Table of Contents For This Issue
News about People and Companies influencing The Broadband Home
Each month, we collect miscellaneous happenings, studies, trends or observations that you might have missed. This month’s tidbits include updates on two company successes, broadband statistics, the battles between US Telcos and municipalities over broadband and more.
Why did 140,000 people come to Las Vegas for CES? We know it couldn’t be for the quality of the bus and taxi transportation. Most wouldn't miss THE yearly event for seeing what’s new and cool in areas as diverse as mobile phones, auto electronics, video and home networking. The things that caught our attention included "video on the go"--which gets our vote as the next big thing; some cool chips that will power next year's products; another try by SBC in offering video; and a session called "Broadband on Steroids" examining what’s new and coming in wireless.
What was big at CES? Our answer is the dawning of Video-on-the-Go--what we're terming "Vidi-Go". It's logical, since mobile phones have fulfilled the "call from anywhere" promise for voice, and broadband wireless technologies like WiMAX are poised to add the "anywhere" dimension to broadband data. Video innovations like TiVo first addressed the desire for "time shifting". Vidi-Go, which addresses the desire for "place-shifting", is a natural complement. We review a raft of products we saw at CES, including those for use anywhere in the world, those that address your time spent in a car and those that give you flexibility to move around the home.
For the first time SBC had a major presence at CES. The occasion was promotion of their two-pronged thrust in providing video services and the introduction of their new U-verse branding for its suite of IP-based products and services set to launch in 2005. Although lots of snazzy things were demonstrated, the crowd seemed most appreciative of a simple one--instantaneous channel changing.
Most people visit CES to look at the cool new toys. We spent much of our time talking with more than a dozen semiconductor companies--looking at chips for powerline networking, ultra wideband (UWB) and the next generation of Wi-Fi based on MIMO. The chips may not make you deliriously happy, but the products they power have the potential to excite consumers.
Standards play a large role in the success of new technologies, and we heard a lot about new standards at CES. Some companies are bringing products to market ahead of standards, and many other companies are upset with them. This got us thinking about the proper timing for standards.
Imagine the challenge of trying to keep two CEOs, a promoter Group Chair and a Chief at the FCC each to their allotted time slots. At CES, that was Dave's challenge in a session he organized and moderated on "Emerging Technologies". Topics included new wireless networking technologies for MANs, LANs and PANs plus some views from a long time Chief at the FCC .
What technologies will be important to the cable industry during the next three to five years? That topic is tackled annually by the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers at their Emerging Technologies conference. Sandy and Dave both had the opportunity to share some thoughts--Sandy on competitive wireless access technologies and Dave on the evolution of Wi-Fi in the home.
The greatest value of a show like WCA's Winter Conference is that it gathers together all the really key players at one time and place, so you can meet with them privately and learn what's really going on.
Last month we described the current Wi-Fi deployment in Florida. Our expectation was that the next likely step was for the city council to vote in March on expanding Wi-Fi coverage city-wide. The council has moved the vote forward and citywide coverage has already been approved.
The upcoming IPTV World Forum has attracted a great group of speakers. We're committed to be speaking at a private conference at the same time, so hope the sponsors will share highlights of the London event with us after it's over.