Monday, November 19, 2007

Interoperability - The Next Killer App?

Last month I was invited to attend a Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) New England Roundtable Event at a Comcast facility in Enfield, Connecticut. Interactive roundtable sessions were led by New England Multiple System Operator (MSO) Leaders on the next wave of changes for the Cable Telecommunications Industry. These interactive sessions were held on new business markets, new technologies. cross-platform content strategies and new products. One of the sessions I attended was on Pivot, a collaborative wireless product that connects Sprint with Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and Advanced/Newhouse Communications.

Pivot integrates a customers mobile phone, home phone, broadband and digital cable services into one interoperable technology and billing package commonly being referred to now as a "quadruple play". At the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) I.T. conference last March, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts discussed "killer apps" for products like Pivot. These apps include interoperability, wireless email and place shifted television. Here's a quote from Roberts at the conference:

"Over time [the killer app is] going to be interoperability. Can I take my email and get it on another device? I've been watching my on-demand shows, I've stopped watching at home, I want to finish the last five minutes. Place won't matter." Roberts continued: "There'll be a relationship with the company that will manage my data, my television, my phone, my address books, and my voice mails. The seamless nature of that is what mobility brings.

Robert's comments are right on the mark in my opinion.

Pivot also allows unlimited calling between your cable home service and mobile phones and you can do things like program your DVR using your cell phone. Here's a 45 second commercial you may have seen if you live in Pivot territory:

I was impressed with the first generation Pivot phones and applications I saw at the CTAM meeting last month. I walked away asking myself - Is it cable? Is it wireless? My answer - it's both - it's interoperable!

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Anonymous said...

I like your observations on Interoperability. A company called Action Engine Corp. ( came to the same realization and created the TiVo Mobile ( application last year. The primary difference is TiVo Mobile is actually a downloadable app that runs on your mobile device and delivers a very rich user experience.

Interoperability is important, user experience is vital and will sustain the usage and adoption of this kind of technology, obviously since we're the device we're dealing with is a 2" screen and a 10-key pad in most situations. If the device does not need a persistent network connection the experience will be better (look at our PC evolution from mainframe-terminal vs. client server computing).

The great news is companies like Action Engine have the server-client architecture and current projects in play to fully incorporate add-ons to DVR programming to include email or better yet Voice to Text email, News, Weather, Sports, Social Networking, Video, Audio--- all from a rich client running on the device.

It's a bright future for mobile Interoperability and a great user experience from a small mobile device.

Gordon F Snyder Jr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gordon F Snyder Jr said...

Thanks - I've use Tivo Mobile - an excellent product.
I'm looking forward to some great iPhone apps from Action Engine!