August 17, 2011

Digital Entertainment 2.0 Update: Telcos vs. Apple, YouTube, Cable; Telco CDNs; social media meets TV

Four short online videos below on: key trends in digital entertainment, opportunities for telcos and the competitive state of the connected digital entertainment industry; a presentation by BT on their Content Connect strategy; a demonstration of Virgin Media’s TiVo video service; and an industry insider’s perspective on ‘Augmented TV’ - the innovative frontier between social media and traditional TV.

NB You’ll need to register to view these videos, which are part of our recent ‘Best Practice Live! global online event. You can also join us in person to discuss more on M-Commerce 2.0 strategies in New York (5th-6th October) and London (8th-9th December). Or, to book a place at our Digital Entertainment 2.0 workshop on New Business Models for the Home Video Entertainment market in Europe - Lessons from America at our London Executive Brainstorm on 8th November, please email or call +44 (0) 207 247 5003.

Digital Entertainment 2.0: Telcos vs. Apple, YouTube, Cable et al

Thumbnail image for Aug 16 Keith McMahon BPL Still image.pngIn this video, Telco 2.0’s Keith McMahon describes how consumer behaviour is changing, tablets are emerging as a ‘fourth screen’, and internet, cable and other major retail players are evolving digital entertainment strategies including ‘digital lockers’ that store consumer content in the cloud. Who will be the winners and losers, and where does this leave telcos? (Register and view here)

Content Delivery: BT Wholesale’s Strategy

Aug 16 Simon Orme BPL Still image.png

Simon Orme, Strategy Director Content Services, BT Wholesale, describes current market trends and how BT has evolved its wholesale strategy and division to serve new demands from the media industry, including media and broadcast, online and TV voting, and Content Connect delivering ‘next generation content delivery’. (Register and view here)

Next Generation TV: Virgin Media’s TiVo Service

Thumbnail image for Aug 16 Alex Green BPL Still image.pngThe UK’s Virgin Media claim to have ‘re-invented TV’ with their TiVo offering which offers personalised, targeted content recommendations and highly programmable storage. A short demo video and introduction by Virgin’s Alex Green. (Register and view here)

Augmented TV Opportunity: disruption, new devices and social media

Thumbnail image for Aug 16 Anthony Rose BPL Still image.pngHere Anthony Rose, co-founder and CTO of tBone, and former leading light in the development of the iPlayer and music sharing service Kazaa, describes how social media and new devices will transform TV into a seamless social experience. What are the opportunities and who are the new players? (Register and view here)

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November 3, 2010

Smart TV and the Connected Home

We’re delighted that Nicolas Bry, SVP at Orange Vallee, France Telecom’s 2 year old ‘skunk-works-to-market’ group, will be stimulating the ‘Connected Home’ session at the Telco 2.0 EMEA Executive Brainstorm next week in London .

To stimulate the brainstorming he’ll describe ‘SoTV’, which is about defining a new type of TV-based internet experience - integrating entertainment with search, apps, gaming and other services. He recently wrote a thoughtful piece on his blog below, which helps us to understand where he’s coming from.

A key question is this: if the TV is becoming the ‘Smart TV’, how can we avoid the mistakes of the move from phone to ‘Smartphone’, in terms of ceding power to other players? Who should telcos partner with to keep a strong position in the ecosystem, and how should they do so? Here is Nicolas’ blog post:

Smart TV and future of Television

I’ve been through a very interesting article from Mark Suster, an experienced manager in the digital economy, who is now working at GRP Partners since 2007 as a General Partner, focusing on early-stage technology companies. It is called The Future of Television and the Digital Living Room and was released at Fast Company’s web site.

Mark identifies 10 major issues that the TV industry will face in the next 5 years, and I have tried to put a few comments after a short summing-up:

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January 28, 2008

Ring! Ring! Hot News, 28th January 2008

A very selective tech downturn: as the stock market tanked, Nokia reached its world-domination target of 40% total market share. They celebrated with a recreational acquisition, buying Norwegian mobile-Linux specialists Trolltech. This brings not only their Linux technology, but also their cross-platform development environment Qt on board; this is presumably a means of hedging against Google Android et al. The mobile development race continues.

Meanwhile, a closer look at the figures for handset market share suggests one thing. It’s not just that Nokia is doing well; Motorola is doing catastrophically.

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October 15, 2007

Ring! Ring! Monday News Analysis, 15th October

No O’Reilly ETel for you!

Telco 2.0 Comment: You’ll just have to come to Telco 2.0 instead. We designed it specifically as a reaction against the kind of conferences where all you remember is the delegate bag — although ETel wasn’t among them and will be missed.

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October 12, 2007

Home Monitoring - Liberating not enslaving our children

Intamac, a UK-based specialist in home monitoring and control services, is one of a select group of exhibitors in the Innovators Zone next Thursday at our Digital Home Summit. Kevin Meagher, their CEO, will be doing a demo of a web-enabled platform that allows telcos to enter the lucrative home and business monitoring market in a way that complements triple-play strategies.

We asked him to give us a some context for his demo:

These are strange times for parents. We live in a world where a child is mysteriously snatched from a room whilst her holidaying parents eat dinner a few metres away whilst teenagers shoot each other in the inner cities. We know rationally that there isn’t a child snatcher or gun-toting `hoodie` hiding round every corner. But we increasingly behave as if serious threats to our children are all around us, just waiting to catch us unawares.

The everyday stuff of our own youth such as walking to school alone, playing in the streets, crossing the town unaccompanied or just going off to play with friends now seems to pose huge dangers.

A recent report from the UK Children’s Society warns that parents’ fears about safety are stopping children from playing outdoors unsupervised. And, unsurprisingly it shows how today’s parents are not giving their children the freedom to roam that they enjoyed in their own childhoods in the 1970s.

Why are we such paranoid parents? Why do we worry at the idea of our confident, outwardly worldy mobile using, Powerpoint presenting, technology-savvy kids even walking on their own to school - when we were making our own way at even younger ages?

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October 8, 2007

Ring! Ring! Monday News Analysis, 8th October

As a preview to the Telco 2.0 event next week in London, here are some relevant news items from the last week to help stimulate the furious debate among the participating cognoscenti:

Ever wanted to physically wave a game controller round your head? Now you can, thanks to Nokia researcher Paul Coulson.

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August 28, 2007

Music as DSL Subsidy, and Cuffware

French ADSL operator Neuf Cegetel has turned platform, recruiting Universal Media as a partner in its new music service.

For €4.99 a month over and above their usual €29.90 triple-play tariff, you can download as many songs as you want from the entirety of Universal’s back catalogue. A less extensive service is free. It’s clear what Neuf Cegetel is up to, right? Facing the usual DSL operator’s struggle to survive incumbent competiton, they’re adding new revenue-generating services that cross-subsidise the ISP operation. And, as usual, one of the simplest ways to do this is through platforms and partners.

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August 20, 2007

Ring! Ring! Monday News: 20th August, 2007

These weekly news roundups are a new Telco 2.0 service; they are meant to focus attention on news items that might not be Telco 2.0-related at first sight, or big enough to warrant a whole post to themselves, but do contain real insight. They are grouped under the categories used in the rest of Telco 2.0.

Digital Youth

When Search Attacks: Participants in a fancy ID-business social network were horrified when a bot used to auto-populate their profiles libelled leading sci-fi author John Scalzi. He’d repeatedly written about disgraced congressman Mark Foley and used the word “paedophile”; guess what the bot decided to put in his “description” field?

Telco 2.0 Comment: Remember, automatic robots and highly personal information are a dangerous mix. If the AOL security breach was farce, this is tragedy, especially as Spock includes a function for users to vote on each other’s reputations.

T-Mobile Tees Up 3G: First 3G device for T-Mobile USA leaked…but the real news is that even without UMTS, data usage ex-SMS is booming.

Telco 2.0 Comment: T-Mobile is better known for its open-slather Web’n’Walk tariff in Europe, but how to explain its US data boom? Our theory is that its historic price leadership, going back to the days of Voicestream, captured a demographic that’s now adopting new gadgets and services rapidly. Note that AT&T just got FCC approval for the US’s first HSUPA data card - 2Mbits/s uplink, 7.2 down.

Digital Cities

Wi-Fi…Why? Cali-utopian geeks’ dream of free Wi-Fi everywhere doesn’t work. Maybe they could have a crack at the space elevator instead?

Telco 2.0 Comment: There’s a reason why mobile operators have lots of radio engineers, you know. And billing departments.

Paranoia in the palm of your hand: New Sprint service lets you browse sex offenders’ register from your phone; so you can find a sex offender in a hurry? No, of course, it’s for your peace of mind..

Telco 2.0 Comment: “Checking for local offenders is free…after normal data charges” It’s one way to get those metered bits moving. In Telco 2.0 terms, this is somewhere between Digital Home and Digital Town. Notably, some other carriers offer various security-related services; MTN in South Africa streams your home CCTV camera feeds to your 3G device and texts you if the alarm goes off. At least you can do something about that other than “move house” or “collect angry mob”.

Digital Politics and Regulation

AT&T spotted wielding censor’s scissors! Astonishingly, David “Stupid Network” Isenberg isn’t at all pleased that AT&T’s web music portal censored Pearl Jam being rude about President Bush. Perhaps it says more about AT&T that they’re hoping to make a profit streaming Pearl Jam over the web? Isenberg, again unsurprisingly, thinks this is an argument for network neutrality.

Telco 2.0 Comment: So that’s what they wanted all that IMS gear for! More seriously, as John Waclawsky said, monitoring is the first step to control.

ESPN’s efforts to have fewer customers are a roaring success; the cable-TV sports channel may give up on a scheme to restrict access to its website to customers of ISPs who pay it for the privilege.

Telco 2.0 Comment: The idea was that viewers who couldn’t get to see the videos would complain to their ISP; it could have perhaps been predicted that they would complain to ESPN’s website about not being able to see content on their website. Further, the economics of this are a little strange; there is no pot of gold in the customer ISP world for content providers to get their hands on, quite the opposite with margins tanking all over the world.

Too many zeros; Telekom Malaysia bills subscriber 17 times the GDP of the United States. Sorry, that should be “bills deceased ex-subscriber”…

Telco 2.0 Comment: When you do something often enough, even 99.999% sometimes isn’t enough.

Digital Product Innovation

3UK to offer cheap mobile data; 1GB/month=£10, 7GB/month=£25.

Telco 2.0 Comment: In the future, data transfer will be cheap. Cheaper and cheaper. How will 3 make money from this?

Nokia does identity and social networking: sadly, they call it Mosh. In other awful branding news, will Sprint-Nextel call its WiMAX service XOHM?

Telco 2.0 Comment: I, ah, hope you know what you’re doing with that ad budget.. Seriously, there’s so much interest in SNS these days it’s no surprise Nokia is interested, if only as a research project into user interfaces. It probably helps if your users can pronounce the service..Oh God, they’re actually going to do it…

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August 1, 2007

40Gbits Granny and the Future of Telecoms

The news that Sigrid Löthberg, Peter Löthberg’s 75-year old grandmother, has the world’s fastest Internet connection has now passed through the Web’s digestive tract. All the oohing and aahing is complete. It’s certainly very cool that she has 40Gbits/s connectivity and a CRS-1 router in her garden shed, but it is only a demonstration project.

However, it does tell us quite a lot about how Cisco thinks the future will be. And there will not be a CRS-1 in every pot any time soon. The fibre, well, that’s a different story. Sweden, like some other countries, has a number of projects that aim at the creation of shared, open-access fibre infrastructure. It’s a question of getting the institutions and economics right; aggregating enough customers to spread the capex while guaranteeing open access to preserve competition. And that, by the way, is what the Digital Town strand of Telco 2.0 is all about, and the focus of the Digital Cities summit on the 18th of October: find out more here.

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July 31, 2007

Digital Home and the opportunity in ‘Life Data’ Management

It’s been a busy week briefing various expert speakers for the Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm in October. We’re spending even more effort in this area to make the ‘Mindshare’ process really hum. In particular we’re asking each presenter to prepare something genuinely new and different. Individually, they will be providing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. The rest of the pieces reside in the minds of the brainstorming participants, which need stimulation and structure to be collectively unleashed.

Below are some highlights re the Digital Home Summit (18th October 2007, London) building on our last post on this subject:

Nick Augustinos, a Senior Director at Cisco’s IBSG consulting arm and a Board member of the Continua Alliance (an important group worth checking out at the link above) told us that the obvious focus for telcos is in supporting delivery of healthcare services to the home. But there’s a bigger prize out there…

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July 25, 2007

France Telecom, Part 2: Little Boxes, All The Same

So we mentioned Liveboxes. The box contains an ADSL modem, a four-port Ethernet/WLAN router, and some other stuff running on its kernel. Specifically, there’s a socket for a standard PSTN handset, so you can use FT’s carrier-VoIP service, and a Bluetooth radio so you can walk about with the same service. There’s also an IPTV client, so you can watch FT’s TV.

Now, I don’t know what’s actually driving the thing - but many of these boxes have a real operating system, usually a small Linux distro. (Note that if you want to DIY, there’s a Linux available for the Linksys WRT54G router.) A lot of them can be remotely managed by a system administrator over the Internet - something which has already had embarrassing consequences for at least one ISP, whose CPEs shipped with the default passwords set and were promptly hacked.

This has all been a little techie by Telco2.0 standards so far. But here is the vital upshot: this is what a platform for new services looks like. Once you have a little box in the customer’s living room with an IP address, a general-purpose OS, and remote admin access, you’re in a position to come up with new ideas and get them out to the market very quickly indeed.

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June 30, 2007

eHealth in the Digital Home - Big Opportunities for ICT players

Referencing the recent Munich Economic Summit, the London Times ran a headline the other day saying “The most important person in healthcare is the IT guy”. What they really should have said is “…the ICT guy”. There are huge opportunities for telecoms and media players to join technology vendors to generate new business at the intersection of Digital Home and Digital Health.

But we need to work out what propositions and business models are appropriate. We may never achieve the end goal suggested by this image (or want to!)…
ContinuaAlllianceTeleHealth.png …but the IT sector (and now some telcos) are starting to salivate about the home/health market.

We’re therefore delighted to have Thierry Zylberberg join the ‘stimulus speaker’ list for the Telco 2.0 ‘Executive Brainstorm’ in October. Previously Executive Vice President in charge of new services at France Telecom Group, a few weeks ago he was formally announced as the head of FT’s new Healthcare Division. Why this focus? Well, eHealth is now the fastest growing ICT sector - 15-20% per annum growth for the next 5 years, from which FT Group is aiming to generate 500m Euros of new annual revenue by 2010.

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May 11, 2007

Telco 2.0 Event: Digital Home

Below is a summary of the output from the Digital Home brainstorm at March’s Telco 2.0 event. We’ll be pushing forward the debate over the next few months, in preparation for the follow-on brainstorm on 18th October in London.

We brainstormed against this in-going hypothesis, using the agenda described here, covering these issues:

- What customers want from the “Digital Home”
- Key Issues and Technologies
- Case Studies / New Concepts
- Sources of value for Telcos
- Conclusions and Next Steps

2.1 What do customers want from the Digital Home? Do we/they really know?

Jacques Recourdon, VP of Marketing Vision at France Telecom, Matteo Gatta, VP of Strategic Planning & Projects at Belgacom and Pierre Yves Le Berre, VP at Comverse spoke. Some of the most interesting take-aways were:

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March 19, 2007

Femtocells - What are they and why are they important?

Given news last week that, on the one hand, Deutsche Telekom is no longer promoting its FMC offering (T-one - just 2,000 users in 6 months) and, on the other hand, Vodafone talking about how it’s Fixed-Mobile Substitution service, @Home/zuHause, is taking off (2 million subs in Germany already), we thought it would be useful to look at Femtocells - new devices that could help mobile operators penetrate deeper into the Digital Home market.

Whether it’s network coverage, retail presence, or compatibility with existing infrastructure, the winning strategy over and over in telecoms is “out-distribute the other guy”. Telco 2.0 event sponsor ip.access describe below how femtocells help execute this strategy for operators. There is some irony in operators using expensive licensed spectrum to deliver their nemesis — open Internet access — to mobile devices. However, we think this will prove to be a winner against Wi-Fi/UMA access — whose proponents will over-estimate the importance of speed and low price, and under-estimate the overall user experience, the lack of dual-mode handsets and the distribution ecosystem of cellular. Andrew Tiller, who’ll be speaking in the ‘Digital Home’ workstream, explains:

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March 14, 2007

How BT Vision manages Digital Content

We’re keen to have interesting ‘enabling’ companies at the Telco 2.0 Industry Brainstorms. So we’re delighted to have a relatively small and new UK-based company called AssetHouse stimulating the Digital Home workstream in a few weeks time.

They have pioneered a software architecture that allows telcos, cablecos and other ‘content service providers’ to separate the management of content services from their delivery applications. This is important because it removes the technology “silos” that typically exist between different delivery channels, and in so doing enables the delivery of content - quickly and cost-effectively - to multiple devices: TV, PC, PDA, mobile phone, games consoles. This helps the service provider adapt their offerings to consumer preferences much more efficiently.

Edward Roberts, a Director at AssetHouse, will be talking specifically about their work with BT Vision in the ‘Case Studies/New Concepts’ section of the brainstorm. I asked him to describe more about what his company does and why it’s important to ‘Content Service Providers’ (CSPs):

“In recent months, players such as BT, BSkyB, Channel Four, Orange, Tiscali and Virgin Media have unveiled plans to launch a range of next-generation broadband services (including video-on-demand) to allow subscribers to access, download and share movies, video, music and other forms of digital content.

A key challenge, however, for these and all players in this market has been to build an infrastructure that allows content services to be created once, but used many times in different incarnations - so they can accelerate time to market, reduce operational costs and improve quality of service.

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January 18, 2007

Digital Home - The Opportunity for Telcos

As you’ll have seen for ‘Digital Town’ here, we create detailed hypotheses as a brief for participants at the Telco 2.0 brainstorm . Next up is the Digital Home work stream on Day Two, which looks at the impacts of high speed broadband and wireless access, and the parallel evolution of other technologies, on the home environment. We’re delighted to have senior execs from BBC, Belgacom, BSkyB, FT-Orange, Slingbox, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telenor and others preparing special stimulus presentations for this. (Thanks again for input to Alan Patrick from Broadsight who is working with us on this).

So, below is what we think is the ‘Situation’, ‘Complication’, ‘Key Questions’, and ‘Way Forward’ for ‘Telcos in the Digital Home’.

The Situation today is interesting to say the least:

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December 11, 2006

Telco 2.0 ‘Disruptors’

One of the things people valued at the Telco 2.0 Brainstorm in October was the demos/short presentations by a number of ‘disruptors’ we’d gathered at the event. There’ll be a new group at the follow up March event (watch this space for announcements).

In the meantime, this week on the blog, we’ll share a few of our favourite disruptors. For each we describe: What is it? How does it work? What User Problem does it address? Why it’s disruptive? What are the opportunities for incumbent Operators?

Today we start with PhoneGnome from TelEvolution, started by David Beckemeyer, the ex-CTO of Earthlink.

What is it?
A small box that sits between the POTS line and regular telephone, but also has a broadband connection. It enables users to get the best of both the PSTN (powered line, emergency service, compatible with all alarms and set-top-boxes) and VoIP - without changing number, getting locked into a long-term plan, or buying new handsets.

PhoneGnome is to fixed lines what WiFi handsets are to mobile.

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November 19, 2006

BT vs. AOL: telco wins at vital service delivery

As a small (growing fast!) business, we’re interested in value-for-money basic IT services. One of these is an online backup storage service. I’ve been testing AOL’s Xdrive service and BT’s digital vault. Both are aimed at the domestic/SoHo market.

The outcome is rather interesting, and neatly illustrates where telcos can out-service Internet players.

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