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by Ken Pyle ([email protected]), Viodi, LLC

In this Issue: Integrated Services, RUS Broadband, Time......

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June 23rd, 2004 Issue

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Greetings from Chicago, Illinois, home to Major League Baseball's White Sox and home to Supercomm 2004. It’s great that the show is back in Chicago, as it is truly beautiful this time of the year. It has been a dozen years since Supercomm was in Chicago and four or five since I last spent anytime here. It is amazing the amount of new construction in what seems to be an endless horizon of skyscrapers.

One of the new buildings since the last time I visited this Midwestern Berg is the U.S. Cellular baseball stadium. What a great place to watch a baseball game; especially, when an open bar and free food is involved. In a word, the USTA-led event at the Chicago White Sox game was, pardon the pun, a hit.

This event was also a great way to unwind after the full day of being bombarded by 24 highly qualified speakers giving a variety of viewpoints about all aspects of the bundled applications. I can’t begin to express enough appreciation to all the speakers and all of the folks from telcos who helped provide direction and made the event successful. It was bittersweet news when I heard that the on-site registration had to be stopped because of the number of registrants exceeded the room capacity.

I will provide more in-depth coverage in the next issue, but a few of the recurring ideas from this one day conference include:

  • Integrated Services (note, I didn’t say Triple Play), which means looking not only at the whole product, but how all parts of a telco (marketing, engineering, operations and finance) have to work together to more effectively to truly compete in this new communications world that is becoming “sectorless”.
  • Customers have to look at, as Geoff Burke of Calix said, “Return on Retained Telephony Revenues”, when doing a business case. Or, as John Harris of MBO, an Oklahoma operator put it, look at the business case with and without video.
  • John Schultz of FTTH Communications and Pete Drozdoff of SureWest Broadband were very persuasive in their pleading for help from the vendor community when it comes to HDTV and other areas where the industry is behind relative to cable. This will be worthy of another article in another issue of the Viodi View. I have to hand it these two, as they did a great job pinch-hitting at the last minute.

Supercomm is too big to cover in one issue of the Viodi View. Unfortunately, I have just seen a few slices of what is going on at this huge event.

One of the slices I did see was a conference put on by the Department of Agriculture/RUS, regarding the Broadband Loan Program. This is definitely worth the time of a rural telco, as the RUS provides a day long educational forum as to how qualifying entities can receive low interest loans to help bring broadband to areas that would otherwise be unserved.


The effective thing about the session I attended was that they had a real live, telco person, Ron Ellis – Director of Operations for NexTech, a Kansas IOC/CLEC, provide a step-by-step review of how NexTech successfully obtained money from this program that has $2.2 Billion available in 2004 for rural broadband development. I recommend going to this if you get a chance and will write a more detailed review in the next Viodi View. Thanks to Steve Pastorkovich of OPASTCO for notifying me about the myself and the rest of this OPASTCO membership in his weekly ISP newsletter.

Speaking of the Federal Government, FCC Chairman, Michael Powell provided his philosophical viewpoint regarding the role of regulation in the current and future world of the communications industry. He answered questions from TIA's President, Mathew Flanigan, on a wide variety of issues, from broadcasting to wireless to what sort of new technology products he expects to see in the near-future.

Unfortunately, there was not enough time for them to drill too deep into any particular issue, but the answers Powell provided gave great insight into the thinking process he uses to evaluate regulation and its role in the ever-changing telecom market. I will provide a more detailed view of his humorous and enlightening comments in the next issue.

The Korner ….Time Hurries On…..

It had been a tight schedule for me leading up to Supercomm. I created a video for my opening to hammer home the point that I am not alone (to view this approximately one minute video, please click one of the images on the sidebar) with regards to not having enough time. My opening comments were supposed to reflect the idea that telcos can benefit from this dilemma if they can provide ways to help customers more efficiently use their time. I will let those who were at the conference judge whether my spoken words matched what I had intended to say.

So, please watch the video, then read on to see if the following comments make any sense.

Twenty Two Thousand Days....Not a Lot

You are probably wondering why did this guy make this strange entrance and what sort of yahoo is this guy. Well, I am a yahoo who is pressed for time. And, I am just like the yahoos who are your customers, prospects and colleagues.

My point is that as we move into a “sectorless world” where competition comes from all directions, we are going to find our true competition is time. What we are competing for is mindshare. How do we get prospects and customers to spend time with us, when there are so many other options…from direct competitors to other forms of entertainment and ways to receive and transmit information?

If you can find a way to cost-effectively give customers more time than your competition, then you will have a unique selling proposition. Whether it is the efficiency of broadband connectivity or the convenience of electronic entertainment distribution, there are many ways that carriers can give their customers more time.

And to get that message across in a world that is cluttered with messages is the big challenge. So, you will have to do things that may be uncomfortable…things that will memorable to prospects and customers. You may occasionally fall down in doing these things, but you have to get up, learn from your fall and keep going faster than ever.

And the last point regarding time, we are going to be short of it today. There will not be a great deal of time for breaks or lunch. We are cramming two days worth of content into a one day conference. It will be an intense day, but it will be a great learning and networking experience.

On behalf of USTA, I really appreciate the speakers who will be imparting their insight.

Thank you also to the Gold sponsors, Irdeto Access, Net to Net Technologies, Tut Systems, and the silver sponsors Big Band Networks, Calix, Zhone and the Media Sponsor, Xchange Magazine. And thank you Sean Sullivan and the rest of the USTA staff for making this possible.

Lastly, thank you for your participation.

P.S. Thank you for reading the Viodi View!

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Parks Associates is having a DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT IN THE NETWORKED HOME. A One-Day Interactive Workshop presented by Parks Associates' Analysts July 15, 2004 in the Valley Room at The Fairmont San Jose. Park Associates has the pulse of what is going on in the networked home and I encourage anyone who has an interest in this area to participate in this upcoming event.

Check out the opening video to the IP Video @ Supercomm conference
Click to Watch

Please check out the CD Viodi produced for the folks involved with the telcovideo.org web site. This CD has the audio synchronized to the technical presentations from the 11 city Spring 2004 tour. All the slides are indexed, such that one can go directly to a point of interest in any of the presentations. There are some great kernels of knowledge on this CD

All parts of the network, from headend to the home are covered. The best way to get copies of this CD, is to go to the http://www.telcovideo.org web site and request a CD-ROM from one of the participating suppliers. Best to contact them for one, as we here at Viodi are too lazy and cheap to put one in the mail.

Irdeto Access Link
Click Here to Learn More

Check out the opening video to the IP Video @ Supercomm conference
Click to Watch