A silver lining from Coronavirus may be a resurgence in civic duty; doing things for the greater good not because one is forced to do so, but because it is the right thing to do. The famous words of President Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” ring especially true in this strange time. As we self-quarantine and phycially distance ourselves from one another, one can’t think about how much more devastating this pandemic would be if not for today’s broadband connections to a cloud-based world.
It is also our civic duty to protect our cyber world, which was the key take-away in an interview with and a presentation from Kelvin Coleman at Santa Clara University in late February. Coleman, Executive Director of the NCSA stated that “The National Cyber Security Alliance is a model public-private-partnership where we are literally going out and trying to talk to 360 million Americans in 50-states and six territories about cybersecurity and emerging technologies.”
“We are deploying broadband, we are partnering to deploy broadband and we are trying to bring high-speed Internet to rural America,” said Paul Breakman, Senior Director – Business Technologies Strategies, NRECA. Speaking at Calix ConneXions, Breakman provided an overview of the enormous opportunity NRECA members have to bring broadband to their respective members. Resiliency and broadband seem to be a common theme in today’s newsletter.
An uneven playing field is how Matt Polka describes the negotiations between ACA Connect’s smaller members and large broadcast groups for off-air programming. Polka points out that rules for retransmission consent were created in a different era when broadcasters were typically locally owned and not part of larger, nationwide, multi-station, media conglomerates (e.g. what Congress calls large station group). This interview was supposed to be a bit of a preview of next week’s ACA Summit, but the Summit will have to wait until a new date is determined.
With a throughput of 4.8 million passengers, the vertiport modeled by Darrell Swanson, a consultant for Swanson Aviation, Ltd., would serve as many people on only a three-acre footprint as a traditional airport covering hundreds of acres. Of course, this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison as, although both serve as an interface between terrestrial and sky-based transportation, the serving area of the vertiport is envisioned as regional with more of a point-to-point configuration than a traditional airport.
Tools for Working & Learning from Home & Beyond #
It is heartening to see the efforts of the broadband providers, such as Comcast, Charter, NTCA members, and ACA Connects’ members (PDF), to ensure that everyone has broadband during this time when virtual connections reign supreme. Similarly, “The Open for Business Hub lists technology companies that are helping small businesses by enabling remote work,” during the Coronavirus outbreak at little to no cost.
Another company/application that should be added to the Open for Business Hub is 8×8 with its WebRTC-based video conferencing service. Based on the open-source Jitsi platform, no downloads are required to get started and 8×8 has set it up, so a user doesn’t even have to provide an email. Entering an email address does unlock additional features, such as vanity names for virtual meeting rooms. As would be expected from a VoIP company, dial-in is an option with local phone numbers available in 55 countries.
It was easy to cast the conference to a Chromecast-enabled big screen TV, which is something this author has never been able to do using other video conference programs. The other thing that stood out was its integration with YouTube, allowing one to stream live to a larger audience. Using its mobile app, it is conceivable that one could create a multicamera streaming service or hold a webinar (e.g. it supports features like screen sharing) for next to nothing. It is making a difference as literally tens of thousands of Italian schoolchildren are using it to learn from home.
- “Sarah K. Noonan Didn’t Exist” – written almost a decade ago, Roger Bindl recognized early on the importance of being cautious on social media. He has some cool new videos on this topic. Stay tuned for those in the next issue of the Viodi View.
- Great interview with NTCA’s Shirley Bloomfield. This is good advice “I try very consciously to find one thing a day that will give me a belly laugh.”
- #TBT The DTV Transition – At What Cost? Hmmm, a better title would have been a play on urban planning guru @DonaldShoup title “The High Cost of Free Spectrum.”
- It was different being on the other side of the microphone. The idea about a wirelessly powered, pipeline inspection drone was totally off the top of my head. Wireless power, coupled with LiFi, would allow a drone to continually monitor a pipeline or an electrical transmission line at much lower cost conceivably than alternatives.
One could not help but think of the 1960s movie, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, after seeing the latest generation of personal flying vehicle prototypes at the GoFly Prize Fly Off at Silicon Valley’s Moffett Field. It is one thing to watch someone flying a personal, prototype vehicle in an online video, but seeing these vehicles in person gives an appreciation for the resourcefulness, the grit, the intelligence and the guts required to conceive, build and fly one of these magnificent machines.
To paraphrase Neil Armstrong and his words that were a capstone of one of President Kennedy’s aspirations, the people participating in the GoFly Prize are taking the small steps that will someday (and maybe not too far from now) lead to a large leap for the rest of us.