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IBC 2010: Leading the Pack in “Contribution-Grade” IP Video

There was a time when broadcasters had doubts about whether IP could support major live events. Today, the biggest sporting events and live broadcasts in the world are delivered via IP. And Cisco, an early pioneer in IP contribution, is playing a central role in bringing high-profile media events to global audiences.

When we talk about media and broadcast solutions, we often see the phrase “contribution-grade.” But what does that mean exactly? It means that IP media technologies are now widely used to transport the highest quality video feeds in the demanding, high-pressure and high-visibility broadcast environments.

Examples of this are all around us. Today, Cisco announced that it has deepened its relationship with Level 3. Cisco is providing the Cisco Digital Content Manager Gateway to provide video encoding services including the delivery of uncompressed as well as JPEG 2000 compressed HD video feeds over Level 3’s new Vyvx VenueNet+ contribution network infrastructure. This upgrade to Level 3’s Emmy Award-winning Vyvx VenueNet transmission service will provide even higher quality HD and SD video encoding, as well as other IP-enabled services in all 31 major professional football venues in time for the 2010 football season.

February 2010 turned out to be an important month in the annals of IP video contribution, as Cisco also worked with Level 3 Communications to provide uncompressed content delivery for Super Bowl XLIV – helping deliver broadcast-grade media to an estimated 1 billion viewers worldwide.

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IBC 2010: See You in Amsterdam!

Cisco at IBC 2010It’s that time again when many of us gather our passport, pack the big bag, and head off to the annual IBC exhibition and conference, in Amsterdam (September 9-14.) This year, I’d love to take a count of how many attendees arrive with more than a laptop for getting broadband, and everything that can ride on it — because portability seems the over-riding trend of the summer of 2010.

Consider: Since the Consumer Electronics Show, in January (seems so long ago already), the global marketplace exploded with smart phones, tablets, and devices that come plumbed with a high-speed Internet connection. Video on the go is becoming as normal as voice services on the go were, two decades ago.

We’re one of many exhibiting at this year’s IBC, of course, but we’ve been hard at work on technologies that we hope will give you reason to stop by and see us in Hall 1. Stand D.71. At Cisco, our life’s mission is to help service providers to fulfill their customers’ desires for convenience and choice, in communications and entertainment. Part of that is gear, of course, and we have plenty of that (see below.)

Another big focus, and necessity, is the continued creation of an IP eco-system (to use an over-used term) of companies and techniques and technologies. The construction of an all-IP, or even mostly-IP world will require all of us, working together – even though in many cases we also compete with one another. Being a participant in the IP eco-system means being open, figuratively and literally, to a marketplace committed to connected devices, fueled by network intelligence, in a way that just works for consumers.

Here’s what’s on tap from your friends Cisco, at this year’s IBC:

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More on Smart & Connected Communities and Update ITU-T Focus Group Cloud Computing

The notion of Smart Connected Communities or S&CC has as its foundation, IP addressable smart objects or what is often referred to as the Internet of Things; therein allowing sensing for traffic, health, home energy usage and so on.

IP addressable smart objects has spawned the momentum for IPv6 usage; the standardization for IP addressable smart objects can be found within the IETF, IEEE, ITU-T forged by the IPSO Alliance, in addition to new alliances such as NIST and Wavenis. My colleagues at Cisco have been paving the way for IP addressable objects not only in standardization but also in implementation.

With the IETF for example, there are 3 active Working Groups focused on IPv6 for Smart Objects:

  1. 6LoWPAN (Internet area)
  2. ROLL (Routing area)
  3. CoRE (Application area)

An update on the new routing protocol that ROLL has been working on, called RPL, can be found here

rise of smart objects

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The Internet Address Well is Running Dry


What would you do if you launched your Internet browser or your favorite Internet application or your email client, only to find they all have stopped working? Imagine all the virtual farms whose crops withered on the vine because you couldn’t harvest them on time.

It is a fact. The IPv4 Internet address well is running dry. The IPv4 exhaustion countdown timer shows that service providers worldwide have less than one year to prepare their networks for this inevitability. What are service providers going to do to maintain the health and viability of Internet?

One Internet Service Provider (ISP) in France is leading the way. Free (Iliad Group) already has a working solution. Free, the second largest ISP in France uses Cisco’s CGv6 solution to deliver IPv6 to their customers. Free residential broadband customers are now experiencing the IP Next Generation Network (IP NGN) in one of the largest live IPv6-enabled residential Internet service deployments worldwide. Free customers will benefit from Internet connectivity that can scale to meet the ever-growing number of devices and applications.

Cisco enables service providers to manage the transition to IPv6 with the Carrier-Grade IPv6 Solution (CGv6). One of the CGv6 components is IPv6 Rapid Deployment (6rd). The 6rd component is a mechanism to facilitate a quick implementation of IPv6 across existing IPv4 infrastructures of service provider networks. It is derived from Cisco 6to4 Relay Service by configuring IPv6-enabled routers to establish automatic 6to4 tunnels and ensures the manageability of the Internet mitigating IPv4 address exhaustion issues.

Free has taken an innovative approach to cost effectively deliver 6rd service by relying on existing Cisco infrastructure and utilizing the integrated 6rd gateway services functionality on the Cisco ASR 1000 Series.

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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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