If there’s one thing that service providers are familiar with, it’s change. There’s been nothing but change -- wave after wave of disruptive change -- from the industry deregulation of the 1980s, the convergence of voice, data, and video of the past couple of decades, to the current era of digital media, which devours SP capacity without contributing equivalent revenue. But if you see change as opportunity, the projections of overwhelming future video growth is the potential “mother lode.”
The challenge is finding ways to monetize video traffic. This can be done by breaking out of traditional mindsets and adopting a two-sided business model -- serving consumers as well as customers and business partners.
The course of civil life has taken an intense and acute turn over the past few years. The economic downturn of 2008 offered the first recession of the social networking era, where the interconnectedness and scale of the world economy was only matched by the growth of social networking and micro-blogging. If Facebook was a country, it would be the world’s third largest. Since the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, social networking has been a growing force in political life. Indeed, the threat of removal of Facebook would be the social network equivalent of the international sovereign debt crisis. As Finley Peter Dunne said last century, “it ain’t beanbag.”
The traditional arc of public sector institutions reflects these forces. For the first couple millennia of national systems were based on centralized power managed by tight, controlled and slow information networks. For a few thousand years, storytelling played the primary role in maintaining civil systems. Five hundred plus years ago, Johannes Gutenberg paved the way for dissemination of public orders and rules. Indeed, the Renaissance man of the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin, was himself a printer.
I heard a pretty good story recently from one of my favorite people in the WLAN industry, a very sharp guy who recently changed employers. As I’ve not procured approval to use his name, we’ll forego that for now, but it’s a great story nonetheless and is an example of the power of social networking in the professional environment.
The scenario takes place aboard a modern cruise ship on which my colleague and another person in question has installed a vast wireless LAN; a total of 1,000 access points will be in operation by the time you read this, which places it among the very largest of WLAN’s on the planet. Ships, airplanes and cars commonly feature numerous types of wireless connectivity, including AM, FM, satellite radio, GPS, Bluetooth, mobile cellular, and more. Amazing.
The challenge in this story was that deep into the mobility deployment install effort, they ran into a major code snag. Fairly common if you’ve done these, in particular as the deployment moves toward two critical phases, incorporation of clients and layering on the security elements.
After lighting up the WLAN for the first time, they discovered the code in the controllers simply wouldn’t perform the functions they needed. Hundreds of miles from shore, and deep inside the bowels of the ship, they were in a bit of a jam. My colleague who is probably the best social networking person I know, sent out a tweet asking if any other engineer had encountered his problem and how did they resolve it. The result was quite interesting; within seconds, dozens of engineers from around the world had sent tweets in response. A number of them included url’s with an optimal code solution located.