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Five Ronin30 Jul

Five vendors directly impacting service providers:

Aereo TV – Beyond the technology, equaled by the likes of Roku, it has an architecture designed specifically around the content program restrictions.  OTT started the cracks but still lacks the powerful content.  By separating the access (user to antenna) from the content (antenna to Broadcaster) they have reclaimed the value added (or not) by each.  Aereo need only survive long enough to sway momentum out of the resale of video program aggregation towards selling end user access to 3rd party content for the entire MVPD and legacy Broadcasters business models to crumble.  Though stock value and functional productization may still accrue best in Roku, Apple TV or the likes, Aereo is a catalyst for an economic inevitability.

Google TV – Sure, we are all voyeurs to Google fiber. What couldn’t we do with 1 G Ethernet to the home and flexibility to Fiberhood (our franchisees called it Cherry Picking).  More telling is the notable absence of ESPN or other premium sports from Google TV.  Them’s gold to overbuilders, must have.  Grande (and Knology) grabbed NFL, then BEVO TV well ahead of Time Warner just to have some edge.  What’s up with Google TV then?  One place.  Can you say ESPN 360?  Its had years to build, plan, develop.  It’s the darling of every CDN out there.  Mark it down, how Google delivers live sports programming will shape the future of every MVPD.

Huawei – More for what they are not than what they are.  Creative destruction has wiped out nearly all legacy vendors specifically because they would not adapt themselves to the changing business models.  There way was simply the best, how dare these upstarts foist that lousy Ethernet on us?  Huawei is free of those shackles and has the capital to impact.  What’s more, their comfort with FTTH and data first wireless networks comes at an opportune moment for the US.  We’ll see if they live longer than Alcatel or Nortel, or add as much value to the industry at large as Bell Labs, Cisco, or the likes (sorry if I missed your company here, there have been many fallen heroes). Yes, protect national security, but Jingoism has no place here; this is our capital returning to increase our standard of living and national wealth.  The BORG has a champion; Huawei.

Lemko – A sleeper, but its going to bite the wireless and LEC worlds every bit as much as the iPhone did.  In a nutshell they place the intelligence of a cell network at the edge eliminating the need to dedicate backhaul to a MTSO.  On the surface, this may seem simple and nondescript.  In practice this separates the cell phone and mobile access into an application over the Internet, much like VoIP or IPTV.  It also serves the dual benefit of reducing the cost of bandwidth delivered to a base station or cell site and provides for the ease of more providers with less stringent SLAs.  This is a wammie to LECs who have long dominated the exclusive backhaul access, to the purveyors of complex edge and transport equipment (Why do we need Carrier Ethernet again, I Still Don’t kNow redux….), and to the mobile wireless provider market.  One can imagine a world of new business models, nomadic microcells, BYOB wireless, etc… and, bye and bye, there is about to be some very nice, very dormant spectrum available called ABC, CBS and NBC….

Apple – Samsung (obo: Google) – This patent battle has import for how dominate the Consumer Electronic vendors will become, how quickly and to what disruption.  Not only are the days of service provider CPE vanishing, so too is our back end control of the product.  Within these claims and how the Posner rulings are held will have waves across many industries.  Posner upheld (me thinks good) and hold onto your strand, conduit and spectrum, it’ll be all that survives.

Fact is, we service providers don’t live in a vacuum.  Like it or not, our world is changing.  Are you positioned to ride the wave?  Or will you be the flotsam?  Drop me an email if you’d like to discuss.  As for me, the course is becoming clearer, and the call more clarion.

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