picture of an electric vehicle from LIT Motors at CES 2014.
Click to view and read more

As simple and as safe as a car combined with the benefits of a motorcycle is what LIT Motors promises with its C-1 electric vehicle. With a projected range of almost 200 miles, a top speed of over 100 miles per hour and anticipated pricing in the mid-20 thousands (before tax credits), the C-1 (working name) has potential to be a game-changer for transportation in urban areas.

The real revolution, however, may be in the way this company has done so much to turn one man’s vision into reality a relatively small investment (measured in the millions) and short amount of time. A handful of people created the prototype on display at CES. They are set up more as a Web 2.0 company, than an automobile company, as evidenced by their use of crowd-funding (for their $6,000, electric cargo scooter,Kubo), use of social media and direct relationship with the end customers.

And although they still have to set up manufacturing for mass-production, their relatively small investment gives them the flexibility to try new business models (e.g. think licensing, maybe open sourcing, etc.) that allow others to manufacturer and even market their vehicle designs. The interesting thing is that a brand that would license such a vehicle might not even be from the automobile space.

Click here to read more and view the video.

Are the Internet of Things (IoT) & Internet of Everything (IoE) the Same Thing?

Introduction:

For quite some time, Cisco and Qualcomm have used the term Internet of Everything (IoE) to describe what almost everyone else refers to as the Internet of Things (IoT).

Qualcomm says on its IoE web page

“When smart things everywhere are connected together, we will be able to do more and be more. This is the Internet of Everything (IoE), a paradigm shift that marks a new era of opportunity for everyone, from consumers and businesses to cities and governments….”

“Qualcomm is creating the fabric of IoE for everyone everywhere to enable this Digital Sixth Sense.”

Cisco defines the Internet of Everything (IoE) as bringing together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – turning information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunity for businesses, individuals, and countries.

But is that the same as the IoT? And how do they both relate to Machine-to-Machine communications (AKA M2M)?


Network Gives Value to “Things” at Cisco:

Cisco devoted several sessions to the IoE at its flagship Cisco Live conference this week in San Francisco, CA:

  1. ITMGEN-4113 –  Delivering Value in an Internet of Everything World
  2. BRKNMS-2703 –  Managing the Internet of Everything
  3. BSAIoT-2400 –  The Transition to the Internet of Everything: Architectures and Use Cases
  4. GENKEY-2400 –  The Internet of Everything Ecosystem – Bringing IT and OT Together with the Internet of Things
  5. BRKIOT-2020 –  The Evolution from Machine-to-Machine (M2M) to the Internet of Everything: Technologies and Standards
  6. ATE-CL342 –  What Does the Internet of Things Mean to You?
  7. PSOIoT-2000 –  How will the Internet of Things Help your Business?

We liked this statement from one of the above IoT session abstracts: “The value of the Internet of Things is realized through networked connections of physical objects and devices. These connections are crucial for the transition to an Internet of Everything…”  But what exactly does that mean?

At Cisco Live, CEO John Chambers said the Internet of Everything (IoE) has changed the way the world looks at data and technology. Future IT industry growth will come from the IoE, which is generally referred to as the sharing of data between smart devices over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

Chambers said:

“The simple concept, as you move forward with IoE, is that you have to get the right information at the right time to the right device to the right person to make the right decision. It sounds simple, but it is very, very difficult to do, and is almost impossible to do without our architecture….”

Mala Anand, Sr VP of Software and Service Platforms at Cisco, attempted to clarify the difference (from Cisco’s perspective) between the Internet-of-Things and the Internet-of-Everything at the Cisco Live session titled: The Internet of Everything Ecosystem – Bringing IT and OT Together with the Internet of Things .

Ms. Anand opined the Internet-of-Everything begins with the Internet-of-Things, which she explained is the movement driving connectivity into devices that were previously not connected.  “The Internet-of-Everything is a paradigm with a promise of business transformation at scale,” she said.   The “business transformation and value at stake” includes: asset utilization, employee productivity, supply chain/logistics, customer experience, and innovation.

Ms. Anand outlined three types of Internet-of-Everything connections:

  1. machine-to-machine, a.k.a. M2M (i.e. robots, sensors, etc.)
  2. machine-to-people
  3. people-to-people (i.e. social networking)

This world of IoE creates a different level of complexity with hyper-distributed environments, according to Anand.  She stressed the need to build a partner ecosystem that drives interoperability and support for a platform that can drive new sources of value and business models.  Indeed, Cisco partners Intel, NetApp and EMC also spoke at this Cisco Live session.

Anand reiterated previous forecasts made by Cisco executives – that the Internet-of-Everything will evolve into a $19 trillion market (“value at stake”) in the next few years.


IoT = IoE at Qualcomm?

During his opening keynote at TiECon 2014, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf made no such distinction between IoE (the term they use) and IoT (mainstream term).  Steve implied that Qualcomm believed that the Internet of Things (IoT) was the same thing as the Internet of Everything (IoE).

He said IoE was an extension of Qualcomm’s existing business as it requires both mobile connectivity and wireless LANs (e.g. WiFi, Zigbee, etc).  

Note that Qualcomm now owns Atheros Communications- a leading chip maker for WiFi and other wireless LANs.

“Qualcomm is building a portfolio of products to enable the Internet of Everything (IoE),” Steve Mollenkopf said.  “Scale is very important to deliver on the very large surface area that will exist for the IoE,” he added.

What about “wearables?” “Health monitoring and wireless healthcare in general is a great, but different opportunity for Qualcomm. What’s needed is for the health care industry to fully embrace innovation in the IT industry. The supply chain for wearables is an opportunity for Qualcomm,” Mollenkopf added.


IoT – A Top Disruptive Trend Giving Rise to Multiple Market Segments:

McKinsey Global Institute’s Disruptive Technologies report calls out the Internet of Things (IoT) as a top disruptive technology trend that will have an impact of as much as $6 Trillion on the world economy by 2025 with 50 billion connected devices! Many are predicting 20 or 25 billion connected devices by 2020.

For sure, IoT will be a huge market, but not monolithic.  Each vertical industry will have its own opportunities and challenges. Lack of industry standards, security (business), and privacy (consumer) are the biggest obstacles for IoT to overcome and be successful. These issues must be resolved for IoT to reach it’s promise and potential.

We’re still not sure if IoT and IoE are two acronyms for the same term or something different. We’ll let the reader be the judge of that.

Viodi View – 02/06/14

Watching the Superbowl at the NTCA 2007 Convention.
Click Image to View

The first time Peyton Manning was in the Super bowl, I watched with 2,000+ others at the 2007 NTCA Annual Convention. Unfortunately for Manning, this year’s results weren’t the same and, unfortunately, for me, I didn’t get a chance to attend this week’s NTCA event, now known as RTIME.  Fortunately, we have a video from the 2007 event that provides glimpses of my rural friends who, in part, are an inspiration for an all-consuming project described below in the Korner.

Click here to view the video shot before the advent of the smartphone or tablet.


The Machine to Human Connection

An example of the Man-Machine Connection at International CES 2014. Robots being used for advertising. A new definition of the sandwich board.
Click Image to View

If the Internet of Everything is the future, then International CES 2014 is a good indication of where we are going. One word that describes CES 2014 is connected. Everything seemed to be connected in one form or another. This idea of machine-to-machine interfaces showed up in things ranging from sump pumps to door locks to automobiles.

Click here to read more and view and stay tuned for more of our exclusive coverage of CES.


A New Definition of Smart Water

An image of an Internet Connected Water shut-off valve is shown.
Click Image to View

Given the historic drought in California, finding ways to reduce water use is critical for homeowners and businesses alike. Products like the ones that Kevin Meagher, VP & GM Smart Home of Lowes, discusses a way to automatically detect water leaks and, if the leaks are really a flood, automatically shut off the water to the house. And, even better for earthquake prone Californian, Lowes has solution for detecting gas leaks and turning off gas to the home.

Click here to read more and view.


Smart Devices – Smart Network – Social Benefit

Luis Sosa of Yezz, DDM Brands discusses how SocialMesh Neworking could be a boon for various applications.
Click Image to View

Luis Sosa, CEO of DDM Brands points out that a SocialMesh network approach to wireless will bring benefits to society. He brings an interesting perspective to this topic, as his company has been serving markets with less than ideal wireless infrastructures. As a manufacturer and designer that focuses on these markets, they have introduced innovations that fit the needs of the consumers in smaller markets.

Click here to read more and view.


FCC’s “All IP” Network Transitions Trials – What to Expect

An image of a typical VoIP adapter.
Click Image to Read More

At its January 30th Open Commission Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission  (FCC) voted to approve a petition AT&T had filed (in November 2012) to conduct trials of an “all-Internet Protocol (IP) network” that would eventually replace the PSTN and TDM networks now used extensively in the U.S.  The transition will be from plain Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) delivered over 2 wire copper subscriber loops to feature-rich voice services using Internet Protocols, to be delivered over coaxial cable, fiber, or wireless networks.

Click here to read Weissberger’s thoughts on what to expect and who benefits.


Augmenting the Local Caregiver’s Abilities via Google Glass

Telemedicine with Google Glass - image courtesy of Wound Care Advantage
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Telemedicine is the kind of practical application that may make Google Glass and other wearable technologies into something revolutionary. Pristine, a company that claims to be the only company that has developed commercially available Glass-software that meets HIPPA regulations, has partnered with Wound Care Advantage (WCA) to be the first to use Google Glass to help deliver outpatient wound care.

Click here to read more.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • @CullenHMcCarty: “FirstNet present is too vague. Partner how? I don’t see it. You’re not selling me here. Message fail. #RTIME14
  • @AjitPaiFCC “Can I text in my vote” on the Text to 911 order. Laughter ensues.
  • “Response from PSAPs has been underwhelming” w/regard to text-911 capabilities. “Time for them to do their part” FCC Wheeler
  • Produced too late for last Sunday’s Super Bowl, check out this 30 second spot.
  • Just got the heads up that TV white spaces pioneer Adaptrum will soon launch their ACS 2.0 product line, which allows for point-to-point or point-to-multipoint operation with up to 13 Mb/s throughput using a single 6 MHz channel over a frequency range of 400 MHz to 1 GHz. From the preview this reporter has seen, this could be a great tool for an operator to extend broadband to locations that would otherwise not be economically feasible. A good primer on deployment of technology in real-world conditions can be found here.

The Korner – Building a Playground – Building a Community

An image showing the Wienermobile and the fundraising table next to it.
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Readers and viewers who follow Viodi on various social outlets may have seen some somewhat odd messages lately about dancing bunnies, wiener dogs meeting Wienermobiles and S.J. Sharkie mixing it up with a bunch of kids. Let me explain the background and the bigger picture behind these seemingly off-topic dispatches.

One of the things that inspires me about the people who work for independent communications companies in rural America is how deeply woven they are into the fabric of their communities; the technician may be the mayor, the marketing person may sit on the economic development board and the owner might be a volunteer fire fighter. As locally owned telecommunications’ companies, these businesses become sort of commercial anchors connecting their communities both electronically and physically by their employees’ presence.

In the rural areas served by my telecom friends, the economics don’t support the same level of paid employees that one finds in urban areas, so citizen volunteers are essential to a thriving community. As a result, there appears to be less of divide between the governed and the local government in rural America, as compared to urban America.

A fun video showing a hidden gem in America's heartland.
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And though income levels may vary widely in small town America, they don’t divide like they do in the urban areas. When you are in a town of 2,000 people, there isn’t much choice as to the restaurants you go to, the schools your kids attend or the church where you pray. People of different incomes are forced to live together and help each other out when disaster strikes.  Kids grow up knowing that adults are looking after them, as well as watching them to make sure they are on the straight and narrow (see Search Institute’s 40 Assets).

Click here to read what the above has to do with building a playground in the nation’s 10th largest city.

Viodi View – 01/03/14

An Indestructible Wireless Broadband Network for All – Part 1

Ken Pyle interviews Devabhaktuni Srikrishna and Rajeev Krishnamoorthy on the topic of SocialMesh Networking.
Click to view

With spectrum auctions delayed and actions regarding broadcast retransmission consent sure to be discussed in 2014 and First Net struggling how to build an affordable network, now would be a good time for policy makers to take a closer look at the best way to manage the airwaves. That is one take-way from a recent video interview with the former CTO/founder of Tropos Networks and the founder of Tzero about their ideas for crowd-sourcing wireless. The explosion of smart, personal communications devices changes assumptions made about spectrum use.

Click here to read and view part one of this two-part interview.


Applications Driving the Need for Rural Broadband

Ken Pyle interviews Michael Keeling at the Broadband Communities Summit.
Click to view

It is difficult for lawmakers and regulators to keep up with the rapid pace of technology. Sometimes just a simple change to a law can make a huge difference in removing a road block to implementation of a more efficient way of doing business. In this interview, Michael Keeling discusses parity legislation which has led to an uptake in telemedicine in the 15 states where implemented. Although this legislation is meant to improve the efficiency of health-care delivery, it can also mean the difference life and death in areas where the nearest specialist might be hours away.

Click here to read and view.


TiE-SV Panel: Personalization & Privacy in the Era of Big Data by Alan Weissberger

A picture of a lock and keys symbolizing privacy.
Click to read more

The thin line between targeted content (obtained from on-line data collection/synthesis) and the intrusion of user privacy was explored by moderator Karthik Kannan, Co-founder Cetas and Product/GTM Leader-Pivotal. The panel attempted to address how leading technology companies are working to set the precedent for the right amount of personalization without compromising users’ privacy and security.

Click here to read more.


Know Your Customer’s Business – Part 1

Ken Pyle interviews Jim Farmer at the SCTE 2013 Tech Expo and Conference.
Click to view

Cable industry engineering icon and SCTE Hall of Fame member, Jim Farmer, who retired in August after some 45 years of service to the cable TV industry, discusses some of the people who influenced his career. He also indicates that engineering organizations, such as IEEE and SCTE, were important to his growth as an engineer as well as the growth of the industry. SCTE also provided Farmer with a good opportunity to mix with his customers.He stresses that it is critical for engineers to understand their customers’ business.

Click here to view.


The Korner – Gearing up for International CES by Looking Back

Next week’s International CES will feature the latest in technology. Here are some just published videos from last year’s conference that reflect what is sure to be popular again this year; the Internet of Everything, wearable technology and devices intended to survive the rigors of everyday life. Stay tuned for ViodiTV coverage of International CES 2014.

Water Repellent Protection – Service Provider Opportunity?

A demonstration of a material that repels water.
Click to view

Drop that expensive electronic device in the sink? Liquipel has a solution in the form of a protective coating. What makes this interesting for service providers or anyone with a retail presence is that Liquipel has developed a relatively small unit that allows on site application of their coating. This is be a new revenue opportunity for service providers that bring this capability to their customers.

Click here to view.


Beyond Video — Metadata as Part of the Action

A demonstration and discussion of a way to capture meta-data associated with a camera.
Click to view

Metadata may be in the royal court of content, but collecting it and using it for something useful can be a royal pain. Rigado and its Rebound product solves that problem for people who want to relive their action sport adventure. With 9 sensors, they can provide a rich suite of data including elevation, speed, rotation and impact (for measuring those extreme crashes).

Click here to view.


Continuous Fitness Feedback

A demonstration/discussion of a wearable fitness monitoring device.
Click to view

Keeping New Year’s resolutions, particularly when they are associated with staying in shape, is always a challenge. Even identifying and tracking progress can be overwhelming. Fitbit aims to solve this through a series of low-cost sensors that monitor things such as steps taken, calories burned,  hours slept and quality of sleep. What makes this approach work is that virtually no personal intervention is needed to gather and analyze data (thanks to Bluetooth integration with tablets and smart phones). Another important consideration is that it is unobtrusive and some might even say a fashion statement.

Click here to view.


Vital Signs Monitoring via an iDevice

A demonstration of vital signs monitoring from Zensorium at Pepcom 2013.
Click to view

The Tinke’ from Zensorium turns into an iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone into a tool for monitoring heart rate, respiratory rate and blood oxygen saturation. Although it is not a medical device, it is relatively accurate; for instance, it is within +/- 2 beats per minute and +/- 2 breaths per minute. The real value of this device is the ability to measure the relative improvement in these parameters.

Click here to view.

2013 Cloud Connect Part I: Highlights & Mobile Cloud Issues

Introduction:

The four-year-old Cloud Connect conference, sponsored by United Business Media, was held  April 2 to 5th in Santa Clara, CA.   Having attended all four Cloud Connects, this one was by far the most in depth and comprehensive treatment of Cloud Computing. At last, no more defining terms and debating methods of cloud computing, this year’s conference discussed how the cloud is being used now. And also how business could leverage the cloud for more effective IT operations.  For example, many attendees wanted to know how to make use of a hybrid cloud as they migrate from private to public cloud or look to combine both.

The balance between convenience and security is depicted in this image.
Image Courtesy of Citrix

In this first article of a three (or four) part series on Cloud Connect 2013, we provide what we perceived to be the key takeways and messages.  We also examine how the Mobile Cloud has and will continue to change business operations.  It’s more of a balancing act, with compromises needed between compliance/security vs worker freedom/convenience as shown in the adjacent figure on the left.

Key Themes and Messages:

  • There’s a strong focus on reinventing the data center for cloud computing, using software defined infrastructure, such as virtualized networking and storage as well as software defined networking (SDN).  However, the legacy networking infrastructure from Cloud to Premises is not going away anytime soon.
  • OpenStack is now an acceptable alternative to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for public clouds.  There was much discussion on using OpenStack for private cloud implementations as well.  Openstack was initially promoted by Cloud Service Provider (CSP) Rackspace, but is now endorsed by many other CSPs, including HP. There are many new and well funded OpenStack based start-ups.
  • Virtual networking and SDN are being added to the growing number of OpenStack capabilities by the OpenStack Foundation (OSF).  On April 4th, OSF issued its “Grizzly release,which contains 230 new features for running production-level cloud computing. Networking has lagged servers when it comes to being managed as a virtual resource and in most enterprises, is still tied to a set of hardware resources that are hard to modify. Virtual networking and SDN aim to change that by making the network a logical rather than physical part of the IT and cloud infrastructure. OpenStack’s work on SDN “lets software change the network infrastructure for cloud computing,” according to one knowledgeable conference attendee.
  • Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) is now the defacto way of accessing AWS, replacing the public Internet (and in some cases) private lines. VPS lets the cloud user provision a logically isolated section of the AWS Cloud where resources are launched in a virtual network.  The customer has complete control over the virtual networking environment, including selection of  IP address range, creation of subnets, configuration of route tables and network gateways.
  • Big Data (analytics) and Cloud are a paradigm shift and an architectural change that involves putting data and computing power together as a massive processing unit.  With the explosion in all types of information, businesses need data analytics to be competitive. Organizations need to analyze data from multiple sources and places to gain insights. That data can’t be stored in one place and can even be maintained outside the organization (such as in a private cloud).
  • The reorganization of computing into larger, more demand-responsive cloud-based data centers run by Google, Amazon Web Services, Rackspace and others is part of a shift in business that replaces transaction systems with “systems of interactions,” said Cisco Systems VP of Cloud Computing Lew Tucker.
  • “Analytics becomes business critical” because huge volumes of data will be generated by the Internet of Things (IoT), with billions of devices soon to be connected to the Internet. The billions of connected devices drive a need for cloud storage and cloud analytics.  The creation of big data drives business decision-making and businesses’ need to keep employees in constant collaboration and communication, driving a need for a new style of internal networking: the software-defined network that responds more flexibly to changing conditions, Cisco’s Tucker said.
  • Dimitri Stiliadis, Chief Architect and Co-Founder of Nuage Networks (http://www.nuagenetworks.net/),-a new start-up within Alcatel-Lucent – presented “The True Power of Network Virtualization.”  Nuage has developed a SDN overlay product for inside and outside the data center.  The start-up plans to extend the product to SDN-enabled wide-area networks for the enterprise.  Nuage’s Virtualized Services Platform incorporates a controller, virtual routing and switching, and a virtualized services directory. It builds tunnels between virtual machines running in the same server rack or in different racks in the same or different data centers. It works with cloud-management software from OpenStack, CloudStack and VMware.  This overlay platform was said to be “a novel, open standards approach that fulfills the full promise of massively scalable network virtualization, enabling seamless interconnection of cloud services with existing enterprise environments.”
  • Mobile Cloud is being used as more workers have mobile computing devices, especially tablets and notebooks.  Organizations continue to make use of mobile apps to improve productivity and business process, according to Citrix.  They deployed over 100 third party apps, e.g. Citrix Receiver, Adobe Reader, etc. as well as custom written apps.  Packaged, deployable mobile apps stores for the enterprise are starting to emerge.  (Mobile Cloud is covered in more detail in the next section of this article).
  • PayPal chief information security officer Michael Barrett stated that cloud computing had changed the stakes involved in the security of computer systems. The cloud can provide the computing power to run an attack to decipher passwords. “Password hacking is now the work for script kiddies,” he warned, as opposed to a challenge for skilled hackers backed by massive compute resources.
  • William Ruh, VP and global technology director at General Electric, said business is moving from an analog way of operating to a digital one which will change nearly every aspect of business.  Civilization is moving from the industrial revolution through the Internet revolution and into what he called “the Industrial Internet.”
  • Machines will be connected to the Internet (IoT) and become intelligent through the software they possess that analyzes the information they’re generating. That will contrast with today’s industrial operations where machines are not intelligent and most of the data they generate “isn’t even stored,” Ruh observed.
  • The shift will, “Foundationally change the way machines are built and the way data is collected on them, petabytes of information,” said Ruh. The information will be fed to the operations staffs at utility power plants and other large industrial installations, who will use it to look for efficiencies that we don’t know about today, he said.
  • Case studies are beginning to emerge from a variety of users. The cloud industry has moved beyond case studies from technology innovators, such as Netflix, to rank-and-file companies that are just getting their first cloud computing systems up-and-running.

The Mobile Cloud:

Mobile and cloud are combining to change how the underlying infrastructure of business. Mobile and cloud combine to change how applications are developed, tested and distributed. Mobile changes what features and user experience exists in applications while cloud changes where data should be located and how it will be accessed. Security and management will also change as businesses embrace mobile. Applications will be device aware, location aware and network/cloud aware. But they have to be purpose built, i.e. desktop/workstation apps won’t run on mobile computing platforms- even with 4G access.  And because the demand for mobile cloud apps is uncertain, the mobile cloud must be very flexible in scaling up or down to accomodate the actual number of users for all the mobile apps being supported.  Going forward, business processes will assume an environment of multiple devices with cloud connectivity and running cloud resident mobile apps.

This graph depicts the number of mobile devices and tablets sold versus PCs.
Image Courtesy of Citrix

Before the end of this year there will be more smart phones than PCs, and in 2015 there will be more tablets than PCs as shown in the illustration to the right.

Mobile work styles are becoming the rule rather than the exception in Enterprise IT and traditional methods of securing data behind VPNs will fall short as employees demand business tools that are as easy to use and frequently updated as the ones they use at home.  Unfortunately, legal and regulatory requirements for securing data are no less stringent than they were before the mobile era.  There are compliance issues with laws such as HIPAA and FINRA that apply to data sync and sharing of information/digital content.

In the future, companies will rebuild transform business applications to take advantage of a  range of by using contextual data from all connected devices, including location, time of day, presence and device type. Sensors in the latest devices will also also provide contextual information such as temperature, humidity, motion, and orientation. Applications based on business critical data from connected sensors will be used by many industries, with utility, oil and gas industries leading the way. Transforming business will require businesses to use the cloud and big data processing to turn mobile data into insight in real-time.

In an excellent presentation by Jesse Lipson, Citrix VP of Data Sharing, Managing Data in the Cloud said:  “VPNs are going away.They are clumsy and incovenient for mobile users.”  Other reasons;  there’s more IP outside of the firewall, Mobile Device Management (MDM) and simpler two factor authentication are combining to alleviate the need for VPN access.  Mr Lipson also sees several new trends as a result of mobile data tsunami:

  • Active Directory Integration with Single Sign On (e..g. SAML 2.0)
  • 2 factor authentication going away; perhaps replaced by text message authentication
  • Auto Log-In from mobile devices, especially smart phones
  • On premises storage alive and well due to security, compliance, convenience, and ability to access existing data stores
  • “Open-in…”  enable another application to open in the application being run
  • Device control via MDM software deployed on all enterprise owned mobile devices
  • Other mobile devices, especially laptops are getting more attention for security and control

In the end, enterprise control of mobile devices, data and apps is a balancing act between corporate compliance and security vs employee convenience and productivity.  Each organization must decide how to chose the necessary tools, methods and procedures to ensure that both objectives are met.


Stay tuned for 2013 Cloud Connect Part II which will summarize several market studies and forecasts related to enterprise cloud computing.

Viodi View – 01/18/13

IOT – the Internet of Things is a hot buzzword and understandably so, given that we are on the cusp of an explosion of low-cost sensing capabilities. As suggested in a Forbes article, combining ubiquitous sensing and ubiquitous telecommunications will create a planet-wide, central nervous system. This sort of inter-connectivity was evident in many of the products and services demonstrated at last week’s International CES.


An image from the floor at CES.
Image from the floor at CES

Putting the “P” in CES

The International CES used to be called the Consumer Electronics Show, but in many ways it is probably appropriate that the CEA removed the term Consumer from the name. This show is so big, that it is easy to have expectations of huge announcements that immediately transform society. What excites me, however, are the incremental developments that offer the potential to improve the quality of life and make for a better world; instead of the C standing for consumer, perhaps the focus should be on P for people. Click here to view the Viodi summary video of this big event.


An image of the protected web site for ViodiTV CES video coverage.
CES Coverage Web Site

More CES Videos

  • Interesting interview, filmed and edited by Viodi, with Michael Strobers of Turner talking about how they are using 2nd screen to create richer stories. Using Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) systems they see the 2nd screen as a way to strengthen their relationships with sponsors and viewers.
  • Need content for your local content operation? We have a number of interviews and demonstrations from CES that could fit with a local technology show. Contact us at documonials@viodi.com for licensing information.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • Here is TV – Bruce Eisen’s latest venture provides a straightforward way to help viewers filter through thousands of television shows. Delivered as a daily email, this could be an interesting add-on service for operators wanting to simplify the customer experience.
  • Thanks Erin for organizing the great Raynet reunion last night. It was fun to catch up and turn the gears of time back 20 years and talk of what was, what is and what ifs (If Murph and I only had pursued the pizza and movie delivery service back then, instead of going down the VOD path……). Best of all, it was great to reconnect with some of the people who are part of the thread of a lifetime.
  • More Spectrum – everything you wanted to know about the reverse auctions for the broadcast spectrum can be found at this new FCC web site. –
  • Internet of Things – Turkcell reports a 5% water usage reduction because of Machine to Machine monitoring and control to the 1,200 businesses in the Kocaeli region of Turkey. They are planning to expand monitoring of this precious commodity to the residences in the area.

The Korner – Fiber to an Unusual Place

The image shows an ONT on the side of a building.
Fiber to an Unusual Place

Channeling our inner Bob Eubanks, a question we often asked service providers last year was, “Where was the most unusual place you have deployed fiber optics?” One of the more interesting answers was from Home Telecom’s Will Helmly who described their fiber to the septic tank project. We were lucky enough to capture the essence of that project in an interview with him.

This was the first of several videos we edited for Home Telecom and that have been published on Home Telecom’s YouTube channel. First and foremost the stories from Home Telecom, like so many other locally owned telecom companies, are about the importance of having people in the community to make things happen. As shown by this Fiber to the Septic tank story, the Internet of Things may be ready, but it still needs people and their vision to bring the IoT to life.

Click here to read more and view the video.