Today at the Cable Show, Cisco launched What If Your TV Could…?, a video contest asking consumers to submit creative ideas about what they wish their TV could do. For an opportunity to win USD$10,000, participants will enter a short video explaining what future capabilities they would like to see on their TV.
Consumers are encouraged to submit video responses to the question, “If your TV could do anything, what would YOU want it to do?” on Cisco’s contest website at www.ciscocontest.com.
Videos must be less than three minutes in length. The public will have the opportunity to rate, comment and choose their favorite videos. Winners will be based on the number of views, average rating and creativity as determined by a panel of judges from Cisco.
The best video will win the grand prize of USD$10,000. The three top-viewed videos will receive a USD$500 gift card to Amazon.com. Submissions will be posted on the contest website for the public to view.
When it comes to “the four any’s” (anything, anytime, anywhere, any device) it’s the latter two (“anywhere” and “any device”) that are tricky. Especially if the majority of your network is wired.
The train corridor along the East coast of the United States is a good example: Up until very recently, commuters who wanted a mobile broadband signal did so by purchasing a special dongle from their cellular carrier, and paying a monthly service fee.
That all changed on April 15, when Cablevision, Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced free Wi-Fi access to existing broadband subscribers when they’re in the New York metropolitan area. The idea: Turn on the laptop or Wi-Fi-equipped screen. Select from three SSIDs, one for each operator, which appear as hotspot connect options. Pick your service provider, login – free mobile broadband.
In the background, here’s what happens to make all that cross-MSO roaming work: Outdoor cable modems plug into the MSOs’ fiber optic facilities. Power for the modem comes from the cable network; control mechanisms include subscriber authentication, provisioning, security, and management.
Another consideration in extended-reach Wi-Fi installations: How to deal with unwanted interference within the unlicensed spectral boundaries of the Wi-Fi signal. This interference can come from such mundane items as microwave ovens, garage door openers, and cordless phones, and can have an impact on the quality of the signal users receive on their Wi-Fi networks.
Put them all together, and you have what we at Cisco call “medianet” – a catch-all phrase for our all-IP, next-generation network components. Several of them will be on display in executive suite ES-78. We welcome you to come in and see!
For those readers who perhaps aren’t in L.A. for the Cable Show, here’s an overview, starting with IP video. It’s big, we think, for two reasons: Consumers want to watch Internet video on their TV, and they want to watch their subscription video on screens other than their TV.
To do that, you need IP-based video components. Because we strongly view IP video as the third wave of video delivery (after analog and digital delivery), we’re very excited about our work with cable operators on a unified viewing experience for subscription, on-demand and online video.
In fact, we’re probably the biggest chanters of the mantra that is “the network as the platform,” which is why a second part of our IP video strategy is about enabling ways for operators to monetize over-the-top video traffic, by creating value back into the content eco-system.
As far as “the cloud” – it’s just hard to avoid “cloud talk” these days, and we’re no exception. It’s because we think that cable is a cloud, in its own way. And here at Cisco, we’re on a mission to find ways for cable MSOs to monetize their backbone, regional and access networks.
Cloud business services are now beginning to rapidly appear, often delivered out of service provider public clouds. Cloud computing offers businesses the ability to increase productivity by enabling their end-users to work anywhere, anyplace, at anytime. Delivering multiple services in a multi-tenant environment also offers Service Providers the opportunity to decrease their data center costs through consolidation and efficiency. This shift from standalone applications designed to work entirely within a silo to a flexible network of information really benefits the end-user.
Cloud-based applications are delivered from the data center across the next-generation network to the user’s fingertips and can scale to business needs, cost less with an on-demand pricing schema, and allow the business to focus on its core competencies instead of figuring out how to deploy the latest applications. What’s great here as well, is a multitude of cloud-based applications and services for consumer mobile platforms are being developed with the corporate world in mind.
The need for speed is a dominant requirement for the next generation mobile experience. As that experience becomes richer, more integrated (or “meshy” as I like to say…) with other applications, and certainly more visual in nature, our patience level as consumers, ironically, decreases. Forget that we may be travelling 70 mph on a highway or in the interior of crowded building, our expectation for a great, fast experience is only getting higher. And if we know that we don’t have a fast or robust enough connection to the network, then often it is best to defer using an application until we do (I speak from experience based on my blood pressure readings…) After all, why try to stream a video when you know the experience won’t be a good one (unless you are a glutton for punishment or thoroughly desperate for an escape…like I was on a 2 hour ground delay with a talkative stranger next to me in seat 10A.)?
To help you gauge and compare your mobile speed with others, we’ve made some enhancements to our free Global Internet Speed Test (or GIST) application which is part of our leading Cisco Visual Networking Index program. Cisco GIST currently supports iPhone, iPod Touch and BlackBerry Storm devices and measures network speeds over Wi-Fi, 3G or EDGE networks based on your location and current congestion in the network.
In addition to classifying your connection speed results as web-ready, audio-ready, or video ready and comparing your results against the global average, here are just four of the improvements we’ve made: