Viodi View

Viodi View – 03/03/21

Halfway through a semester is what it feels like in covering Princeton’s ongoing Smart Driving Car Summit. In many ways, it seems like there are more questions than answers and, as has been said before on these virtual pages, the autonomous driving space feels like broadband did 20-years ago. In the meantime, broadband has matured and the answer is clear that fiber to the home is the ultimate infrastructure to ensure the long-term growth of a given community.

Bigger, Better Broadband in Bemidji & Beyond

Images of Bemidji, MN, the area that Paul Bunyan Communications serves.
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A number 8 ranking by PCMag as one of the best places for remote work in 2021 should be no surprise to those familiar with the Bemidji, MN region. Its member-owned, broadband provider, Paul Bunyan Communications,, was one of the first U.S. operators to deploy fiber to the home (FTTH). By 2014 all of its members in its entire 5,500 square mile area (5,000 square miles at the time) had access to its FTTH network. Gary Johnson, CEO of PBC, and Dave Hengel, Executive Director of Greater Bemidji, discuss, among other things, the importance of robust connections, their efforts to promote the area, and the meaning of lumberjack chic.

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Memories of the Past Reflect the Future of Driverless

Every driverless market has unique attributes according to Ford.
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Although the title. Finally Doing It, sounds like a 1970s B-movie, the latest session of the Smart Driving Car Summit featured superstars of the autonomous vehicle world and blockbuster content on that topic. And hearkening back to the decade of stagflation, when another nascent technology was on the verge of hitting the mainstream, the fight to bring autonomous vehicles to market will most likely occur on a city-by-city basis, similar to how cable television rolled out on a market-by-market basis.

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To Own or to Use Driverless, That Is the Question

The number of U.S. Auto OEMs over time.
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To paraphrase Shakespeare, to own or to use, that will be the question in a driverless world. This question was an underlying theme of the latest Smart Driving Car Summit, Who Will Build, Sell and Maintain Driverless Cars? With a collective experience of 150+ years of automotive industry experience, this panel, led by the Dispatcher’s Michael Sena, looked to the past, presented the current situation, and provided informed speculations about the future of driverless.

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Level 3 – The Tech Is Here, But the Problem Is Us

Vantomme’s depicts the human-vehicle relationship for various forms of automation through a simple hands/eyes on/off paradigm
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For consumers, SAE Level 3 automation could be like “having their cake and eating it too,” so says Princeton’s, Dr. Alain Kornhauser. Simply, Level 3 offers the promise of a traditional hands-on driving experience or robo-chauffeur led journey. At the same time, visions of new revenue opportunities associated with Level 3 excite and are prodding car manufacturers to develop the associated hardware and software. With that explanation of the potential benefits, Kornhauser set the stage for the latest Smart Driving Car Summit Session, Can Level 3 Be Delivered?.

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Some Tweets and Short Thoughts

The Korner – Hygiene Today & Automatic Health Monitoring Tomorrow #CES2021

Toto's vision for clean and wellness toilets is discussed as part of CES2021.
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Could the future of health monitoring start in one’s bathroom? The answer is yes if Toto’s plans for its toilets evolve as described by Toto USA’s Bill Strang. It is an evolutionary path that starts with today’s touchless toilet experience.

As Strang touches upon in this Viodi interview, for such a device to be effective its operation must be invisible to and require no intervention from the user. Additionally, user data must be secure. The article about the Stanford prototype outlines one way to automatically identify users (one might say they use the opposite of facial recognition) and protect sensitive health data.

Implicit in such a device is a connection to the cloud via an Internet connection. Toto has experience with IoT devices in the commercial market. Strang says that one of the benefits of getting a connected product in the market is the feedback they receive from the devices.

One can only imagine the impact that such a device will have on proactive health management. As shown in Toto’s video clips integrated into the interview with Strang, the data could trigger messages encouraging specific healthy behavior recommendations.

The aggregated metadata could definitely provide a more accurate answer to the question posed to Strang at the end of the interview.

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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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