Technology

HTC Shows The Real Meaning of Mobile Communication

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If you follow my blog you know that I hate HTC devices with passion.
However, their latest multimillion dollars campaign is brilliant (even though I’d change the music to something more sentimental). HTC challenge is huge – they are making many phones for many carriers. As such, they need to find a way to distinguish themselves without harming the carrier brand. They chose to go with a campaign showing how significant mobile phones are in our life.
Brilliant and to the point.

Enjoy the rest of the day.

Another Beautiful Thing

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An amazing video shot with a prototype of Canon 1D Mark IV. This camera is so sensitive to light that it shoots in light levels that consider extremely dark for the human eye. The whole video was shot with available light only, and was done by Stu Maschwitz and Vincent Laforet

More information about the production could be found here

Thanks to @Ronenk for helping with embedding the video player here.

Could Operators Change Digital Cents to Dollars?

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Last week, the online video world rejoiced. For the first time, Hulu, the online premium video provider, had more viewers than Comcast subscribers. Pro online video folks all around gathered to support the revolution as it unfolds.
The only thing missing is, well, like in most cases, money. Hulu is making small time money compared to Comcast.
The paradigm of digital cents is very simple – services are much cheaper on the internet, and the value of goods is diminished when they are distributed or sold digitally. The full phrase states that the media industry is facing a challenge – as it transforms from analog dollars to digital cents. This issue is affecting advertisers who are asking agencies to shift dollars from expensive TV spots to cheaper online advertising, which in return hurts the media business.
Hulu, though delivering the same shows as TV channels, is not making as much money as the traditional providers. This is a eye challenge to the whole media industry. But they are not alone.
The slow demise of the walled garden adds another pressure, to a different section of the value chain – the operators. The mobile market is a great example how technology is threatening the old world order. Early in this decade, when GPRS launched all over Europe, operators believed that the answer of their declining voice ARPU would come from selling content, such as ringtones and wallpapers.
The basis of this strategy was the operators controlled the availability of content to users – whatever an operator put on its portal could be sold – but nothing else. This way, by creating scarcity, the operators could gain revenues and control the subscriber’s experience.
Then came Apple.
And Google.
And Nokia.
And all these companies decided to break operator’s hegemony and tear down the garden’s walls. Android, iPhone and Ovi challenge the mobile operator’s ability to control the content and customer experience.
While media companies such as NBC and HBO don’t have a choice but to be a part of the digital cents game, operators have some ways to leverage this market disruption to their advantage.
Services are, in my opinion, a key to change the cents to dollars. Some of them are clear but still not done well, such as three screen syncing – allowing users to start watching a show on their TV set and continue to watch it on their mobile phone.
Some are based on cutting deals with the devil – and tightly integrate web services with traditional TV content. Several companies unveiled such services, such as TV and Twitter integration.
And some are down right evil, such as disregarding net neutrality and providing differentiated quality of services to content providers, based on deals with preferred content providers.
If operators will succeed in finding the right services and implement them in the near future,  we might see that they will rise to play a more significant role in  the media industry.

Last week, the online video world rejoiced. For the first time, Hulu, the online premium video provider, had more viewers than Time Warner Cable subscribers. Pro online video folks all around gathered to support the revolution as it unfolds.

The only thing missing is, well, like in most cases, money. Hulu is making small time money compared to Time Warner Cable.

The paradigm of digital cents is very simple – services are much cheaper on the internet, and the value of goods is diminished when they are distributed or sold digitally. The full phrase states that the media industry is facing a challenge – as it transforms from analog dollars to digital cents. This issue is affecting advertisers who are asking agencies to shift dollars from expensive TV spots to cheaper online advertising, which in return hurts the media business.

Hulu, though delivering the same shows as TV channels, is not making as much money as the traditional providers. This is a major challenge to the whole media industry. But it is not alone.

More

Open Call – Technology and Platforms For Virtual Events

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My social network
Image by luc legay via Flickr

IMTC Forum, meeting place for experts in video communication and collaboration, is doing this year a virtual conference, as a part of its years long commitment to bring the best thought leaders and technology experts together.  The event, called 2025, Technology, Standards, Work, Life, will discuss the ways video technology and collaboration will change the way we work an live in the year 2025. We expect thought leaders from different industries to share their views on these amazing topic and help us all retool our business and life for the future.

We also decided to do our whole planning process as transparent as possible, empowering the community by sharing our thoughts , decisions, vendors that we’ve reviewed and  lessons we’ve learned.

But, as always, we need the technology to support this event. This is what we are looking for:

  1. Ability to have up to 4 video streams (moderator + 3 speakers), with minimum video requirement of a webcam
  2. Ability to show slides per presenter
  3. Ability to mix video feeds  (meaning, one video player only, but the feed is switched between speakers’ feeds)
  4. Authenticated Chat section per session (including Facebook connect and Twitter API)
  5. Display Official and hash tag Twitter stream in the sidebar
  6. Ability to record all sessions and chats for re-runs and VOD access
  7. Simple to use registration page for participants

Are we missing anything? Let us know. Also, we don’t necessarily need one product with all features – mesh-ups are acceptable.

As a non profit organization we have a shoestring budget – but the event will expose technologies to the right audience – and what is better than seeing a technology in action?

Beyond these requirements, we will ask each vendor to write a short post about the value of virtual events, the way that technology is changing business, and their view on the needs of the industry. We will add our own commentary on each post, as well as write about our decision making process regarding this solution.

Interested? Email us at kfir AT pravdam DOT com with 2025 in the subject line.
Please send us your proposals by September 15th.

Huffington Post, Social Distribution and the next big thing

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Image representing Facebook Connect as depicte...
Image via CrunchBase

Huffington Post, the forward thinking media company, released what they called “social news”, and what we will call “Facebook connect integration in a website”. Users can now log in to the site with their Facebook credentials, post their comments on HP article on their wall, and subscribe to their favorite bloggers.

This move is brilliant, as it harnesses reader’s social graph for Huffington Post’s benefit – and increases engagement and exposure to its content. I’ve registered yesterday to the service, wrote a comment on an article, and received responses on this article on my Facebook profile – from people that never read or even heard about Huffington Post.

Gigya, one of my favorite startups, is making this process even easier, with their socialize platform, which provides a unified API to various social networks.

I am still amazed to see that only small number of media companies are harnessing Facebook Connect and Twitter API as a mean to increase exposure and virality of their content. I hope that Huffington Post will publish a study that will show if their latest move increased exposure.

Social distribution, the harnessing of social graphs for media distribution, is the most important opportunity for media companies in the near future. Is your media company ready for the challenge?

TokBox, Porn, Video Chat, And A Missed Opportunity

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Image representing TokBox as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Last night I received a nice email from TokBox, the video chat company, about new features just released. A year ago, when I first tried out the platform I was pretty excited.

TokBox is offering a simple to use video chat, that is now embaddable in third party sites. It is also offering the ability to create threaded video conversations, chat, and public messages. And the good thing – it works like a charm.

These features are important to every video site, conference, or event. As we are working now on a major virtual event, I was delighted to see that these guys are still alive, even though they suffered recently and fired half of their engineers.

However, at the current state, I will never use it for business, nor recommend it to my customer.

Their site, though technically works great, is ridden with content that I wouldn’t like to see my customers associated with – from teenagers to pseudo  adult content.

Reliable, socially distributed, embeddable video chat solution is defeinetly needed in the industry, especially after Seesmic turned its back to this market and focus on the Micro blogging market.  But no one in its right mind will put its content with teenage girls and questionable content.

If TokBox’s business model is video chat UGC, I personally don’t believe in it, but it is just me. But if they want to attract high profile customers, they need to do a clean up, and get more resources to manage the content in their platform, or create a seperate brand and site for these customers.

The Latest Meme – Apple Bashing

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Bashing Apple is the new black in the blogosphere. It started with Michael Arrington that announced that he dropped iPhone due to the Google Voice Debacle, followed by a less than accurate  (to say the least) post by  Calacanis where he bashed Apple for reasons starting with Google Voice story to their unwillingness to open iTunes to competing MP3 players.To sum it up, some people believe that Apple is nothing but an evil force  with an awesome design capabilites

Now, I don’t consider myself a fanboy (though I own two Macbook Pros, iPod Touch, iPod Nano, iPhone, and a life size poster of Jobs in my living room), but a lot of these arguments are lame.

Let’s start with the definition is Evil. Evil is a big green monster eating small children , World War Two otrocities, the guys who let Kevin Costner do Waterworld, and the inventors of hair metal. A company that creates awesome products but doesn’t like to play nice is not evil, but aggressive at best.

Why iTunes doesn’t allow to sync music with other devices? WHY WOULD IT? Does anyone stops Microsoft, Archos, or any other manufacturer to create their own sync application for Mac and PC? NO. Apple doesn’t block other sync applications, they just have the strange tendency not to shoot themselves in the foot.

Why AppStore approval  process suck so much? Cause they weren’t prepared for the amount of apps they need to authorize. iPhone developers know it, so why are they saying that it makes Apple evil? Unorganized at best will be my choice of words.Yes, Apple needs to get their act together, but at the end of the day – if developers don’t like the way things are they are more then welcome to develop for other platforms. Like Windows Mobile. Ha? no hands? why? CAUSE THE iPHONE ECOSYSTEM IS WAY BETTER THAN ITS COMPETITORS. After years of mobile developers eating crap from carriers and aggregators , who leave them with %10 of the revenues, they have the chance to make decent money. True, it is still hard, but at least they keep 70% of the revenues!

Now, the Apple Tax – the strange claim that Apple products cost more than its competitors. Well:

1. Mercedes costs more than Toyota.

2. You pay for quality

3. No one is forcing you to buy Apple

4. Apple doesn’t have low end products at all. Comparable hardware costs the same  in some markets.

5. Don’t buy if you don’t like it

6. The real Apple Tax is iPhone battery life, but that’s a whole different  post

The funniest thing ever is that people are protecting Google from Apple. GOOGLE. The guys who know almost everything about us, starting with our search history, through our emails, documents and even location. If Apple didn’t do the right thing with the Google Voice application, the big guys from FCC will know what to do with them – but, do you really believe that Google needs protection from Apple?

So let’s put things straight – Apple are selling high priced, high quality technology products, and isn’t interested at all in helping the competition. It is a business, not a peace corps branch.  Strange guys, I tell you.

Call For Speakers – 2025 – Tech, Standards, Work, Life

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Braun HF 1, Germany, 1959
Image via Wikipedia

How will video and collaboration technology impact your life and work in 2025?
This is the question we will try to answer on IMTC‘s annual event, taking place on the 17th and 18th of November, 2009.
With telepresence, online collaboration, social TV, and standardization advancements, our cubicle and living room will never look the same.

In IMTC we practice what we preach. Therefore, we decided to have a full blown virtual event, utilizing commercially available products and technologies.

Are you a thought leader in visual communication, online collaboration, social TV, the future of the living room, or any area that is relevant to collaboration, video or communication? Come and speak at our event – without leaving your office, via video conferencing, chat and remote presentations.

Here are some of the topics we thought about – but please feel free to contact us with additional relevant topics:
1. HTML 5, standard web video delivery and its effect on the value chain
2. Online collaboration status
3. Metadata and what it means for media companies and users
4. HD voice
5. Democratization of video conferencing and Telepresence in the living room
6. Social TV
7. Triple play in the living room – what’s next?

As a speaker you will be requested to send us your proposal, and write a short blog post about your topic that will be published in relevant blogs.

Interested? Email us at kfir AT pravdam DOT com with 2025 in the subject line.
Please send us your proposals by September 30th.

Choosing An Online Video Camera – Open Call

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In the past two posts I’ve reviewed important features to check in a sub $1,000 cameras for online video and podcasting. Now it’s the time to review the cameras out there. Please leave in the comments below which cameras are you interested in. Remember, it has to cost less than $1,000.  If any of the readers has any of the cameras, please note that as well. In couple of days I will start writing the post, comparing the cameras and their capabilities. So let’s get this thing going – Which cameras should I review?

Virtual Events – So many Questions, Not Enough Answers

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How can you create an engaging, interactive, virtual conference, that will keep people interested, even though they are hundreds of miles away? This is the challenge that we at IMTC is facing this year, while planning its annual event.

IMTC’s Annual event is a meeting point of industry experts in the fields of video communication and interoperability. This year we decided to do a full day conference virtually, using available technologies. We are doing it because of three reasons:

1. This is the conference of the future: Though nothing can replace a handshake, virtual conferences are appealing from economic and efficiency perspective

2. This is what we do: IMTC is all about collaboration, unified communication, and content delivery. Virtual conference is best way to practice what we preach. We also would like to support our members by letting them showcase their technology in real life scenarios, and not only in booths and exhibitions.

3. This is the right thing in the current economic climate: With companies cutting their travel budgets, we should, as an industry organization, enable as many people possible to be a part of the experience. Virtual conference is a great solution for those who can’t travel, but still interested in the content or participants of the event. Also, in times when companies invest a lot in order to reduce their carbon footprint, virtual events are the way to go to help our planet a bit.

So what is the biggest challenge?

For me, the biggest challenge is not technical, but the experience :How can we prevent the conference from turning into a string of webinars or a list of audio presentations?How can we encourage people in the “audience” to interact with speakers and with each other?What should be the role of social platforms in the event?And how to make an extraordinary event, that pushes the boundaries of virtual conferences, with a shoe string budget?

Luckily, I am a part of a great team that is trying to make this project a reality, including Anatoli Levine from Radvision, Andrea Basso from AT&T, Shantanu Sarkar from Cisco, and many other volunteers.

Want to be a part of the effort to create the conference of the future? have a relevant technology? Consider this as an open call for the industry and drop me an email at kfir AT Pravdam DOT com

Published originally at IMTC’s Blog