Alan Percy : The SIP Invite
Alan Percy
| Observations by Alan D. Percy on VoIP enabling technology, industry and our personal reach for success.

August 2009

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Broadband, NetFlix and the Future of Television

August 24, 2009

Two weeks ago, I spent four days at CableLabs - talking about and seeing the new developments in the cable television business.  Truly fascinating stuff with new DVRs, on-demand programming and even a 3D TV demonstration.  However, based on what I seeing at home, I suspect someone is about to "move their cheese".

If you have been following my now year-long adoption of Verizon FiOS, you know that we've been using a TiVo-HD with FiOS to record and watch television. We subscribe to the FiOS triple-play bundle with HDTV, 20Mbps Internet and two work telephone lines.  As in most households, my teen-age kids have been the primary users of the television all summer and I've been watching their behavior on how they use the television, what they watch and how much time they spend watching.

They spend hours in front of the TV, but they don't watch "TV".  No, they don't play video games - it's NetFlix over the Internet that has become their primary source of visual entertainment.  You see, the TiVo-HD includes an optional NetFlix on-demand client that allows the kids to choose programs from the vast NetFlix library and then watch them instantly on our TiVo via the Internet.  It really is amazing - no waiting for the DVD anymore - just click and watch.  The kids have even put the NetFlix mobile client on their iPod Touches, allowing them to browse the NetFlix library from the couch.  

So what does this mean to the Cable Industry?  Think about it - here is a generation that who's world is a broadband connected and able to access virtually any/all information almost instantly.  And most of that information comes from other sources, not the cable operator.  Based on their usage, the cable operator is just a supplier of broadband Internet.

This really means that when the millennials grow up and start controlling household spending, things will change dramatically.  Our generation values the TV programming, Telephone, then Internet in that order.  I suspect they will reverse it, with their highest value being the Internet and then TV and Telephone being almost irrelevant.

Where does this take both the cable companies and legacy wireline operators?   Their focus will soon need to shift to reliable and very high-speed Internet access being the "high value and primary product", because the rest is quickly going the way of the Dodo bird.

HD VoIP - Talk Of The Town

August 11, 2009

HD VoIP is one of key strategic topics being discussed here at the CableLabs Summer Conference 2009 in Keystone, CO.  

My week started with a discussion of the future of voice services on cable networks and a live demonstration during the CableLabs Innovation Showcase, highlighting  a number of audio clips that showed the difference between the existing narrow-band voice quality and what the same clips sound like with HD VoIP.  During my presentation, I challenged the cable operators in attendance that unless they do something to differentiate their voice services, that wireline telephony will soon fade into oblivion, taking away an important revenue stream from their services, turning the "triple play" into a "double play".  I was joined by Larry Clarkson, Product Marketing for the AudioCodes System Group who helped me present a number of architecture diagrams showing how HD will be integrated into the current and future network infrastructure.  We wrapped up with a demo featuring a live transcoding demonstration of a wide-band call between a Nokia E71 mobile, a DECT phone and AudioCodes 320HD phones.

Tuesday's main theater session is "High Definition Voice" featuring a panel of experts including Jean-Francois Mule, CableLabs; Vivek Badranith, France Telecom; Mike Jablon, Time Warner Cable and Jeff Pulver,  During this member's only-event, the panel planned to discuss the current status of HD voice services to help the cable operator community assess their plans for HD in their networks.

Looking ahead, HD Voip will also be the topic of discussion at a number of other upcoming events, including:

ITExpo West in Los Angeles - "Pushing the Envelope with HD Voice - a State-of-the-Industry Panel Discussion" on Wednesday September 2nd at 10:30 AM

HD Communications Summit in New York City, an all-day event focused on HD in voice communications on Tuesday, September 15th in the New World Stages venue.

VON Fall 2009 in Miami Beach - "HD Voice: The Future of VoIP? A panel discussion on the impact of HD on our industry" on Wednesday, September 23rd at 12 noon.

I hope you will join me and participate in one or more of these sessions to contribute to this industry-changing discussion.

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