Memorials Viodi View

Viodi View – 12/13/20

Ken Pyle and Everett Christensen outside his community theater in Madelia, MN.
Ken Pyle and Everett Christensen outside his community theater in Madelia, MN.

Telecommunications is fundamentally about connecting people. Despite the amazing things that broadband and the associated video conferencing ecosystem have done to keep us connected in 2020, it isn’t the same as face-to-face for capturing non-verbal communications. An anecdote from Brent Christensen’s eulogy about his late father, Everett, and the non-verbal communication he would use to let Brent know to turn up the thermostat is a great example of how broadband still doesn’t transcend physical barriers. Read more about Everett, in the Korner, below.

Unlikely Silicon Valley RDOF Winners

It looks like SpaceX and LTD Broadband were awarded money for locations in the Capital of Silicon Valley, which include the Adobe headquarters and part of what will be the new Google development in downtown San Jose.
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It appears that there are hundreds of locations in the middle of Silicon Valley that are going to be subsidized by the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I Auction (Auction 904). Businesses within the footprints of some of these census blocks include Adobe, Apple, the future Google development in downtown San Jose, Northern California’s largest mall, and even Silicon Valley’s airport, SJC. Is this Bizarro World, as the maps do not make sense?

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C-Band 5G’s Threat to Aviation

5G Interference Risk to Radar Altimeters - Page 18 of RTCA's webinar and the SC-239 study results.
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Is the impeccable safety record of aviation threatened by the use of C-Band frequencies (specifically 3.7-3.98 GHz in the U.S.) for 5G? Yes, would be the conclusion one could draw from RTCA’s November 30th, 2020 webinar, Interference Risk to Radar Altimeters from Planned 5G Telecommunication Systems. The question is what impact will this interference risk have on the rollout of 5G in the C-band?

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FCC Chair Pai resigns; who will succeed him? by Alan Weissberger

FCC Chair Ajit Pai - image courtesy of the FCC.
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Alan Weissberger opines on the resignation of FCC Chairman Pai and speculates about who might be his replacement. Will Net Neutrality be on the agenda of a new FCC? Lots of questions to ponder as we are sure to enter a new era of U.S. telecom regulation.

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Wireless Beyond Naming Rights

Patrice Carroll of ImOn talks about Community WiFi as a way of giving back.
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“We are recognizing that some type of wireless solution has to be part of our overall strategy,” explains ImOn Communications President & CEO Patrice Carroll. She goes on to say that fiber and wireless are complementary and in some extremely rural areas wireless is the only economically viable way to provide broadband service. Wireless, in the form of community WiFi, is also an excellent way to introduce non-customers to ImOn broadband services.

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Augmenting the Human Customer Service Touch

Sandy Hendrick talks about making data-driven decisions.
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“Constantly looking at the data will teach you where to go,” states Sandy Hendrick, Marketing Supervisor of HTC. Speaking at WEC2020, Hendrick emphasizes the importance of delivering the right message in the right medium at the right time to help deliver the best possible customer experience. Data is central to their outreach.

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Some Tweets and Short Thoughts

  • The 4th Annual Princeton SmartDrivingCarSummit is going to be online and spaced over three months. It starts this Thursday, December 17th, 2020. Dr. Alain Kornhauser and Fred Fishkin, the producers of this event, always do a good job of simplifying a complicated and serious topic in a fun way. This is definitely worth the time for anyone interested in what will be one of the disruptive forces of the 20s.
  • Speaking of the SmartDrivingCar podcast, it was an honor to contribute a tidbit that Dr. Kornhauser mentioned regarding the relative pollution of leaf blowers versus a Ford F-150 Raptor. Spoiler alert, the F-150 is much cleaner than a leaf blower, according to Edmunds. Based on this study, replacing one gas-powered leaf blower with an electric one would be more effective than replacing an internal combustion engine with an electric one in an automobile.
  • This video provides a clear explanation of how a contactless grocery store works. A few years back, Viodi interviewed AiFi, the company powering the image recognition part of this store.
  • Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley VC firm, has a must-read article for anyone interested in the future of video. We are in what they call the third-wave of video, which is about real-time interactivity. The poster child for this is Tik Tok, but there are many new services exploiting interactivity serving verticals beyond entertainment, including tutoring, shopping, and health & wellness.

The Korner – Everett Christensen – Contributing Yesterday and Beyond #

Everett Christensen and one of his quotes from his new book.

“The greatest contribution we can make to ourselves is to contribute something to someone else,” wrote the late Everett Christensen in his book 73 Magic Management Words +2. Everett, a long-time leader among Minnesota telecommunications providers, lived his words through a lifetime of actions.  Christensen passed from this world on November 29th, but his influence and works live on through the many people he touched.

It was Cliff Albertson who made the virtual introduction to Everett Christensen in 2009 by giving this author a review copy of Everett’s book, 60-40 or Fight, How to Get Along With Someone Other Than Yourself. This led to a series of interviews with Everett. Christensen’s writing style was approachable and the knowledge he imparted universal and timeless.

It was inspirational to see first-hand his impact on his hometown, as he provided Viodi a behind the scenes view of the community movie theater he saved. Beyond his role of author and MN telecommunications leader, this Air Force veteran and former Scoutmaster also helped found the Madelia Area Redevelopment Corporation. His economic development efforts were about helping his community, as seen in this interview.

“How do you eulogize someone like our father,” asked Brent Christensen at the service for Everett held on December 12th? Brent, who many know as the president/CEO of the Minnesota Telecom Alliance, managed to answer his own question with an uplifting and heartwarming eulogy that would make Everett proud (see 44:00 of the service).

Brent and his siblings were fortunate to have Everett’s many postulates reinforced through a lifetime of loving reminders. It is clear from knowing Brent that Everett will live on through his children.  And, for those of us not lucky enough to be one of his descendants, his wisdom, poetry, and musical stylings are memorialized on the Dill Street Press website.

It’s an honor to be part of his memory, as an edited version of a Viodi View book review is on that website. In 2015, Everett licensed that video from Viodi. It was definitely a 60-40 deal for Viodi and, hopefully, Everett felt the same way.

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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