Viodi View – 07/20/11

Where were you 42 years ago today?  Those of us old enough to remember that historic day were probably fixated on a black and white moving image of Neil Armstrong taking a giant step for all of us.  Like a modern-day Columbus, Armstrong and his partner Buzz Aldrin, were exploring terrain that was a mystery. Unlike Columbus, the common man had the benefit of wireless video communications, even if it was in a primitive form, to show us what could have only been imagined five centuries before.


Enabling Everything with Wireless

Vitality Adherence Slide
Vitality Adherence Slide

The Wall Street Journal published an excellent article last week on how wireless networking is being embedded in devices and used for activities that, until recently, wouldn’t be associated with wireless; things like slippers, bovine mating and pill bottles are all candidates for a wireless treatment.  One of the people quoted in the article is Glenn Lurie, AT&T’s President of Emerging Devices, Resale and Partnerships.  Lurie was a keynote speaker at the CONNECTIONS™ event in Santa Clara last month and ViodiTV had the opportunity to speak with him about the future of what the techies call “Machine-to-Machine” or M2M.  Click here to view.


The Hybrid Electric Telecom Operator

Tim Hills of Ninestar
Tim Hills of Ninestar

With the turmoil in the telecom industry, particularly in rural markets, Ninestar may point to one way rural providers will adjust to the new realities.  In this interview at the 2011 Broadband Properties Summit, Ninestar’s CEO Tim Hills explains how their estimate of a 20% loss in Universal Service Funding was one of the drivers for the January 2011 merger of Hancock Telecom and Central Indiana Power.  The smart grid was another driver, as the fiber network of the telecom provider was complementary to the electric coop’s plan.  In this interview, he talks about the opportunities this merger provides; from deploying fiber faster to deploying fiber on a wider-spread basis.  Click here to view.


A Conversation About Cloud Services

Andy Schwabecher of 8x8, Inc.
Andy Schwabecher of 8x8, Inc.

With recent deals surrounding the completion of Century Tel’s acquisition of Savvis and WVT Communications’ $17 million purchase of Alteva, the merging of the cloud with telecom, particularly as it relates to business services,  is a trend that is picking up steam.  Last week, I had a chance to interview Andy Schwabecher of 8×8, Inc. regarding their transition from a VoIP provider to one that provides cloud computing services for its small business customers.  Click here to view.


A Virtual Panel Using a Virtual Conference Room

8x8 Cloud Video Conference
8x8 Cloud Video Conference

It was an honor to serve as sort of virtual moderator for the video 8×8 produced to accompany yesterday’s press release regarding their cloud video conferencing service offering.  This video conferencing service promises fixed monthly pricing for multiple participants, using various end-points produced by Polycom.

What impressed me was that one of the participants, Ira Weinstein of Wainhouse Research, joined the conference from a hotel (which are notorious for having slow Internet connections) and there was no difference in quality between his connection compared to the rest of the panelists.  What may be most significant about the video is the quality of the voice, as this is “HD” quality. Expect to hear more about HD audio, as the larger cable operators are expected to make a big push for HD voice this fall.  Click here to view.


100 Gb/sec Networks No Longer A Pipe Dream…. by Alan Weissberger

Verizon has been chosen by UK Education and research network JANET to help upgrade its network to deliver broadband access at speeds of 100Gb/sec (100 gigabits per second). The network overhaul, which will enable JANET to more efficiently collaborate with other academic institutions, builds on earlier 100Gb/sec tests conducted by the organizations in 2009. Also contributing to the deployment will be Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena and Juniper Networks.  Click here to read the entire article.


The Age of Multi-Screen Video Is Here

The age of multi-screen video – that, is the ability to watch video where one wants and on a screen of one’s choosing – is here.  The results of Viodi’s 2011 survey of Tier 3 and 4 operators indicates that these industry leaders view multi-screen video services as a feature that will soon become “must-have”.  Accordingly, they are planning for the day in the not too distant future when they can free their customers from the constraints of location when viewing the programming they provide.  We have haven’t decided how we are going to distribute it, so please Click here if you are interested in receiving this report.


Incentive Auctions Legislation- Some Fine Print

As usual, Dave Burstein does an excellent job of uncovering policy and legislative details that are easily overlooked.  In his latest newsletter, he highlights some of the ongoing legislative negotiations regarding incentive auctions for broadcasters to relinquish spectrum for other uses.   His interpretation is that the spectrum bill, “cripples the effective use of spectrum for rural broadband, likely significantly raises the future cost of wireless, and leads to very inefficient spectrum use.”

If codified into law, the following passage, from the memo highlighted by Burstein, could make for some very interesting spectrum partnerships, as non-telecommunications entities might band together to ensure unlicensed spectrum and provide an alternative to the incumbent carriers.

“If the sum of the bids of the parties that prefer unlicensed use of particular spectrum exceeds the highest individual bid for licensed use, the spectrum will be made available on an unlicensed basis. This approach is modeled after FCC Office of Strategic Planning Working Paper No. 43. This section also requires new unlicensed devices to coordinate with a database to determine which spectrum bands are available for operation.”

Perhaps this will be the opening for the next generation WiFi service we reported on in this video interview.


Stories from the Heartland

NTCA, OPASTCO and WTA’s launch of the saveruralbroadband website is part of a concerted push by these entities to make the case for how to best fund rural broadband. In this effort, the associations are encouraging people to act, providing ideas for what to do and culling articles on the topic.  One such article, from the Tulsa World, features Totah Communications’ Mark Gailey talking about the potential impact of the National Broadband Plan on his company and community. To hear more of Gailey’s comments on this topic, check out our interview with him from the IP Possibilities conference.

The first video on their site shows the importance of Valley Telephone in bringing broadband to its customers that otherwise would be under-served.  This is just one of many stories of how rural-based telecom companies make a difference; many of which we have chronicled via ViodiTV and included in a category called Stories from the Heartland.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts


The Korner – And the Password Is……

60-40 or Fight!
60-40 or Fight!

Reading about something or someone is one thing, but seeing and hearing is another;  that’s the power of video.   So, I was thrilled to meet and interview Everett Christensen at the 2011 MTA Annual Convention.  Reading his words, in his book, 60-40 or Fight!,  were one thing, but actually having him tell me the password in person was something special.

Previously reviewed in the Viodi View, this book is great summer reading for anyone wanting to improve their ability to develop and maintain good relationships.  Christensen brings a variety of experience to his book, having been in the banking industry, human resources, the academic world and, as owner of Christensen Communications, the telecom space.

In our interview, Christensen explains the significance of the title of the book, discusses several of his postulates and their purpose and demonstrates the E-O teeter-totter.  As Everett points out, non-verbal cues are key part of communication, so it was great to finally meet Everett face-to-face.  At the end of the video, he recites a poem and reveals the password to making relationships work.

Watch for a follow-up interview with Christensen regarding one of the examples of how he gave back to his community.  In the meantime, click here to view our video interview.

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