“You must respect the past if you are going to respect the future,” said noted Futurist, David Zach, at the 2008 TOC conference in Fargo, ND. Zach provided a rapid fire presentation that talked of the importance of tradition and understanding the past, as a foundation for understanding the future; the implications of the implications.   Zach’s presentation was thought-provoking enough for me to edit the closing of today’s newsletter, as found below in the Korner.

Sneak Peek from Fargo 

A tropical paradise in Fargo?  Palm trees, humidity and 75 degrees in Fargo; so outside the weather was crisp, but in the Holiday Inn’s covered pool area, the weather was downright tropical. With 937 attendees, the Tri-State Operations Conference is an excellent venue to learn what is going on with independent telcos in the upper Midwest. The first day opened with multiple vendor presentations in the morning, the aforementioned David Zachs speech and an excellent youth panel moderated by Scott Meyer of Innovative Systems. Videos will follow in the next issue.

The DTV Transition – At What Cost?

Much has been made about the recent 700 MHz spectrum auction and the billions of dollars raised for the U.S. Treasury, but this is just one part of a complex equation related to spectrum management and economics that may be implicitly costing U.S. citizens much more than they are receiving.  For example, there is the opportunity cost of the new, digital broadcast spectrum, given away to existing broadcasters by the government that is worth untold billions of dollars. Unfortunately, this article is probably about 10 years too late to affect a change, but maybe it will serve as a warning for future generations.  Click here to read the rest of this article.

Content Quality Versus Content Fidelity

Mark Evensen, CTO of Entone, articulated what I have been trying to say for years. There is a difference between fidelity and quality. I contend that many viewers generally care more about the quality of the content than the fidelity of how well it is reproduced.  Click here to read the rest of the article

Mining Data and More in St. Louis

I have found vendor user group meetings can be as every bit as valuable as for-pay conferences. The Entone User’s Group meeting held in the convenient, historic and revitalized downtown St. Louis last week, was extremely valuable for the participants, who included Entone customers, prospects and partners.  Click here to read what speakers such as Colin Dixon of The Diffusion Group and Doug Abolt of Consolidated Communications had to say about things such as over-the-top video, viewer behavior and the importance of data mining in reducing customer churn. 

Local Content Roundtable at RT Communications – May 16th, 2008

May 2007 Local Content Workshop at SCTV 19 Building upon Viodi’s Local Content Workshop series, the Local Content Roundtable will be a refresher of some of the latest ideas, tips and tools for producing low-cost, high-quality content.  Fresh from the exhibits of the NAB show, there will be plenty of ideas as to how independent telcos can become better producers.

A Central Place for Weather

Steve Smedberg of Weather Central talks about the Weather in a very interactive interviewWeather is the universal conversation starter. At the ITA’s Press Conference at NAB in April, interactive and targeted weather was the topic of the video interview we had with Steve Smedberg of Weather Central. The Madison, Wisconsin-based Weather Central has been gaining traction among independent telcos, as their service allows for granular, personal and high definition forecasts that are very important to life in rural America. Click here to watch the video. 

The Cool Factor

Doug Wenzlaff of Solarus, a Wisconsin-based Independent Telecom provider, talks about the the "cool factor" at the 2008 IP Possibilities conference in Chicago.  The long-term implications of Wenzlaff’s comments are that independent telcos will need to concern themselves with style as much as substance.  Doug Wenzlaff talks about the marketing implications of the cool in this video interview to get a preview of the type of programming that will be seen as we bring ViodiTV to next week’s WSTA conference in the Dells.

Club Viodi Postings

Club Viodi membership is restricted to independent telcos.  Independent telcos, contact us to learn more:

People on the Move:

Stacey Brooks of Film Specific interviews Brian Stevenson, a long-time friend and long-time veteran of content licensing, discusses the challenges for an independent producer in getting distribution in various on-demand and pay Click to watch the video of a blast from the past...television platforms. He provides good insight into pricing and the type of revenue a filmmaker can earn and how they can go about selling their product to studios and pay television outlets.  Click here for the link to the audio post.

Using music to tell the tales of the 19th century is the objective of the musical duo of Brigand’s Folie. This Farmington, MN-based group performed at the 2008 Bloody Lake Rendezvous near Woodford, Wisconsin a few weeks ago. Roger Bindl captured their magic in the the music videos that can be found at this link.   

The Korner – A Great Honor

Click to watch this videoIn this brief video, Ron Laudner, CEO of Iowa’s OmniTel Communications, shares the meaning of a pin he was wearing at the 2008 OPASTCO Winter Convention. As Memorial Day approaches, this brief video is a reminder of the great sacrifices the brave men and women of the armed forces have made.

David Zach’s comments at the 2008 TOC in Fargo inspired me to add this Memorial Day remembrance of an Uncle I never knew. All of his brothers and sisters have joined him now, so all I know about Uncle Cliff is what my dad told me more than 35 years ago; that he was about 6’4”, that he died in the Pacific Theater of World War II and that he was still a young man when he was killed. The limited Internet sleuthing I have done has not revealed any more detail. I often imagine the life marriage he never had, the kids he didn’t get to raise and the holidays he missed.    

His sacrifice is priceless and it is sad that he never had the chance to enjoy the freedoms and privileges that I take for granted. Still, his legacy, along with the legacies of the millions of others who made the ultimate sacrifice, is with us as we go about our daily routines. Thank you Uncle Cliff. The memory of your sacrifice will not be forgotten.

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