Academy-Award winning actor and cycling fan Robin Williams has it right : French people will never cross the Chasm.
"You're not buying an unnecessary electronic device, you're buying a family." David Letterman, The Late Show, CBS, April 1, 2010.Direct link to the video via YouTube here
On Friday, Google closed its call on its initiative on ultra-broadband open access networks. According to James Kelly, Google Fiber Product Manager (what a cool job title !), more than 1,100 communities and 194,000 individuals have submitted a response to the bid. James doesn't tell much about the applicants, giving just a couple of links to fancy stuff on YouTube or Facebook. We'll have to wait a little bit to get all the names, and, more importantly, the happy few cities who'll get the chance to experiment Google Fiber.
For the time being, we must dig the Net to find out some concrete data. As such, Martin of Zettaphile.com has put together an exhaustive list of those communities, which contains some well known cities, e.g. Anchorage, AK, Tempe, AZ, Berkeley, CA, etc. Also, Tim Poulus built his own list where we can see that Palo Alto has apparently decided to apply to Google Fiber as well.
The list of small communities in Rural America who
applied to Google' s RFI is just impressive. Asheville, North Carolina,
has launched a viral marketing campaign here, including a useful blog which tracks the news about the
collectivities seeking for Google's help. Also in NC, Greensboro is
looking for its House M.D. Their Googlegrensboro website
is just gorgeous.
Nevertheless, two elements in James's blog post are of concern to me. First, this sentence about the responses : "all with the goal of bringing ultra high-speed broadband to their communities": no word on open neutral access here. Then, the map at the end of the post : beside the fact that it's not an interactive one (ever heard of Google Maps, James ? ;-), there's something which rings a bell to me.
When you look at this map, the evidence is that people don't want Google Fiber per se. They want Broadband, full stop. As everybody knows, the US Government has publicly announced it National Broadband Plan last week. See the official video here, and download the full document here (dear Wisconsin's readers, be patient : 11.50MB ;-). Just compare the actual maps listing the current pending or granted awards (thanks to Rob Powell of Telecoms Ramblings for the heads up) with the Google Fiber's one : it's almost the same. That means most of the people consider the Mountain View giant as another communications services provider, at the same level than a Verizon or an AT&T or a ComCast.
The problem is : Google doesn't position itself as a services provider. To better understand my point, let's read Google Fiber statement again - full text here :
Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better, and faster for everyone. Here are some specific things that we have in mind:
- Next generation apps: We want to see what developers and users can do with ultra high-speeds, whether it's creating new bandwidth-intensive "killer apps" and services, or other uses we can't yet imagine.
- New deployment techniques: We'll test new ways to build fiber networks; to help inform, and support deployments elsewhere, we'll share key lessons learned with the world.
- Openness and choice: We'll operate an "open access" network, giving users the choice of multiple service providers. And consistent with our past advocacy, we'll manage our network in an open, non-discriminatory, and transparent way.
Google will be a operators' s operator, of the same kind than what we already enjoy here in Europe with the Reggefibers type of Open Neutral Access providers. When you see this flash mob organized by some hungry guys in Columbia, Missouri, you doubt they've got it right.
My guess is that the majority of the individuals who have called on Google Fiber have done it for the very same reasons people here in France called on their local govs some years ago: they live in a Broadband deadzone, as those French peers were living in a DSL black hole ("ADSL White Zone" as we call it ). No matter who provides the service and how, people just want their broadband connection at home, to watch HDTV without glitches and upload their family's photos faster.
The best example of this quest comes from the city of Peoria, Illinois. Their call is all about speed. Nothing on the benefits on the local economy through the creation of new services thus new jobs, nothing on the benefits of Open Neutral Access at large.
"Think big with a gig" is Google Fiber's motto. I'm afraid 80% of the 1,100 communities actually think small thanks to their geeks. I sincerely wish James and his team good luck with the review of the responses, hoping they will come up with one or two truly groundbreaking projects.
post-scriptum : since Fibergeneration is well indexed by Google' s engines, I know this post is set to appear quickly on top of James' s alerts. So, here's my advice, dear James : you may want to investigate what a few furious guys have achieved somewhere in South-West of France with the Pau Broadband Country FTTH muni network. To get started, click here.
I got that video in my "Must-Share" list since months. Fact is, almost a year after this presentation, the situation has never been so accurately described by Derek Slater, Policy Analyst at Google.
When it's about Fiber-To-The-Home, the Last-Mile is still THE issue. Which can't be solved without the involvement of the customers into the loop : we must talk Fiber-FROM-The-Home, not "To".
The question is: who else, beside Google, could make such paradigm shift become a reality ? Maybe the answer will come from... France, later this year. Stay tuned.
I was the only French, together with Roland Montagne of IDATE, to speak at the conference, which was pretty much held by the "Dutch Connection" ! A piece of evidence that the Open Neutral Access approach is still not a standard thinking here in France...
Actually, I was supposed to be part of two panels : the one on Muni Fiber, and the one on new cabling techniques. I must admit : due to my hectic agenda over the last few weeks and my current focus on Rural Broadband, I totally forgot the second point and did only prepare the first. I realized my mistake... the morning before the panels, scheduled in late afternoon !
By chance, Hassan Clausen, Managing Director of HanseCom and organizer of the event understood pretty well the situation, and let me withdraw from the New Cabling stuff, which gave him the opportunity to get 3 speakers at each panel. I'm glad my mistake finally allowed Uffe Mogensen, CEO of GM Plast, to deliver a fantastic presentation on micro-trenching techniques.
So, as planned, I did present the Bottom-Up approach for deploying Fiber in Rural areas. To start with, I explained why the usual way of deploying municipal Fiber-To-The-Home networks in France is never satisfying for the citizens - see Pau Broadband Country or Gonfreville-l'Orcher : as the people were not involved in the project at the very beginning, they are to reject it quickly as soon as something goes wrong.
That's where the "Top-Down" strategy fails. Enters the "Bottom-Up" approach : help the people solve a real problem in their daily life - what we B2B marketeers call "the customer' s pain", and go a step beyond by offering them something else on top of the solution used to fix this problem. Work with them to define the solution, work with them to test and implement it. Doing so, you will get the citizens adopt the solution, as they are part of its design' process.
The first question is: is there an Open Neutral Access Fiber nearby ? If the answer is "No", then... well, look for alternatives (which are not part of this discussion, sorry !). If the answer is "Yes", then the next question is: can Fiber help solving the problem ?. If the answer is "No", bad luck for me (and you, BTW ;-). If the answer is "Yes", then let's work it out with the customer, er., the Citizens.
That's the Bottom-Up approach for deploying FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home, starting by the Church. Why the church ? Simply because in each and every small city or village out there, there's a church - or a synagog, or a mosque, or a temple, whatever religious construction that is (or was...) the heart of your town, with active social life around, e.g. a pub, a grocery store, a book store... The idea is that simple : get the Fiber to the very heart of your village, and get the people build a community around it. They will adopt the project, because they will be part of it, playing an active role.
Actually, that's nothing new. Think of the Web 2.0 stuff: how did all those famous startups which we all know today, the Facebooks, the Twitters, the YouTubes, proceed at the beginning ? Got an idea, test it among a bunch of buddies, then once the idea went polished enough, extend the testing phase to a larger audience, who will help fixing the bugs and adding new features, then launch the product publicly. And still keep their users onboard by creating a true community spirit. There's no difference with what Seth Godin, the iconic Marketing guru of the Blogosphere, calls the Tribe.
In the business, how do you get customers to use your product ? You do evangelize them, right ? Here, with Municipal Fiber-To-The-Home networks, all we need to do is the same. Hence the Church.
Let me evangelize you. Here is the presentation, available for download on Slideshare. I give three examples of actual projects based on this bottom-up approach.
Disclaimer : I'm currently working as a consultant for two of those municipalities: Montmirail and La Grande Paroisse. The two projects are ongoing, both in the preliminary phase of network design and definition of the first targets (low-investments, boot-strapping...). The project concerning Val d'Isere has not been approved yet - we just started the discussions a couple of weeks ago.Guy Jarvis is doing in the UK with his FibreStream organization, or Frans-Anton Vermast of i-NEC in the Netherlands and elsewhere (interview by Costas Troulos of Broadband Prime here). Although this kind of spirit is not that common here in France, I'm convinced that involving the people right from the beginning of a project as big as bringing fiber to their home is the only way to go when public money (means your taxes and mine) is at stake. Frans Anton has found a nice tweak to the FTTH acronym in the Municipalities environment : FFTH, Fiber FROM The Home...
Amen, and Carpe Diem ;-)
According to the latest Global Bandwidth Forecast Service' report by Telegeography, Trans-Atlantic communications links are set to face a bandwidth glut within the next few years.
Says the press release: "According to new projections from TeleGeography’s Global Bandwidth Forecast Service, bandwidth requirements will grow 33 percent (CAGR) between 2008 and 2015. At this rate, trans-Atlantic capacity will be exhausted by 2014, and cables providing diversity along geographically unique routes may run out of capacity even sooner."
For Optical Communications long-timers like myself, this is no surprise. It's simply the center piece of the forthcoming overhaul of the Fiber Optics technology: Today's optical transmission systems are based on a 30+ years old technology. That's far enough, for the singlemode fiber which is used in backbones since the mid 80's is reaching its limits with the 40G and (worst) the 100G systems planned by some telcos around the planet.
Telegeography analysts state it clear: "While 2014 is 5 years off, lengthy cable financing and construction cycles mean that carriers must confront this challenge far sooner. New technologies, such as 40 Gbps transmission line rates, may allow operators to expand capacity on some existing systems, delaying the need for new cables. However, these technologies remain unproven on a commercial long-haul submarine cable, and will only postpone the inevitable day of reckoning."
As I already wrote several times here and there, my take is that a brand new fiber technology will leave the labs' s clean rooms to show up on optical systems vendors' s shelves as soon as massive deployments of FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home networks will be over. 2014-2015 seems to be the timeframe for that. (Not) surprisingly, 2014-2015 is also the time when submarine systems will have to be revamped.
For those of you who were not in the Optical Communications business in the 80's, I tell you what: submarine systems have always been the test bed for new technologies, from the SMF Singlemode Fiber itself to WDM Wavelength Division Multiplexing and Optical Amplifiers. It won't be different this time. Five years to go before the big change!
Every single speaker at every single conference where FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home is the core topic is talking about business model(s). Since years, they all look for *the* business model. The fact is: there is no business model at all. Surely not when you think about this question from the Telecommunications' industry perspective. Considering FTTH as any other Telecoms technology - DSL, WiMax, LTE, whatever - is a pure mistake. It should be considered as the Web 2.0: a breakthrough concept, allowing anyone to contribute to the community. Think Peer-To-Peer: I can directly provide you alone or the whole community on the network with the service you/she want, without any intermediate actor.
"FTTH = Web 2.0". Once you'll get that paradigm, you'll understand that there is no business model for FTTH at all. See Twitter.
An early-adopter, I'm using Feedly since Day One. I'd better say "was using", since Feedly is a Firefox-only extension: as many of us Mac users, I switched back to Safari with the 4.0 beta version of the Apple' navigator. So, bye-bye Feedly and its amazing user-experience. Welcome back, Google Reader.
Reader is powerful indeed, however it doesn't provide this special touch that makes Feedly so sexy to use all day long. It's like comparing a PC running Windows Seven with a Mac running Leopard, see what I mean ?
That's why lots of us were yelling at Edwin Khodabakchian, the smart guy behind Feedly: "Give us a Safari version, quick !". Ed listened to us. Feedly for iPhone is coming - most probably as a beta version together with the upcoming iPhone 3.0 software release. How does Edwin and his team work on this new product ? Simple: they leverage on existing tools to talk to the User.
Which tools ? Well, since Feedly is a typical Web 2.0 application, those are Web 2.0 tools. The blog obviously, Twitter, Google Docs - see the product roadmap here, just amazing - the outstanding Customer Support service GetSatisfaction, and FriendFeed, where everything is discussed.
You may want to have a look at the numerous posts and comments on FriendFeed: it's a marvelous example of the power of Web 2.0 to get and keep in touch with the end-users. Customers feedback, Power-Users suggestions, ideas sharing: everything a Product Marketing fellow dreams of is there, at your fingertips. The benefits for the company ? Countless. For instance, the speed of the development is dramatically increased, as people can instantly react to a new idea. The features set at the first release is the one people are expecting, because they've participated to the new product generation process. And, on top, the adoption rate can be quite fast, provided a) all the people who participate are de-facto beta-testers, and b) the product is theirs.
Web 2.0 hype is dead, because we already live in the Web 2.0 Age.
To contribute to Feedly For iPhone aka "Project Nitro", go here: http://friendfeed.com/feedly-iphone
This is the true power of Twitter: break the frontiers and connect together people who normally couldn't be in touch. See the wowing email that I've got today :
Hi, Marc Duchesne (mduchesn).
Gov Schwarzenegger (schwarzenegger) is now following your updates on Twitter.
Check out Gov Schwarzenegger's profile here:
Read this. Ethan Nicolas, Rock star at Sun Microsystems, is to quit his job to become full-time developer of applications for the iPhone/iPod Touch. Simply because the first app he ever developed for the Apple' platform is now #1 Top Paid Application in the App Store. At $2.99 the download.
Changing the World, you said ?...
Evangelism and Marketing guru Guy Kawasaki has posted a 10-points explanation on how to use Twitter for business. That's "Twitter for Dummies", if you wish: a must read for all of you don't have a Twitter account yet.
I often wrote here and there that I wished we Agilent Musketeers had such a tool at our disposal when we were developing our flagship product: there is no better way to reach and keep in touch with the end-users.
That's why I as many other folks out there are putting Twitter at the center of (product) marketing strategies, whatever "marketing" means for you.
Folks at french consulting firm FaberNovel have released a pretty extensive study on Google' s key success factors.
For all of us who use Google' s stuff all day long at the office, at home, or on the road (iPhone 3G' Maps, anyone ?), this is a must read. As TechCrunch' Ouriel Ohayon stated : "It is hard to realize the real nature of this just 10 years old giant given the number of services it has continuously released, updated (and sometimes shut down) or acquired."
Like millions of others on the Planet, I'm using lots of the products that come out Mountain View. Search, GMail, Docs, Maps, YouTube, Picasa, you name it : all apps everybody working in a pure paperless/collaborative/open environment can't miss.
Like a bit less of other 'Telecoms' folks down there, I'm also convinced that Google is the only company able to massively invest into the Ultra-Broadband industry in order to build the open neutral access networks that are the true foundation of the Information Age. FaberNovel's white paper gives an accurate perspective on that :
"Internet infrastructures are a free provider for Google: the search engine indirectly benefits from Wifi providers, cable and satellite operators or backbone manufacturers who all subsidy the access of users to the Internet. On a macroeconomic scale, Google is becoming dependent on this value chain and must secure its providers.
Google is consequently driving towards infrastructure investing. This trend is aiming
at a multiple goal:
-Ensuring long-lasting existing infrastructures
-Giving access to the Internet for non-connected populations and countries
-Offering high-speed and permanent access to the World Wide Web."
Why ? Simply because the more people on Earth will be connected to the Internet spending their whole life online, the more revenues will flow to Google. That's why we see all those lobbying efforts by the G'Mens on Broadband matters. IMHO, the R&D spendings on new optical communication gear, such as new fibers, new systems, new install methods, etc, are worth the money: as far as the unique rule at Google: "change the rules" is concerned, the ROI return on investment promise to be quite fast anyway.
Is this a good or bad thing, for having such a giant involved in almost every aspect of our online activities ? Maybe Google is the true Evil of the James Bond' franchise. Maybe not. Let's give it a try anyway...
Download the white-paper and/or the slides set here.
Contact FaberNovel here (link in french).
The famous, long expected, mission-critical strategic plan for the development of the digital economy in France has been presented this morning by Mr. Eric Besson.
The whole document is available here (.pdf, in french). Lots of interesting action items and initiatives to notice, for instance : aerial fiber cabling, Web 2.0, innovative services to the person, etc.
As of now, Monday October 20 at 5:30PM CET, the www.francenumerique2012.fr website is unavailable, for the english version to be downloaded. Unfortunately, the official website in english of the Prime Minister don't mention the document.
I'll post the link to the english version as soon as possible.
Yesterday, I've spent 3 hours only at the Paris Auto Show. My focus : the "green" cars. No deception : Hybrids, electric, and hydrogen prototypes, pre-production units, and production cars were all over the place. See my Flickr set for a brief overview.
Among several really interesting machines and concept cars, the Solo 2008 imagined by the Hungarian Antro Group is the one which kept my attention. Not only because of its exterior and interior designs, which both are eye-catching: the overall concept of the project seems to be drafted from scratch, as true breakthrough innovations always are.
Read the short story here.
That's from Hungary, folks. Not Silicon Valley or France (I have quite some doubts such an initiative would be possible here, for French generally dislike open non-profit ideas).
Of course, I discussed a while with the booth attendants. A young and shy Hungarian guy, who doesn't speak french at all (I imagine his nightmare on the week-ends at the show, when Mr. & Ms. Dupond of Aubervilliers - or any other place in France, no offense folks - stop by his booth), and a pretty nice Hungarian woman, speaking english and french like me. Both smiling and engaging, which is rare in such crazy environment such a crowdy day.
For sure, I didn't get her business card, but Antro' s managing director' s : Zsolt Magyar. Google this name, and you'll find this Zsolt Magyar. Can a "Hungarian born, Los Angeles based Production Sound Mixer with more than 7 years of experience" (imdb.com dixit) be also the lead economist at a green tech startup based in his mother country ? Why not. I'll find out this soon, as I'll get in touch with Antro for some sort of new venture I have in mind for the Pau Broadband Country.
Anyway, the actual team is impressive, although I'm definitely not familiar with Hungary and its ecosystem. At first sight, it proves the project to be really serious.
Now, why this free ad for an unknown startup in an unknown country ? Because of the Antro' s booth at the Paris Auto Show is made of... carton. Carton, wood, rope, linen fabric. Amazing. They've pushed the concept of sustainable development to the overall product marketing process. That's the clever thing. I never saw a exhibit in carton before. That's why I think those guys got it right. They understand the true meaning of being green. For them, "Green" is not just a marketing gimmik to gain customers 's attention. It's their philosophy.
See it by yourselves :
the door of the cabinet
Now you get it too, right ? So, next time you do think about being green, think Solo 2008.
This morning at the Ultra-Broadband Summit at the Odebit Conference in Paris, Mr Eric Besson, Minister of State to the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Forward Planning, Assessment of Public Policies and Development of the Digital Economy, introduced the draft plan for Digital Economy by 2012 - read the full text here (link in french).
The one thing that will change the game : France is going aerial cabling. Mr Besson cited Japan and South Korea as the most advanced countries for FTTH, emphasizing on the fact that those countries are deploying mostly aerial fiber. Also, Mr Besson cited USA, where 60% of the fiber cables are aerial. Last, Mr Besson said that aerial cabling reduces the cost of deployment by a factor of 2.
That is the best news I've heard from a member of the French Government since years. Finally, we are to join the "smart club" : aerial cabling is faster, easier, and cheaper than any other solution - buried, ducts...
The french cable manufacturer Acome has developed a solution for fiber deployment along low-voltage power lines which do inverse the traditional ratio Civil Engineering vs. The Rest (i.e. cables, hardware, network equipments, install, etc.) : 20/80 against 80/20 traditionally. Let's work on the 80%, by reducing some costs, such as hardware and/or commissioning for instance, and we will reach an even more attractive solution.
We have now the opportunity to develop truly innovative ways to deploy fiber to everyone faster and cheaper. That is a challenge I hope we at the Pau Broadband Country will be able to help solving.
As I am preparing the Back To The (Fiber) School season, which is going to start quite strongly in a couple of weeks, I am digging into my personal archives to put together some fancy tutorials on Technology and Markets trends.
Among a couple of interesting things that I've re-discovered, I found this slide - part of a 140-slides training binder that I've created back in 1992. It shows the theorical minimum attenuation of so-called "infra-red optical fibers. Take Fluoride fiber for instance : 0.001 dB/km kind of order of magnitude. A 100 times less (means : 100 times better) than the best of the best optical fibers currently manufactured for submarine systems (the Formula One of Optical Communications, that is).
This slide is 16-years old. Those magical fibers are still under the hood of some secret labs somewhere on the Planet (Corning might be one of those). Why ? My take is that this technology is such a fantastic leap frog (remember : attenuation 100 times better than the best fiber today) that its introduction will induce a complete revamp of the actual network design and construction methods. New cables, new splice boxes, new splicing process, new connectors, new test instruments. Plus, on top, new transmission systems. The whole supply chain to be changed.
For an industry which is just recovering from a quite heavy downturn period, such a paradigm shift is not yet welcome. Let's wait for the (almost) whole world to be Fiber-To-The-Home cabled, and then you'll see the first field trials popping up here and there (my take : US first ;-) to test those new fibers in some long-haul links.
Because when the World (almost) will be Fiber-To-The-Home cabled, the Optical Communications industry will need to create a new market to sustain its development. Considering that the actual long-haul/core networks infrastructures won't be able to carry the Internet traffic as it will be in 10 years - or even less - from now, new fibers are mandatory. If I had some money to spend on the Stock Market, I definitely would rate Corning as a "Buy"...
Dear Fiber Optics fellows, please feel free to bookmark and RSS FiberCamp, and more : feel free to participate. Once upon a time, Usenet was a wonderful place to discuss innovative ideas. Let's move on and leverage on the Web 2.0 to re-invent the way we do collaborate on such of mission-critical topics.
Note : FiberCamp is powered and hosted by Lefora. Hence the ads banner on the right sidebar, which is quite a trade-in when you know how easy it is to set up and operate a forum on this new platform.
Google did it again. A true breakthrough online app, which is set to be the next revolution in the Internet mattress - ooops, sorry, matters. See here for more details.
Yesterday morning on my way to the FTTH Forum organized by the French Fiber-Lobbying association CREDO at the Telecom & Management Institute of Evry, 30-km south of Paris, I've lost almost 60 minutes.
The reason ? Watch the photo, and you'll understand : the A104 "La Francilienne" highway is one of the most crowded in the country, thanks to those awful convoys of trucks.
Why that ? Because : a) in this part of the Greater Paris area, the A104 makes the connection between the A4 highway which goes eastbound, and the A6 which goes southbound; b) this very piece of land is occupied by a handful of super-malls and... giant logistics/warehouse/whatsoever-big-chunk-not-producing-any-good hubs; c) just a few miles away, there is a huge road construction on the bridge over the Seine river, which forces drivers to slow down their already slow speed.
That's France, Ladies & Gents. An economy based on Consumerism. No more industries, as per the German terminology. We are a country made of shopping malls and logistics hubs. Commuters do waste hours in traffic jams each day because of some truck on a road somewhere has got a problem. Road constructions takes ages because of nobody cares of the end-user - read : the driver. We all together do send tons of CO2 in the air because of those stupidities. A vicious circle, like this road on the photo.
The irony : I've lost my time on the road to a conference aimed at Fiber-To-The-Home, which, among endless other things, allows teleworking.
Back at home after being on the road (and in the air, and on the Southern Alpes slopes), I took a couple of hours this morning to watch the recent introduction of the iPhone SDK by Steve Jobs and his fellow Apple execs.
You'll get a flavor of the impact of the iPhone Software Roadmap by reading those two articles, from David Pogue for The New York Times here, and Mike Elgan for ComputerWorld here.
Quote Master Pogue : " iPhone 2.0 will turn this phone into an engineering tool, a game console, a free-calls Skype phone, a business tool, a dating service, an e-book reader, a chat room, a database, an Etch-a-Sketch…and that’s on Day One."
To better understand why the iPhone 2.0 is THE Revolution many of us were waiting for, just watch Scott Forestall, VP iPhone Software, demonstrating one of the most exciting new features of the platform, based on the built-in 3D-accelerometer : undo a photo edition by... shaking the iPhone (demo starts at 39:30).
After seeing this, you'll get a better picture of Apple' s Hardware roadmap : the next gen iMac will be multi-touch based. Then, you'll agree with Elgan : the iPhone will change the PC world, forever.
Back from San Diego, I had a meeting yesterday night in Paris with the VP Sales & Marketing of a new startup working on some *fiber network monitoring* stuff. I can't disclose anything of course, just that it's about Fiber-To-The-Home.
Things we've discussed until late in the evening were on the forthcoming changes in the optical comms industry per se and our own lives.
Like this one : thanks to FTTH and 40G/100G/etc. networks, we're going to be "online" everywhere anytime, with our entire "life" relying on *The Net*. Fine.
Now, since we'll do everything - working, watching TV, training, sharing life, etc. - through a single fiber strand, this one better stay up and running 24/7 : we won't accept being cut off for 2 days until the Repair guys come in. Hence the need for monitoring systems, which would look after the faults on the fiber right up to our living room.
A tremendous challenge, provided the numerous FTTx networks topologies and technologies. A challenge which requires to think out of the box. Something the legacy Test & Measurement firms can't do. Something a well funded startup can do. How much do they need ? $5m. Which is not that much for a solution which will help change the World (because it'll guarantee your fiber stays okay).
Ed. note : French world-famous blogger Loic Lemeur got $6m for his Web 2.0 video-sharing platform. Raising $1m less to produce something which really serves the World shouldn't be that much a problem. At least in a perfect World...
Belgian startup Radionomy has been officialy launched yesterday night in Paris, from the Eiffel Tower (where the very first TV signal has been broadcasted some decades ago).
According to the Radionomy folks, the concept is pretty simple :
With Radionomy, everyone is finally going to be able to create their own radio station on the Internet!
By tapping into the contents of vast music libraries.
By integrating their own musical creations.
By adding their own audio content, sequences, reports and podcasts.
Radionomy will broadcast these radio stations around the world and take care of all costs, including royalties. Radionomy even shares its revenue with radio station creators, based on the size of their audience.
Pretty cool, huh ?
So, we're going to see - er., hear - tons of "Pirate" radio channels, just like in the good old days of Radio Caroline.
Will be interesting to watch the outcomes. How this concept will find users, and how those ones will use it.
What's quite funny to me is the fact that the WebRadio concept emerges AFTER the WebTV stuff, whilst the original technologies were on reverse order : Radio first, then Television.
Also funny to me, the fact that Radionomy launches whilst traditional radios start doing live TV webcasting of their shows and programs.
Conclusion : Convergence is coming fast. Within the next couple of years, we're going to have a brand new "Web" space, where everyone will be able to create, share, and use any kind of content that will be available one way or another on the Net. Exciting.
To subscribe to the Radionomy Beta Testers Waiting List, follow the link here.
Ed. note : thanks Jean-Michel for the heads up.
Remember Zattoo ? The beta is available since a couple of days only, and people start googling for "zattoo for iphone". See here.
Would I be part of the Product Marketing team at the startup, I would immediately digg a little bit further : someone searching something so specific is a potential user. Or a potential rival. Actually, it doesn't matter, because IMHO the equation is simple : search = opportunity.
That's what most of the french businesses don't understand with the Web 2.0 : it helps you developping new products faster and better, for specific needs and/or applications and/or end-users.
I'm currently testing the new Zattoo Beta application. Just blazingly simple.
Says the US startup' website homepage : "Zattoo is live TV on your PC - it's the football game as you chat, the news as you email, and your favorite soap as you pay your bills. Zattoo is also TV when you don't have a TV - it's the channels you want, when you want, where you want.".
Seriously speaking, Zattoo is the application lots of us were waiting for since a while : an easy way to watch free TV live channels on our computers.
Now, the question is : how will Zattoo make money, provided that the software is supposed to be free of charge ? The answer may be in the Partners page :
Zattoo's customers are end users: people who appreciate high-quality, quick-start, long-play video from multiple channels available on one browser. Broadcasters and advertisers are our business partners.
The ability of broadcasters to reach large audiences via the Internet has until now been limited by the unfavorable economics of Unicast, whereby for each additional audience member a broadcaster has had to incur additional cost. Zattoo solves this problem with our peer-to-peer distribution architecture, which allows broadcasters to reach ten times the audience with no additional infrastructure investment. For the cost of serving 10,000 users with Unicast, broadcasters can now serve 100,000 users with Zattoo.
Zattoo provides broadcasters with compelling competitive advantages beyond reducing operating cost. Zattoo gives broadcasters the technology to deliver streaming with vastly increased quality, reliability and unmatched video smoothness. Furthermore, Zattoo enriches the user experience by integrating compelling multimedia elements, thus making the Zattoo experience stickier than traditional TV.
Contact: Niklas Brambring, Content Acquisition Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Zattoo enables advertisers to leverage the most successful web-based advertising methods in combination with the best attributes of broadcast television "spots" by supporting banner ads, targeted text ads and video clips. Advertisers understand the inherent strengths and value propositions of each method and can make an educated investment to reach specific audiences. Furthermore, advertisements can be sourced from ad specialists and integrated without modification, leveraging de facto industry standards.
So, correct me if I'm wrong : Zattoo gets (or will get) revenues from both the channels broadcasters and the advertisers. I understand the earlier, but don't get the later one yet : does that mean we will experience complementary ads during the live program ? Such as embedded contextual advertising, for instance.
Think about the combination of a live transcription system (used in live captionning) together with customized/localized advertising content : you're watching the latest '24' episode (well, once the writers' s strike will be over ;-), Jack Bauer is driving the brand new Ford SUV, and boom, you see a beautiful ad banner urging you to call your local Ford dealer... That is the power of TV thru Internet : UCC "User Customized Content", as opposed to the UGC User Generated Content.
The question is : could Zattoo be the Next Big Thing ? When it's about watching live TV on a PC, probably yes. Is that what the people want (watching live TV on a PC), I don't know. On the one hand, some want a PC on their TV, on the other hand some want TV on their PC. The right answer is called something like "convergence", isn't ?
So, what do I Average Joe want ? I want Zattoo on the iPhone. I have VOD already (iTunes, YouTube), now I'd like to get live streaming too. Because I'd like to be able to watch Roland Garros live whilst Im' sitting in a High-Speed Train.
Last thing on Zattoo before a more deeper review some time later : the folks there seem to care about their users. As an example, I've received the invitation to download the beta in french, although the company is based in the US (as far as I understood on the 'About' page). The set-up is quite fast and simple too. Pretty neat stuff, Folks ! Keep going ;-)
To visit Zattoo : here.
See here. And apply the same concepts (i.e. remote control, keyless, etc.) to testing devices or networks. You'll get the idea. Granted.
The CES big circus has just started. If you can't make it to Las Vegas, you can still attend the show and get the whole flavor of it... on the Web.
See here, here, and here. Lesson : WebTV is the future. And the present, too, should you have a broadband access.
Ed. note : for a full coverage of CES'08, Robert Scoble has the list.
Post-Scriptum : I wonder if the folks at the Optical Society Of America are going to offer the live coverage of the forthcoming OFC-NFOEC exhibition in San Diego next month.
Since I bought the iPhone two weeks ago, people don't stop asking me questions about it. To make it short, they all go "wow, unbelievable !" first, then they ask me the question about the pricing : "how much is it ?". I then demonstrate the key features, i.e. the phone, the iPod, the web browser, the email, the camera, playing with the MultiTouch UI. Most of the time, this short demo is enough to convince the guy that 399€ is a fair price for such a jewel.
However, sometimes the guy goes "well, you may need it for business to spend so much money". I totally agree. The iPhone is THE perfect tool for new innovative businesses. Twice over the last week, I've been showing the iPhone to prospects - read : target customers for the consulting & training business I'm setting up. I simply explained which kind of new support and assistance services the iPhone could enable (for instance, how YouTube can be used for online training). Each time, I got the same reaction : "give it to our people, and you'll get the business with us".
Beyond that kind of new services based on existing/simple/standard features of the iPhone, you can create new ways of dealing with a problem, means you can create new/innovative solutions for your customers based on the iPhone. Watch this, and you'll get the picture.
Earlier this week, US Telco Verizon unveiled a Groundbreaking FiOS Internet Service. Claims the press release : " Verizon has changed the definition of "fast" with the introduction of a new, symmetrical Verizon FiOS Internet service for consumers, featuring an upload and download speed of up to 20 megabits per second (Mbps)."
Wow. 20Mbps on fiber, that's quite a breakthrough. For the US. Because, not willing to play the Arrogant Frenchie, but... we've got 20Mbps DSL since years, allowing real TriplePlay services including HD-TV. Okay, DSL is not symmetrical. Guess what : we (well, the lucky guys in Paris or Pau and many other cities across the country) can get full-symmetrical 100Mbps on fiber since months.
Take the city of Pau and its state-of-the-art 'Pau Broadband Country' broadband access network : 40,000+ homes passed, with 6,000+ active subscribers : NeufCegetel offers symmetrical 50Mbps since May this year, whilst enterprises and high-end users enjoy a full 100Mbps connection.
So, for those of you who seek bandwidth hungrily : take a one-way ticket to the 21st Century' (Broadband) Capital : Pau.
Update 10-27-07 : I just replaced the previous photo for the one above. The reason is that the author of the original photo sent me a message today, claiming the copyright. He wanted me to mention his name, blahblahblah. Well, I would, should this famous photo be about a private thing or so. Fact is, the photo shows a public work on a public street, for a public community (a french city somewhere in the Alpes). In summary, the guy shot a picture of something paid by the French citizens, and he wants a copyright on it. Weird, IMHO. Especially at the Age of the Web 2.0.
To reach this modest person, click here, er, nowhere : I haven't seen any "email me" button on his weblog, which is here.
post-scriptum : the photo is mine, means I shot it myself some years ago, somewhere in Santa Rosa, California.
I must apologize : I didn't ask the authorization to PacBell to take this picture. However, it's here for you, with no copyright. Enjoy it, copy it, save it, distribute it : it's free, because I decided to put it here, on my blog, on the Web, on the Internet.
By the way, the PacBell folks did a great job repairing a fiber optics cable this beautiful morning. I wish the French telcos and I&M contractors be able to deliver the same level of quality. But that's another story.
Erick Schonfeld of Techcrunch reports the short speech of Jeff Huber, VP Engineering, Google, at the Web 2.0 Summit yesterday in San Francisco.
Quote Huber : " What we see is applications fundamentally changing. Just like the model for content changed from monolithic sites, now applications are going to be feeds and containers. A lot that you have heard here is about platforms and who is going to win. That is Paleolithic thinking. The Web has already won. The web is the Platform. So let’s go build the programmable Web."
And let's go build the user-programmable test gear : Testing 2.0 !
I've been playing a bit with Twitter' mashup apps during lunch break : Twittervision and Twittermap. Just amazingly simple tools for displaying any geotagged data on a map.
For those of you who ignore what Twitter is, read this recent post by Guy Kawasaki and follow its links.
post-scriptum : as I'm going to be busier (if running at 120% is possible ;-) over the next couple of months, I'll post more twitters here, thanks to Twitter's SMS feature. Watch the left side bar for updates...
From tomorrow Thursday till Saturday, the 4 Screens European Festival is for European productions (reportages, reality-inspired fiction, documentaries and docu-dramas) that deal with contemporary society and real-life .
Interesting part : the Internet and Mobile competitions. The (Information) World is changing...
To attend the Festival
from without leaving home (or your desk ;-) : DailyMotion here.
Heard from Mr Dominque Paret, IT Development Director at the Region of Loire (you know, Saint-Etienne, their Soccer Team, their Schlumberger/Wavetek/Acterna/JDSU/Who'sNext? Fiber Optics Test R&D & Manufacturing Plant, etc...) last week at the Odebit Conference in Paris, this true fact - for France in this case, however I'm sure it also apply to many other countries in Europe : when you build a new road, you know the traffic will double the next year AND you know there will be a new college within the next five years. Simply because people have moved all along that new road.
According to Mr Paret, this is a well known and well mastered model (that's why we have those ENA and X and Mines things ;-). The problem with fiber is that there is no such a model at the moment : nobody can tell for sure what will be the outcomes of a FTTx network five years after its completion.
Shall YOU have heard or experienced or built such a model yourself (i.e. in/for your community), please don't hesitate to share it !
This week could be the Week Of Broadband here in Europe, with the Apple+O2 deal on the iPhone in the UK, with ECOC'07, the european Fiber Optics conference & tradeshow in Berlin, Germany, and with Odebit'07, the Broadband conference in Paris, France.
Let's take this opportunity to go back to the fundamentals : why fiber is the only medium of choice when it's about delivering multimedia content instantly - Here is an excerpt of the FTTH Council' s Feb.07 report : "Fiber To The Home, Advantages of Optical Access " :
Common sense suggests that communities with plentiful, reliable bandwidth available will do better than those without. FTTH-powered bandwidth is essential for:
• Hometown businesses competing in a global economy.
• Professionals and others who work at home.
• Quality of life provided by online entertainment, education, culture and e-commerce.
• Special services for the elderly and for shut-ins.
FTTH thus helps define successful communities just as good water, power, climate and transportation have defined them for millennia.
That’s obviously so for greenfield developments – the data, in previous sections of this report, show that fiber-equipped homes and offices sell faster, and command a price premium over real estate developments without fiber. But what about existing communities? Direct comparisons are admittedly difficult because FTTH has not been widely available until recently, but virtually all of the real-world economic studies have borne out the predictions; none has suggested otherwise.
By far the most comprehensive look at broadband’s impact is a 2005 study by William H. Lehr, Carlos A. Osorio, and Sharon E. Gillett at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Marvin A. Sirbu, from Carnegie Mellon University. It was funded by the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce and by the MIT Program on Internet & Telecoms Convergence (http://itc.mit.edu). The study found that broadband enhances economic activity, helping to promote job creation both in terms of the total number of jobs and the number of establishments. Broadband is associated with growth in rents, total employment, number of business establishments, and share of establishments in IT-intensive sectors.
There are also numerous case studies, comparing specific communities before and after public investment in broadband. A few examples:
• One early study, of a municipal fiber network built in 2001 in South Dundas, Ontario, showed substantial benefits. It was prepared for the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry.
• A 2003 study by D. J. Kelley comparing Cedar Falls, Iowa, which launched a municipal broadband network in 1997, against its otherwise similar neighboring community of Waterloo. Cedar Falls bounded ahead of its neighbor.
• More recently, Ford and Koutsky compared per capita retail sales growth in Lake County, Florida, which invested in a municipal broadband network that became operational in 2001, against ten Florida counties selected as controls based on their similar retail sales levels prior to Lake County’s broadband investment. They found that sales per capita grew almost twice as fast in Lake County compared to the control group.
Similar patterns have emerged for communities using FTTH provided by private enterprise. Fort Wayne, Indiana, has taken good advantage of a Verizon FiOS investment there, for instance. And in February 2007, two big studies of housing sales in Massachusetts – where FiOS is coming on line in numerous communities – show a startling recovery. Sales are up, and prices are down only slightly (after a decade-long rise that makes housing there among the most expensive in the United States).
The data are clear and consistent: FTTH, whether provided by private or municipal organizations, is an economic plus for all communities, and an outright boon for many.
FTTH and Economic Development FTTH helps define successful communities just as good water, power, climate and transportation have defined them for millennia.
Also a must-read, the american online magazine Broadband Properties. Its baseline : "Building The Fiber-Connected Community".
In other words, Telcos are readiing their FTTH-Everywhere strategy. Read this.
(thanks to Benoit for the heads-up)
The image I've used in the former post is grabbed from the famous yet extraordinary Web Trend Map of iA.
See the clickable version (warning : it don't work under Opera 9) here - SnapShots at its best.
To understand why thinking out of the box often leads to outstanding outcomes, read this excerpt from the original announcement by Oliver Reichenstein of Information Architects :
Less Japanese Jokes
There are less insider jokes about the different stations and more consistency within the connections and the neighborhood of the different sites. People who know Tokyo will still find lots of little hints and sarcastic comments hidden in there.
- Google has moved from Shibuya, a humming place for young people, to Shinjuku, a suspicious, messy, Yakuza-controlled, but still a pretty cool place to hang out (Golden Gaya).
- Youtube has conquered Shibuya.
- Microsoft has moved to Ikebukuro, if you know what I mean.
- Yahoo is in Ueno, a nice place but nothing going on there.
- Wikipedia now is in Shimbashi, the place for the square and hard-headed Salaryman, like the Wikipedia watchdogs.
- The Chinese line runs parallel to the “share line” which starts with the main pirates…
- Paper info designer Tufte is right below the Federated Media, right before joining with the interactive information design circle in a 90 degree angle.
- “You” are in the Emperor’s palace, in the center of the network.
More Revealing Coincidences
- The main Japanese sites are all on the money line. I never notice before, but most big Japanese sites are financially successful.
- The northern part of the Yamanote line (”main sites”) is a boring unknown territory (just as in real Tokyo).
- Ze Frank ended up close to the German carousel.
- iA ended up close to the pirates.
- Adobe moved from Ginza (high class) to Tokyo station (anonymous, lots of money there), which is pointing at the fact that they continue to move towards the center of gravity without being too loud about it.
- Skype has conquered a place that doesn’t exist.
Insider Circle and Your Palace
There is a new insider circle with the tech trend scouts, the tech bloggers and You, occupying the Emperor’s palace.
A new business model is making its debuts in the Fiber-To-The-Home market. In " Europe Fiber futures: 40 Gbps to offices & 100 Mbps to homes ", VON' European Editor Bob Emmerson explains what a Nordic telco, Lyse Tele, is currently doing with its customers. The real innovation : subscribers can lay the last meters themselves, in order to reduce the costs.
IMHO, this is the very first step towards a " Network 2.0 " approach, where the end-users will build their access networks according to their own needs. The technology is there, the tools are there.
Imagine the fiber network in your neighborhood as a giant loop, open, always on, delivering enough bandwidth for the common applications and services - say 100Mbps -, onto which you can plug your terminal at will.
We just have to do it (I will come back on that one later).
The parent company of Lyse Tele is a utility that had and still has a core asset: an established billing relationship with millions of electricity users. In April 2002, they formed a subsidiary to enter the IPTV arena, so while the activity was brand new, the name was not. Moreover, this was a company that the market could trust, and that is something technology cannot create.
The company started with a clean sheet of paper. There were no legacy investments or services to protect. But to compete, they needed a visionary strategy and an offer that was not merely different but radically different. All service providers employ the same technologies, so the radically different visionary strategy and offer had to come by way of marketing.
Selling Before Building
Their go-to-market strategy is alarmingly simple: before you go anywhere, make sure there is a market. They make sure by creating it.
They could not realize differentiation over cable or copper. It had to be fiber. To justify the investment, the company set up meetings in the neighborhood. They provided a supervised play area for children, coffee, mineral water, and a presentation.
The basic pitch is also simple. The company will lay fiber to your home, and you get 100 Mbps IP access (minimum), IPTV and triple play services, and because the bandwidth is symmetric, you can also participate in a community of interest groups. But all of this can happen only after enough households sign up. Participants can sign up at the meeting or later, and they are encouraged to spread the message if they want the service.
It works. To keep costs down, subscribers can lay the last part of the network themselves. There’s a do-it-yourself kit, and they save €500 (US$630). Around 80% do the physical, self-provisioning part themselves.
Apart from saving money, subscribers who lay the fiber themselves feel that they own that part of the infrastructure. VoIP calls made within the broadband network are free. This part of the strategy minimizes churn, as does the decision to deploy symmetric access to facilitate the development of community services. It works. Upstream traffic exceeds downstream.
All right, I have to admit it : this post "Paris Finally Gets Free fiber -- But Not The Kind You're Thinking" is a fake.
Nicos Sarkolazy doesn't exist, neither this Fiber 2.0 startup (at least, as far as I know ;-) and his founder Mark Billaud.
This post was a proof of concept : to show that shifting the paradigm can help communities to deploy their own broadband/fiber networks.
I simply took the recent article written by Terrence Russell for Wired, and changed the names and locations.
Now, we might do our best to make it real ;-)
post-scriptum, about the names : it's a reference to a recent post from Jean-Michel Billaut (link in french), who wrote an open letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, urging him to push on the deployment of FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home access, for every French Citizen to get universal broadband access.
Exclusive report from fellow journalist & columnist Nicos Sarkolasy. [with typo corrected]
Between the nationwide
decline explosion of municipal fiber projects and the stall huge perspective in Paris's FT fiber plans, it's not shocking to hear that other companies are coming up with their own homegrown solutions for the tech savvy city. The one that's been creating the most buzz in France over the last couple of days has been Fiber 2.0, with its audacious pledge to "free the broadband". With funding from Google and Sequoia Capital, the Biarritz, Euskadi-based company has recently announced its plans to expand its free coverage from the two Paris neighborhoods it currently blankets to an additional six communities within the city.
But here's the rub--even though Fiber 2.0 has been generous enough to donate the equipment, the deployment of the network relies heavily on volunteers. Although the company has seen success in providing free fiber in roughly 25 countries around the world, I wasn't sure how the service could become a viable way to connect with its sub-municipal scale and reliance on the generous and willing. To get the story straight, I had a brief chat with Fiber 2.0 CEO and Co-founder, Mark F. Billaud.
"We don't think of ourselves as being in competition with the FT deal," Billaud clarified during our phone conversation. "In many ways we serve a different market. We're not trying to be the backbone coverage for emergency services like police and fire departments, and that's a big part of what France Telecom and Orange are trying to do in Paris."
Ironically, I think Billaud touched on an important point while describing the role of Fiber 2.0's free service in a city setting. The availability of using the Web 2.0 and the ability to watch HD-TV on the go is what most of us associate with municipal fiber, but the truth is there's a much more complex element involved when the service is meant to become part of a city's infrastructure. Building out a speedy and adequately blanketed fiber network is not only expensive, but also a logistical nightmare when it comes to guaranteeing near flawless service for the public safety sector. Rather than trying to provide a de facto solution for all situations, Fiber 2.0's founders made the wise decision of focusing on enabling a community to buildout its own network for casual use.
There was still one thing that was bothering me--what's with the whole volunteer element? "Most of the people who contact us about volunteering are interested in doing their part by putting a booster on their windowsill," Billaud explained. "But we still encounter a fair share of people that are actually interested in sharing some of their unused bandwidth to provide connectivity for the community."
If the citizens of Paris can methodically build their own patchwork network, I'm left to wonder who really merits from the FT deal. But does Fiber 2.0 really have what it takes to even knockout a lot of the floundering muni-fiber projects out there? With all the bureaucratic red tape surrounding most muni projects it's possible, but the company would need a lot of visibility and a continuous supply of altruistic community to pull it off. Until progress is made with FT, or we see the rollout of WiMax/Xohm, I'm willing to give it a shot. It's not like it's going to cost me anything...
" For the hundreds of climate-change activists who have camped out near Heathrow Airport for the past week, there is only one way to reduce the carbon footprint of aircraft: Stop flying so much. "
Must we quit flying to save the planet? the article published yesterday on the Seattle Time, by Mark Rice-Oxley is a must-read for all of us, especially those whose wallet sports one or more Gold/Platinum/Whatever-metal frequent flyer card.
Here's the conclusion :
[He noted that] 45 percent of all flights in Europe are less than 310 miles. "The French and Germans are showing that if you invest in good railways, you can persuade people to travel by rail and not by air."
But it's not only about leisure travel. Business travel makes up, by some estimates, 40 to 50 percent of all air travel. One element of the British OMEGA project is a study that looks at how business can reduce its aviation carbon footprint.
Keith Mason, who is leading the study, said it involves persuading businesses to measure the carbon they consume, choose flights that are not just the cheapest but are least environmentally damaging, use rail when possible and make greater use of videoconferencing and Internet solutions.
"We are aiming to come up with a range of practical tools that will help companies start managing their carbon consumption," Mason said. He noted that one company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, has introduced an internal "carbon budget" whereby its 1,000 top travelers must reduce their CO2 footprint by 20 percent.
Some experts think similar personal carbon budgets — rationing — may be the solution.
"It's too late for voluntary mechanisms," Anderson said. "Carbon allowances are the only fair way to deal with this."
I wonder if I would still be able to collect 150 boarding passes in a year, as I did back in 2000.
On the other hand, flying every two days or so is exhausting - ask your captain the next time you get in an airplane. And opportunities to create new businesses out of this new situation (i.e. Global Warming) are tremendous...
Facebook becomes a one-stop-shopping center. Like Google.The Internet and especially the Web 2.0 were supposed to be an open place, offering open spaces for open applications.
Now, look at it from a different perspective : managing your online life thru only one or two places is dangerous. You'll end-up totally tight-up to one guy. Ask yourself : what if ? What if Facebook realizes they can make more money charging you for each time you go use something from them ? What if Facebook shuts down for whatever reason, competition, lack of cash, management's s retirement ? Same with Google : Search, Maps, Apps, Google holds our entire online life...
Now, this true story. Back in the late 90's, Fiber Optics Networking was an easy one : pick this fiber from this vendor, say Corning, put those transmission equipments from this one, say Alcatel, and insert some optical amplifiers from that other one, say Lucent Technologies (remember : at that time, they were rivals ;-), you got a perfectly running optical network, no hassles at all.
Until 1998, when Corning and Lucent Technologies came up with some new fiber technology, aimed at the forthcoming (at this time) high-speed WDM wavelength-division-multiplexing networks. From that very moment on, the whole optical networking landscape changed : from an open-interoperable model, it became a closed vendor-specific model. Corning fiber cables worked only with Corning/Siemens systems. Lucent fibers worked only with Lucent equipments. Same with Alcatel, with Pirelli Telecom, etc. Very convenient for the customers (read : the Telcos, ISPs, Carrier's Carriers, etc.), and for the vendor himself of course (easier to beat the competition). The perfect one-stop-shopping-center model, in summary...
Enters the downturn. Everybody gets hit, dramatically. The whole set-up crashes. Among all those Bubble Stars, only one company did well and survived quite easily : Ciena. Why ? Simply because Ciena was the only optical networking equipment manufacturer to offer OPEN solutions. Their gear was truly interoperable, vendor-independant. And that was the key factor with the customers at that time : everyone else was collapsing but Ciena.
Think about the next time you move one of your key application onto Facebook : what if ?...
Got to tell you : Testing 2.0 becomes real. Some much fun with all the Web 2.0 apps out there. Web-apps, not Client-apps, that's the key. Stay tuned, more to come next week.
Because everything * Web 2.0 For The Customer * is in there, here is Patricia Seybold' s Biz 3.0 again.
There is no priority list, as every single 'principle' is as critical as the others. Keep in mind : customer relationships is a constant, open loop.