Hotel Broadband a "Must Have"
InStat/MDR has published a report indicating that hotel broadband deployment activity is expanding rapidly (http://www.instat.com/press.asp?ID=1041&sku=IN0401288MU), as hotels increasingly view broadband as a "must have". "The primary driving factor is guest demand for broadband service and hotels see broadband now as an essential element of the guestroom, along with a bed, telephone, and TV". This is the logical outcome of a trend we started writing about in 2002. ( www.instat.com )
Broadband or Breakfast?
2Wire, Inc has released the result of a study of 400 broadband subscribers which suggests "that broadband connectivity is permeating all aspects of subscribers' lives, with availability of Internet access strongly influencing vacation destinations, daily routines and working practices." Among its factoids, it indicates that "half of American broadband subscribers consider checking email the most essential part of their morning routines, beating out eating breakfast and reading the paper." ( www.2wire.com )
The Year of VoIP -- Now!
Here are a few of the indicators in the US that VoIP has really arrived big time:
Many places around the world have been out in front of the US:
In a different class from the incumbents, disrupters are also busy:
Communications via POTS telephony has been taken for granted not only by ordinary consumers but also by a variety of industries that have used these telephone lines as part of their product/applications fabric. As VoIP telephony becomes more commonplace and increasing numbers of consumers drop their POTS lines, there are going to be some unexpected surprises for the unwary. One of these--the incompatibility of VoIP telephony with alarm systems--was recently pointed out by Joan Engebretson in America's Network. In the article, Engebretson points to two issues. One is the well-known issue of lack of central office powering in the event of a power failure (although battery back-up mitigates this as long as the battery lasts). The other is the reliance of the alarm industry on long-standing protocols which don't work properly in the new digital environment. ( www.americasnetwork.com )
Worst Nightmares--VoIP spam
We hope VoIP providers are paying close attention to security issues and are heading off something which sounds like my worst nightmare (well,...maybe not really the very worst). It's voice spam, or "VAM" as it was dubbed on the Engadget Web site. The implications are awful. When telemarketers call, at least they have to place calls one at a time. However, with VoIP, the message goes right into your inbox, lurking for the next time you go to check voice mail. The difference from telemarketers is that the VAM voicemail could be put into lots of people's inboxes simultaneously. Already one company has issued a press release about filing a patent application for its method to identify and block VoIP spam. ( www.engadget.com )
IP VOD -- Coming of Age?
When the New York Times has a headline like "An Online Supplier for Your Desktop Cineplex", it seems like the broadband world we've been talking about is really arriving. The article reviews four current Internet VOD services: Starz Ticket, Movielink, Cinemanow and Movieflix. It concludes that, while Internet VOD misses out on some aspects of renting a movie--like selection and clerk recommendations, "in other ways it makes an ideal way to rent movies." ( www.nytimes.com )
Video Mail from Comcast
Comcast has added video mail as its latest application -- continuing its quest to distinguish its service by new applications rather than price cuts. Comcast Video Mail, available to its customers at no additional charge, enables users to create video messages up to 45 seconds in length, using their personal computer and a webcam. They can also use Comcast Video Mail to send personalized video greeting cards and to share their digital photos via narrated photo slideshows. The application is based on the Vibe Solutions Communications Platform -- previously mentioned in our February 2004 report. We expect this is the beginning of video applications becoming more widespread in the future. ( www.comcast.com ) ( www.vibephone.com )