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IN THIS ISSUE:
BBH Readers--A Quick Look at YOU
Heard on the Net
More on companies
Sandy and Dave's list of "broads"
The View From Another High-tech Center
It Takes More than Technology
MediaOne Labs Broadband Innovation Group
Where Will the Broadband Revolution Start?
A Letter from Sweden
pulver.com 2000 Calendar
Upcoming VON and BBH conferences
Broadband Home Summit 2000 - June 5-7
San Jose, CA
We thought you might want to know a little more about the other readers of the BBH Report. We were amazed to watch subscriptions pour in from all corners of the globe -- every continent is represented. About 45% of you live outside the US. Some of you work for companies whose names we had not known before your email. Thanks for sharing our enthusiasm about promoting collaboration across the many sectors of the industry.
As we scanned the variety of companies you represent and your job titles, we saw many of the expected ones including President and CEO, Marketing and Business Development officers, Technology officers, etc. There were some less familiar ones also. Our nominees for most interesting or unique titles of current subscribers are: Chief Visionary, IP Wizard, and Human Experience Architect. Please let us know if you have an unusual title that we missed!
Here are a few of the people who have changed companies or jobs recently.
(Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to report a change in your position.)
2Wire raises $53.5 million - 2Wire, which develops DSL residential gateway products that integrate DSL and home networking, raised $53.5 million in its mezzanine-round funding. The round brings the company's equity investment total to $83 million. (http://www.2wire.com)
Road Runner creates more broadband relationships - Road Runner, the high-speed cable Internet service announced a partnership with search engine/directory service Rampt.com enabling Road Runner's subscribers to search for broadband-optimized audio, video and multimedia content. They also announced the selection of Lipstream, a provider of live voice communication over the Internet, to voice-enable the Road Runner community site. (http://www.roadrunner.com) (http://rampt.com) (http://lipstream.com)
Insight to deploy Commerce.TV - Insight Communications, the nation's eighth-largest cable operator, announced an agreement in principle to become the first MSO to deploy Commerce.TV. Viewers need only a digital cable box and a remote control to browse and purchase program-related products via an on-screen menu. (http://www.insight.com) (http://www.commerce-tv.com)
Radiata Launched to advance wireless networking - Radiata, a privately held company in San Jose, CA is developing a "wireless engine" for high-performance wireless networking products for the home, small office/home office, enterprise and public area environments. The start-up has funding from major corporate investors including Cisco Systems and Broadcom. Radiata's first products will be based on the IEEE 802.11a standard. (http://www.radiata.com)
Nokia and KPN sign deal for BB DSL across the Netherlands - KPN, a major telecommunications provider in the Netherlands, has chosen Nokia's DSL solution in its access network for delivery of broadband services. In addition to broadband access, its vision includes offering Nokia's WLAN (Wireless LAN) to enable Internet access anywhere in the home, without in-house cabling. As of May 3, KPN and Spain's Telefonica indicated they are in merger talks to create Europe's fourth-largest carrier. (http://www.nokia.com) (http://www.kpn.com)
chello BB - chello broadband nv announced reaching 171,000 Internet subscribers in 1Q 2000 (compared with 36,000 a year ago). It is now available in 6 European countries, is available in Australia via MMDS and has opened an office in Latin America.
Broadband Content Delivery Forum (BCDF) established to advance broadband content - On April 4, 2000 the BCDF was announced. It initially included about 30 companies, such as Nortel (the driving force), AT&T, Motorola, Sun, NTL, TI, and Telstra. Its aim is to bring together experts and top players from across the industry to recommend open architectures to deliver rich multimedia content over broadband networks. Its inaugural meeting will be held May 11 in Las Vegas at NetWorld+Interop 2000. Current membership is 50+ companies. ( http://www.bcdforum.org )
OSGi - The Open Services Gateway Initiative (OSGi) member companies met May 1-3 in San Diego to finalize the release of their technical specification. The spec, initially based on Java technology, defines an open standard enabling multiple software services to be run on a services gateway such as a set top box, cable modem, DSL modem, PC or residential gateway. OSGi has grown to now include 58 technology companies. (http://www.osgi.org) (http://www.sun.com)
Dueling announcements: April 25: "Sun sketches plans for Java networks in the home". Sun sketched out its plans for mainstream Java home networks at the Communications Technology Update conference in Texas. Sun discussed plans for a variety of networked consumer electronics products, all linked by common Java-based middleware. Examples include networked alarm clocks from Sunbeam and refrigerator-based Web Pads from Whirlpool. (http://www.sun.com) (http://www.whirlpool.com) (http://www.sunbeam.com)
Meanwhile, April 28: "Microsoft demonstrates Plug and Play with Panja". At the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (Win HEC) in New Orleans, Microsoft demonstrated a device incorporating their Universal Plug and Play Initiative (UPnP) with a device called the Panja. It interconnects a home TV and stereo with the Internet, without the use of a PC. UPnP is planned as a feature in the consumer targeted Windows Millennium. It will enable system manufacturers to build set top box-style products for plug-and-play interconnection of the home entertainment center to the Internet. (http://www.upnp.org) (http://www.panja.com) (http://www.microsoft.com)
CableNet RFP - CableLabs and the California Cable Television Association (CCTA) issued an RFP seeking demonstrations of broadband applications and services that cable operators may deploy soon. Selected participants will be part of the CableNet (r) 2000 display, Nov 27-Dec 1, 2000 at the Western Cable Show, LA Convention Center. Proposals are due by May 26, 2000. For those unfamiliar with the North American cable industry, the Western Show is the premier annual technology event; participation in CableNet provides a good opportunity to work with other vendors and perhaps to show off for industry big-wigs. (The downside is that it can be a lot of work for smaller companies.) (www.cablenet.org)
Are we the only ones having a hard time keeping straight all the companies with "Broad" or "Broadband" in their names? In case we're not alone in this problem - or maybe just to help us get it straight - we decided to put together a list of some of the organizations we know about, their Web sites and what they do. Here goes:
Broadband Access Systems - Supplier of integrated, carrier-class broadband access systems that allow cable operators to deliver high quality voice, data, and video services to large numbers of users. ( http://www.basystems.com )
Broadcom - Provider of integrated silicon solutions that enable broadband digital transmission of voice, data and video content to and throughout the home and within the business enterprise ( http://www.broadcom.com )
BroadJump - Software platform for Broadband Service Providers that supports streamlined installations and service management. ( http://www.broadjump.com )
BroadbandLiving.com - Supplies tools and content to the broadband industry to facilitate the adoption of broadband. ( http://www.broadbandliving.com )
AT&T Broadband - This is one that's hard to confuse with the rest; something about that AT&T name in there! Just for the record, it is the US's #2 cable operator and will leapfrog the leader, Time Warner, after it acquires MediaOne. ( http://www.attbis.com or http://www.cable.att.com/ )
Broadband Digital Group - Provider of free broadband Internet access for consumers through its FreeDSL service (http://www.freedsl.com )
Broadband Gateways - Supplies Integrated Access Devices (IADs) with wireless capabilities providing high speed Internet access and derived voice services into residences and small offices ( http://bbgateways.com )
Broadsoft - Service delivery systems and service creation tools for next-generation communications networks. (http://www.broadsoft.com )
The Broadband Company - sometimes called B2 (in Swedish its actual name is Bredbandsbolaget). A Swedish telecommunications company which specializes in the provision of broadband technology to the home. ( http://bredband.com )
Broadband Sports, Inc. -- Operates a number of sports-related Web sites and supplies content to several third parties. It develops and maintains Web sites for some 200 sports stars, and offers team news and information compiled by local sportswriters. It also offers services to fantasy-sports players and sells sports merchandise. ( http://www.broadbandsports.com )
Adaptive Broadband Corporation -- Formerly called California Microwave, it is a supplier of satellite earth station and microwave radio products. The company has intensified its focus on emerging broadband markets, particularly the market for Internet access. ( http://www.adaptivebroadband.com )
Nucentrix Broadband Networks, Inc. -- Formerly called Heartland Wireless Communications, it provides wireless cable TV in eight US states. After emerging from bankruptcy in 1999, they shifted their focus to the Internet and are building a wireless ISP operation targeted at small and midsized businesses. ( http://www.nucentrix.net )
Broadmedia -- Provides international Internet telephony services for business. ( http://www.broadmedia.com )
Broadwing -- Formed in 1999 from the merger of Cincinnati Bell and IXC Communications, the company positions itself as a total communications solutions provider. ( http://www.broadwing.com)
Broadview -- leading global investment bank focused on the IT, communications and media industries worldwide. In business for 27 years, Broadview claims to be the world's largest M&A investment bank of its kind, operating across the United States, Europe and Asia. ( http://www.broadview.com )
BroadVision - focuses on personalized e-business applications. Its suite of integrated applications is built for delivery via the Web and wireless devices. ( http://www.broadvision.com )
Some of these "broads" will be with us at the Summit in June. Please let us know about "broads" we've left off the list.
After writing about companies in Silicon Valley last time, we decided to visit some east coast U.S. companies. Dave planned to fly our Beechcraft Bonanza to Boston, while Sandy kept things flowing at the home office. Our dependence on all things technology-based was made clear once again, when the Boston radar was knocked out of operation by high winds a couple of days earlier, and then the transponder in our plane failed and Dave had to get special permission to fly back home.
Commerce.TV At this Dedham-based start-up, we met with Arnold Englander, VP of Product Strategy (and also briefly with Jeff Laughlin, Chairman). Arnold described the leading role Commerce.TV intends to play in the evolution of electronic purchases over television: "television commerce" or "t-commerce".
Commerce.TV is positioned to support the "lean-back" (impulse) model of interactive TV - where the impetus for user interaction comes from "triggers" inserted in the program content on the screen (rather than from a desire to surf the Web). Their system and infrastructure are designed to support simultaneous transactions on many different TV channels.
The core of their approach is the back-end transaction processing system, a distributed network from the service provider through to the serving merchant, owned and operated by Commerce.TV. Arnold believes that the key to success in this business is to have a network sufficiently robust to reliably process the volume of impulse transactions from a hugely popular program like the Super Bowl - comparable to the challenge phone companies face in handling telephone call volumes on Mother's Day.
To complete their product offering, Commerce.TV is also developing the t-commerce application infrastructure for the digital set-top box, and creating a complete package for cable operators including trigger insertion equipment, local servers, and software downloads for digital set-top boxes.
Commerce.TV's market includes three constituencies: program providers, service providers, and merchants. Program providers (broadcast and cable networks) insert "triggers" into their content at the appropriate places - either for an entire program segment or for the duration of an ad. Service providers (cable and satellite operators) combine the triggers with the appropriate Commerce.TV applications and deliver them to the digital set-top in the customer's home, and then provide the communications channel for two-way transactions between set-tops and merchants. Merchants process orders and handle fulfillment. Commerce.TV is working with all three groups.
Commerce.TV is not the only company working on TV-based e-commerce, but seems to be the only one coming at it from the back end. The front end (such as the user interface) is much the sexiest part of the business, but in some ways is the easiest. Real-time transaction processing is harder to pull off, especially to handle the "bursty" transaction traffic from thousands of households responding simultaneously to the same trigger in a program viewed by millions.
While people have been talking about TV-based e-commerce for years, it remains to be seen whether enough people will rouse themselves to engage in transactions while sitting back deep in the couch. If they do, there's no doubt that the transactions will be much burstier than traditional Internet traffic.
If service providers and merchants are going to generate high transaction volumes from TV viewers, they'll need to invest in the kinds of solutions Commerce-TV is creating. (http://www.commerce-tv.com)
Post Script - How does this relate to the recent US media fight between Time Warner and Disney? The bitter public dispute (temporarily on hold through July 15th) is about how much Time Warner should pay Disney for carrying its channels. However, the NY Times quoted Disney's chief lobbyist as saying Disney was concerned about "being blocked from utilizing interactive features like commercials with links to the Internet and digital TV that could allow viewers to purchase goods". Recalling Commerce.TV's description of the three constituencies (program providers, service providers, merchants), the dispute translates to who inserts the "triggers" into content, who controls the associated transaction, who carries (or could block) the triggers, and how do the various constituencies share in the money that's made from "t-commerce"?
RiverDelta Networks: New Entry in "3G" Data Over Cable Systems
Boston has been a major center in the development of cable modem technologies. Two of the industry's leaders - LANcity (now part of Arris Interactive) and Motorola - were formed and continue to base their cable modem operations there.
We visited RiverDelta Networks, a recent startup in the Boston area, to meet with Jeff Walker, VP of Marketing (formerly at Motorola) and Gerry White, CTO (who held the same position with Arris Interactive). RiverDelta is not making cable modems. Instead, it is focused on the Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) which sits in the cable operator's facilities and communicates with thousands of cable modems.
RiverDelta has ambitious aims -- namely, to be "the category leader of carrier class switching solutions in the emerging broadband market." They announced their first product, the "Broadband Services Router 64000," a few days before we visited. It combines a CMTS, a high-performance edge router, an aggregation switch for Ethernet and ATM systems, and a SONET multiplexer in a single chassis. In addition to redundant components its claims include less floor space and lower costs than competitive products.
RiverDelta's product exemplifies the "third generation" of broadband cable access products. "1G" was based on proprietary technologies and "2G" (under way now) is based on the CableLabs DOCSIS specification 1.0. DOCSIS enables interoperability between vendors, so a cable operator can buy a 1.0 CMTS from one vendor and cable modems from other vendors.
DOCSIS 1.0 is great for "best efforts" applications like Web browsing and email, but lacks "quality of service" (QoS) required for telephony and streaming media. The new DOCSIS 1.1 specifications enhance the 1.0 protocols with features to support primary telephony, streaming media, and "committed information rate" services similar to frame relay. RiverDelta is one of several companies building an integrated CMTS from scratch to exploit the full range of demanding services implied by DOCSIS 1.1.
RiverDelta has identified a real opportunity. Their objectives go beyond cable operators to include CLECs (their CEO and CFO come from a CLEC) and wireless service providers as well. Their chassis is clearly designed to accommodate many flavors of broadband access technologies, so "access agnostic" service providers should be able to select the mix of hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) cable, twisted pair, fiber, and fixed wireless that best fits each market.
Their plan is to go through lab and field testing during the summer and enter CableLabs "qualification" testing in the fall. They've bitten off a lot for a start-up, but we think they'll do well if they can get the product into the market quickly and deliver on their promises. ( http://www.riverdelta.com )
Those familiar wih the cable industry know that one of the two "must attend" U.S. events -- the National Cable Show -- takes place May 7-10 in New Orleans. We'll be watching the press releases coming out of this show, not only from RiverDelta, but also from 3G competitor Broadband Access Systems, also based in the Boston area. ( http://www.basystems.com )
New technology is great. That is, it's great when it's working and doing what we want. The rest of the time, it causes us to say unprintable things about the people and companies that have wrought grief and frustration on us.
Monica Marics, Director of the Broadband Innovation Group at MediaOne Labs, emailed us after receiving our 4/9 newsletter. She sent us copies of some of their studies and volunteered to participate in our June Summit. After talking to her and seeing their work, we enthusiastically agreed.
The mission of the folks in the Broadband Innovation Group is to help their company (and others) think about how real people actually live, and how they think about and use new products and services based on broadband technologies.
Although the group has its share of technical types, it also consists of social scientists trained in anthropology, psychology and user interface design. Together with their concept developers and engineers, they try to translate what they learn about consumer behavior into product concepts.
Here are some examples of their field studies of how real families use and react to new technology in their home:
A couple of interesting observations:
From the cable modem study - The PC became part of the ordinary day and was "as casually attended to as any other household appliance". In addition to changing the frequency and patterns of Internet usage, always-on high-speed access often resulted in families re-arranging PC location and room configuration to put the PC into common-use areas.
However, from the Web tablet study - Before participants had Web tablets they overwhelmingly used positive language about their PCs. At the end of the Web tablet trial, they talked about the PC experience in comparatively more negative terms. Sample descriptors for the PC are: "less comfortable; work, serious; confined, chained; isolating; less convenient." In comparison, tablet descriptors are: "comfortable; fun, relaxing, casual; unchained, take it anywhere; be with family; handy, saved time."
Monica and MediaOne Labs are willing to share these studies with others in the industry. For more information please contact Tom Day (email@example.com)
Monica will be with us at the Broadband Home Summit June 6-7 in San Jose. If you're interested in how (and whether) real folks are going to use all these cool technologies, come talk with her at the Summit.
We recently got a note from Stefan Tordenmalm about the Broadband Home Web site. Although we heard Hans Eriksson's talk at Spring 2000 VON, we hadn't reflected the impact of what Hans said about the growth of broadband in Sweden. Here's part of Stefan's email:
"I strongly oppose to the statement 'We will see widespread growth of broadband homes, first in the US and then in other countries' which appears on the Industry page. Currently a broadband revolution is taking place in Sweden. Tens of thousands of homes (that's a lot in a small country) are being connected to broadband services at this moment.
I live in an apartment which has a permanent 10 Mbit/s Internet connection, a service for which I pay $25 per month. The whole building is wired in an Ethernet network and is connected to one of the fiber optic cables criss-crossing the city.
The company providing this service is Bredbandsbolaget (The Broadband Company). ...Presently their offering only includes Internet access, but they plan to include services such as telephone, video-on-demand, pay-per-play computer games and much more."
We asked Hans for his view on what Stefan said. and he replied: "the comments from Stefan I endorse totally. The BB-revolution will happen in Sweden first. The plans according to press-releases is that by Christmas, around 1.5M households out of 4M will be able to get a connection for ~$100 entry and ~$25/month."
We'll be updating our Web page to reflect these inputs and would like to hear from readers suggesting other contenders for where the broadband revolution will start.
Hans will present Telia's Broadband Home Vision in the kick-off roundtable at the BBH Summit. He'll also speak in a session on the Broadband Home at Europe 2000 VON in Stockholm next month.
In addition to the BBH conferences, we will be organizing and moderating the Broadband track at several upcoming VON conferences. (See the complete calendar at http://pulver.com/conference).
The Broadband Home Summit - June 6-7, San Jose, CA ( http://TheBroadbandHome.com/summit )
VON Europe 2000 - June 19-21, Stockholm, Sweden ( http://pulver.com/europe2000 )
Fall 2000 VON - Sept 11-14, Atlanta, GA ( http://pulver.com/von )
Call for Speakers
Broadband Home Fall 2000 Conference - October 3-5, 2000 in San Francisco.
The Broadband Home Fall 2000 Conference will take place Tuesday October 3 through Thursday Oct 5, 2000 in San Francisco. We are currently accepting speaking proposals from companies involved in the value chain for the Broadband Home. This includes providers of applications and services; bandwidth-intensive content; backbone networks; broadband access networks; home gateways and servers; home networking; and broadband-enabled appliances.
Topics of interest include technical, marketing and usability aspects of new home devices and appliances; home networking and gateways; what real people want, will use and how it will be maintained; broadband for home workers; backbone network implications; interoperability issues and standards; applications areas including telephony, multi-player games, e-commerce, streaming audio and video, TV, VOD, and digital TV; missing technologies; the investor's view; the legal, regulatory and public policy issues.
To submit topics, please visit http://www.pulver.com/speak , enter your proposal and be sure to check the box for Broadband Home Fall 2000 conference at the bottom.
The Broadband Home Summit 2000 will take place June 6-7 at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, CA. Registration and hotel rooms are limited, so reserve now if you want to attend.
At BBH Summit 2000 you will listen to the senior executives responsible for driving this industry forward, and will have a great opportunity to meet with these players and take advantage of unique business and personal networking opportunities.
Below is the latest draft of the conference schedule. More information is available at the conference website http://TheBroadbandHome.com/summit
============================================================= Broadband Home Summit 2000 ( http://TheBroadbandHome.com/summit ) Conference Schedule (as of May 3, 2000) =============================================================
Monday, June 5
6-8 pm - "Meet and Greet" Reception for delegates and panelists
Tuesday, June 6
7:30 - Registration / Continental Breakfast
8:30 am - Opening Session - Welcome and Introductions
Morning - Roundtable 1: Broadband Home Vision (3Com, Broadjump, Intel, Rogers Communications, Telia, Telocity)
Roundtable 2: End-to-end Requirements - General (Broadcom, Cidera, Com21, Enikia, Excite@Home, Gigabit Wireless, Microsoft)
Afternoon - Roundtable 3: New Devices, Appliances and Applications (National Semiconductor, Sega.com, Symbol Technologies, Tatung)
Roundtable 4: Multiplayer Games (Bazillion, Cisco, Sega.com)
Roundtable 5: Home Gateways (CableLabs, Ericsson, GTE, Motorola, U S WEST)
Evening - Reception for delegates and panelists
Wednesday, June 7
Morning - Roundtable 6: What Will "Real Folks" Do? (2Wire, BroadbandLiving.com, GTE, Into Networks, Kinetic Strategies, MediaOne)
Roundtable 7: Streaming Media - Content and Servers (Multicast ISP, On2.com, Pseudo Networks, Real Networks, Road Runner, Terayon)
Afternoon - Roundtable 8: Digital TV, Interactive TV, and Video On Demand (Commerce.TV, Excite@Home, ICTV, Ignite Sports Media, Microsoft)
Roundtable 9: End-to-end Requirements - IP Telephony, Video Telephony, Video Conferencing (AT&T, Cisco, Global IP Sound, Motorola, Portal, Texas Instruments)
Check the conference Web site ( http://TheBroadbandHome.com/summit ) for an updated conference schedule, participants in each roundtable, registration and hotel reservations.
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Please send your comments and feedback regarding this issue of our report to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your suggestions for topics to be covered in future issues would be greatly appreciated.
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