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In this on-line publication, we share our analysis, opinions and direction on the interactive television news and views that we believe will be of interest and use to our friends associated directly or indirectly with independent telephone companies. For more information as to the various ways Viodi works with independent telephone companies, please go to http://www.viodi.com/alliance/
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By Ken Pyle, firstname.lastname@example.org, Managing Editor, Viodi View
Leverage – taking one effort and accomplishing multiple tasks with that one effort - is so important in this world of limited time and tight budgets. Personnel at independent telcos are masters at leverage as they typically wear multiple hats and have to jump from one task and role to another during the course of a day. Like much of its independent telco readership, Viodi’s structure is very much a family affair. One way we leverage Viodi’s very limited staff is to combine family vacations with business trips; just like we are doing this week as we travel to San Diego for TelcoTV. To learn of the pitfall of this sort of leverage, please read Krazy Ken’s Korner.
It seems like everyone, in both their personal and business lives, are trying to do so much more with every minute. Technology, for better or worse, is allowing or forcing it to happen. Whether it is email, cell phones or Digital Video Recorders, people are able to slice and dice their time and eek out more activities on any given day.. I started to write an article about its effect on adults, but as I wrote, the article morphed into the effects of the packet-life on children. To read this article, a version of which was published in the latest issue of Telephony’s Independent, please click here.
With his extensive consulting experience, Alan Weissberger is always good at mining the gems from a conference. In this article, Weissberger provides a sharp analysis of the trends in the wireless ISP world as seen at last month’s Wireless Communications Alliance meeting at ISPCON. Weissberger’s article has some good tidbits for any independent telco that is using or considering the use of wireless for broadband distribution. Click here to read his account.
Marty Lafferty did a great job of summarizing his TELECOM '05panel in his October 31st DCIA newsletter. He correctly quoted Kshitij Kumar of C-COR, who suggested that the Peer to Peer panel was the best at Telecom ’05, “because you are looking at going-forward solutions rather than rehashing old technologies of the past." Marty backs up Kumar’s comments in his article. I encourage you to read his article to see why this is such an important technology and why it will have a continued impact. I also recommend the DCIA’s newsletter, as it is has both depth and breadth regarding technology, content and regulatory; good stuff.
Lafferty had an important article in his October 24th issue on a movement, The Adelphi Charter on Creativity, Innovation and Intellectual Property, that is taking a fresh look at intellectual property and what it means in a world where ideas travel at the speed of the Internet. This is important because most pending and recent legislation seems to be about protecting and lengthening intellectual property rights, which is at odds with the decreasing lifecycle of most technologies. The Adelphia Charter’s aim is trying to strike a balance between, “the public domain and private rights.”
From my lay-person perspective, it looks like the much heralded “telecom re-write” has become more of a “telecom piecemeal” with bits and pieces of intellectual law getting tied together with telecom legislation. There have been some interesting things going on lately with the “analog hole” legislation that, at a high-level, seems to regulate analog to digital conversion and, essentially, prohibits consumers from digitizing any analog feed and prohibits manufacturers from selling any such device to consumers. From my superficial look, this sort of legislation seems to be more about protecting incumbent interests instead of unleashing the power of the free-market for the benefit of all.
Viodi View sponsor, Entone announced integration of their VOD platform onto HP’s Integrity Superdome server. This offering is clearly targeted at larger systems, as Entone indicates that this new offering can provide 27,400 simultaneous MPEG-2 video streams at 3.75 Mb/s per stream.
Protecting content, especially VOD, is critical. Another Viodi View sponsor, Latens, made a significant announcement with their deal with Com Net, Inc, which is Latens’ first U.S. customer. Meanwhile, Irdeto seems to be winning some college business, with their Cornell announcement. Their move of their U.S. headquarters to Seattle may be making that area the epicenter for content protection given their proximity to Widevine.
I was extremely honored to be on a panel at the Optical Solutions User Group with John Schultz of FTTH Communications and Bill DeMuth of SureWest Communications. DeMuth discussed the challenges of system integration and the importance of participation by telcos in the standardization and interoperability process. The IPTV Interoperability Showcase at TelcoTV may be a good step forward in creating a third-party IPTV testing body, as the interoperability effort is being led by the renowned University of New Hampshire.
More specifics about some of the things I saw at TelcoTV will be in the next issue of the VV.
Ironically, while we were in San Diego at TelcoTV, Veoh, a San Diego firm that has developed a Internet-based video network based on legitimate peer to peer technology, announced that they have gone from zero to 10,000 video clips in their library in the six weeks since their product launched. There is so much going on in this space that their probably should (and their probably is) be a newsletter dedicated to this “over the top” video market segment. A service I used, which I have not had a chance to report on, is YouTube. The interesting thing is that it takes about five minutes for an uploaded video to be “approved” use on their network. They somehow add their logo to the video as a visible watermark to the video. The neat thing is that they allow you to embed their player on your web site. See this in action, by viewing this Viodi video.
My take-away from college economics 101 class was that financial leverage can be the quickest way to riches (marrying the boss’ daughter might be faster) and, if leverage goes the wrong way, can be the quickest way to rags. Economic concepts are often great metaphors for life. For instance, last year, I thought I was leveraging my time by combining a business trip to TELECOM 04 with a seat-of-the-pants family vacation.
For once, I had planned ahead and actually had room reservations at a decent, but affordable hotel, the Excalibur. The only bad news was that the rates for a Saturday night stay were triple the Sunday through Thursday rates. The good news is that my wife is flexible and agreed with my idea of spliting the 8 hour drive by staying overnight in the high desert town of Barstow, California. The bad news is that I managed to fill up every minute of the days leading up to our departure with preparation for the conference. I did not bother to make a reservation until two minutes before our departure.
Six or so hours later, we pulled into Barstow’s one and only Motel 6. As Jane, my wife, hopped out of the car, I reflected on how easy it was to use the Internet to make the reservation. Unfortunately, Motel 6 didn’t anticipate there would be an idiot who would actually make a motel reservation at six in the evening with an arrival just a few hours later. Apparently, the Motel 6 web site automatically selected the following day for our reservation, which I failed to notice. Oh well, we might have to pay a little more, but with at least a dozen hotels, there surely must be room at an inn for us in Barstow.
We were wrong. Due to a number of factors, such as the Columbus Day holiday, a high school reunion, and some sort of hunting convention or some such thing, we were effectively barred from Barstow. We didn’t see this as a problem, as there were thousands of rooms in Pahrump, the border town between California and Nevada. Arriving in Pahrump, Nevada around 2:30 A.M., we realized that we might have a problem. The hotels in Pahrump, which is in the middle of nowhere, were sold out. When we got to Jeane, Nevada, which is about 10 miles from Las Vegas, we knew we had a problem when the hotel clerk suggested that their were no vacancies and that people were coming from both Las Vegas and Barstow in their quest for rooms.
So, around 3:30 A.M, we made the decision to find a quiet place in Sin City’s suburbs to camp out for the evening. Four of us in the backseat of a Mercury Mountaineer (a Ford Explorer equivalent) made for a rather short evening of sleep (5 minutes for me). The lack of sleep gave me plenty of time to devise the Krazy Ken’s Kuestions concept, so it was actually very productive for me. As for our four and five year old, they got a kick out of sleeping in the back of the car, although the five year old is convinced to this daythat he stayed awake all night.
In retrospect, we did manage to leverage our limited family time together. This will be a trip that will probably rank among the more memorable for my boys, as we shared an adventure that is atypical of today’s sterile hotel experience. We learned a valuable lesson from our sleepness night in the desert and have applied it to our current road trip. Tucked away in our trunk is a tent and sleeping bags just in case we need to adjust our sleeping arrangements for some unforeseen reasons.
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