Friday, May 30, 2008

Tru2Way And Sony Set To Upset Set Top Box Business

How does this affect the set-stop box and digital video recorder (DVR) component players?tru2way

From Yahoo Sony Inks Interactive Cable-TV Deal

Comcast , Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter, Cablevision and Bright House Networks and Sony Electronics agreed to a standard that will allow consumers to access interactive digital and high-definition video without the assistance of a set-top cable box.

The enabling Tru2way technology, based on Sun Microsystems' Java runtime environment, enables interactive capabilities in TV sets, gaming consoles, portable media players, and even mobile phones

Sony's agreement with the nation's top cable giants, which together serve more than 105 million U.S. homes, will eliminate cable set-top box deployment headaches and maintenance costs for cable-TV operators. Another perk: The deal will end those pesky monthly set-top rental fees that many consumers hate.

"The goals of Tru2way are to provide a universal, national platform that will enable consumers to receive cable's interactive services without a set-top box," noted Joy Sims, a spokesperson for the National Cable TV Association.

The FCC's Considers Another Spectrum Auction For Free Internet......Disruption Ahead

Will 2008 could go down as the "The Year of Spectrum"?

Earlier this year the FCC held the 700 MHz Auction.

Last week Google's Larry Page went to Washington to push for broadband using White Spaces.

Now the FCC is pushing another spectrum auction for "free Internet".

What are the ramifications for free broadband in the US?

Outside of the US Economy and the consumer, what companies stand to benefit and what companies should be altering their businesses?

This would be a huge boost for America broadband users, but could it be disastrous for mobile players?

How far are we from free mobile service? How big is this for VoIP players?
Who would provide the triangulation services? (gps, lbs)

From Yahoo FCC Mulls High-Speed Internet Plan

Federal regulators may require the winner of airwaves being auctioned off by the government to provide free wireless high-speed Internet service across a large swath of the country.

The Federal Communications Commission at its June 12 meeting will likely vote on an order setting terms of the spectrum auction that could include the free Internet service provision. A similar proposal was rejected last year.

The resulting network must reach 50 percent of the population four years after the winner gets a license and then 95 percent after 10 years.

"We believe this is a good idea and demonstrates the FCC's commitment to supporting initiatives that have a positive impact on the next phase of broadband innovation. This will give consumers greater choices to access the Internet," said Chelsea Fallon, a FCC spokeswoman, in a statement.

From Washington Post FCC's Next Two Spectrum Auctions

The FCC is working on two more proposals. One would be re-auctioning the D-Block, which failed to sell in the last auction, and requires the buyer to set aside a portion of the spectrum for public safety. The FCC is also considering selling a swath of airwaves that would require the buyer to provide a free nationwide wireless broadband network.

From WSJ FCC Weighs Free Internet Plan

The Federal Communications Commission is considering a plan that would require the winner of a planned airwaves auction to offer free wireless-Internet service to most Americans within the next few years.

Supporters of the plan say it could help widen competition in a market dominated by wireless carriers, such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless.

Wireless companies generally oppose the FCC giving away spectrum, mostly because they have spent billions of dollars scooping up airwaves to provide phone and next-generation wireless data services.

Earlier this year, wireless companies spent upward of $20 billion to buy airwaves that will be left vacant in 2009, when the U.S. transitions to digital-only television broadcasts.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Google White Space Push Represents A White Hot Opportunity

white space
I have discussed how big of an opportunity White Space represents for U.S. consumers and the economy.

Google again yesterday presented many reasons why white spaces offers "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide ubiquitous wireless broadband access to all Americans."

On Google's Public Policy blog, Rick Whitt highlights Larry Page's White Space WiFi on Steroids

"Wi-fi on steriods." That's one of the many potential uses for the wireless spectrum that is now lying unused between TV channels, our co-founder Larry Page told the New America Foundation here in DC this morning.

Larry said:

Utilizing the unused TV "white spaces" for broadband access would be a tremendous opportunity to bring the Internet to more Americans -- including those in rural areas and first responders. Because of the much longer range of these spectrum signals, wireless broadband access utilizing the TV white spaces could be brought to more consumers using fewer base stations -- in effect, "wi-fi on steriods".

Larry noted that the FCC process will guarantee that no device is sold to consumers until it can be certified not to interfere -- a point often lost in this debate. He said he is "100 percent confident" that the white spaces will be used for Internet access -- it's just a question of when. And when that happens, many different companies will likely invest millions of dollars to develop innovative devices that don't interfere. But the FCC allowing this innovation to happen is a necessary first step.

Visionary Innovations uncovered a small company with modulation techniques (and over $200m in VC funding from Cisco, SBC Communications, US Venture Partners, ComVentures along with $100m from US Govt) that is positioning themselves to be the "Qualcomm of 700MHz and White Space" (modulating standard).

The report is titled "White Space Represents A White Hot Opportunity"

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Could Eyeballs And Advertising Be Shifting Back To The TV?....Who Wins, Who Loses?

A subtle transformation is taking place.

The company or service that is able to monitor all of your broadband pipe activity, and deliver dynamic ads to any device connected to it, is your Next Google

The same day Netflix announces a set-top box for digital downloads, Comcast announces an investment in a startup that delivers high-definition video using file-sharing techniques.

The big news yesterday, in my opinion, is that cable operators can now get aggregated census level on demand television data.

The ability to quickly process and report on more than 36 billion transactions annually from thousands of different sources in near-real time, provide cable operators and advertisers with very powerful tools.

The ability to collect data, second-by-second, from all services/devices connected to a broadband pipe and deliver relevant dynamic advertising to ANY display is the holy grail for Internet advertising.

Mobile IM Is Expected To Be The Next Killer App

C/Net has a story called SMS On The Rise, Mobile IM Expected To Be Next Killer App
question mark
Despite the continued growth of SMS usage, however, Gartner expects growth rates to slow as direct mobile connections are becoming increasingly cannibalized by mobile IM communities and social network portals.

What company has already made their presence with a platform on the cell phone?

What company has a foothold in both the PC and the cell phone?

What company has a media conglomerate to provide endless consumer applications?

Quietly this company gained a foothold on over 20 million cell phones and they are sitting on a mobile search platform.

Find out what company and service already has this "killer app".

p.s. They might be for sale soon too.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Convergence Or Physical World Connection?

ClickZ has a neat story called Convergence: It's Back

Jeremy describes converge as "the long-projected (but not yet realized) era of ubiquitous computing -- a world where computingmobile bar code devices are everywhere and all connected to the same network".

The Web has taught people to expect information at their fingertips. E-commerce has forever changed the way people shop and the way that they make purchase decisions. And demand is clearly already there for e-tailing to make the leap to brick-and-mortar retail.

A BusinessWeek poll late last year found that 61 percent of people want to be able to scan a product barcode with their camera phone to receive information on other stores' prices.

He calls it convergence, I call it Physical World Connection.

Convergence comes when mobile device is able to retrieve any type of information from a physical object through the Internet and a machine readable identifier.

When a bar code, an image, speech, a sound, a GPS location, an RFID tag etc can act as a "physical world hyperlink" using a mobile phone, that is when Web 2.0 begins.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pondering Primate And Team Monkee Do Off To Race In IronMan Florida 70.3

Monkee Do
Team Monkee Do is off to participate in Ford's IronMan Florida 70.3 race Sunday May 18.

The race consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a 13.3 mile run.

Monkee Do (Scott Shaffer) is racing with bib number 993.

Follow the race live on IronMan Live

Monkee Do announced this week a unique awareness and fundraising project for childhood obesity called The Do Tag Project

Friday, May 16, 2008

DARPA's Hits And Misses...What's Next?

Besides the Internet, GPS, speech recognition and stealth planes, DARPA has created some very disruptive technologies.

New Scientist has a great summary of the hits and misses from DARPA over the last 50 years.

They also include what is on DARPA's a list of ones to watch too.

BeeTagg Mobile Bar Code App Now Available For iPhone

The new BeeTagg Multicode Reader (BeeTagg, QR Code, Datamatrix) is now available for Apple iPhone.beetagg

BeeTagg Multicode Reader is available for download in the BeeTagg Labs. It supports BeeTagg, QR Code and Datamatrix Code Formats:


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Top Ten Tech Trends At Churchill Club

Barron's Tech Trader Daily has a nice summary of the Top 10 Tech Trends discussed at the Churchill Club.

Some of the greatest thinkers and venture capitalists gave their opinions.

* Steve Jurvetson, Draper Fisher Jurvetson.
* Vinod Khosla, Khosla Ventures.
* Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital.
* Roger McNamee, Elevation Partners.
* Joe Schoendorf, Accel Partners.
* Tony Perkins, of Always On, is the moderator.

Some highlights I found of interest.

From Roger McNamee: Betting on smart phones: The mobile device migration to smart phones from features phones will produce even greater disruption than PC industry moving from character mode to graphical interface.

From Vinod Knosla: Projectors in cell phones in next two years. More than one camera per cell phone; high priority for Texas Instruments. Critical ingredient is high speed networks, which we will have in next 2-3 years.

In 4-5 years will have production proof that can sell biofuel at well below $2 a gallon at today’s tax structure and no subsidy. Can’t imagine how big oil can stay in business if that is an alternative. Zero land needed to replace 100% of our gasoline.

From Joe Schoendorf: Water tech will replace global warming as a global priority.
Khosla says in 25-30 years, water will be rarer commodity than oil, and more valuable. Khosla says he is invested in two water companies, and looking for more. Schoendorf notes that T. Boone Pickens is selling oil companies and buying water companies.

McNamee: Massive shift in Internet traffic from PCs to smaller devices. Within 10 years, more Internet traffic from your person than all other locations put together. Maybe actually more transaction, as opposed to bits, he corrects, given HD video traffic over the Internet at home.

For Barron's complete summary.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Android Scan Connnects Bar Codes To Internet Using Camera Phone

Congrats to Jeffrey Sharkey and his Android Scan for being one of the Android Developer Challenge winners.

Scan is an Android application that finds pricing and metadata for anything with a barcode. Just point your phone at a barcode and scan it.

Here are some key features that make Scan stand out:

- Automatic barcode recognition using onboard phone camera using ZXing
- Shows CD, DVD, or book cover along with detailed reviews from
- Searches over a dozen stores, both online and brick+mortar
Highlights brick+mortar stores that are nearby, with option to call the store or get directions
- Links to online storefronts to buy online from the phone
- Tracklisting for CDs, along with option to play sample tracks right on phone
- For books, searches local libraries to see if they have a copy

For more info on Android Scan

23half's Thrrum Uses Image Recognition For Mobile Marketing

23half Inc., a pioneer of technologies that extend the functionality of camera phones, announced the launch of Thrrum MMS Search.

Thrrum MMS Search brings together visual recognition technologies and
information search in the context of camera phonesThrrum

Thrrum MMS Search enables camera phone users to find and browse information related to their physical environment using the Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) integrated into their phones.

Users can capture a picture of any text with their camera phone and send the picture as an MMS to Relevant search results are then sent to the users' phones.

The Thrrum MMS Search service is presently in beta and is available free of charge to AT&T wireless subscribers in the United States.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Corporations Fail To Budget For Upcoming Bandwidth Boom

Nicholas Carr, author of The Big Switch and of IT Doesn't Matter states the information technology (IT) departments won't matter in the next few years as computing takes place on the Net, versus on the PC.

Will corporations be prepared for the upcoming bandwidth boom?

Enterprise bandwidth requirements will more than double in the next five years, yet budgets will only increase by five per cent, according to a surveyleaky faucet released today.

The research, carried out by Omniboss - a division of market analysis firm Vanson Bourne - among 100 senior IT decision makers found a further one in five executives thought their bandwidth requirements were likely to grow by 150 per cent or more.

Nearly one third (30 per cent) believed voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and converging voice, data and multimedia technologies such as video on demand would also have a significant effect on traffic in the future.

Monday, May 12, 2008

What Does The Next Google Look LIke?

Google is so big for consumers and advertisers because they are great at delivering targeted ads along side randomly desired content on the Internet. What if there was an application that could do that on the TV.
great idea
Time shifted viewing and the TiVo (DVR) are disrupting TV viewing. More eyeballs leave TV, advertisers need a dynamic service for digital video recorders (dvrs).

The NY Times asks With TiVo and the Web, what is prime time?

there has been a sharp increase in time-shifting

Some of the six million (drop in recorded viewers) are still watching, but on their own terms, thanks to TiVos and other digital video recorders, streaming video on the Internet, and cable video on demand offerings. So while overall usage of television is steady, the linear broadcasts favored by advertisers are in decline.

Dan Tynan from PC World listed "time shifted viewing + digital video recorder" as one of his top 10 Disruptive Technology Combinations.

To quote the CEO of the Next Google.

" the ability to report actual anonymous second-by-second program and advertising audience viewership data from tens of millions of set top boxes (STB)s represents a huge technological and informational leap from today's television measurement standard"

What does the Next Google look like?

The most powerful Google Analytics machine sits in your house and is the Next Google.

The Next Google will be able to collect data, second-by-second, from all services/devices connected to the broadband pipe and deliver relevant dynamic advertising to ANY display

The Next Google is able to dynamic targeted advertising while desired content is being delivered regardless of the device or time watched.

The Next Google will be able to analyze all content coming in and out of our "pipe", from ALL devices, whether it is used actively or passively and deliver targeted ads to all devices connected to this pipe.

Do you know who does all of this?

Wapple Links Print Ads To Internet Using Mobile Bar Codes

Add Wapple to the list of companies that enable physical objects to be connected to the Net using a camera phone (Physical World Connection).Wapple

Wapple customers can now generate print mobile barcodes that link to their mobile internet sites.

Each site* built with Wapple Canvas™ automatically produces its own unique datamatrix and QR codes, in fact each page on every single site will generate its own datamatrix and QR codes.

Most emerging devices come with a scanner built in. Alternatively it's no big deal for anyone to download one - to download a reader for your phone, please visit on your mobile handset or visit the website:

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Big Switch...A Great Read

The Big Switch by Nicholas Carr does a great job of explaining how the real growth in computing is shifting from the PC to the Internet. The PC is becoming less important as the "processor".

This month's Wired magazine has a great quote from Amazon's Jeff Bezos that summarizes what Nicholas conveys.

Utility computing is Web 2.0's version of rocket fuel. "You don't generate your own electricity," Bezos says. "Why generate your own computing?" The forces driving online apps — Internet bandwidth and reliability — also mean that, in terms of data per dollar, servers in your closet or colocation facility can't compete with industrial-scale bits piped in from hundreds, even thousands, of miles away.

Intro to The Big Switch.

A hundred years ago, companies stopped generating their own power with steam engines and dynamos and plugged into the newly built electric grid. The cheap power pumped out by electric utilities didn’t just change how businesses operate. It set off a chain reaction of economic and social transformations that brought the modern world into existence.

Today, a similar revolution is under way. Hooked up to the Internet’s global computing grid, massive information-processing plants have begun pumping data and software code into our homes and businesses. This time, it’s computing that’s turning into a utility.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Apple One Step Closer To Physical World Connection Domination

Apple one step closer to a mobile marketing powerhouse.

The big story here isn't that an airport scanner resolved a 2d bar code on an iPhone.
The big picture is that the iPhone with an iTunes browser represent the opportunity to connect the physical world with the Net using a mobile device that has an established billing platform. Powerful.

iPhone As Electronic Boarding Pass

Gerald Buckley tells how he was allowed to board an American Airlines flight from San Antonio to Dallas by having the gate agent scan the bar code of the ticket on a PDF displayed on his iPhone (this is an addition to the TSA official verifying a paper boarding pass).

A couple years ago I said that Apple could turn into a mobile marketing and mcommerce powerhouse if they introduced an iPod cell phone. (Who knew about the iPhone then).

Apple could provide the billing platform for all types of mobile content (songs, coupons, tickets etc).....and yes airplane tickets.

How could it be so powerful?

Billing method is already resolved, and the iTunes platform is so easy to use.

Think about it. Go to iTunes, download a ticket for Jimmey Buffet concert and get a 2d code, barcode on your iPod or iPhone. The billing is ALREADY IN PLACE and you just wave your iPod or iPhone at the door.

Did you ever consider what would happen if Apple introduced an iTunes browser?

When Apple introduces a mobile bar code scanning application on the iPhone, they will become a mobile marketing powerhouse.

Some other ponderings about Apple and physical world connection possibilities.