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Why Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is the Greatest Album of All Time

Thriller 25th Anniversary album coverIt’s true. Some of you may not want to admit it, but the fact remains so.Why? Two reasons: Innovative use of Video and Redefining the ExperienceMusic videos were in their infancy at the time, and the slick productions of Thriller brought it right to the forefront. This visual component made the music all the more resonant and impactful. The innovative use of the video played a big role too, as past videos were mainly simple concert footage. However, the “œBeat It” video moved the medium into one that told a story, and later,”Thriller” introduced a long-form version of music videos, making the length and production value more akin to a movie than an afterthought. This resulted in brilliant appeal, as I remember the buzz at school be all around what times the video were to be shown on some new channel called MTV and around how well you could mimic the dance moves (Say what you will about Mr. Jackson, but man could he ever dance-I practiced the moonwalk for hours and Mike Kisch from our consumer blog can still do a mean”praying mantis swing” from the Thriller video-) Read More »

CTIA Ponders “Open”

imageToday I’m in Seattle, participating in the mid-course correction meeting of the CTIA Wireless Internet Caucus Leadership Council. The topic is “Openness: Understanding Each Other’s Expectations.” In his introduction, the vice president who leads WIC, Mark Desautels, remarked that while today’s discussion might not lead to agreement among all participants about the exact meaning of “openness,” the exchange of views should help clarify different viewpoints. I’ve written previous entries about openness for the Mobile Internet.Hamilton Sekino, of Nauta Capital and formerly of Diamond Management &Technology Consultants, keynoted the discussion by presenting his work on Wireless Open Models. The model divides the value chain into five segments: Access, Device, Platform, Content and Applications, and Customer Ownership. The representative from Microsoft took exception to representing Google Android as a good example of an open platform when it’s not yet available, while Windows Mobile runs on devices from multiple manufacturers, supports hundreds of applications, and connects to multiple mobile networks. When it comes to open, Microsoft sometimes sails into a PR headwind, but he raises a fair point. From my point of view, Sekino’s model seems rather binary, with each segment black or white as either “open” or “closed,” while the real world is more often a shade of gray. Also, it seems too linear, along a value chain. Perhaps multi-dimensional molecular models would provide a better analog, to describe the relationship among customers, operators, vendors, content creators, advertisers, and so forth. Read More »

Managed Service 3.0 -The Market Opportunity Solution Providers Cannot Ignore

In prior posts, I’ve submitted for your consideration some thoughts as to why now is the time for managed services and how today’s end user community is primed like never before to adopt managed services.An important aspect to the Managed Services 3.0 migration is change. Telecom carriers, VARs, system integrators and other major players are each facing unprecedented market challenges:

  • Telecommunications carriers’ traditional wire-line services are experiencing a rapid shift in demand. Customer acquisition and retention for traditional telecom services has never been more difficult. Therefore, it is imperative for network service providers to create new ways to deliver differentiated and higher value services to their customers in order to achieve a more defensible position in the market.
  • Wireless service providers are seeking new ways to raise average revenue per user as the number of incremental new users plateaus in developed markets around the world.
  • VARs are also witnessing declining demand for their traditional services. Customers have grown impatient with extended deployment cycles and reactive support programs. They must develop a new value-proposition which enables them to become a trusted advisor, offering proactive support -- rather than simply a technology supplier.
  • Systems integrators are also facing growing customer frustrations with extended projects which often fail to achieve their original business objectives. They must devise a method of establishing an ongoing relationship with their customers -- rather than merely respond to finite projects.

Read More »

NGMN and Sprint separate, while iPhone 3G blends

iPhone 3G: Will It Blend?Following up my earlier entry about the NGMN conference in Frankfurt, founding-member Sprint just indicated they will leave the group. Intel will follow suit. During the Frankfurt conference, the NGMN Board announced the selection of LTE as the first approved technology which broadly meets NGMN requirements. Given the commitment of Sprint and Intel to WiMAX, this selection probably made their ongoing participation in NGMN untenable.While understandable, this schism undermines the original NGMN vision of multiple operators collaborating on a coherent view of what the community would require beyond 2010, creating “one integrated network for the seamless introduction of mobile broadband services.” Even as the old battle between CDMA2000 and WCDMA fades, a new division widens between the OFDMA standards, LTE and WiMAX (Qualcomm UMB seems all but abandoned).The polarization over radio standards seems somewhat backwards looking. As discussed in a previous entry, radio access technologies seem sure to multiply and change rapidly, so the design emphasis should shift to a stable foundation in the core network, built using IP. Both LTE and WiMax, plus other radios from 3G femtocells to WiFi, can serve as useful components in the Mobile Internet.Meanwhile, Apple introduced the iPhone 3G last week. It sold over 1 million units in its first weekend, generating an estimated $330 million in revenue according to some estimates. Impressive results, but more impressive still is this experiment to determine, Will It Blend?

Data Trends: Yotta?

imageWhen I speak with customers or at conferences, I often speak about data trends and applications as input to dimensioning a service and network. These data are being transmitted over a network; and, this fact highlights Cisco’s”Network as the Platform.” Three trends are converging today:1. Entertainment content is collapsing onto a common, digital source Music, film and print are all now just a string of O’s and 1′s.2. We have the global, Internet Protocol network that allows us to distribute and share digital content around the world.3. Finally, with digital content devices are freed from being tied or locked into a single distribution network.We now have phones that act as cameras, newspaper readers and portable music players.imageThis shift fundamentally changes our relationship with entertainment content and empowers us to consume entertainment when, where, and on the device of our choice.Further, Web 2.0 drives greater consumer choice, participation and control as the Internet is now surpassing TV in terms of media usage. When we add applications like interactive gaming, broadcast TV and HDTV MPEG-4, planning and dimensioning the services and underlying network are critical for the Service Provider. Assuring quality of service, security, and implementing overall network management will be pivotal towards service level agreement compliance.These issues are opportunities for the industry as a whole.In the meantime, I will be hosting a plenary panel at the Broadband World Forum in Hong Kong on July 16 2008.Stay tuned for more!