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IN THIS ISSUE:
Heard on the Net
Looking Back, Looking Forward
From Telcordia to CableLabs
Home Networking Is Hot!
Visiting Broadband Homes
What I Want Next Hanukah/Christmas
"How Much Life is Left in Cable?"
Pacific Broadband Networks Answers
Gatespace and OSGi
Using the Home Gateway to Provide Services
Broadband Home Spring 2001 -
Early Bird Registration Ends January 12th!
pulver.com 2001 Calendar
David Chisum has joined A Novo Broadband (formerly Cable Link Inc.) as chief financial officer. Chisum was previously CFO of Panja Inc. ( www.cable-link.com )
Brian Coulter has joined Malibu Networks as vice president of business development. Coulter was previously vice president of national account sales at Northpoint Communications. ( www.malibunetworks.com )
David Edmondson has been promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer of RadioShack Corporation. Edmondson joined the company in 1994 as vice president of marketing. ( www.radioshack.com )
Hossein Eslambolchi has joined Cisco as senior vice president of service provider solutions. Eslambolchi was formerly senior vice president of packet and optical network services at AT&T Broadband. ( www.cisco.com )
Jeffrey King has been named president and CEO of Road Runner. King replaces William Gordon, III, who had served as president of Road Runner since February. King had been president of Time Warner's Southwest Texas Division. ( www.rr.com )
Scott Madigan has joined Future Networks as vice president of sales and marketing. Madigan previously was Executive Vice President of Business Development at World Access. ( www.future-networks.com )
Pete Martin has joined ShareWave as vice president of engineering. Before joining ShareWave he was at Filanet Corp. ( www.sharewave.com )
Paul C. Meyer has joined Concurrent Computer Corporation as president of the Real-Time Division. Meyer previously held executive positions at ASM Associates Inc., Virgin Interactive Entertainment Inc., PlayNet Technologies Inc. and Viacom New Media. ( www.ccur.com )
Robert Norcross has been named vice president of new product development at Comcast Cable Communications. He previously served as vice president of Mercer Management Consulting. ( www.comcast.com )
Sonny Rath has been appointed Chief Operating Officer of World Wide Wireless Communications. Sonny was previously with Qwest Communications. ( www.worldwide-wireless.com )
Scott Smith has been named CEO of Sonicbox, Inc. Smith was previously founder of Neveric LLC. In addition, Sonicbox announced the appointment of Jon Holtzman as Chief Marketing Officer. ( www.sonicbox.com )
Hai Sheng Wang as been named chairman of China Convergent, replacing Colin Olive Hiles who will serve as deputy chairman. Mr. Wang will also continue to serve as chairman of Prosper eVision. ( www.chinaconvergent.com )
Britt Weaver has joined SONICblue as Vice President of Corporate Marketing. Weaver previously was Vice President of Brand Strategy at Addison Whitney. ( www.sonicblue.com )
(Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to report a change in your position.)
China Convergent Corporation (CVNG) of Hong Kong, formerly China Broadband Corporation, is acquiring its subsidiary Century Vision Cable (CVN); it is also adopting China Convergent as its new corporate name, under the terms of an earlier agreement with China Broadband Corp. of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. CVN will use two-way interactive technology to provide subscriber-based broadband cable TV services, including real-time audio and video, and Internet services. China Convergent makes its own cable TV set-top boxes for use as Internet appliances because of the high television ownership (90%) versus PC ownership (4%) in China. ( www.chinaconvergent.com ) ( www.chinabroadband.com )
France Télécom's Wanadoo unit agreed to acquire Britain's largest Internet service provider, Freeserve, in an all-stock deal valued at $2.37 billion. The deal, reported by the NY Times, would create the third-largest European Internet service provider after T-Online of Germany and Tiscali of Italy. ( www.wanadoo.com )
Hughes Electronics agreed to acquire broadband ISP Telocity for $180 million in cash. The acquisition will expand Hughes' broadband offerings by adding thousands of digital subscriber line (DSL) customers. Hughes operates DirecPC, a satellite-based high-speed Net access service, which is set to unveil its new "two-way" capabilities shortly. ( www.hughes.com ) ( www.telocity.com )
News Corp.'s NDS Group plc unit acquired Orbis Technology Ltd. for 15m pounds (US$21m) in cash and between 320,000 and 1,110,000 NDS shares. Orbis is a developer of sports betting software for digital TV, Internet and WAP phones. Many analysts see the gaming and betting market as one of the most promising growth areas in interactive TV, especially in the UK. ( www.nds.com )
Shaw Communications Ltd. , Canada's second biggest cable company will pay $22.91 a share in a cash-and-stock deal for the stake in Moffat Communications it does not already own. The deal is valued at $785 million. ( www.shaw.ca ) ( www.moffat.ca )
Steeplechase Media will acquire EyeScene in exchange for Steeplechase common stock. The two companies will merge into a single entity, specializing in the interactive television content and services markets. ( www.steeplechase.net ) ( www.eyescene.com )
Telemar , Brazil's biggest telephone company, has reportedly bought the Internet access arm of the online media company iG. The purchase will give Telemar access to a large client base outside its current operating area and a path to new technologies integrating telephony and the Web. The value of the acquisition will not be disclosed until the start of 2001. ( www.telemar.com.br )
Tut Systems , a provider of broadband systems for the multi-tenant unit (MTU) market, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held ActiveTelco, Inc. of Fremont, California. ActiveTelco provides next generation IP telephony and messaging solutions. ( www.tutsystems.com )
Zhone Technologies, Inc. has agreed to acquire Xybridge Technologies, Inc. Xybridge is a developer of broadband access network softswitch solutions. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. ( www.zhone.com ) ( www.xybridge.com )
@Security Broadband has $16 million in venture capital and is trying to raise $50 million more in financing by January. According to a report in CED Daily, they have gotten investments from Cox, Comcast, Adelphia, Coditel, Cablevision, Rogers and Shaw. @Security will focus on integrating broadband features like video, Web access and wireless capabilities with home security. ( www.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2000/11/20/story2.html )
Advent Networks Inc. has closed on $22.6 million in second-round funding led by its first customer -- UtiliCorp United Inc. Other investors in the second round are Motorola Inc., Reliant Energy Inc., Morgan Keegan & Co., Murphree Venture Partners and Southern Union Co. ( www.adventnetworks.com )
Catena Networks announced that it has raised $60 million in a third round of financing, bringing the total invested capital to more than $100 million. ( www.catena.com )
Cogency Semiconductor , a provider of semiconductors for home networking, announced that Cisco Systems has invested in the company as part of a follow-on round to its August financing. ( www.cogency.com )
Comcast made $10 million equity investment in interactive TV vendor SeaChange International and said it signed long-term agreement to buy SeaChange servers to support its video-on-demand deployment. ( www.comcast.com ) ( www.schange.com )
Commerce.TV announced it has secured an additional $23 million in its Series C financing. Investors in this round include Motorola, Audax Group, Center Partners/ITV Partners, and Sandler Capital with further investment coming from Citigroup Technology Ventures. ( www.commerce-tv.com )
Korea Thrunet Co. Ltd announced it will get $250 million from a consortium led by Softbank Corp. Thrunet provides cable modem broadband Internet access to over 700,000 subscribers and has partnered with Korea's biggest online retailer, Hansol CSN. ( www.thrunet.com )
Pelago Networks has raised $17 million in its first round of funding. Investors included Charles River Ventures, Columbia Capital, and Bessemer Venture Partners. ( www.pelagonet.com )
Ucentric Systems closed its second round of funding for an additional $17.5 million, led by Pilot House Ventures Group and joined by first-round investor Polaris Venture Partners. The company also finalized agreements with Vicinium Systems to enable security and home control, and with ISP SPEAKEASY.net to deliver Ucentric's home networking system to consumers. ( www.ucentric.com ) ( www.vicinium.com )
2Wire has announced the ICS 2000 integrated communications system. It allows small offices, home offices, telecommuters, and multi-member households to share a single broadband Internet connection while delivering multiple voice services to PCs and telephones throughout the home. The system lets you manage up to four phone lines (and many more extensions) using a browser interface. It also lets you connect to the corporate packet voice network so that mobile executives and teleworkers can use one phone system (and number) at home and in the office. ( www.2wire.com/products/ics_2000.asp )
3Com Corporation and Broadcom Corporation have formed a strategic alliance to accelerate the deployment of Gigabit Ethernet into business networks. They will jointly develop new products, cross-license technologies, engage in joint sales and marketing activities and enter into a supply chain agreement. The goal of the alliance is to accelerate customer migration from Fast Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet by speeding superior price/performance products to market. ( www.3com.com ) ( www.broadcom.com )
AT&T is dissolving its Road Runner joint venture with Time Warner as part of complying with FCC rules on market ownership caps after its acquisition of MediaOne. AT&T has a 25 percent stake in Time Warner. The two companies share 21 regional data centers, which provide the connectivity for the Road Runner high-speed service. The data centers will be redistributed to one of the two companies based on which one is the predominant cable operator in that region. The restructuring is expected to be complete in 1Q 2001. See related Time Warner news below. ( www.att.com ) ( www.rr.com )
China Convergent Corporation announced signing three additional joint ventures to introduce broadband cable service to China through its subsidiary Century Vision Network (CVN). The new JV partners in Shaanxi, Zhejiang and Jiangxi Provinces represent an additional 10 million subscribers, bringing CVN's JV partner's target audience for broadband service to 26 million PRC cable subscribers. CVN's interest in each of the three new JVs represents 49%. ( www.chinaconvergent.com )
CES, the Consumer Electronics Show , takes place January 6-9 in Las Vegas. We are already seeing a number of product announcements in advance of the show, such as 2Wire's ICS2000 and will cover more of the announcements in next month's issue. The show will include a wide variety of new products in the Broadband Home arena including home networking and Internet appliances. ( www.cesweb.org )
Coax Corporation , developer of a new digital broadband router, has reached an agreement with cable operator Buford Media Group to beta test the Coax programmable head end. ( www.coaxcorp.com )
Demon Internet Netherlands , part of the Scottish Telecommunications company Thus plc, has connected their first ADSL customers. Demon has plans to roll out its ADSL Internet services in the Netherlands, using BaByXL 's DSL network access service and broadband circuits from Energis. ( www.demon.nl ) ( www.babyxl.com )
Enron Broadband Services and Blockbuster Inc. announced they have begun delivering movies via the Blockbuster Entertainment On-Demand service over Enron’s broadband network in Seattle, Portland, Ore. and Salt Lake City. The launch fulfills the companies' goal of delivering the entertainment on-demand service to consumers’ televisions by the end of 2000. The initial companies providing “last mile” high-speed connectivity to consumers’ homes are ReFlex Communications (Seattle and Portland) and SwitchPoint Networks (Salt Lake City). In addition, Blockbuster, Enron and Verizon are currently conducting technical trials in New York City. ( www.enron.com ) ( www.blockbuster.com )
Excite@Home and UPC announced that the companies will not proceed with the pending transaction to create Excite Chello. The proposed transaction would have combined Excite@Home's Asia-Pacific and European media and broadband subscriber businesses with assets and distribution commitments from United Group in an exclusive worldwide joint venture. ( www.home.com ) ( www.chello.com )
Internet Gold , an Israeli ISP, began selling broadband Internet services using ADSL technology. Initially, the company is targeting the high-end residential market and the low-end business market. Internet Gold packages start at US$47 dollars per month. ( www.igld.com )
Into Networks announced that Intertainer will license the IntoMedia streaming software solution to add interactive software such as games, educational titles and home office programs to the Intertainer.tv entertainment-on-demand broadband network. With this agreement, Intertainer is able to combine Video-On-Demand (VOD) with Software-On-Demand (SOD) under one brand in an offering to DSL and cable modem broadband subscribers. ( www.intonetworks.com ) ( www.intertainer.com )
MassHysteria is our pick of the month for unusual company names. The company, a digital media infrastructure and solutions provider, demoed interactive TV apps at the Western Cable show and sports applications at eSportsWorld. ( www.masshysteria.com )
Merinta, Inc. , a subsidiary of Boundless Corporation announced an agreement with Webbycorp, a European provider of TV-based Internet and interactive services. Together, the companies will deliver an end-to-end information appliance solution based on next generation hardware platforms for the European market. The first roll out of Webbycorp's services will be in the Benelux region in Q2 of 2001, followed by a UK launch in Q3 2001. Webbycorp's offering will provide consumers with the opportunity to gain media-rich Internet and interactive services from their television sets. ( www.merinta.com )
Microsoft - Thomson alliance unveiled its first interactive TV in Europe using the TAK platform. The new TVs incorporate free Internet access for e-mail, and other services such as electronic program guide, weather, news, and online betting, without needing a set-top box. Sets will go on sale under the Thomson brand in France in January, priced at $750. TAK is 70% owned by Thomson, with the rest held by Microsoft. ( www.microsoft.com ) ( www.thomson.com )
TeleCruz Technology Inc. 's interactive TV platform will be integrated with Zenith 's multimedia TV platform. The resulting interactive TV sets will offer E-mail, chat, Internet browsing and shopping, without a set-top box. The new sets will be shown at CES. (See the related announcement by Microsoft-Thomson, above.) ( www.telecruz.com ) ( www.zenith.com )
Telenor has launched 'Telenor Internet' ADSL service which will offer customers a high-speed connection to the Internet at a fixed price. Their three offerings are: 384 kbps in/128 kbps out for 450 Norwegian Kroner (about US$50) monthly; 704/128 for 550 NK, and 1024/256 for 750 NK. Their main competitors are Tele2 and Bredbandsfabrikken, and NexGenTel. ( www.telenor.com )
Time Warner Cable is restructuring its stake in the Road Runner high-speed Internet service, in order to meet federal regulatory requirements for its $109 billion merger with America Online Inc. Time Warner increased its ownership in the Road Runner service and ended the exclusivity agreement. The companies said that Time Warner will be able to pursue the growing business opportunities in high-speed Internet services, as well as advance the timetable for offering multiple ISPs to its customer. The restructuring is expected to be completed by next April. Time Warner plans to take a one-time restructuring charge of $20 to $40 million in the fourth quarter. ( www.timewarner.com )
Verizon Communications has completed its purchase of OnePoint Communications Corp. The company will be renamed Verizon Avenue, and will focus on multi-unit structures, offering high-speed Internet, voice and video services to customers in 31 states. ( www.verizon.com )
Vesta Broadband Services and BroadbandNOW, Inc. have signed a partnership agreement to offer NetMovies, Vesta's IP-based video on-demand (VOD) service, to BroadbandNOW's high-speed Internet customers. ( www.vestabroadband.com ) ( www.bbnow.com )
ZapMedia, Inc. and Harman Kardon have announced a strategic alliance to launch the Harman Kardon DMC 100 Digital Media Center. Enabled by ZapMedia's hardware reference platform, the Harman Kardon DMC 100 provides a range of digital entertainment options, all accessible without the need for a computer and through a consumer's TV and stereo. ( www.zapmedia.com )
It's hard to believe that last February, theBroadbandHome was just the glimmer of an idea for us. So much has happened since then. Numbers define only a minor part of it, but since we're both mathematicians by training, numbers are a good start. We've run two conferences, published nine issues of the Broadband Home Report and have subscribers in seventy-eight countries. We've also had the pleasure of meeting with numerous broadband companies in the US and during visits to Sweden, England and Hong Kong.
Although broadband access is far from ubiquitous in the US, 2000 ended with about 4.5 million US households with broadband access -- not bad for a year that started with less than 2 million. 2000 has been a year of subtraction as well as addition. Some of the companies that had been in our news clips no longer exist; we've added a new icon to the Broadband Home Web site for those "broads" (companies with "broad" in their name) that have gone under. The good news is that many of their employees have found new jobs in companies with (hopefully) more sustainable business models.
We want to take this opportunity to thank our readers who have shared their thoughts and comments with us. Nothing pleases us more than hearing your reactions to the topics we cover.
What's in store for 2001? We're really charged up about our Spring conference in Miami and our first European Broadband Home Summit, in Amsterdam in May (Sandy's a gardener so of course it's at daffodil & tulip time). We also have set our dates for BBH Fall 2001 back in Silicon Valley, so mark your calendars now for Oct. 30-Nov.1.
Here's our wish list for 2001:
We hope not all of these are in the same category as the "12-Hour, 2-Pound Laptop" discussed in the January 16th issue of PC Magazine. It had all sorts of wondrous specs, but unfortunately it was also a fantasy.
We had a unique opportunity in December--invitations to visit with and give presentations at both Telcordia (formerly Bellcore and home of US ILEC R&D) and CableLabs (R&D for the North American cable industry) within one week.
Telcordia ( www.telcordia.com )
We started our visit to Telcordia by presenting an overview of our Broadband Home work, based on our two talks at the VON Asia conference in Hong Kong. Our host was Stan Moyer, Director, Internet Architecture Research. (Those who joined us at BBH Fall 2000 may have heard Stan describe his work during the session he also moderated on Home/Road Transparency.)
Following our presentation, Stan took us on a tour of his lab, and we were shown demonstrations of several projects in progress. We were especially interested in the work related to making network-based devices in the home addressable and visible from the outside world through the Internet without requiring them to have IP addresses. This work is focused on providing support for existing technologies such as X-10. Telcordia is leading an effort to extend SIP for addressing and control of networked appliances. These have recently been submitted as Internet drafts and are available for download through the Telcordia site at http://www.argreenhouse.com/iapp/
We also met with Dave Waring, Director, Broadband Access and Premises Internetworking. We visited Dave's lab and saw the work they are doing with a variety of broadband access technologies (including ADSL and cable), current and emerging home networking technologies, and residential gateways. We were intrigued by the demonstration of digital video over a prototype network using IEEE 1394b over category 5 cabling, since this approach is being proposed as the "future-proof" backbone network in the home. For more information, see http://www.vesa.org/vhnmain.htm
Cable Television Laboratories ( www.cablelabs.com )
Our host at the CableLabs (CL) meeting was David Reed, their recently named CTO. Some of you will remember David as the moderator of the Home Gateways sessions at our BBH Summit last June. CableLabs activities include the development of industry specifications and providing a venue for testing the interoperability of broadband services. CableLabs has had a string of successful projects including DOCSIS for cable modem standardization and PacketCable for VoIP services and more advanced applications.
Our 12/3 BBHR mentioned their most recently announced project, CableHome, to develop a home networking interface specification. CableHome's primary objective is to extend cable services into the home networking environment. The specs will be issued in stages, with the first group to be issued in 1Q 2001.
One of the issues CL is preparing to address is the need for service providers to have end-to-end visibility for services they provide. This means that when broadband access customers connect over a home network to a variety of end-points, the service provider needs visibility into the home environment. Since CableLabs has existing specifications in DOCSIS, PacketCable and OpenCable, a clear goal of the CableHome Project is to preserve the integrity of services based on these specifications when delivered over home networks. The project is initially focusing on two primary areas: maintaining quality of service over home networks, and network management including device and service provisioning.
Any technology developers interested in participating in the CableHome project can sign up at http://www.cablelabs.com/homenetworks/howTo.html . The initial wave of participating companies includes 3Com, Adaptive Networks, Arris Interactive, Atheros Communications, Broadband Home (formerly Peracom), Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Conexant Systems, DoBox, HighSpeed Surfing, Intel, Intersil, Magis Networks, Navic Systems, Philips Digital Video, Proxim, ShareWave, and Terayon Communication Systems.
Both Stan Moyer and David Reed will be participating in our Broadband Home Spring 2001 conference in Miami.
On recent trips to California and Colorado, we had the opportunity to visit two Broadband Homes (see BBHR October 26 issue for list). In California, Seth Gray hosted us at the Cisco Internet Home. (His colleague, Rob Sprenger originally was scheduled to do so, but had to be at home, due to a DSL installation gone awry. I guess it's one of the perils of trying to have a Broadband Home!) We had missed an earlier opportunity to visit Cisco's internet home during its debut last June and discovered that in this Internet age, homes are going to have new releases too! Release 2.0 of Cisco's Internet Home is due for release later this month.
The goal of the home (actually located within one of Cisco's buildings) is to demonstrate how an always-on broadband Internet connection to and within the home provides a "broad set of applications, solutions and services that saves people time" and "provides new levels of comfort, convenience and security". Since we have already tried to embody some aspects of the Broadband Home in our own house, I couldn't help but compare what I saw to what we already have, making a mental check-list of my "most-wanted" for next Hanukah/Christmas. My reactions are purely personal, but I'll share them nonetheless -- although I really should wait to see what's coming soon in Cisco's upgraded Release 2.0 Internet Home.
Tops on my list were the easy to use touch-screen interface for controlling audio and HVAC, and the wireless remote for all online monitors. The downside is that these are custom-installed (read expensive) proprietary systems. The IP phones were pretty nifty too, although the spec sheet indicated "VoIP through QoS data network" and I don't know what QoS data network I could use now at my home. At the other end of the spectrum, I didn't understand why I would want a "Smart Refrigerator" and why I'd want to monitor temperature levels and control other appliances from the screen on my fridge.
Outside Denver, at AT&T Broadband Labs, Monica Marics gave us a quick tour of their home set-up. We had written about Monica and the work of her Broadband Innovations Group in the May 4 BBHR, when it was still part of MediaOne Labs. The group is still charged with thinking about how real people actually live, and how they think about and use new products and services based on broadband technologies. Once again we encountered a screen-equipped refrigerator, only this time it made sense to us. The point of the screen on the refrigerator has very little to do with the refrigerator and appliances per se and everything to do with the social connotations of the refrigerator as the heart of the kitchen, which in turn is the heart of family life in the home. (Caveat: I don't know to what extent this observation is limited to specific geographies and cultures, or whether it is fairly generalizable.)
After observing how people use the surface of the refrigerator, the group has translated those observations into the broadband, always-on, connected era. The functions on the refrigerator screen are meant to embody things we already do today, like posting a calendar for family and individual events, posting family artwork and photos, leaving notes for other family members, making shopping lists, posting emergency contact phone numbers, etc. The advantage of the electronic version is that when I'm at the supermarket, but my shopping list is on the refrigerator at home, I can still query it. There's still plenty of work left to do before we'll be confident that people will want and be willing to pay for such functions, so the behavioral and human factors researchers probably have job security for a while yet!
We were delighted to visit with Pacific Broadband Communications (PBC), a new vendor developing an innovative approach to extract more usable capacity from the existing cable plant, at a lower cost.
One of our readers recently raised the question "How much life is left in cable for broadband access?" The cable plant is inherently asymmetric (it has much more bandwidth "downstream" toward the home than "upstream"), so cable is well suited for asymmetric applications like web browsing, but not as well suited for applications like video conferencing or user-operated Web servers. (ADSL suffers from the same problem.) We replied that while fiber is the best solution for new construction, vendors should be able to provide technologies to extract more symmetry from cable if the market requires it.
In our 12/3/00 issue, we mentioned PBC's announcement of their last mile broadband solution and the impressive cable industry veterans joining their Board. So we took the opportunity to visit with them on a recent trip to the west coast. We met with Alok Sharma (Pres. and CTO), Jay Rolls (VP, Bus. Dev.) and David Solomon (VP, Marketing).
While PBC has been operating for more than a year, it has been in "stealth mode" until now. It used the recent Western Cable Show to start talking about and demonstrating their approach.
Since its formation, PBC has been working to develop a tightly integrated version of the DOCSIS protocols which could be integrated into low-cost consumer devices and into high-density "head-end" equipment. They are now offering their technology for incorporation into "system-on-chip" solutions for home devices such as home gateways, and as a high-density cable modem termination system (CMTS) used at the head-end.
They showed us working prototypes of their CMTS operating in a cable network with many vendors' cable modems. They claim that their CMTS system will provide near-symmetric operation over an existing cable plant, in a much smaller package and at a lower cost than current systems. While the system is not yet in its final packaging, and has not been through CableLabs DOCSIS certification, it was an impressive demonstration of technologies to deliver high-speed data, video, and telephone services over cable.
As cable modem penetration continues to increase, as applications require more and more bandwidth, and especially as more symmetric applications become popular, there will be increasing demand for "next generation" products like these from Pacific Broadband.
We've heard a lot about OSGi (the Open Services Gateway initiative), but somehow we've had trouble "getting it". So we were delighted to have the opportunity to meet with Gatespace AB, a Swedish company that has played a key role in the development of OSGi. We met in New York with Staffan Truvé, CEO and President, and Ulf Corné, President, Gatespace Inc., USA. They helped us to understand the goals of OSGi and where it's going.
The companies behind OSGi look at the home gateway as the entry point for new broadband services, such as power companies providing energy load management, home security companies monitoring alarms, and appliance service companies checking the proper operation of major appliances. They view the home gateway as a "services gateway" and see the need to standardize the interfaces and protocols used to communicate with and control the gateway. Thus the "Open Services Gateway initiative" is defining an open specification for services gateways, in the hope that all or most home gateways will embed these specifications and make it easy for service providers to work through the gateways to the devices in the home.
Gatespace has been involved with OSGi since the beginning, and provides a Service Gateway Application Development Kit and an OSGi reference implementation as downloads on its website.
While we now understand the goals of OSGi, and appreciate the desire for a common set of protocols for new services, we're uneasy about some aspects of OSGi. One concern is that it seems to be the latest manifestation of the anti-Microsoft faction of the computer industry. With Sun as one of its key drivers, it's no surprise that the application layer is based on Java (which isn't an open language). With many Silicon Valley companies as the leaders, it's no surprise that the specifications barely acknowledge the presence of PCs in many homes, and positions the services gateway as a new "embedded server" in the home. Thus what we see as the key driving force behind the home gateway and networking -- homes with multiple PCs and a broadband connection -- is largely ignored.
Our second concern is that OSGi is much more in the interest of the service provider than of the end customer. While many service providers (both cable operators and telephone companies) are thinking about providing gateways as part of their broadband services, customers are going out and buying gateways to serve their purposes, especially to simplify installing and supporting home networks. If the customer buys the gateway, we doubt that he or she wants the service provider to download and run software on it.
We talked about these issues with the Gatespace people, and challenged them to show us how OSGi would translate into the evolving US environment. We enthusiastic about continuing our dialog with them after they demonstrate their software technologies at the CES show this coming weekend.
The Broadband Home Spring 2001 Conference (BBH Spring 2001) will take place February 26-28 at the Miami Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Miami, Florida. Whether your target is broadband services, content, applications, infrastructure or products, you'll want to hear thought leaders from established and new players describe their visions and plans for this exciting community. You must register by January 12th to take advantage of the $300 early bird registration discount.
The conference will include a Welcoming Reception for delegates and participants on the evening of February 25th and a Conference Party the evening of February 27th. These will be a great place to meet colleagues from the industry in an informal setting. Attendees shouldn't miss the unique business and personal networking opportunities these events will provide.
We've lined up a top-notch group of speakers and sessions. Building on the success of our Broadband Home Fall 2000 conference last October, we've planned for industry perspectives by senior executives and 24 break-out sessions. While other conferences discuss specific elements of broadband to and in the home, Broadband Home Spring 2001 will focus on making the pieces come together to create compelling applications and solutions.
Featured speakers and panelists come from broadband content, services and applications providers; all elements of the infrastructure including backbone and access networks; home gateways, networks, appliances and automation; venture capitalists and more.
The industry perspectives by thought leaders across all sectors of the Broadband Home industry, will include:
The breakout sessions are arranged into five "tracks": Overview, Family Applications, Home Worker Applications, Technology and Business Perspectives. See http://www.thebroadbandhome.com/bbh2001/details.html#topics for more information about the tracks and breakout sessions.
Seating for the conference is limited. If you are thinking about attending, we suggest that you register soon. If you plan to attend and will require a hotel room, we recommend that you make your hotel reservations as soon as possible to take advantage of the special conference rate.
Visit the conference Web site ( http://www.thebroadbandhome.com/bbh2001/index.html ) for the up-to-date conference schedule. Conference brochures, registration and hotel reservations are all available online through the website.
Broadband Home Spring 2001, February 25-28, 2001 - Miami, FL ( www.thebroadbandhome.com )
Spring 2001 Voice on the Net, March 20-23, 2001 - Phoenix, AZ ( www.pulver.com/von )
Broadband Home Europe Summit, May 15-16, 2001 - Amsterdam, Netherlands ( www.thebroadbandhome.com )
Voice on the Net Europe 2001, June 12-15, 2001 - Stockholm, Sweden ( www.pulver.com/europe2001 )
Broadband Home Fall 2001, October 30-November 1, 2001 - San Jose, CA
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