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SXSW 2011: TV Turbulence and Transformation

sxsw south by southwest

As touched upon in a recent Platform post, in the proposed panel topic we contributed for the upcoming South by Southwest interactive conference (or SXSWi for those in the know), we’ve jointly posed several related questions about the shifting dynamics within the traditional video entertainment sector: How will newer over-the-top solutions like Hulu and Netflix co-exist with other members of the ecosystem? Will the fragmentation we’re seeing unify?

In a recent IPTV News interview, Anthony Rose, CTO of Project Canvas, shared the following insightful point of view that offers one likely scenario for creating a platform that supports new patterns of video entertainment consumption (note the emphasis is mine…though it would be cool if you could actually speak with underlines).

“So I think that finally we’ll be seeing a massive change in VOD consumption, but on TV sets, not just on computers, and one of the key things for me is that the technology is almost slightly less interesting than some of the big picture drivers, the social factors: as today what you choose to watch is driven by what is on at the time, so it is the scheduler that is driving things, but if you switch on a next-gen TV, let’s say a Canvas box, and it is filled with favorites and recommendations as soon as you switch on your TV, you may find that the driver of usage starts switching in a rapid way.”

Consider it a SmartTV or TV Concierge of sorts. In fact, we’re already beginning to see the start of a transformative trend in the shift of consumer behavior – from watching scheduled linear TV, to increasing on-demand viewing. Here in the U.S. marketplace, the continued Netflix subscriber growth projections are perhaps a key indicator.

Also, we’re seeing an increased emphasis on attracting independent TV app developers and arming them with the open APIs and SDK tools they need to apply their creative talent. While high-profile efforts such as the recent Samsung “Free the TV Challenge” has gained lots of media attention, forward-looking pay-TV service providers are equally engaged in this evolving trend.

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Service Provider at VMworld 2010

Cisco at VMworld 2010

Cisco and VMware provide innovative and integrated solutions specifically designed for virtualization. Our combined offerings include breakthrough products, certified applications, and new solutions, enabling businesses to unleash the full power of virtualization everywhere, from the data center and mission-critical applications to the desktop. Together we provide you with superior performance, responsiveness, agility, security, manageability, and cost savings.

Cisco is a Global Diamond sponsor of VMworld 2010. In addition to our super sessions, breakout sessions, and panel discussions, we will be speaking to the “Service Provider Network Advantage in the Cloud” in a theater presentation within Cisco’s Booth #801 on Wednesday, September 1, at 3:45. Also within the Cisco Booth, we will be showcasing a number of demonstrations leveraging Unified Service Delivery including our Infrastructure as a Service solution and Hosted Collaboration Solution for service providers.

For a comprehensive schedule of Cisco’s sessions at VMworld 2010, please visit our event site.

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IETF-78 Update and Discussion Towards IP Addressable Smart Objects

Just returning from a very busy week at the IETF-78 in Maastricht, Netherlands. One of the greatest IETF milestones celebrated at IETF-78 Maastricht, was DNSSEC signing of the root zone.

I had participated at a Bar Birds of a Feather session [Bar BoF] on cloud computing.  With over 110 individuals interested in the discussion it would be difficult at best to classify the meeting as a Bar BoF. The discussions focused on problem framing; potential applicability of IETF-based protocols, and development of IETF-based protocols therein.

I would expect more discussion on the related IETF mailer at, as we prepare for IETF-79 to be held in Beijing.

By the way, the ITU-T Focus Group Cloud Computing meeting will be held September 2-6.

Switching gears a bit, to the Internet of Things (IoT), my colleague JP Vasseur along with Adam Dunkels have just published a book on the topic entitled, Interconnecting Smart Objects with IP: The Next Internet. IoT traverses several key adjacencies such as Smart and Connected Community, Smart Grid, Smart Automobile and so on.

Research continues to develop in wearable computing and in skinput technology.

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How 6rd Eases the Transition to IPv6

A CNN headline finally appeared last month on IPv6, “We are running out of Internet addresses.” Meanwhile the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) has stated the bottom-line very clearly — with less than 10% of IPv4 address space remaining, organizations must adopt IPv6 to support applications that require ongoing availability of contiguous IP addresses.

The full network transition to IPv6 constitutes a significant ongoing project for service providers, so most have been seeking practical methods to help smooth the rollout process. The very timely IPv6 Rapid Deployment (aka 6rd) standard is a proven method for incrementally deploying IPv6 in large scale networks, and it’s now been approved for publishing as an IETF Standards Track RFC. Cisco is the first vendor in the industry to have live customer networks using its standards-based 6rd implementation of this technology.

6rd enables a service provider to accelerate the implementation of IPv6 services to existing IPv4 sites where it provides customer premise equipment (CPE). This approach utilizes stateless IPv6 in IPv4 encapsulation in order to transit IPv4-only network infrastructure.

IPv6 Rapid Deployment (6rd)

Most importantly, unlike an appliance based solution, the economical Cisco solution does not require additional systems-related cost, space, power, etc.

Cisco announced the Carrier-Grade IPv6 (CGv6) solution last year in anticipation of the accelerating industry requirements for solutions to ease the transition. The solution offers a systematic outline to Preserve, Prepare and Prosper during the migration with specific technologies and customizable services. New innovations on the CRS and ASR platforms allow customers to gradually move towards an IPv6 future. The Carrier-Grade Services Engine (CGSE) on the CRS platform provides massive scalability for CGv6, while the ASR 1000 with parallel processing on the Cisco QuantumFlow Processor delivers fast feature velocity without separate service blades. Additionally, Cisco’s service provider product portfolio has been supporting IPv6 as a dual-stack technology for some time. Our customers can enable IPv6 — in addition to running an IPv4 protocol stack — without affecting performance.

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Making a Day at Wrigley Even Better

wrigley fieldAT&T is taking a hands-on approach to marketing its innovative U-verse Triple Play offering by quite literally taking to the streets…especially those that lead to Wrigley Field.  AT&T, in conjunction with the Cubs, and I’m pleased to say, Cisco, is introducing the U-verse Challenge, a social marketing program that combines traditional and social approaches to gain the interest of customers in new and different ways.

Here’s how it works:  U-verse teams on the streets outside the stadium and at kiosks inside the stadium will demo U-verse for co-branded prizes and will use Cubs branded Flips to capture the “Biggest Fans” and upload to a site to be voted on for prizes.  Fans can also upload their own videos, win some Flip cameras of their own, and even get invited to an exclusive rooftop party.  Co-branded banner ads, Major League Baseball (aka MLB)  website placements, in-store retail posters, and an email blast by MLB to the Cubs’ fan base make the campaign even richer, blending a variety of marketing facets together to maximize customer impressions whether on the street, in the stadium or their own retail stores.

The goal?  Create interest in their unique offer, demonstrate the user experience to potential customers, and in the end, to increase their service activations with customers in this key market (and noted sports town).  Multiple prize opportunities are available at all locations, making this a win-win for all parties involved.

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