Viodi View – 03/08/13

Bruce Wolk Being Interviewed by ABC 7.
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Telling the Whole Story

Overwhelmed with information from all outlets, content needs to fit into soundbites and short, focused stories to keep the short attention span of today’s viewer and/or reader. Broadcast television has always been that way and this point was proven to me again over the weekend. Still, for those viewers who want an unedited conversation, broadcast television, particularly the local news, just doesn’t work. One of the advantages of online video is that, for better or worse, the entire story can be told and the people being interviewed can give their entire viewpoint on a topic. Click here to read what I wanted on TV, but which ended up on the cutting room floor.

Big Data Central to Smart Energy

Image of an electronic door lock at the Parks Associates' Smart Energy Summit.
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Big Data was a recurring theme of the ViodiTV interviews at the 2013 Smart Energy Summit.  It is becoming a given that there will be low-cost connectivity between devices both within the home between the home and the cloud(s). Big Data from smart energy results from the collection of information from sensors and exogenous sources (e.g. weather information) which, when mixed together, results in actions that result in great efficiency or increased consumer control, convenience and comfort. Click here for a video overview provides a glimpse of the 25 some interviews that will be released on the Parks Associates and ViodiTV web sites over the coming months.

2013 IDC Directions-Part I: 3rd Platform, Cloud Spending & Apps, Global Economic Trends by Alan Weissberger

Evolution of the IT platform according to IDC.
Image courtesy of IDC

In this first of two articles on the 2013 IDC Directions conference (March 5th in Santa Clara, CA), Alan Weissberger reports on the very impressive opening and closing keynote presentations.  IDC Chief Analyst Frank Gens’ opening keynote presentation stressed the importance of the “3rd Platform,” examined public vs private cloud adoption, and the most likely corporate apps that would be moving to the cloud. Professor Robert Reich’s closing keynote speech provided insight and perspective about the U.S. and global economy. Click here to read more.

Tele-Psychiatry – Better Outcomes While Saving Money

An example of a tele-psychiatry application is given in this video.
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$18 million in Medicaid savings and over 80% reduction in per patient, per day costs ($2,500 to $400) is the windfall realized by the Palmetto State Providers Network (PSPN) due to the implementation of a statewide network that facilitates telemedicine to rural areas, according to a recent report issued from the Federal Communications Commission. PSPN is one of only 50 active programs that are part of the FCC’s Rural Health Care Pilot, which is about identifying ways to use the communications infrastructure to improve the quality of health care for rural Americans. Click here to read more.

Roku – The MSO Set-Top

Jim Funk of Roku describes their latest set-top boxes and their content strategy.
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Jim Funk discusses one of Roku’s newest set-tops – which is really a set-stick – that uses MHL as the interface between the TV and the set-top. Funk also explains how service providers, such as Time-Warner, are using Roku via authentication to allow people to stream to their televisions without need for a traditional set-top box. He also discusses Roku’s content strategy and how it complements both operators and consumer electronic device makers. Click here to view.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • Looking forward to filming interviews at Amercian Cable Association’s 20th Anniversary Summit over the next few days. Please email me any burning questions you would like me to pose to the elected officials I hope to be interviewing.
  • Didn’t realize that former GTE/Verizon content expert, Dick Jones, is now consulting for the NextGen Marketing Group. They provide marketing consulting services to telecom operators and others on a variable rate basis. Seems like a great gig for Dick, as he definitely has lots of knowledge to share (here is an example of his work from a presentation he gave when FiOS had just been announced).
  • Pre-cooling home as part of Demand Response program=fewer Demand Response opt outs and is a form of energy storage #ses2013 #ecofactor

The Korner – The Body Mind Connection – Part 1

The Bodywave brain wave reader is demonstrated.
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The Bodywave device from Freer Logic is a wristband that detects and reads brainwaves. The technology has already been deployed in various professional applications and now consumers will soon see this amazing technology.

Gwen Sorely explains some of the applications, including sensors in a steering wheel that would detect drowsiness or games to help relieve stress and improve concentration. As can be seen at the end of the video, this author had the opportunity to try it at and came away impressed.

This is part 1 of a three-part video interview series with companies on the leading edge of bringing of brain wave technology to the consumer. Click here to view.

Viodi View – 03/08/12

Spring is near and that can only mean one thing; baseball is around the corner.  In the sunny climes of Northern California, baseball has been in full swing since January; at least at the youth level.  So, what does this have to do with telecommunications companies?  Scroll to the bottom to find out the connection between the diamond and the ringtone.

Documonials to Inform, Inspire and Promote

email to transform your marketing

TiE SV Panel on Real Time Video- Changing Social and Mobile Communications by Alan Weissberger

Video communications has become pervasive—on TVs, laptops, desktop computers, mobile devices, even appliances.  For both business and consumers, there are several questions to ponder that will determine the market trajectory for real-time video.  Click here to read Weissberger’s commentary and his reporting on this TiE SV Panel on real-time video changing social and mobile communications.

MEF Announces Carrier Ethernet 2.0 & Connection Oriented Ethernet for Private Clouds by Alan Weissberger

The last week of February marked the launch of the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF)Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0) and new announcements at the very informative Ethernet Technology Summit in San José, CA.  While the conference theme was “Ethernet everywhere” (with special emphasis on the Data Center), there were several presentations on Carrier Ethernet- including a market assessment/forecast as well as its potential as the WAN infrastructure to access Private Cloud services. Click here to read more.

Infonetics’ Carrier Switch & Router Forecast; “Carrier Ethernet Market is Booming” by Alan Weissberger

On February 23rd, 2012 Infonetics Research released excerpts from its fourth quarter 2011 (4Q11) Service Provider Routers and Switches vendor market share report, which analyzes the IP edge router, IP core router, and carrier Ethernet switch (CES) market segments and the manufacturers within them.  Click here to read more.

The Building to Building Singularity

Karl Rabago of Austin Energy
Karl Rabago of Austin Energy

Will we be at the singularity when the number of building-to-building conversations is greater than the number of conversations between the people in those buildings? This is the provocative question posed by Karl Rabago of Austin Energy. Rabago describes a sort of peer-to-peer smart energy management system in this wide-ranging interview at Parks Associates’ Smart Energy Summit in his employer’s namesake city.  He also disputes the idea of the importance of consumer engagement with regards to energy management.  Click here to view.

This is just one of 35 videos we will be releasing from the Parks Associates’ Smart Energy Summit.

ThreeD for DDDummies by Peter Lowten

For some years 3D TV content providers have been seeking overnight success. Heavily researched, beautifully made (mostly cartoon /animated) cinema productions have indeed captivated audiences, and stirred significant investment aimed at bringing the 3D viewing experience into the living room.  January’s CES showed how far we’ve come.

This technology review ain’t about that aspect of 3D.  Click here for this special view of 3D from the ever insightful, Mr. Lowten.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • It was fun to see our friends in Ohio again and am amazed that Roger can bring a wall to life – check out this fun video of how broadband is transforming a community and a region.
  • Looking forward to attending our first ever American Cable Association event next week in Washington D.C.  Sort of back to the future for yours truly, as my career started by working on products that served small cable operators.

The Korner – From Diamonds to Ringtone, It’s All About Community

Commendation at the San Jose City CouncilTo paraphrase former House Speaker Tip O’Neill, all communications is local.  On an NTCA webinar a couple of weeks ago, Kent Larson of CHR Solutions made a statement that reinforces this idea, when he said that, “Loops cannot be outsourced.”   He made the argument that, to some extent, parts of a telecom operators’ business can be outsourced, but the last mile network is their bedrock.

The implication is that there needs to be local employees who maintain, operate, understand and serve the needs of the community to deliver on the promise of an advanced telecommunications network.  In my travels across America, these are the people who are the community.  With the full support of their employers, they are the ones volunteering for the fire departments, school boards and city council.

Click here to read the rest of this post and the link between this picture and telecom operators.


Viodi View – 06/15/2009

The week before last, Roger Bindl and I had a chance to document innovations and innovative ideas at Parks Associates’ Connections Conference. The fun thing about the Connections Conference is that it spans different disciplines and the mix of speakers last week included folks from sectors such as telecommunications, energy, consumer electronics and entertainment. Mitch Singer, CTO of Sony Pictures and president of the DECE, was one of those speakers. He explained how the DECE is trying to make the online video experience as user friendly as DVDs.

Thanks to the Connections Conference, we may have the first video documenting a working demonstration of Qualcomm’s 600 Mb/s WiFi chipset designed for home networking of multiple high definition video signals. Home Networking was a major theme of the conference. In this issue, Alan Weissberger has a comprehensive article on home networking from a panel at a Telecom Council Meeting. Lastly, thanks to a chance encounter at the Connections Conference, I learned how to use the new camcorder capabilities of the G1 Phone.

Some Video Highlights from the Connections Conference Sponsored by Parks Associates

Hope for a Digital Media Distribution Standard

Mitch Singer, CTO of Sony Pictures

Mitch Singer, CTO & Executive Vice President New Media and Technology of Sony Pictures, who provided a keynote address at Parks’ Connections Conference, discusses the relatively new group, DECE, that is trying to bring standards to digital media distribution.  DECE, LLC is made up of content owners, service providers and consumer electronics and offers consumers the promise of media portability and ease of use, while assuring content owners that their content will be protected

A New Twist on Wireless Home Networking

Jason Ellis of Qualcomm shows the new 4 radio WiFi chipset from Qualcomm

Qualcomm announced the doubling of wireless home networking speeds with its chip technology that integrates 4×4 MIMO technology to provide throughputs of up to 600 Mb/s.  Jason Ellis of Qualcomm demonstrates this high speed solution in this brief video.

PlumChoice at Connections 2009

Fred King talks about support services at the Connections Conference

Ken Pyle interviews Fred King of PlumChoice, at CONNECTIONS 2009 in Santa Clara, CA. King explains how they work through service providers and consumer electronic manufacturers to help them help their customers. King suggests that now is a good time to provide remote support services, as people are opting for more frugal behavior and as a result are looking at fixing instead of replacing technology.

Network, Video & More on the Same Cable – HDMI 1.4

Rob Tobias explains the new HDMI 1.4 specification

Rob Tobias of Silicon Image discusses the newly announced HDMI 1.4 specification.  This new specification promises to add networking capabilities to what was traditionally a digital video specification.

Broadband Wireless and the Connected Home – Telecom Council Meeting Review by Alan Weissberger

This article covers the wireless networking aspects of the Connected Home – both inside and out. It is primarily based on the Telecom Council’s May 14, 2009 meeting titled, “The Connected Home: Services and Models.” Trends in delivery of multiple residential services, mobile broadband, home networking, and remote access to the connected home are examined. We also highlight a few related news items from Sling Media (now Echo Star) and Motorola.  Click here to read the rest of the article.

Mobility in the Spotlight at the TIECon 2009 Wireless Sessions by Alan Weissberger

TiEcon is the world’s largest conference for entrepreneurs, focusing on technology markets, entrepreneurial opportunity and innovation. Now in its 16th year, TiEcon 2009 was themed "The BOLD Entrepreneur." The record-breaking attendance of over 3,500 included entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, industry executives, analysts, engineers, and business leaders. TiEcon 2009 lived up to its entrepreneurial spirit by featuring dynamic speakers who showed how they adapted to changing conditions and create their own future, despite a very challenging economic climate. This article reviews two wireless panel sessions, which had a very pragmatic market and business focus.  Click here to read the rest of this article.

TCA Management Conference – I Survived the Tribe

I was extremely honored to participate in the TCA Management conference the week before last, where I had a chance to speak on the topic of local content. Unfortunately, I missed most of the conference, but the excellent binder of material (it was so refreshing to have materials in a traditional form) provided a good summary of the presentations that covered regulatory, marketing, finance and the stimulus.  In addition to the good material, TCA made it a fun event, as the theme was based on the television series, Survivor.

Efficient Video Production with the G1 Phone

Downtown Colorado Springs where the OPASTCO 2009 Convention will be held

I am not a big gadget person – really. I have had the G1 Phone for a couple of months and other than the electronic whoopee cushion application and the Shazam application (listens to music and identifies the song and artist), all of the applications I have downloaded from the Android Market have been ones intended to enhance productivity. So, at the Connections Conference, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the latest version of the Android software enables the recording of videos on my G1 Phone.

The video quality of the G1 can be marginal, especially in low light conditions and especially compared to the Creative or Flip camera I normally use. It cannot be beat for efficiency and ease of distributing the video either on YouTube or via email. The only thing I haven’t figured out is why the share feature doesn’t always work, which is probably just as well, as the world doesn’t need to see most of the videos I take.

The following video was shot while taking an early morning walk through downtown Colorado Springs. When I started my walk, my only plan was to get a little exercise in the brisk Colorado air. As I saw the various monuments and museums, along with the natural beauty of Pike’s Peak, I felt inspired to share what I saw with others, particularly since the upcoming OPASTCO Summer Convention finds its way to Colorado Springs next month. Additionally, I decided it would be kind of fun to present my impromptu creation during my presentation on Local Content (I didn’t).

Hopefully, we will see you in Colorado Springs at the OPASTCO event (July 25th-29th).

Viodi View – 05/27/09

In this issue, Roger Bindl and Margaret Hines of Inspire Marketing report from the 2009 Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association Convention. Alan Weissberger reports on a talk given by famed anti-trust expert, Gary Reback. The comments that follow from Reback and others provide an interesting look at the changing anti-trust climate. Finally, I follow up with a brief summary of a rural-based tech company that wants to change the way telcos offer broadband services.

ViodiTV at WSTA highlightsViodiTV at WSTA 2009

This video provides highlights from the 2009 WSTA Annual Convention. This edition of ViodiTV at WSTA was sponsored by Solarus and Central Cable Contractors. Highlights include Wisconsin PSC Commissioner Mark Meyer, Daniel Hardy and Judd Genda of Axley Brynelson, Gary Evans of Hiawatha Broadband says that local content is the most important thing they do, as it puts smiles on the faces of their customers, Jerry Wilke of RTG, Rob Riordan of Nsight, Andrew Walding of CellStream, Ann Anderson of Lemonweir Valley Tel, and Matt Eversmann of Freeman Phillips LLC. The video wraps up with bagels, brunch, golf, and fish. Check ViodiTV for full interviews with Jerry Wilke on femtocells, Rob Riordan on femtocell applications, Andrew Walding on Evolving TDM to IP, and Matt Eversmann on leadership. A special thanks to Margaret Hines of Inspire Marketing for assisting with interviews.

Andrew Walding discusses how TDM evolves to IPEvolving TDM to IP by Roger Bindl

An interview with Andrew Walding, CellStream, at the WSTA 2009 Annual Convention. Andrew talks about moving from TDM voice to IP voice, and how we’re not really inventing a new wheel, but adapting it. We talk a bit on the flexibility of SIP and his favorite new application and gadget. ViodiTV at WSTA was sponsored by Solarus and Central Cable Contractors.

femtocell perspective from Jerry WilkeFemtocells?!

Margaret Hines Inspire Marketing, interviews Jerry Wilke RTG Executive Director at the 2009 WSTA annual convention on Femtocells. If not already, rural carriers will face new competition from wireless carriers and Wilke provides an example of one rural carrier who found they had lost at least one landline subscriber to a wireless carrier and its femtocell technology. ViodiTV at WSTA was produced by Roger Bindl.

Rob Riordan of Nsight Telservices discusses Femtocell applicationsFemtocell Applications with Rob Riordan by Roger Bindl

Rob Riordan, Nsight, talks about Femtocells. Margaret Hines – Inspire Marketing – interviews Rob at the WSTA 2009 Annual Convention for ViodiTV. Riordan suggests some innovative uses of femtocells, including as a sort of location detection device to remind teenagers to do their chores and homework when they arrive home from school. Beyond improving signal quality, femtocells could facilitate personalized advertisements. Riordan also discusses how femtocells combined with an IP backbone can extend wireless into applications for 1/10 the price of traditional methods. This edition was sponsored by Solarus and Central Cable Contractors.

TIA Forecasts 3.1 Percent Loss for ICT Industry in 2009- Broadband still THE growth driver for telecom by Alan Wwissberger

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), whose primary membership is network equipment vendors, has just released its annual report and outlook for the global telecommunications industry. For the first time in its 23 years of forecasting, TIA predicts a 3.1 % loss for the global ICT Industry in 2009. Further, they anticipate a 5.5 % decline for 2009 US ICT revenue. Much of this loss may be attributed to a 27 % fall in the U.S. broadband equipment market. Click here to read more.

Gary Reback: US Government Must Enforce Antitrust Laws to Encourage Innovation by Alan Weissberger

Gary Reback is one of the nation’s most prominent antitrust attorneys, best known for spearheading the efforts that led to the federal lawsuit against Microsoft. Gary spoke to an attentive and eager audience on May 14th in Santa Clara, CA. The Commonwealth Club and Yale Club of Silicon Valley sponsored his enlightening and provocative talk. Reback’s main message was that the government l’aissez faire policies, so strongly promoted by University of Chicago economists, have gone way too far. As a counter-weight, he says we need more government oversight of the private sector along with more vigilant anti-trust enforcement.  Click here to read more.

Enter a New Gateway

I recently had a chance to catch up with Robert Peterson and Jeff Christensen of Entry Point, LLC based in Idaho Falls and Salt Lake City. Entry Point is an early stage company with a gateway product capable of supporting so-called triple play services, as well as advanced broadband services such as smart meters, femtocells and home security.  Click here to read more.  

Viodi View – 04/17/2009

Security is a state of mind. It can be somewhat an abstract concept until it is pierced by some criminal act. Once breached, there are constant reminders, whether in the form of taller fences or long security lines, of the vulnerability we face due to unsavory actors . We had a recent event on the southern edges of Silicon Valley that pointed to security weaknesses in the telecommunications’ infrastructure.

Could the Outage in Santa Clara County Been Prevented or Alleviated By Alan Weissberger

On Thursday April 9th, Internet, cell phone, and land-line phone service were all out of service for customers in parts of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties. Even 911 calls weren’t going through. The culprit was a gang of rogues that cut 10 AT&T fiber optic cables in 4 different locations. In this article on that disruption, Alan Weissberger makes the argument that WiMAX could have provided a level of redundancy that would have ameliorated the effects of this criminal act.  Click here to read the rest of the article. 

cyberspaceCritical Infrastructures Impacted by Cyberspace By Roger Bindl

Sami Saydjari, president of the Cyber Defense Agency, stressed the importance of maintaining a secure telecommunications infrastructure in this exclusive video interview with Roger Bindl. Bindl was the only video reporter at the Cyberspace Symposium last week in Omaha. This conference was notable in that it received national coverage, especially with regards to the vulnerability of the U.S.’ electrical grid. In this video interview, Saydjari gives his thoughts on the current state of telecom security.  Click here to view the video.

Cyberspace:  The New Battleground By Roger Bindl

In this video clip, Roger provides an overview of the Cyberspace Symposium. This first-ever symposium was important as it was a recognation that cyberspace is another potential battlefield for military planners to master, whether the threat is from terrorist groups or from rogue nations. A change of culture seems to be a common theme of many of the comments and part of this is adapting to and understanding the Web 2.0 world. Click here to view Roger’s summary video of this multi-day event.


Be sure to check in next week for ViodiTV coverage at IP Possibilities… Get the latest news from Metaswitch and Allied Telesis. Keep informed as NTCA sends daily reports including ViodiTV coverage. IP Possibilities is produced by NTCA and OPASTCO. Thanks to our sponsors.

Logo Allied Telesis Logo MetaSwitch

An example of the 1cast application on the G1 phone.News on Demand – Everywhere

News on demand – a concept that has been around for along time, but was it was just an abstract notion for me until recently. Anthony Bontranger of 1cast let me know, via a Facebook comment on my recent story about the Gphone, that this new service is now available as an application for both the G Phone and iPhone. Click here to read the rest of the post.

click here to view the postPeople on the Move: I Know that Person

MTA had a very moving video production that summarized, in pictures and soundtrack, 100 years of their association. When I saw the video at the opening event, I was impressed and wondered who did the production. I was thrilled to learn that friend and fellow video producer, Jeanne Wilber of Melrose Telephone/Diversicom/SCTV 19, was behind this production. Check out the clip here, see how many faces you recognize and purchase a copy of the DVD by clicking here.

The Korner – A Interactive White Board for $60

George Henny forwarded an interesting video a few weeks back. It was intriguing, as it left me wanting to know more about the interactive white board he had created using a Wii remote and a home grown electronics circuit. What George and his IT colleague, Wayne Jeffers devised was effectively an interactive white board that normally would cost thousands of dollars for about $60 in parts (including the Wii remote).

a low cost, interactive white boardHenny explained that he was inspired by a video from a guy named Johnny Lee who came up with the idea and developed the software. Jeffers constructed an infrared LED pen, which provides positioning information to the Wii remote. Bluetooth connects the Wii remote to a PC and create an interactive white board or a low-cost tablet PC. Henny believes this could be a cost-effective solution for schools wanting the benefits of interactive white boards and has already presented it to his local school district.

George is speaking at next week’s IP Possibilities conference in San Diego and promises to bring this set-up with him. In the meantime, you can check George out in this video and the video that is within the video.

Viodi View -04/03/2009

The first time I got serious about using a personal digital assistant was something that Atari produced some 20 years ago. This was before the term PDA was coined. I bought it because somehow I thought it would make me smarter or, at least, better organized. It did neither and it was soon relegated to the shelf to gather dust. The G1 from T-Mobile (service) /HTC (phone manufacturer) /Google (Android operating system) may finally provide the organizational nirvana I have been looking for my entire life.

The G1 phone proved to be a handy assistant in producing ViodiTV at last month’s MTA convention. Although, I haven’t looked for teleprompting sofware for it yet (that sort of application exists for other PDAs), it served as a great way to jot down notes and scripts. The fast web browsing, thanks to the 3G network, made this a very useful research tool for getting facts for our "just in time" video production. Two extremely useful applications that helped us coordinate our interviews at MTA were the integrated calendar and email; allowing us to create more video than we had in years past.

Working Together – Yesterday and Today

click here to watch our video interview with Ron LaquaA video that was very special to me is my interview with Ron Laqua of Halstad Telephone. Ron chaired the MTA Centennial committee. In this interview, I was struck with how we were part of a living history that in some way might be part of a 200th anniversary celebration. I caught up with Ron, via email, this week regarding the historic flooding along the Red River. He indicated that his town was relatively safe given the high dike walls and the standby generator that has been providing back up power this past week.

He explained that his town helped out by stuffing and distributing sandbags to farms and other towns. He pointed out that 90% of the Fargo-Moorhead population was somehow involved in fighting the flood. As Ron said, this sort of volunteerism is inspiring.  Click here to watch the video interview.

click here to watch the video interview with Brian Potter of Gardonville Telphone Cooperative AssociationIndependent WiMax

In this interview shot at MTA’s Convention, Brian Potter of Gardonville Telephone Cooperative Association discusses their rollout of WiMax services in rural Minnesota and their use of both 700 MHz and 3.7 GHz to provide fixed wireless Internet.  Click here to watch this interview.

Femtocells and Mobile Broadband Technologies by Alan Weissberger

Femtocells are another topic of hot discussion in the telecommunications world. They offer the wireless carrier the potential of off-loading backhaul traffic, while improving customer experience and potentially providing better value by allowing the cell phone to have unlimited minutes in the home environment. Alan Weissberger provides a summary of a recent conference on the topic of Femtocells in this article. Click here to read the latest on Femtocells.

Managing the Mobile Workforce using MaaS by Alan Weissberger

On April 1st, I attended a SaaS Conference talk by Jim Sheward, CEO of Fiberlink, on the topic of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). I found it provocative and of vital interest to IT managers that are having great difficulting managing a mobile work force. Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is the delivery of enterprise mobility infrastructure using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform where the programs run on servers that are reached via the public Internet. Specifically, MaaS is a "cloud" based, always on, Enterprise Mobility Platform™ with cost advantages, ubiquitous mobile device connectivity capability and a real-time updating and enforcement software engine.


Congratulations to Tellytopia and SureWest for implementation of Tellytopia’s i2TV online to television platform. SureWest is a definition validation for Tellytopia’s unique approach to bringing User Generated Content to the TV. Tellytopia gave a preview of this at the panel Viodi organized at last year’s Telecom at NAB show.

We are going to miss this year’s NAB. The folks from Lightbulb Communications have another great content slate at the Telecom2009 at NAB conference they are producing.

We will be at the IP Possibilities show in San Diego, which also has a great list of speakers but overlaps with NAB. I am looking forward to moderating a panel on local content at this forum.

The Korner – Time Saver or Distraction?

Click here to watch the video of my experience with Northwest Airline's electronic boarding passOne of the reasons for holding off on the procurement of a smart phone, besides the increase in monthly subscription fee, was my tendency to become tethered – some might say addicted – to Internet access. Those who saw me at MTA Convention could attest that the G1 phone was effectively my new appendage. It is a double edge sword as the constant connectivity and access to information provides gives me more opportunity to be productive. On the other hand, the persistent availability of the Internet competes for the idle moments where I could think random thoughts that might lead to a good idea.

Worse yet, is the distraction of the Internet and email that causes me to lose focus on the task at hand.

For instance, I was able to use the G1 phone to check in while on the Minneapolis Light Rail system. Even better than checking in, I was able to receive a virtual bar code on my phone for scanning at security. I was so thrilled with this time saving step, that I emailed Roger. In between our virtual high five emails celebrating my technical prowess, I missed the stop for my terminal. It took about 5 minutes before I realized I would have to backtrack. Fortunately, I could bypass check-in and go straight to security. I simply waived my phone over the security bar code reader and made my plane with at least 5 minutes to spare.  Click here to watch my brief video on this electronic ticketing application. 

In the next part of this review, we will look at some of the productivity enhancing applications from Android market that I have been using.

Viodi View – 03/18/2009


Reach out from IP Possibilities with sponsored video’s by Viodi for IP Possibilities and news releases. The ePublication and Viodi View Newsletter mailing will reach over 8,000 industry professionals twice during the 2 day conference. Check here for details.

Click here to get a view on the future of the newspapersIf you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you. That was the approximate tag line that NBC used about a decade ago to promote its summer rerun season. Similarly, what is news to one person may be an old story to another. The demise of the print newspaper is quickly becoming an old news story, as every week we are hearing of the demise of another print daily (the Seattle Post-Intellingcer conversion to online being the most recent to fall).

This video, shot at the Minnesota Telecom Alliance’s Convention, features brief interviews with Lynn Schofield Clark, Professor of Mass Communications and Journalism of the University of Denver and author and former CNN correspondent, Dave Kenney, regarding the future of the newspapers. Kenney suggests the telecommunications industry may be able to help fill the gap left due to the loss of the print newspapers.

The broadband stimulus is a news story that is still unfolding. There was quite a bit of positive feedback from our video interview with Andy Brown of Bennet and Bennet, PLLC. Emmett Smith watched the video and wrote this piece that argues that the stimulus should have never been undertaken.  Thanks Emmett for the kind words and insightful commentary. 

If nothing else, the broadband stimulus has stimulated lots of discussion. Here is a sampling of some of the many ongoing and upcoming stimulus activities:

  • Occam is blogging on the NTIA/USDA meetings
  • Consulting company, CCMI has a no-cost webinar slated for Thursday, November 19th
  • CPUC Hearing – San Francisco, Monday March 23rd

Finally, Alan Weissberger reports on a recent stimulus event in the following article.

Telecom Council Panel Session: Update on U.S. Broadband Policy by Alan Weissberger

In a lively Telecom Council panel session sponsored by AT&T, seven industry executives discussed the ramifications for the U.S. government’s stimulus package and federal budget proposal as related to broadband policy. The sober and candid assessments offered a realistic view at what is involved in building out broadband, particularly using wireless technology, to underserved and rural areas in the U.S.  Click here to read more. 

 A Tale of 2 Meetings:  Mobile Telecom in Crisis by Alan Weissberger

With the current credit crisis, economic meltdown, and stock market crash, both business and individuals are facing significant challenges: Big corporations are cutting cost and downsizing workforce while startups are struggling with shrinking market and drying capital sources. The soft job market makes people more cautious about the future. But crisis and downturns can lead to significant opportunity.  Click here to read more.

Monetizing Web Video with Social Networks by Roger Bindl

Monetizing video wtth social networks - the video

The key message from a CableFAX webinar on monetizing web video, social networks, and other on-line activities is that success comes from various places, is likely based on a plan, and the plan includes a means to insure success.  Click here to watch and read the rest of Roger’s report. 

3 Degrees of Separation – Or Almost Full Circle

My friend Dutch was stationed at the Naval Air Station at Point Mugu in Southern California in the 70s. In the 80s, I worked with Dutch at a company called Catel, a leader in producing AM & FM TV modulators. Norman Gillaspie consulted for Catel. I ended up consulting to Norman at many of his companies. His most recent venture, Transparent Video Systems, just sold an all digital RF system, which includes multiplexers and QAM modulators, to Communications Services, the cable system that serves Point Mugu. This announcement comes on the heels of an announcement TVS made last month regarding an RF to USB dongle that effectively eliminates the need for a traditional set-top. Congratulations Norman.

The Korner – Unique Economic Developments

Click here to see the unique things Spring Grove Communications is doing to help its community.One of the things I enjoy about co-producing ViodiTV is having the chance to dig a little deeper into comments made by speakers at the various telecom conferences. At the MTA Convention, Craig Otterness of Spring Grove Communications, who accepted the 2008 MTA award for economic development, had an interesting one-liner about his company’s unique video solution. This prompted us to track down Craig and find out more about the special developments that will prove to be quite stimulating for their local economy and which make for truly newsworthy topics.

Economic development requires leadership. Spring Grove Communications provide an excellent example of leadership, as they worked with their community to build a new library, 24 hour fitness center and digital cinema/public meeting place that can be used for much more than movies.  Click here to watch the video. 

Telecom Council Announces SPIFFY Award Winners- Telecom Start-ups and Supportive Carriers Recognized


The mission of the Telecom Council of Silicon Valley is described along with the rationale for the SPIFFY awards. Notable comments from selected award presenters/ recipients are included in this summary along with Norwest Venture Partners Tim Chang’s observation on the current harsh climate for telecom start-ups and entrepreneurs.  Tim presented before the awards were announced.
Who is the Telecom Council of Silicon Valley?
The Telecom Council of Silicon Valley connects companies and individuals involved in the region’s communications technology industry with one another for business development, collaboration, and education. The Council, formerly know as the Service Provider Investment Forum, hosts events to bring together local telecom professionals- the industry’s critical mass of businesses, research, ideas, capital, and human expertise.   Their principal goal of the Council is to provide an arena to "Connect, Communicate, and Collaborate."
What are SPIFFY Awards?
The SPIFFY Awards recognize the most outstanding telecommunications start-ups in Silicon Valley, as judged by the Service Provider members of the Telecom Council of Silicon Valley.  
Over 20 Service Provider (SP) members of the Telecom Council of Silicon Valley announced the winners for this year’s SPIFFY awards for their innovation, execution, management, and technology at the annual SPIFFY Award ceremony. These are SP’s or their venture capital subsidiary that have a presence in Silicon Valley.   Of the 96 pre-screened telecom startups that presented at Telecom Council meetings in 2008, members of the Service Provider Forum (SPIF) chose seven winners and seven runner- ups. There was also an award given to the most successful SPIF alumni (start-up that had won an award last year).
Competition for these awards is stiff because all startups are screened by Telecom Council Steering Committees before they are selected to present to the SPIF or other Telecom Council forum meetings. Startups who present have already been identified as having ideas, relevance, and traction that most appeal to carrier members from around the globe.   Bling Software won awards in two different categories.
The winners and 2nd place finishers of the 2009 SPIFFY Awards were:
  • The Edison Award for Most Innovative Start-Up: 4Home, Qik.
  • Ground Breaker Award for Engineering Excellence: Morpho, Staccato Communications
  • The San Andreas Award for Most Disruptive Technology: Bling Software
  • The Fred & Ginger Award for Most Supportive Carrier: Swisscom (for the active role of their Silicon Valley-based team in the telecom innovation scene), Intellect Partners (a division of Telia Sonera).
  • Graham Bell Award for Best Communication Solution: TruTap and Amika Mobile shared this award
  • The Core Award for Best Fixed Telecom Opportunity: Brilliant Telecom, Zeugma Systems
  • Prodigy Award for the Most Successful SPiF Alumni: 2Wire, JahJah
  • The Zephyr Award for Best Mobile Opportunity: Bling Software, Avot Media
The Telecom Council looks forward to promoting ongoing innovation in the telecom value chain and reviewing over 100 telecom startups in 2009.
Here are the url’s for the web sites of the winning companies:
Here are a few notable comments from the award presenters and recipients:
Adobe has been involved in mobile communications for five years. They believe it has now become mainstream and is contributing to the evolution of the web. From the company’s web site ( “Adobe aims to empower device manufacturers, content providers, and operators to deliver engaging experiences that run consistently across desktops, mobile phones, and consumer electronics devices by leveraging the Adobe® Flash® Platform.” They have recently folded their Mobile Division into their main corporate business.
BT believes that fixed line communication has become “something new again” This is due to VoIP, unified communications and intelligent services offered over fixed lines to business and residential subscribers. (BT does not have a mobile/wireless division, having abdicated that market to Vodafone in the U.K. and elsewhere).
Brilliant Telecom is a timing and synchronization company whose technology has been deployed by Vodafone.
Bling Software CEO graciously accepted both awards. The company’s embedded software is said to enable consumers to have a dynamic mobile web content experience on their cell phone screens.

Norwest Venture Partners’ Tim Chang on the outlook for telecom entrepreneurs
Resiliency, good timing, connections, and patience are always needed, but especially in this challenging economic environment.
There are pockets of strength in mobile communications:
  • Smart phone are selling well
  • Apple App Stores are doing over $1M of business each day
  • There are now 50M mobile web users in the U.S.- over ¼ of the total number of users
  • Web video usage has increased (Source Fierce Telecom)
  • While the mobile advertising market is slowing, it does have future potential
  • Mobile ARPU has increased for cellular carriers: AT&T from $50.88 to $59 from the Q1 to Q4 in 2008; VZW from $50.40 to $51.7 in the same time period.
Tim believes that cellcos will go back to metered service (vs. flat rate plans) and create tiered bundles of services for consumers.
Finding funding has been (and will continue to be) very hard for capital-intensive start-ups, e.g. semiconductors, network equipment, touch screens. Venture investors can’t afford to spend $60m to $100M before such companies validate their business plans with technology they can sell to OEMs. 
SP deployment cycles are slowing and that benefits larger companies at the expense of more nimble and quicker start-ups. Femtocells and new CPE were cited as an example. 
System oriented start-ups (network infrastructure equipment, modules, CPE, etc) were advised to target their products/technology to tier 2 carriers that might be more open and receptive than tier 1 carriers.
Strategic investors, e.g. SK Telecom might provide funds that VCs would not provide in this challenging financing environment. This is especially the case with IPOs not being an exit strategy option for start-ups.
VCs are pursuing a barbell investment strategy- providing seed capital to very early stage or embryonic start-ups and later rounds to mature companies in their investment portfolio. Series B and C funding rounds have been the hardest to complete, which means that many start-ups are folding operations.
Some promising mobile market segments include:
  • Game playing with iPhones
  • Micro transaction payment processing
  • Wireless enterprise applications and backhaul
  • Apps where content is in the “cloud” and available on demand.

No Morning Paper for Denver [Er, One Less Paper]

It looks like Denver will be the first major city to be without a major daily newspaper [oops, I forgot about the Denver Post]..  The Wall Street Journal reported today that the Rocky Mountain News is folding its operation.  The idea that the demise of a major [market] newspaper was imminent was reported in the Viodi View a few months ago and has been rumored for years (the industry bets were the newspapers in the Bay Area would be the first to go).

Unfortunately  for people like me who enjoy reading the paper with my morning cereal, advertising revenue is declining faster than the newspapers can cut costs.  The fall of the Rocky Mountain News portends more failures of daily newspapers.  Still, local advertisers are still going to have to get their messages in front of potential customers. 

The lack of local newspapers in major cities will probably lead to even more opportunities for purveyors of online and local video advertising.  It will be interesting to see what new forms of advertising rise from the ashes of these once powerful and influential sources of local news and how Telcos might be able to share in this new revenue.

Back to the Future – Software as a Service & Managed Services

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a popular Web 2.0 buzzword. It struck me at NTCA’s panel, Software as a Service: Creating New Revenue Channels, that Independent Telcos have been providing a sort of Software as a Service, really a Managed Service since their inception. Independent Telcos are starting to add on Software as a Service and Managed applications, such as network computing, disaster recovery services and telemedicine applications, to their first SaaS application; POTS.

panelists at NTCA 2009 Annual Meeting

Warren Lee, President and CEO of NeoNova Network Services, distinguished between SaaS and Managed Services. He echoed his talk at last year’s IP Possibilities regarding the importance of understanding what your goals are before you commit to a plan. Understanding your goals will help answer whether you should provide SaaS or Managed Services. The reason he said it matters is that if you provide SaaS, then you open yourself to competition from anywhere. If you offer managed services, you can differentiate on the local service you provide (e.g. hard to do a truck roll from China).

He compared the differences between traditional compute solutions versus one that lives entirely in the cloud. Warren called this type of computing, “Living in the Cloud,” as opposed to Cloud Computing. NeoNova is using this NTCA Annual Meeting & Convention to introduce its Network Computer and associated applications that live on a Telco’s servers and utilize its broadband; more on that in another article.

Susan DiFlorio, COO of FiberCloud, focused on small business applications that independent Telcos can provide in order to increase market size, increase broadband usage and effectively lower staff costs. She called outsourcing an opportunity for Independent Telcos, as businesses are looking to cut costs and simplify the complex. FiberCloud provides data center services to Independent Telcos.

Along these lines, FiberCloud has been beta testing, with five rural telcos, cloud computing applications from Microsoft (see this video interview with George Henny for additional background). They found is that they were trivializing the markets and didn’t understand the nuances of the differences in locales and customers. They engaged an external marketing firm to help them understand the needs of the customers and, as a result, they found some commonality between rural and suburban markets; for instance, most of the Telcos’ potential business customers have with less than 99 employees.

Donald Fendrick, CTO, National Wireline Accounts, Alcatel-Lucent, spoke of Telemedicine applications where monitoring devices transmit real-time medical information via broadband. The interesting thing about this approach is the potential detection or correlation of trends much sooner than the traditional occasional visit to the doctor. Fendrick suggested that some insurance companies will give co-payments for the Telemedicine Devices.

John Granger President of Mapcom suggested that Telcos could add visual locating services as features in hosted dispatch and network management and hosted security applications. Granger said they have extended their mapping platform to allow independent Telcos to offer this sort of value-add.

Jeff Wick of NexTech, who was in the audience, put an exclamation point on the panel by providing an explanation of how they are replacing complete computing infrastructures for small businesses. They provide all of the workstations and manage for a monthly fee. He said it was important to have a back-end system to make sure it all works. Some of the server infrastructure is hosted and some is on the businesses’ sites. The important point he made is that this service is easy to sell, because it is a low cost of entry for the small businesses.