Moblogs

Om Malik writes that mobile blogs will be the next goldmine for the operators:

Here’s why. Everyone expected camera phones to unleash a flood of photo sharing and, with it, growing demand for bandwidth. But that didn’t happen because sharing pictures with your cell phone is a real pain in the neck: Uploading them is awkward and often doesn’t work. But moblogging relies on technology that makes it a snap: Sign on with a moblog service like Flickr and start e-mailing photos from your phone to that account.

No wonder sites like Flickr and Picoblog have been growing 30 to 50 percent every month. As more and more consumers share their pictures, you’ll start seeing carriers selling more lucrative flat-rate data plans in addition to their standard voice-only plans. I recently upgraded my $10-a-month mMode data plan from AT&T Wireless (part of Cingular) to a $25-a-month flat-rate plan, and my monthly phone bill went from about $60 to $75. You can see why carriers should be giddy over the growth of moblogs.

Veer Bothra adds about moblogs in the Indian context:

Blogging is at a nascent stage in India and there arent a huge number of blogs in the country. This is because the current set of blogging service providers like blogger.com are PC-centric. You are expected to have two things in order to blog – a PC and an internet connection. Which unfortunately arent many in India.

But what is overlooked is the fact that blogging neednt be dependent of these two. It is very much possible to blog without a PC i.e. by using a mobile phone. Moblogs allow users to share their cameraphone pictures, videos and comments through email or MMS which can be immediately viewed on the internet or mobile phone browsers .

With mobiles in India having four times the population of PCs, it is natural that the growth in blogging would be driven by mobile blogs or moblogs. This is the reason that there are portals like BlogStreet India and providers like Mobylog which focus exclusively on the blogging scene in India. Moblogging has great potential in a market like India where there is less PC penetration and fairly advanced mobile market and consumers.

CEO’s Tech Toolbox

Business Week identifies 10 emerging technologies that CEOs need to track:

– Uber-Personal Assistant
– Next-Generation Collaboration
– Podcasting
– Seamless Wireless
– TiVoToGo
– Mesh Networks
– RFID
– Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) Software
– Real-Time Identity Theft Notification
– Prediction Markets

Reinventing TV

John Battelle interviews Mike Homer, CEO of Kontiki.

In April he and former Netscape cohort Marc Andreessen launched the Open Media Network, an audacious nonprofit that intends to host video files and create an Internet TV guide.

Business 2.0 caught up with Homer on the day the network launched.

Why are you calling the Open Media Network “the future of public broadcasting”?

OMN is a free public service that enables consumers to view and publish legal content on the Internet. Digital distribution technology is now capable of doing a good job with video on the Internet, but there are still a lot of factors within the industry that keep producers from putting a wide variety of content online. We wanted to find a segment of the broadcasting industry that was willing to move first — and that’s the Public Broadcasting System.

So what’s holding back the rest?

First is concern over cannibalizing their current channels of distribution. Second is concern over piracy. And the third is the lack of a demonstrated business model.

How does OMN differ from other recent offerings, such as Google’s planned video service?

Well, the big difference is that we have already created a user interface and a TV guide — you just click to get OMN, and then there’s no instruction required. The other thing is its ability to handle very large files. Anything longer than 10 minutes or of high quality will have a substantial file size. That requires a grid delivery technology like Kontiki’s, which fundamentally enables the business model.

Smart Aggregators

Umair Haque writes: “I think there two dimensions to what Smart Aggregators should be doing right now: filtering the right content from the wrong content (what most people in the industry unfortunately call ‘relevance’), and then filtering again within the right content (for freshness, oldness, whatever).”

He adds in another post:

Your feed/micromedia reader is going to need your preference info in order to efficiently allocate your attention. You’ll reveal it because efficient attention allocation is worth a great deal to you.

Of course, reaveling this info will let smart producers aggregate detailed preference info that can serve ads targeted as tightly as adware, but without the evilness.

Profile-based ads are going to be a key (edge) competence for Media 2.0 players (as I’ve argued many times before). Note that RSS AdSense Google style is not profile-based – it’s just the same old competence leveraged into a new domain.

TECH TALK: Next-Generation Networks: BPL

Another technology which has been getting some buzz in recent times is broadband over power lines. The idea has been around for a long time. Wave Report writes:

Broadband power line (BPL) is the term coined by the FCC for new modems (BPL modems) used to deliver IP-based broadband services on electric power linesBPL modems use silicon chips designed to send signals over electric power lines, much like cable and DSL modems use silicon chips designed to send signals over cable and telephone lines. Advances in processing power enable new BPL modem chips to overcome difficulties in sending communications signals over the electric power lines that could not be overcome with less computing power. BPL modem speed, like cable and DSL modem speeds, is changing rapidly with each advance in new technology, so it would be difficult to make any generalization here that would be accurate or timely.

The FCC NOI discusses two types of BPL, In-house BPL and Access BPL. In-house BPL is a home networking technology that uses the transmission standards developed by the HomePlug Alliance. Access BPL is a new technology to carry broadband Internet traffic over medium voltage power lines. BPL modems that electric utilities and their service partners can install on the electric distribution network also are available now.

HowStuffWorks writes about how BPL works:

Both electricity and the RF used to transmit data vibrate at certain frequencies. In order for data to transmit cleanly from point to point, it must have a dedicated band of the radio spectrum at which to vibrate without interference from other sources.

Hundreds of thousands of volts of electricity don’t vibrate at a consistent frequency. That amount of power jumps all over the spectrum. As it spikes and hums along, it creates all kinds of interference. If it spikes at a frequency that is the same as the RF used to transmit data, then it will cancel out that signal and the data transmission will be dropped or damaged en route.

BPL bypasses this problem by avoiding high-voltage power lines all together. The system drops the data off of traditional fiber-optic lines downstream, onto the much more manageable 7,200 volts of medium-voltage power lines.
Once dropped on the medium-voltage lines, the data can only travel so far before it degrades. To counter this, special devices are installed on the lines to act as repeaters. The repeaters take in the data and repeat it in a new transmission, amplifying it for the next leg of the journey.

Recent investments by Google and IBM in this space have given it greater visibility. eWeek wrote:

Using a low-cost adapter, BPL (broadband over power line) customers can get high-speed Internet service using the wiring that already exists in their homes or offices.

The technology has been touted as having a number of benefits for users as well as for utility companies. Not only can it deliver broadband to areas that lack DSL or cable service, advocates say, but it also can boost power service reliability and track outage information more accurately by using network tracking capability.

Although utilities and technology companies have been tinkering with using power lines to carry data for nearly 20 years, within the past five years there has been increasing interest in commercialization.

Next Week: NGN (continued)

Continue reading