Viodi View

Viodi View – 11/18/17

Ken Pyle awarding Steve Pastorkovich $600 for OPASTCO's FRED on behalf of the sponsors of the VSI sponsors at Telco TV November 2002. Also pictured, includes Geoff Hillier, Pete Pifer
FRED Donation at the 2002 TelcoTV

Inspired by the inaugural TelcoTV, the Viodi View was launched 15 years ago this month. Much has changed since then, although, in many ways, rudimentary services, such as MovieLink, were a precursor to the ongoing shift to the Internet for almost everything. The focus on meeting and being responsive to the needs of the customer was a major theme of the 2002 TelcoTV conference and, as seen below, progress in that area continues to be made. And although looking back on the zigzag progression of technology is interesting, it is the people who have made the journey meaningful. 

A New Way to Listen and Interact with the Customer

A demonstration of a voice agent at the 2017 Calix Connexions Conference.
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The ability for the service provider to “own the customer experience” could get a little easier in 2018 with the help of a new gateway from Calix. As explained by Calix’s Chris Bernard, the prototype GigaCenter, demonstrated in the above video at Connexions 2017, incorporates a microphone and speaker, enabling the service provider to provide an on-demand, always on, customer service presence within the home through a familiar conversational interface.

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Death Knell for Google Fiber? Parent Company Reduces Spending & Cuts Jobs by Alan Weissberger

An image of a Google Fiber billboard in Provo, Utah.
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Google’s parent company Alphabet significantly scaled back its investment in its Google Fiber service in the third quarter.  The company said it was curbing the expansion of its high-speed fiber optic internet network and reducing staff in the unit responsible for the work. Alphabet did not provide an exact number for the jobs that will be cut.

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Wireless to the Difficult to Reach Internet of Things

SigFox being demonstrated at CES2017.
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Serving the “Internet of Difficult Things to Reach” is how the Sigfox network could be described. Sigfox has an aim to cover the world with its IoT network and, according to Sigfox’s Kristi Mason, already covers 20% of the U.S. population. Of course, their target population isn’t people, but the things – particularly things associated with infrastructure – that people depend upon daily.

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An Arm-Centric Approach to Automation #RoboBusiness

Training a Universal Robot with a wand - no computer programmer required.
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An automation ecosystem built around a robotic arm is what Universal Robots demonstrated at RoboBusiness 2017. Universal Robots’ Craig Tomita explains, that by focusing on the arm and the integration of third-party accessories, the creation of custom robots for specific tasks is relatively easy. With over 16,000 UR robotic arms in the industrial space, it is probably a question of time before we start seeing these in consumer facing applications. It probably won’t be serving us dinner at home any time soon, but as seen on YouTube don’t be surprised if you see one serving up food or preparing coffee.

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Virtual Design Prototyping & Review

Assembling a virtual car at Nvidia's 2017 GPU Conference.
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Many years ago an engineer brought a product to a young technician to test. While it had the perfect layout for a radio frequency circuit, it was impossible to install in a rack because of a poorly located connector. Perhaps if the ESI Group’s virtual reality simulation tools had been available, this connector location faux pas would have never happened.

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An Electrifying People Mover – Part 2

A toy Proterra bus at the Proterra headquarters.
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Long before this week’s announcement of an electric big rig, a former Tesla employee has been the leading a company that has been quietly electrifying the mobility fleet for many transit agencies. In doing so, they are pragmatically moving towards an increasingly autonomous future. In the second part of our interview, Ryan Popple, president and CEO of electric bus manufacturer, Proterra, Inc., explains that one example of incremental automation is the mechanism they developed to precisely align their buses with electric chargers.

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Some Tweets and Short Thoughts

The Korner – Eight Rebuilds and Counting

John-Higginbotham and Bob Gessner speaking at the 24th Annual ACA Summit.
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“We would love to be on there in Frankfort, because we can’t get the signal there,” is what a Louisville television station is purported to have written in a 1951 letter to the organizers of the Frankfort, KY cable system. As someone who overlapped with one of the founders and a key driver of this early cable system, John Higginbothom is a bridge between the early days of cable television, when it was a community antenna for rural locales, to today’s gigabit, interactive broadband networks.

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Author Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

By Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

Ken Pyle is Marketing Director for the Broadband Forum. The mission of this 25+-year-old non-profit “is to unlock the potential for new markets and profitable revenue growth by leveraging new technologies and standards in the home, intelligent small business, and multi-user infrastructure of the broadband network.”

He is also co-founder of Viodi, LLC and Managing Editor of the Viodi View, a publication focused on the rural broadband ecosystem, autonomous vehicles, and electric aviation. 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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