Viodi View

Viodi View – 07/09/18

Sometimes the most lasting memory from a family vacation comes from an unplanned activity. One wouldn’t expect a brief stop at a rural gas station to create such a memory. Read more in the Korner, below, about the convenience/gas station that became a highlight of a summer trip to the Lone Star State. Sorry big rigs, this fueling center is not for you, even though it is bigger than most truck stops.

Autonomous Trucking Made Simple

Tu Simple on display at CES2018.
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A 10-camera, Nvidia-GPU powered, autonomous trucking solution on commercially available trucks is what Tu Simple demonstrated at CES2018. The cameras are tuned for short and long-range vision and the trucks will operate depot to depot, primarily on freeways. As has been said by others about autonomous vehicles, wireless provides connectivity, but it isn’t necessary for driving.

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The Truckers of Tomorrow #GTC18

Robert Falck CEO of Einride interviewed at the 2018 GPU Conference.
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Better utilization of cargo space is a big part of the business model for Swedish-based, upstart Cargo as a Service (CaaS) company, Einride. By eliminating the cab and associated driver and placing the electric powertrain and associated batteries under the cargo, almost 100% of the Einride T-Pod is available for payload. This efficiency manifests in a solution that, Einride CEO Robert Falck, indicates will be 1/3 the price of a traditional approach.

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Will Driverless Trucks Have a Driver?

Challenges of applying automation technology to Commercial Motor Vehicles.
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Will driverless trucks require an operator and, if so, what will that person do? Where will that person reside, in the truck or in some remote location? These are the types of questions inspired by the recent request for comments issued by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration); the federal agency responsible for regulating and ensuring the safety of the trucking industry. Apprehension about automation’s impact on safety, employment and infrastructure is how FMCSA Administrator, Ray Martinez, summed up the input to the FMCSA’s request for comments.

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Rural Pole Attachments Uncertainty Impacts Broadband Rollout #TIS17

Earle MacKenzie being interviewed at TIS17.
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“How do you bid on getting some of the CAF money not knowing how much it is going to cost you to get the network,” said Earle MacKenzie, the now-retired CEO of Shentel? Speaking at the 2017 Independent Show, MacKenzie was referring to the challenges of navigating multiple rules and, in some cases, cost-prohibitive pole attachments in dealing with different rural municipalities. MacKenzie hinted that Shentel was considering not bidding for CAF II funding and this was borne out, as Shentel did not apply for CAF II funding.

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Part I: NTIA Chief Redl Cites “Creative Collaboration” Between Industry & Government As Key To Efficient Use of Spectrum for 5G by Steve Pastorkovich

NTIA's David Redl keynotes TIA 5G Policy Forum.
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“The days of redeploying spectrum from one use to another are over, for the most part,” according to David Redl, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “There are no more easy and relatively painless relocations we can do.” Instead, Redl, who heads Commerce’s National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA), pointed to the development of Dynamic Protection Areas (DPAs). DPAs, he said, are “transforming the older, static model of ‘exclusion zones’ into a dynamic sharing model, which can allow multiple uses across time and geography.”

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Part II: Follow-Up Panel Notes Real-World Progress at TIA 5G Policy Forum by Steve Pastorkovich

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A group of industry experts provided updates on market and technology developments related to 5G deployment at the Telecommunications Industry Association’s (TIA) June 21 Policy Forum, “Federal Spectrum Policy for the 5G Era” in Washington, DC. While the perspectives vary, it is clear that consumers are more than ready for faster, more robust fixed and mobile wireless services. While deployments of the next generation of wireless technology always take time, the longstanding efforts of network providers, handset manufacturers, and standards groups appear on track to get the first iterations of 5G services to consumers within the next 12 months.

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CuriostyStream – A Vision Realized #WEC2018

John Hendricks of CuriosityStream.
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Like most original products, the over-the-top, subscription video on demand service CuriosityStream, represents the vision of its founder. With its 1,500+ features and series on the topics of science, history, tech and nature, it is clear that CuriosityStream is the ala-carte channel that its founder, Cable TV programming legend John Hendricks, has envisioned for decades. Hendricks will be a featured speaker at The Independent Show and it will be interesting to hear his insight about how the media business has changed and its future direction.

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Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • Good summary of FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Leased Access Notice. My one sentence take: It is time for a comprehensive telecom rewrite so that the laws can somewhat catch up with the technology of today.
  • Survey says – hoping to interview #TIS18 speaker, Dr. Frank Luntz, asking him how his “Instant Response” focus group applies to NCTC/ACA members, his view on Nov. elections & how he became a Guinness World Book of Records holder.
  • The 2018 SmartDrivingCar Summit featured a robust discussion on how automated safety features can save human and financial costs today, even prior to achieving the promises of driverless automation.

The Korner – Clean Restrooms = Happy Customers

Ken Pyle posing with Buc-ee.
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It all starts with clean restrooms, indicates Business Growth Speaker, Meridith Elliot Powell. Powell was referring to Buc-ee’s, the iconic Texas-based gas station chain, and how the founders realized that a clean restroom was the most important feature for road-weary travelers looking for a brief rest.

By focusing on a feature that other gas stations often overlook, Buc-ee’s was able to differentiate itself in a commodity-based business. Their success is reflected in their number 1 ranking in every category (cleanliness, coffee, customer service, outdoor lighting, restrooms and overall experience) in the Q1 2018 GasBuddy Fuel and Convenience Store Quality Rankings (30-49 stations).

Read more and view the video of how this gas station evolved into the world’s largest convenience store and one that is a definite must-see tourist spot.

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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