Always a pleasure to visit Amsterdam, even though every year it seems the cab fares from the hotel to the RAI center get more random (€11 on the first day, €15 on the second, €20 on the third…I had to cry uncle at 25!)
This year’s event served as a predictably solid playground and portend of “What’s Big” for the foreseeable future. Here’s my quick view of the Top 5 IBC 2010 trends:
Connectible Everything: TV isn’t just for TV anymore, that’s for sure. Little screens, medium screens, big screens – all with IP plumbing, all shouldering in for a shot at becoming a viable new way to experience television. From smart phones to iPads and tablets, to laptops, PCs and “old fashioned HDTV’s,” the way ahead is strewn with connected devices, all wanting to be video-proficient.
Remote Control Variations:Sure, we’ve been seeing gesture-based navigation for a while now, but mostly as an oddity; a cool-but-expensive-looking side show. Seems more real now. Ditto for free-space remotes. Watch for this to pop even bigger in early November, when Microsoft releases its Xbox Kinect – think Wii without the handhelds.
Point That Thing Anywhere:Speaking of remotes, it also seems like we’re on a brink, of sorts, in how the TV remote “talks” to the TV. Forever and ever, we’ve used infrared. Now, more and more RF, and even Blu-Tooth. It means this: We’ll no longer have to point directly at the set-top or TV. Aim the thing backwards over your head, still get a channel change. Not quite Jimi Hendrix playing the guitar behind his back, but close.
Goodbye, Grid-Guide: More screens wanting to be video-proficient necessitates a navigation environment that’s suitable for different screen sizes. If you’re a service provider wanting to extend subscription video to those connected devices, you’ll need a way to keep your look-and-feel, on screens measuring 2.5 inches, up to the 50-inch flat-screen.
Soft Landing, Please: Connectible everything is great, but not if it means ripping out and replacing the triple-digit millions of legacy digital devices, already installed in homes around the world. Migrating to IP video – not flash-cutting – is a big deal for anyone sitting on the giant capital investment that is legacy set-tops and modems.
In a final post from the show floor (ok, really it’s the exit this time), I give some parting thoughts on the Cisco team’s past few days and some key themes and takeaways resulting from the more than 250 customer meetings, and yes, I do say that devices are becoming less relevant and I use the “e” word liberally.
The mobile communications market is in a great state of transition.
Mobile operators’ are addressing a variety of new opportunities and challenges that are impacting their business architecture. To take advantage of the business opportunities and address the challenges requires a technical architecture that delivers high performance, high intelligence and high availability.
Cisco recently accepted a challenge from Light Reading and testing firm EANTC to submit to an independent, public test of a complete network capable of supporting all generations of mobile network technologies, while delivering the capabilities and attributes that are required in this evolving market.
The test looked at our comprehensive IP next-generation mobile network, including mobile backhaul, which encompassed solutions from cell sites to the mobile service nodes; the network core, which looked at connections among service functions and to the Internet; and the “mobile core” or in other words, the intelligent packet gateways.
Bicycles, Bicycles, Bicycles: With dedicated bike paths being adjacent to the street and thousands of bell-ring people using them (often while texting, smoking, having their kids in the front and a friend sitting on the back), getting across the street is like playing a first-person game of “Frogger: the Human Edition.”
Buses handle driving off-road: I’m not used to seeing luxury buses driving through the mud, much less riding in them – but thousands of IBC’ers found out first-hand when the bus route was under construction, that the big buses can handle driving off-road through a muddy field just fine. Look for them next in an upcoming rally race.
Air conditioning is a good thing, even in Holland: Surprisingly warm this week, Amsterdam was flat out hot while inside the RAI center, with tons of equipment in full operation and even more people in close proximity to one another (not to mention wearing wool suits…)
Beer and coffee seem to be their own food groups here: No time during a day is either out of fashion – perhaps it’s because both are consumed in quantity and that the stein-drinking lunch-goers don’t need mid-afternoon naps…
There is no way to look cool in 3D glasses: None. Nada. Nyet. Nein. My failed attempts are just that. Failed attempts. Here’s hoping that Ray-ban goes big into the 3D glasses production business soon. (Wayfarer for me, please!)