Thursday, March 16, 2006

VON Day 1 - Wednesday Morning Industry Perspectives 

Wednesday morning started early as usual with Jeff's presentation, setting the scene. Jon covered it already very extensively, so I can skip this. As everybody know is Jeff a video-fan, especially since he got his HDTV cam. He also outed that VON originally stood for Voice and Video on the Net, but this was too early at that time, but now the time is ripe. As readers from his blog know, Jeff also likes the Sling box, and is giving away one to eveybody visiting all sponsors. His last statement about the sling box I have still to reflect: "It takes non-nomadic services and makes it nomadic." This deserves some additional thoughts.

Next presentation was from Bert Notebaert (Chair and CEO from Quest). It was for my impression a bit to non-surprising, business as usual. What is interesting with all carriers speaking at the VON is that they unisono state: "We never blocked traffic, we do not block traffic now and we will never block traffic. We do not even think about it" (same as Dave Young from Verizon yesterday). On the other hand, Carriers not showing up at the VON do not think about anything else (see my post from yesterday). Only at the end the speech got interesting when he stated that of course IF application providers want to have better access to their customers, or even want to turbo their customers (and pay for it), if they access their site, Quest is open for negotioations. And this seems already to be the case, although he did not disclose any details (NDAs, NDAs, ...)

I missed the combined presentation from AOL and Weblogs, and came back to Brough Turner from NMS Communcations, excellent as usual. His talk was this time not about his passion of layer 0 competition, he talked about IM/presence meets mobile. I fully agree with Brough that POTSoIP is not the future and that IM and presence is very important. I also agree that not presence is important, but availability. I personally do not understand why mobile operators have not yet implemented presence and location based services (at least in the US and EU), because especially kids would like it. Brough pointed to Asia, where these services are already implemented.

Very interesting (and new for me) was the presentation from Jeremy Allaire (Chair and CEO Brightcove) on "The Internet and the Transformation of Television Distribution". He defined the difference of IPTV and Internet TV and showed the potential new business opportunities. What I had not yet fully realized was that the content owners has much more control over the distribution then via normal distribution channels. e.g. he knows exactly who is using his content.

The morning ended with two highlights, the first from Tim O'Reilly, who explained how to find out what the next generation customers will want: pay attention to the early adoptors and watch the geeks and hackers. O'Reilly is doing this since the beginning and this is why they detected new developments so early, and gave some examples, e.g. sceeen scraping predicted web services and the Internet as platform. He cited William Gibson: "The future is here, it is just not evenly distributed yet."

So we should look what the geeks are doing with VoIP and gave some examples: treating it as an extension of the internet, sound like darth vader, make cheap local and long-dsitance calls, run skype from an USB stick (ha, I do), create a premium class of service, log and record VoIP streams, connect Asterisk to Skype, etc. Of course one can get all this hints by O'Reilly: VoIP Hacks, Skype Hacks, Nokia smart phone hacks, Switching to VoIP, ...

He also made the statement that carrier with walled gardens are repeating the mistakes AOL made - what walled gardens? are there walled gardens? I will come back to this later.

He ended with an other citation: An invention has to make sense in the world where it is finished, not where it is started (Ray Kurzweil).

The second highlight (also as usual) was the presentation from my European co-blogger and financial expert James Enck. It was as always a firework of so many ideas that I cannot reproduce them here without having access to the slides. James as especially refreshing in US centric conferences after a day of concentrating on problems concerning Cleveland and Rapid Falls to hear about Europe, Asia and the rest of the world ;-)

After a short lunch I went to the exhibut, visiting with Henry Sinnreich some exhibitors and then to collect stamps to get my Sling Box. Done. I have one, although I cannot use it at home because it is NTSC. So I call for bids in Dallas.

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