There are huge changes ahead for Motorola: a corporate split, entry into new markets, and the integration of the company’s Home and Mobility businesses. It’s an exciting time, but also the right time for me to make my exit stage left.
I launched this blog – with critical support from some key folks in the company – at the start of 2007. At the time, corporate blogging was still in its infancy. Virtually no one trusted or understood the potential value of the medium. Many outsiders assumed a corporate blog would only be a new vehicle for marketing speak. Many insiders believed a blog would only get us in trouble on legal or financial ground. Yet somehow the site here persisted, and grew, and even developed its own following within the industry and among consumers. Over four years, traffic to the site has grown exponentially. Even more importantly, the content here has kicked off some fantastic conversations. Various posts have led to analyst briefings, independent articles, Twitter commentary, email exchanges, customer and partner discussions, trade-show meet-ups, and more. On a personal note, the blog has allowed me to pry and pester to my heart’s delight. I can’t think of anything that would have proven a better learning experience in cable and telecom, or provided a better opportunity to engage with so many smart and savvy people in the industry.
So why am I leaving? There’s no great drama in it. I simply feel it’s time to move on and discover something new. I have some exciting plans ahead, and also some freedom to explore interesting projects in the new year. I am active over on Twitter for anyone who wants to learn more or get in touch: @msilbey. I will also be trolling CES next week. In the meantime, many many thanks to everyone who has read and supported my work here. I appreciate it all.
P.S. Just because I’m leaving doesn’t mean the blog is going anywhere. Stay tuned. There’s more to come.
The home automation industry has followed a long and tortuous road, but a number of new products on the market and planned broadband services suggest we may have turned a corner. Word came out today that Verizon has a smart-home trial planned for next month, and a broader commercial launch scheduled for some time in the first half of 2011. The service will work with Motorola’s 4Home technology, and will include networked cameras, thermostat and appliance monitors, and automated lighting controls, among other features. It will work over FiOS and DSL.
Home monitoring and control isn’t new for Motorola, but until recently the company’s cable and telco customers weren’t ready to invest in the technology. Now with pervasive broadband, and the rise of networked homes, operators are judging that the time is right. Soon our connected homes will become smart homes as well.
Continuing on yesterday’s theme, here are some of my favorite posts from the second half of 2010.
July: New Multi-Room DVR: Pause Live TV, Record Anywhere – covering a multi-room DVR deployment with Cincinnati Bell including features not available in larger operator environments
August: VOD Economics: Are We There Yet? - on collapsing release windows and other signs that the economics for VOD are improving
September: Perceptual Video Processing Cuts Bitrate in Half – how to use PVP to cut bandwidth requirements while maintaining video quality
October: What Ever Happened to CMTS Silver? – discussing the future of upstream bandwidth
November: Options for Cable IP Video Delivery – detailing different ways for cable operators to deliver video over IP
December: From Wireless Gateways to AllVid, A Look Back - on the evolution of gateways in the home
As we wind up 2010, I’ve gathered a list of some of my favorite posts from the year. Some were popular. Others weren’t. But I like this list because it covers a range of topics that were important in 2010 – from 3D, to VOD, to IP, to home networking. Here are my selections for the first six months of the year.
January: Will 3D Push the Industry to MPEG-4? – covering compression and bandwidth requirements for 3D TV
February: Five Recommendations to Improve VOD – on live television capture, in-channel VOD, and more
March: What’s Important in a TV Service? VOD, for One - on integrating VOD with retail CE devices
April: Cable IP Migration a Little Easier, Less Expensive – detailing an IP migration technique at the headend
May: On Google TV, Part Two – covering the launch of Google TV, and IP versus OTT video
June: G.hn, MoCA 2.0 and the Home Networking Landscape – a comparison of home networking standards
If you read CableLabs’ most recent modem certification report (and really, why wouldn’t you?) you’ll notice that more and more of the hardware certified is IPv6-compliant. In fact, in the last two cert waves, all of the modems certified are listed as supporting the newer protocol.
Depending on which reports you read, we’re on a course to run out of IPv4 addresses some time in the next two to twelve months. This likely won’t have a major effect on consumers, but ISPs have had to get aggressive about managing the transition, and that includes making sure modem manufacturers are supporting the switch. Luckily, the migration to DOCSIS 3.0 created a window for IPv6 upgrades as well. It’s nice when the timing works out.
The most recent CableLabs certification wave, CW 79, included four new D3 modems. Among them- the Motorola SVG7540 voice gateway. In addition to being IPv6 compliant, the SVG7540 was certified for DOCSIS 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, as well as PacketCable 1.0 and 1.5.
As SlashGear noted yesterday, Motorola has now posted a countdown on its main consumer site leading up to the start of CES and the next “tablet evolution.” Although tablet territory really falls under Motorola’s Mobile Devices unit, the upcoming merger of Mobile Devices and the Home business makes it a relevant subject matter to note here. Not to mention, the worlds of mobility and the connected home are growing ever closer in the industry at large. Tablets and TV are suddenly close kin. Perhaps even closer after CES 2011.
It’s been three years since Comcast made a splash at CES with the unveiling of Tru2way, and since then, both cable and telco providers have kept a pretty low profile at the show. However, with the growth of mobile broadband, and broadband video, operators are likely re-evaluating how they should approach the annual Vegas shindig. Verizon is already set to deliver a keynote speech at CES 2011 with a big focus on LTE. Will there be room for FiOS discussion as well given the new features on the horizon?
Comcast, meanwhile, doesn’t have an official presence planned, but given the presumed-pending merger with NBCU, and the company’s recent iPad app frenzy, it seems quite likely that there will be Comcast folks around and about. NBCU always has a big production booth at CES, and tablet mania is sure to keep new TV apps front and center.
AT&T has exhibited at CES in previous years, and Clearwire made a big show with WiMAX at CES 2010. Will either company follow up in 2011?
As the worlds of cable, telecom, and CE collide, the make-up of CES is likely to change over the next several years. I suspect that shift will gain momentum in January.
Verizon threw down the gauntlet early on with its FiOS IMG guide interface and features like TV widgets, a decent search function, and VOD cover art. However, the guide has always had certain shortcomings – like no HD display – and cable companies have started to roll out their own improvements to compete with the FiOS threat. Now Verizon is moving to the next level. In a “sneak peak” program, the telco has started selectively pushing out IMG 1.9 to Verizon community forum members in New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania.
New features in the 1.9 release include an “expanded TV listings guide, improved graphics, and new functionality in DVR and parental controls settings.” The “improved graphics” part refers to the long-awaited 16:9 HD display as well as updated image art across menus and specifically in the VOD library. Reports are also coming in from the DSLReports forums that the eSata port is now open on the Motorola QIP7200 set-tops. And, near and dear to my heart, the multi-room DVR service (Home Media DVR) now lets subscribers manage and record shows from any set-top in the home, creating a single virtual library across both set-tops and external hard drives.
Electronic program guides have always been a major point of contention among operators, and a major pain point among consumers. Expect the wars to heat up in 2011, however. Between new IP-based guides and regulatory wrangling over who controls the interface when new CE devices have broader access to pay-TV services, the EPG is likely to be in the spotlight for the industry next year.