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RFID: Context Aware and Location – a Brief History & Introduction

March 15, 2011 at 5:37 pm PST

My distant relative - Flight Lieutenant KJP Granger (Royal Air Force) and his DH82A Gipsy Moth - did the forerunner of RFID save him from being shot down?

Some of the best technological advances are made during times of conflict. Sad that it should be so, but the silver lining is that many of the advances are focused on defending, protecting and shielding people. Active RFID, the kind of solution provided by Cisco and AeroScout, in many ways started out that way.

Looking back decades to WWII, radar was already being developed in ernest by the British in the run-up to the second world war. Many countries were developing radar at that time, but most folks agree that Robert Watson Watt, later Sir Robert, was the prime mover-and-shaker.  It took US marketing (in the form of the US Navy) to coin the term RADAR, for radio detection and ranging.

So where does Context Aware Location RFID come in? Well, whilst radar itself was useful, the  British needed to know whether those planes coming over the English Channel were returning Spitfires and allied bombers, or attacking Luftwaffe aircraft. It was the same Watson-Watt that helped produce the ‘Identification friend or foe’ (IFF) system that  used a transponder on the allied aircraft that was ‘excited’ by the radar system and actively sent back a signal to the base saying friend. My own cousin, Flight Lieutenant KJP Granger, Officer Trainer RAF, was grateful for that!

Now fast forward decades to today. The technology for today’s RFID is a little different, but the concept is the same. So let’s keep the aeronautical theme going and talk about Boeing and its use of RFID.      Read More »

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Making Money in Internet Video

If you are a service provider, the title of this blog probably has you shaking your head. SPs know only too well that Internet video is costing them money because of the expense of maintaining an infrastructure capable of delivering high-quality online video. The good news is that there is a way to monetize that demanding video traffic.

In 10 to 15 years, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) estimates that consumers will be watching Internet video as much as 50 percent of their video-watching time. Rather than panicking at the thought of supporting that magnitude of video traffic, SPs should be thinking about how to turn it into profits.

SPs have a strategic advantage over current content delivery network (CDN) providers; traditional CDN services allow content providers to bypass Internet congestion points, but do not allow them to bypass potential congestion points within the SP network that provides Internet access to consumers. CDN services delivered via the SP’s network are delivered by CDN caches placed much closer to the final viewer, reducing the probability of having congestion issues over the delivery path.

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Service Providers and CDNs: Why Now?

One clear trend, here at the close of 2010, is the rise in importance of Content Distribution Networks, or CDNs, to cable service providers.

Here at Cisco, CDNs are similarly front-of-mind.

In this video, I outline three drivers for the growth of Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) in service provider networks: 

  • To more easily reach video-capable, IP-connectable end points, with more types of video assets
  • To centralize movie and video asset distribution, instead of manually  populating hundreds of distributed video on demand servers
  • To attract new revenue sources, such as wholesale content distribution.

Our ongoing work with British Telecom, for instance, helped them establish an important and new business model: Extending BT’s quality of service (QoS-)enabled CDN to their broadcasting and media partners, within the YouView [Canvas] initiative.

Plus, as service providers prepare competitive video offerings to serve screens beyond the television - an undeniable trend across our customer base - CDNs provide a great mechanism to scale streaming video.

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SCTE 2010: What is Cable’s Path to ROI with IP-Delivered Services?

In this brief video discussion, Cisco’s Director of Video Solutions Marketing, Murali Nemani talks candidly about “what’s in it for cable” to deliver a suite of IP video services. In his view, it’s a three-step process that’s already beginning.

First, sending video services over bonded DOCSIS channels means pursuing the only path to those 15 billion video-hungry, IP-enabled end points which analysts predict will be present at the end points of the broadband network within 5 years. Whether “managed” (by the cable operator, such as cable modems and set-tops) or “unmanaged” (purchased by consumers), those IP end points will be seeking video over broadband.

Second, the continued attention and investment in DOCSIS 3.0 rollouts will help fend off competitive broadband “speed wars” while laying the foundation for video delivered over IP. Cable operators have the plant capacity, spectrum, and scale to reach an unprecedented footprint of IP end devices.

Lastly, cable’s continued work on the “video back end,” from content delivery networks (CDNs) to set-tops and next-generation gateways, will help the industry permeate the IP video marketplace and drive adoption across the U.S.

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