Is Caller ID on TV ready to kill?
I've heard very little talk about killer apps for about two years, and thank heaven for small favors. Far too many things that were heavily promoted in advance have failed to justify the hype. Segway, anyone?
It's hard to purposefully create a killer app. Few applications that turned out to be killers looked like much at first. I doubt even Mitchell Kapor's parents thought Lotus 1-2-3 would be that big.
A perfectly viable course for application development is to develop a lot of applications with the expectation that many will be useful, only a few will be dogs, and maybe, just maybe, one will turn out to be a killer. The cable industry is taking that approach with converged services, developing lots of prosaic IP-based features like caller ID on the TV screen, and messaging that can bounce from TV to PC to handheld and back at the user's convenience.
Come to think of it, those aren't even new applications. They're old ones in new places. I know. The excitement's too much.
Nonetheless, this week evidence appeared suggesting the strategy is headed for success. A survey conducted by Integra5 of subscribers of Hargray Communications showed that caller ID on TV is immensely popular.
Sixty-five percent of the respondents said they "love" the caller ID on TV feature; toss in those who said they merely like it and the response is at 91 percent. Four of five have told friends and neighbors about the feature, and 58 percent have actually shown it to friends or neighbors. The survey was mailed to 4,000 Hargray subscribers, and got a respectably high response rate of 14 percent.
Survey says…caller ID on your TV is popular. Image source: Integra5
Integra5 also asked about other converged services:
- 60 percent of respondents were interested in e-mail and voicemail alerts to both TVs and PCs.
- 55 percent were interested in service provider customer care messaging to TVs and PCs.
- 51 percent were interested in services tying in wireless devices, e.g., Web content alerts to cell phones.
- 50 percent were interested in services that incorporate personalization like TV and PC picture caller ID, setting caller ID preferences and a personalized network address book.
- 47 percent were interested in interactive services like "click-to-call" and other applications that would allow them to control and manage their calls and user experience, such as automatically diverting calls to voicemail and controlling how and which TVs and PCs in the home display caller ID.
- 42 percent were interested in content alerts, which incorporate RSS and Web-based technology to display local, national, and international news banners on TVs and PCs in real time.
What's really interesting, though, is that Hargray's subs said they are willing to pay for the additional features they're interested in. That sentiment cut across almost all demographic categories.
Interested households with annual incomes from $25,000 to more than $100,000 were willing to spend $3 for TV caller ID per month and $2 for PC caller ID per month. An average of 80 percent of interested households were willing to pay $1 or more each month per incremental converged service.
You can make your own assumptions about potential take rates and the average number of converged services ordered per customer. But no matter what numbers you use, you still get to multiply them by 65 million (and growing) video subscribers and about 4.8 million cable VoIP customers (and growing even faster). Even if you're conservative with your estimates, when you're done with the math, you're looking at millions of dollars. Optimists are looking at tens of millions.
Now that's something to get excited about, even if none of those applications are killers.
OEN hawks headend services, channel lineup
After signing carriage agreements with a wide range of content providers, Optical Entertainment Network (OEN) has initiated a Sales Agent Program to offer content services to FTTx providers.
OEN's Fision service includes 400 digital channels, which OEN will monitor and deliver from its digital IPTV headend in Houston, Texas, to anywhere in the U.S.
OEN is working with metro area network operator Phonoscope to deliver IPTV in Houston. The service was originally scheduled to have been switched on by the end of Q2; it has yet to begin, but OEN said service will start soon. Phonoscope's MAN has 250,000 household easements and is within 100 to 500 meters of approximately 1.6 million households in the Houston area.
OEN is targeting FTTx network operators who otherwise might find it difficult, if not prohibitive, to build a headend and secure rights to content. That would include municipalities, independent network owners, public utilities, competitive communications service providers, rural telecommunications providers, and real estate developers.
OEN will send up to a 3.5 Gbps multicast signal to subscribers across the U.S. OEN said it will maintain ownership of subscribers and will provide customer support for sales, programming and technical calls.
OEN says it has rights for all major networks, all available HD channels, and over 50 channels of Hispanic TV programming.
DSL Forum completes first Plugfest for VDSL2
Is there an event title more suitable for porn industry misappropriation than "Plugfest"? Twenty companies discovered exactly how interoperable their VDSL2 products were at Plugfest, recently conducted at the University of New Hampshire's InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL).
There have been several Plugfests sponsored by the DSL Forum over the years, but this was the first for VDSL2 interoperability. The event focused on conformance to the TR-069 standard, which concerns remote management of customer premises equipment.
Participating companies included system integrators, silicon vendors and test equipment providers including: 2Wire, ECI Telecom, Actiontec Electronics, Ikanos, Adtran, Infineon Technologies, Alcatel, JDSU, Amedia Networks, Lucent Technologies, Aware, Netopia, Broadcom, Spirent Communications, Cisco Systems, Siemens, Comtrend, Westell, Conexant Systems, and ZyXEL.
VDSL2 promises to accelerate DSL to as high as 100 Mbps over the existing twisted copper pair wiring.
"Interoperability is of prime importance at this stage, and the DSL Forum recognizes and supports the drive for high quality, interoperable products. The success of this event and the demand for further test events shows the industry's commitment to developing broadband technologies that speed and facilitate the deployment of triple-play services," said Michael Brusca, chairman and president of the DSL Forum.
From the outside, Buddy Rice (15),
Townsend Bell (90), and Danica Patrick (16)
at the 90th Indianapolis 500.
Source: Indy Racing League
WhiteBlox locks up Indy Racing
League IPTV rights thru '09
The Indy Racing League (IRL) has signed an exclusive deal with to with WhiteBlox to use the latter's online broadcast technology to transmit all Indy practices, time trials, and races through 2009.
Indy Racing used WhiteBlox for its online broadcast of the Indy 500 earlier this year. Audiences will be provided with standard view race coverage and automatically rotating in-car cameras with the possibility of additional camera views for regular-season racing on race day.
Texas provider lassos FTTP platform from Wave7 Optics
En-Touch Systems , a service provider covering about 11,000 homes and businesses, selected the Trident7 Optical Access Platform from Wave7 Optics for its several FTTP networks in southeast Texas.
En-Touch currently has the Trident7 operational in the Telfair community in Sugar Land, will soon connect other communities in Fort Bend and Harris counties, and will continue to build out based on the Wave7 Optics platform through the next five years.
Eagle Broadband's super headend is now operational
Eagle Broadband said its super headend facility at NewCom International's Florida teleport is now operational. The company is currently streaming more than 100 channels of IP-based television content; over the next few weeks, additional channels will be added until almost 250 channels are available.
BellSouth teams with Avaya
to deliver VoIP to business market
BellSouth has signed on as a reseller of Avaya's IP telephony systems.
BellSouth will offer its business customers several Avaya VoIP solutions, including the MultiVantage Communications Applications, which include Avaya Communication Manager IP telephony software and contact center, messaging, mobility and business continuity applications; MultiVantage Express designed specifically for mid-sized businesses; IP Office, a converged voice and data system designed for small and mid-sized businesses; and others.
The deal also includes Avaya's one-X line of phones, some of which feature one-number portability across network types
M5T, Global IP Sound collaborate on VoIP client SDK
M5T and Global IP Sound (GIPS) have teamed to create a comprehensive and portable "Secure VoIP SIP Client" software development kit.
Based on open standards, the Secure VoIP SIP Client SDK will integrate the GIPS VoiceEngine, which was designed for PC, mobile and hardware applications. GIPS VoiceEngine handles all the necessary voice components for VoIP.
M5T SIP-based secure software will be used to develop the set of routines, protocols, tools and other high-level APIs, which will be incorporated within this solution.
The two companies are currently testing the Secure VoIP SIP Client SDK independently and with an unidentified customer.
Mobitel selects Dilithium's gateways for 3G video telephony services
Mobitel Slovenia , the national mobile telecommunications operator in Slovenia, will use multimedia gateways from Dilithium Networks for the delivery of multimedia and enhanced video services across mobile and broadband networks. Dilithium Networks has partnered with SRC.SI and Cisco to deliver a Video Call Center solution to Mobitel.
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Cingular completes national GSM network integration
Cingular celebrated the completion of its GSM network integration following the merger of Cingular Wireless and AT&T Wireless in October 2004. The network includes nearly 47,000 cell sites throughout the country.
Cingular is currently deploying its 3G UMTS/HSDPA (Universal Mobile Telephone System/High Speed Downlink Packet Access) network throughout the country. The 3G service, which offers mobile wireless broadband connections averaging 400-700 kilobits per second (kbps), is available in 105 markets in and around 44 major metropolitan cities.
Ed Reynolds, president of Network Services for Cingular noted, however, "The job of building and enhancing the network will never be fully complete, not if we are going to continue exceeding our customers' expectations. It's the nature of our business."
AT&T offers network storage service to any and all
The inexorable reduction of storage costs is making network storage services practical for the masses. AT&T jumped on the trend by extending its Online Vault services - previously available only to enterprise customers - to small offices and to individuals.
Online Vault provides an online PC backup service that stores user data at a remote location to increase the protection of important and sometimes irreplaceable files, such as financial records, digital photos, music and other important documents. AT&T said the service is fully automated and secure.
For small and medium-sized business customers, the AT&T Remote Vault offers an enterprise-quality offsite data protection and restore program using a simple broadband Internet connection. Data from customer servers, PCs or laptops is remotely accessed, copied and stored at an AT&T Internet Data Center, where it is centrally managed and securely protected.
AT&T suggests that for consumers, network storage could eliminate the need for external storage devices, CD burning, moving files into flash drives or remembering to back up to external hard drives.
Online Vault is $5.95 a month for the first 2 gigabytes, then $2/GB thereafter, maxing at $17.95/month. Once the initial backup has occurred, the service will perform automatic, daily searches for updated files every time the user logs on to the Internet. The service also retains any individual updates as far back as 30 days, so consumers can recover files that may have been deleted from their hard drive or choose an earlier version of the file to recover.
'Extreme Hunting Two' game.
Sega arcade games
get networked, thanks to New Edge
Sega Amusements USA has contracted with New Edge Networks for broadband connections for network-connected coin-operated games. Sega will package a business-class DSL connection from New Edge Networks as part of its new entertainment platform.
With the broadband connections, Sega arcade systems will monitor game availability status, download game updates such as new stages, weapons and animals, host national or regional tournaments, and allow players online access to results and rankings. Multiple Sega games will be able to share a single line.
New Edge Networks will install and maintain broadband connections at all game sites on behalf of Sega. New Edge Networks will also provide network monitoring, trouble reporting, and service level guarantees.
NTT demonstrates transmission at 14 Tbps
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone has successfully demonstrated optical transmission of 14 terabits per second, eclipsing the previous record of about 10 Tbps. NTT's present optical transport network has about 1 Tbps capacity.
The higher transmission rates were achieved using wavelength-division-multiplexing (WDM) with channel capacity of 10 Gbps, and new optical amplifiers affording bandwidth of about 4 THz.
NTT used the CSRZ-DQPSK (carrier suppressed return-to-zero differential quadrature phase shift keying) format and ultra-wide-bandwidth amplifiers. Seventy wavelengths with 100-GHz spacing were modulated at 111 Gbps using CSRZ-DQPSK modulation, and then multiplexed and amplified in the bandwidth of 7 THz. In addition, each 111 Gbps signal was polarization-division-multiplexed so the number of channels was doubled to 140. This yielded the total capacity of 14 Tbps.
The transmission length of 160 km was achieved using new optical amplifiers. NTT explained that while most fibers have bandwidths in excess of 10 THz, conventional amplifiers have bandwidths of approximately 4 THz. NTT divided each channel into two bands (C and L band) or three bands (S, C, and L band), amplified each band separately, and then remultiplexed them.
EarthLink extends Time Warner Cable connection
Erie, Pa., a system formerly operated by Adelphia Communications, is the latest Time Warner Cable property to offer direct access to EarthLink Inc.'s high-speed Internet service.
The agreement follows a re-up between the two companies. Under that deal, announced in July, Time Warner Cable agreed to make EarthLink available to about 19 million homes passed by the MSO.
EarthLink said the 5 Mbps service (downstream) will sell for $29.95 per month for the first six months, and then rise to $44.95 per month.
The offer will also feature eight e-mail addresses and access to MindSpring, a "softphone" for free PC-to-PC calls. Customers will also get 20 hours per month of free dial-up access for when they are on the road.
EarthLink has offered services on Time Warner Cable networks since November 2000. The arrangement stems from conditions tied to the original merger of AOL and Time Warner Inc. An official for EarthLink said the EarthLink service currently is offered in 31 Time Warner Cable divisions, as well as six divisions of Bright House Networks, which spun off from Time Warner.