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Viodi View – 09/06/13

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The telecommunications traffic that traverses the fiber optic networks of rural telecom providers is secondary to the real value of locally-owned, telecom operators. The larger value these entities bring is the positive impact they have on their respective communities. Great bandwidth is a big part of that impact and is what is measured by Washington D.C.

It is intangible (intangible from afar, that is), as to what makes the difference to the long-term health of the rural communities served by these entities. This intangible value comes from the owners, managers, and employees living in the community, serving on local boards, organizing programs for their youth, and doing whatever it takes to improve their hometowns. They are in it for the long haul, which isn’t typical of today’s Internet-driven, fad-driven online world we inhabit (see Stories of the Heartland for examples).

Cooperation Needed Across the Video Food Chain

Ed Holleran of Atlantic Broadband is interviewed at the Indy Show.
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“It comes down to the consumer, said Edward T. Holleran, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Broadband. He suggested a laser-like focus on meeting the needs of the customer is more important than ever, given changes in tastes, technology and competition.

He makes the point that broadband has subsidized operators’ video products for some time and that all parts of the content food chain will need to cooperate to prevent an impasse, such as the many battles over retransmission consent over the past several years.

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A Canary in the Pay TV Coal Mine

Ken Pyle interviews Bryan Rader at BBC 2013.
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“They care more about broadband capacity than the choice of TV providers,” said Bryan Rader of Bandwidth Consulting. Rader was referring to apartment dwellers who are leading the way in cutting the cord. In a sense, this echoes what happened a few years back when these same customers were among the first to adopt over-the-top, VoIP services. In this interview, he talks about the best way property owners can take advantage of this trend, as well as what this trend means for the overall market.

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A Global Reach of People and Machines

Erik Kling of Vodafone is interviewed at Connections 2013.
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What may not be so obvious in this story, however, is that, through its global operations, Vodafone has a presence in the U.S. beyond Verizon. In the above interview, Erik Kling, Vice President of New Business Development at Vodafone Global Enterprise,  discusses how Vodafone helps connect disparate global organizations. And those connections aren’t just about connecting people but connecting machines to machines.

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Identifying Power Usage and Taking Action

Ken Pyle interviews Roderick Morris of Opower at the 2013 Smart Energy Summit.
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Today’s Wall Street Journal quotes Opower in a column about different ways utilities are engaging customers to be more proactive about energy management. Earlier this year, we caught up with Roderick Morris of Opower in this interview at Parks Associates’ 2013 Smart Energy Summit. Opower works with utilities of various sizes to help consumers improve the efficiency of energy usage. Morris provides insight into techniques for helping people be more efficient, marketing it, and using big data to help identify what changes make a difference.

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Outstanding Sessions at 2013 Hot Interconnects Conference by Alan Weissberger

Image depicts Incremental Adoption of Network as a Service.
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In its 21st year in Silicon Valley, the Hot Interconnects Conference addresses the state-of-the-art and future technologies used in Data-Center Networking. The high-performance communications aspects are also of interest to the Supercomputing community. This article provides an overview of the presentation on the Open Compute Project (OCP), a thriving consumer-led community dedicated to promoting more openness and a greater focus on scale, efficiency, and sustainability in the development of data center infrastructure technologies. Additionally, an overview of the presentation on NaaS (Network as a Service) is given. The research in this area has the potential for a big impact on ISPs in the coming years.

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Disposable Phone Numbers

Describing itself as the “Snapchat for calls”, RingMeMaybe combines old-school phone numbers with the latest in destructible identities. RingMeMaybe provides a phone number that self-destructs after five days. Applications for this no-cost iOS download (Android version is in the works) include dating, classified advertising; really anything where a person wants to keep their personal number private. It seems like illicit activities would be a use-case for this sort of app, although it could have some interesting applications in direct marketing. Phone numbers can be tagged, so it is possible to associate meta-data with an incoming call (e.g. the jerk I met at a bar).

Another app, Burner, provides similar functionality and both apps provide initial credits to get one started at no-cost. Via its public relations agency, the founder of RingMeMaybe indicates, “RingMeMaybe has a deal with a telecom operator and respects FCC regulations.”  Further, they follow the industry standard for recycling numbers, waiting 5 weeks with zero inbound communications on the numbers to be declared.

This sort of disposable privacy app seems like a good one for independent broadband operators to offer, as it would be complementary to other offerings.

The Korner – A Challenge Tying It All Together

An image from the 2013 Challenger Jamboree held at Moreland Little League.
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It is a struggle to keep a community together. It is easy to get caught up in the noise and lose sight of the bigger picture. The more difficult thing is to set aside differences, find common ground and move forward. This has been one takeaway from my two years as president of Moreland Little League.

Part of the reason I took this role is that I wanted to get an idea of the challenges my friends in the heartland face, as they are often on multiple boards, are volunteer firefighters and are leaders in their respective communities.

Like independent rural telecom providers, one value that Little League provides is it gives a bunch of otherwise disconnected citizens something in common and is the thread that can stitch together a community. In urban areas especially, its system of boundaries forces a tight geographic community, which is unlike the direction of youth sports today where the community is increasingly based on performance. With Little League, everyone plays, regardless of income or ability.

Like the aforementioned rural telecommunications providers, the primary benefit is not obvious. Baseball is just the vehicle to impart positive values to our youth, and, in the process, it helps adults if they are open to learning. It has certainly taught me a great deal. Everything that is good about Little League is manifested in its Challenger program.

It was an honor to be part of the 2013 Challenger Jamboree, which featured teams from south Silicon Valley to San Francisco to the north. This truly was an extraordinary event that wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of so many volunteers and the generous donations by the many sponsors.

It is one thing to read and understand the impact this program has on the children and their families, but it doesn’t compare to the tangibility of being there. The next best thing to being there is this video, which provides a flavor for the day’s events and what this great program is all about.

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Author Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

By Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

Ken Pyle is co-founder of Viodi, LLC and Managing Editor of the Viodi View, a publication focused on independent telcos’ efforts to offer video to their customers. He has edited and produced numerous multimedia projects for NTCA, US Telecom and Viodi. Pyle is the producer of Viodi’s Local Content Workshop, the Video Production Crash Course at NAB, as well as ViodiTV. He has been intimately involved in Viodi’s consulting projects and has created processes for clients to use for their PPV and VOD operations, as well authored reports on the independent telco market.

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