It’s Time for a Serious Reboot.

Lately I have been meeting a lot of old friends and they have reflected on the past. Some think that there were good old days, some feel like we have not progressed.

Back in 1996, I started working for a large carrier on the Internet Strategy and how to deliver dial up that was the equivalent of a private line circuit.

It was a fools errand, but I did not realize it at the time.

I had calculated that if I charged for the circuit at about 70 dollars, I could deliver a pre -switch interface that would protect the central office switch from blockage.

As we were progressing on our effort to create the service, AT&T declared they were offering a dial-up Internet service for under $20 “unlimited”.

And the congestion continued.

But so did the effort to reinvent the central office, which had the consequence of reinventing the carrier.

When I was working on the strategy, my boss reminded me that 70% of the company worked on Voice Grade Switched services (AKA POTS). And maybe 10% understood private line.

Likewise the cable operators had a team that as a friend put it, was the equivalent of a sprinkler installer. They could cut a pipe and put in another valve, but that was about the level of their network sophistication.

Both communications operators have come along way. Today as the Verizon manages the strike it has reduced the union workforce to 20% of what it used to be when I first made my Internet pitch.

The cable operators have not only made a triple play to compete with wireline operators but delivered a viable Wi-Fi service that goes beyond the home.

All while the customer base has found shown a willingness to abandon old business models for services that are more convenient. David Walsh the CEO of Genband points out that Amazon has become so powerful a brand that you have to to page 5 in a Google search to read about the River and not the company.

And with Facebook’s announcement of messaging bots and IBM’s Watson exemplifying machine learning we are about to go through another shift in knowledge work.

Whether we like the speed of change or not it is in motion.

Are the New Times are Better: WebRTC vs. VoIP?

If you have been with me in at past events, you know that things have a tendency to go in cycles And go knows I have seen a lot of cycles. I can remember listening to the father of analog switching telling me that digital was overrated. I can remember my own ATM bigotry as I would talk about differentiated services which no one had truly developed, while the Internet stole the show. I remember QoS VoIP debates that treated the session like a call and fundamentally did not see the amazing results possible with Best Effort.
All of this brought us to the Internet’s next wave of transformation and once again the innovator’s are blowing past those of us that see dilemmas.
WebRTC is not a replacement protocol it’s an adoption strategy. Like Apple changed the game with music and smart phones, WebRTC changes video and the web.
Video with a royalty free codec, that is light enough to be used in a variety of real time scenarios, trumps the video streaming rivals. Changing the game by building a diverse ecosystem is the goal.
The WebRTC world is definitely a diverse ecosystem, that like VoIP provides a variety of solutions. In effect the popularity of the demo event shows the richness of opportunity.
A lot of friends have told me this feels like old times and for some of us who have participated in a number of next generations it will feel good to be together again in Atlanta. To see the enthusiasm is always a pleasure, but the point of participation is to find out how you can take advantage of the opportunity.
If you have been with me in the past use this code and join me with this next generation. Being at the Cobb Galleria again will be a great chance to connect the past with the future.
And as we have seen with the Internet the future keeps getting better and closer than we think.

Optical Investments and ROI

I promised to be prolific, but I also never said it would be here. The first week of January I had been busy writing my articles for the new M2M Evolution Magazine. It was pretty intense getting enough information on Fleet Management. It resulted in my M2M newsletter article being about ROI.

The Article in Mobility Techzone was about the use of Opticals for Ethernet in support of backhaul. It also mentions the TV Incentive Virtual Event we ran with TMC.

These were the articles of the week.

My One New Year’s Resolution – Be Prolific

To be candid,  I have had a hard time writing in real time,  I find that in five hundred words I normally can give a good circular article that provides some insight, takes a point of view, and if you read it makes you go “hmmmn” as Arsenio Hall used to say.

The problem now is that I have about 8 blogs to keep active as well as obligations to write 10 articles a month and then there are those damn tweets and posts.  What are they suppose to be about.

Worse the articles and blogs are suppose to be easily compartmentalized.  HTML5, Mobility, M2M, Small Business, etc.  However, I am eclectic and as Richard Bach said to his wife,  “It’s all One”

Take the interviews I am working on right now for M2M, with Jerry Coumo and Gari Singh of IBM.  We hit mobility, Instant Messaging and JavaScript.  And that was just in an hour discussion.  I am working on breaking it up for easy reading but its like that.

In this SEO world, I am suppose to find the metatag subject and make Google and Bing happy with the content so it bubbles up to the reader’s interest.

But as Gari Singh said in the interview, its a Pub/Sub world.  So my strategy now is to be prolific and hopefully the sub side will dominate the pub side.

Anyway, if you are still reading this after me pushing out most of my blogs on other sites.  thank you.  I intend to write here daily on what I am doing everywhere else.

It’s new year’s the mayans were wrong, and absent a stray meteor, it should be a good year.

G-d bless us all, everyone.



















Reverse Incentive Actions: Broadcasts Get Their Due

The broadcast industry has some choices to make.  They are being asked to free up spectrum based on an incenting them to return the spectrum to the government for resale to the carriers.


The value of the spectrum can be enhanced by the way the broadcast industry partners work together.


This spectrum shift requires planning.  To help we are gathering industry experts for a virtual event that will be streamed on October 19th 2012 and will be available in archive as this event.


The discussion will focus on challenges facing the television broadcasters as they decide whether to participate in the auction and how to calibrate their bids for optimal results. Participants will discuss the requirements in the Spectrum Act, the FCC’s recent Notice of Rulemaking Proposal (NPRM) as well as unresolved legal issues. Other panels will include a discussion of valuation and policy issues facing broadcasters.


As a virtual event there is a charge of $150 to attend, however government employees (this means you Congressional staff, FCC, NTIA etc.) should email me for free or per diem rates as needed.  3 hours of CLE credit are also available.







8:45 AM – 9:00 AM Introduction – Opening Remarks:

  • Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Former FCC Commissioner (Opening Remarks)
  • Barlow Keener, Keener Law Group (Introduction)



9:00 AM – 10:00 AM       Legal Perspective:

The Rules of the Auction Process

The opening panel will provide an overview of critical elements of the broadcast incentive auction as well as unsettled issues in the FCC’s recent NPRM. It will compare the upcoming reverse incentive auction with prior FCC auction processes. The panel will also discuss legal appeal process for the reverse incentive auction and potential pitfalls auction participants should consider.

  • Rebecca Hanson            FCC
  • John Hane                       Pillsbury Law
  • Brian Madden                  Lerman Senter
  • Marty Stern                      K&L Gates

10:00 AM -11:00 AM       Valuation:
Valuing The Reverse Auction Assets and Related Business Issues

The second panel will build on the legal explanation of the first panel. It will consider how the auction process and other factors will impact auction valuations and broadcasters decisions to participate. Panel topics will include general auction valuation expectations, variations in spectrum value by type of broadcaster and geography, and valuation considerations for broadcasters to consider when participating in the auction.

  • Coleman Bazelon            Brattle Group
  • Mark Fratrik                     BIA / Kelsey
  • Major Investment Bank   (Invited)
  • J. Armand Musey            Summit Ridge Group


11:00 AM – 12:00 PM     Policy Perspective:

Important Social, Political and Economic Policy Implications

Our final panel will step beyond strict legal and economic considerations and evaluate the FCC’s goals versus those of the television broadcast industry. The panel will discuss issues including implications for news access in rural areas, implications for other FCC license holders, and other policy concerns.

  • Preston Marshall             Univ. of S. California
  • Fred Campbell                 CLIP
  • Trey Hanbury                  Hogan Lovells
  • Barlow Keener                 Keener Law Group



As you can see, we have gathered leading experts in the legal, financial and policy files to discuss the implications of the FCC’s upcoming television broadcast incentive auction on the television broadcasting industry.


The Economy of America is App Based?

Well not yet, but here is an interesting thing you can do.  You can watch the american economy via an app.  There are very few things that excite, but the way the government has been moving to an egov environment (in all administrations) is one of them.

Now I have to get us focused on improving the initiatives particularly in Congress.

Here is some homework for everyone.  Here is Al Franken’s website.  I can make a case that it is “Good Enough”, but I think you should have the ability to comment on every issue to your Senators and Congressman.

Now look at Congressman Scott Garrett’s website and tell me if you think you are getting to tell him what’s on y0ur mind.

For my issues, the Net, Telecom, etc. even the best is pretty bad.

I think we need a better egov strategy for people to express themselves.

What do you think?





The WebRTCbook, Book Review.

We have to give Dan Burnett and Alan Johnston alot of credit for getting a book out so quickly on such dynamic content.  For years the elite of SIP have known that the SIP protocol was mired in the telecom strategies that represent so many additional complexities to the protocol that a “SIP Lite” vision was always in play.

WebRTC in a lot of ways goes beyond the SIP Lite dream and into the web itself, however there are some rough patches in the road still to be worked out.

So the the WebRTC book has not only been a great addition to the understanding of what WebRTC can represent but also a commitment on the author’s parts (they envision frequent revisions) that may turn this from a book ebook to a living document and who knows even a model for us to follow on how to implement WebRTC.

The book does its best to give us a plan for implementation by way of psuedo code.  While this looks like a weakness in the book it is actually a fair statement of where we stand in the implementations.

In future generations of the book I expect to see real examples of code, but the psuedo code is adequate for most developers to get a sense how to implement WebRTC in whatever platform they choose in future.

And keeping track of the platforms has to be a key ingredient.  With Alan’s history in the IETF and Dan’s history in the W3C; I would expect to see them acting as a key focal point for them to manage the updates on where the blending of WebRTC and HTML5 will take us

I recommend the book as a guide to where we are and where we are headed.

Stay connect and get up to speed by reading the book.WebRTC

Linkedin Needs Some Curation Advice

I have just created a new id on Linkedin for the simple reason that Linkedin has not been paying attention to the explosion of groups.  As a conference guy I have an interest in a lot of places.  The linkedin groups are one place that I like to monitor.  But the groups are all over the place and tracking the right ones to connect to has become painful.  Big numbers does not mean good ideas and for industry country based groups are sometimes restrictive in how they post.

But rather than be stuck trying to choose do I want to track Smart Grid more than Green Initiatives I have decided my solution is in multiple email accounts.

I would rather have a curation tool, but alas that is not in the cards right now.

If Devices are Merging with the Software Companies Is the Network Next?

My cynical friends are arguing about who is the better acquisition for Microsoft?  RIM or Nokia.  The argument starts with a very good analysis from John Gruber about Microsoft’s Surface announcement and that from a marketing perspective MSFT cannot get out of its own way.

However, at the end of the day I am still not sure this makes sense.   We will include this in our discussion on Apple Tel to be held on August 16th.   Join us by clicking here to register

To Review here are the market caps that matter

Apple AAPL 567 B
ATT T 208 B
Clearwire CLWR     2 B
Google GOOG 191 B
Intel INTC 132 B
Microsoft MSFT 254 B
Nokia NOK     8 B
Nuance NUAN     8 B
Oracle ORCL 142 B
Orange FTE   33 B
RIM RIMM     4 B
Sprint S   10 B
Telefonica TEF   19 B
Verizon VZ 126 B
Vodafone VOD 138 B


I dont find the tablet particularly as strong as everyone else does.  As a matter of fact.  I find it less and less intriguing for business work.  While most of meetings were innudated with iPads a year ago the PC has come back strong.

I believe companies are lemming like when it comes to decisions.  Google made GoogleTalk and Froogle at the sametime which made ebay knee jerk to buy Skype.  I can make a case that Microsoft made the Skype acquisition just to get it out of proximity to Avaya which could have really used it.  But like other Venture funds Silver Lakes goal was maximize revenue not find synergies.

Now comes the integrated hardware story and candidly i don’t like it. I can not afford to buy an Apple toaster everytime they decide to screw around.  I find myself in the apple store these days almost as much as I am in the grocery store putting up with the near genius of barring me from touching my machine in a useful manner.

Candidly Apple’s biggest genius is the fact they have “insourced” the truck roll to retail outlet.  I never walk into an empty store.  It’s clear I am in the Whole Foods computer market.  I make an appointment and wait.

If this is the future of computing we should stop talking about the cloud.

I am having a rough time buying that hardware integration is essential for today’s software.  I think the history of Nokia’s Symbian problems should make Microsoft shy away (since it can’t resolve its own legacy issues).

At least RIM has a JAVA story that can match well to the Windows  Server migration strategy.  One other thing we should notice.  RIM has hired ex Microsoft exec Alec Saunders, who is evangelizing development efforts and I think he is making headway.

However, the story is not about a phone, it’s about the network of resources

Given the fact that we use a smart phone only 15% of time to talk I think the term smart phone is rapidly becoming the 2012 version of Vint Cerf’s “Horseless Carriage”.  I think Microsoft should as Henry Sinnreich says, “Leave the Dead to Bury the Dead.”

If you are looking for the blue ocean strategy for Microsoft,  I think the launch pad is xbox.  They have included augmented reality and what they should do is embrace and expand beyond the iPad.

What should Microsoft do next?  I think the answer is to get Voice Recognition rock solid.  From that point of view, I would suggest that Nuance is the only company in the market worth buying.

If we are going to get to our Star Trek future the voice recognition is the path.   However, almost everything I know about voice recognition is based on software not hardware.  I cannot make a case that the hardware is the important part of this equation.

I don’t think the device of our future has fallen into our lap yet.

And if Apple wants to own a network, someone is going to have to show me how the margins improve for them.


A Century of Links Can’t be Ignored, but Can be Debated

Rarely do I let the here and now interfere with my writing about the future. Companies merge and divest in their own time at their own speed. When Rupert Murdoch, says he is splitting the assets and then in talking with David Faber it becomes clear all he is doing is doubling the accounting. I just let it pass. When people call for RIM to split and give up the handset business, while ogling over the tight integration of Apple. I let it pass.

However, CenturyLink seems to have merged the worst parts of its acquisitions. The US West assets that became Qwest and were merged with Century Links’s other acquisition of Embarq seems to have given us a less than perfect discussion. While Craig Moffet has been a fan of Qwest’s “leave it in” strategy of keeping the cash cow copper milked in the outside plant, Qwest has been doing some very nice solutions with Ethernet for other wireless carrier’s backhaul.

However, my former colleague Peter Copeland was given the task of advocating the copper DSL alternative in favor of WISPs. I feel for Peter. He is a brilliant guy. Peter did his best in his analysis to paint the picture that CenturyLink wanted to defend a century of copper being used to link things together today.

However, the analysis shows the problem with the FCC’s transition of the “voice” network. As I have pointed out several times, we are becoming a wireless not a wireline world and we are only using our smart phones 15% of the time for voice. The burden of migrating the old infrastructure is not about maintaining status quo copper, it is to “ensure universal availability of modern networks capable of providing advanced mobile voice and broadband service ”. In my area I have had fun showing the shucking of copper that is going on by my local operator.

More is the pity.

When Peter is charged with defending the cash cow and suggesting that WISPs are not an alternative, he has to ignore the impact of Cooper’s law on wireless and Metcalfe’s law on network build outs. In other words, he has to isolate the future from the current moment in time. The technological arguments made in the separate document run against the commissions own experience in looking at the opportunities with Wi-Fi and TV White Space. Brough Turner does a great job exploring the future here and for the real engineers his further link to Wikipedia should be read.

However, this is a simpler discussion. Is it time for the USF replacement CAF to be a step forward or merely a maintenance plan. In Centurylink’s arguments the old is advocated without a migration strategy and that flies in the face of the CAF goal to “minimize the universal service contribution
burden on consumers and businesses ”. As our friend Richard Shockey would point the technology that CenturyLink is advocating is suffering from an end of life cycle that is going to keep increasing the costs.

After a century of copper and quarter century of USF, the time has come to see the future fulfilled with something that expands the core of competition and not lifelines links to the past.

If I am making sense to you and more importantly if you have a goal of seeing the unserved or underserved have access to the same experience as the rest of us. Please file with the commission your comments .

My other invitations to participate:
To all my US readers Happy Independence day, The Internet has given us all a lot of independence, I am hoping that it will always do so. Even if the ITU wants to mandate the way our equipment works.

For my friends hoping to see the product guys exert some power, I wrote this article Join us on the conference call August 16th to see if Apple Tel is the answer.

And on the M2M side, Matt Gleeson tells me I am about proactive systems. I think I am just advocating logically. What do you think? Join us on the webinar. July 11th.

Tell us about your use of the Internet and your concerns about Net Neutrality .

Again, I appreciate your reading these articles to the end and I look forward to hearing from you.