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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!
Firefox is therefore my default browser on my Macs and the PC. Each of them with the same setup, thanks to the Web 2.0. My favorites extensions : Feedly for reading my RSS feeds, Yoono for sharing stuff for myself between my computers, and to share things with the World too, and Piclens for pics & vids browsing and viewing.
Yesterday, the Mozilla Labs introduced a new add-on : Ubiquity. Read the description, watch the video, and install the first release. You'll discover a brand new way to deal with the Web. Absolutely stunning. Ubiquity might be the Web 3.0 (no typo ;-) for the rest of us.
We Mac users recently became used to hit the Space bar quite often - not to create a space between two words, but to read a document w/o opening the corresponding app. With Ubiquity, we're going to hit this Space bar even more often.
Ah, I forgot : for those of you who are still on IE, Mozilla Firefox is there.
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.
"Plusmo's mobile widgets application is a cool way to read RSS feeds on your cell phone or PDA, but that's not the only reason it was named a finalist on the Webware 100 list.
In true Webware fashion, Plusmo's site offers hands-on excitement--the chance to publish and share widget mash-ups and create an iPhone widget from templates. Users can also make personal blogs available as a Plusmo widget, and can install a browser bookmarklet or Yahoo plug-in to snag feeds while they surf."
On Lunch Over IP : Picnic07: Stefana Broadbent and why everything is moving into the background.
I read Bruno Giussiani's running notes just before watching Jerry Maguire again. Kind of interesting answer to the question at the end of Bruno' s post : " how important something is to you to makes you make that specific choice of focusing on it? "...
On TechITeasy : Sustainable, Information Technology?
A detailed fact sheet by Jeremy Fain of Microsoft on Green IT. Among lots of other pretty serious stuff, this one : " Every second that passes sees 24 Kg of PCs produced, 1.8 tons of raw materials aimed at the Information Technology market, half a ton of CO2 generated by hardware heat, 108 Kg. of PC-related garbage."
On How To Change The World : Ten Questions with Chris Brogan.
The Social Media expert answers Guy Kawasaki' s famous ten questions (which are eleven, by the way) on Twitter. You've got to like the twittering app after that (don't miss the comments).
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.
[updated Sat. 09/22]
At the recent ECOC European Conference and Exhibition on Optical Communication which closed its doors yesterday in Berlin, Germany, Alcatel-Lucent researchers delivered post-deadline papers that remind me the good old days of the pre-Bubble era (i.e. when Marketing was not the ruler).
Among several outstanding breakthroughs (for fiberoptics technology- savvy guys ;-) : the transmission of 12.8 Tbit/s of data through a single optical fiber over a record distance of 2,550 km, and a 8-Tbit/s WDM transmission with 80 channels, each modulated at 100 Gbits/sec, transmitted over 520 km
A few facts for novices : a data rate of 1 Terabit per second represents roughly 12 millions telephone landlines; ten years ago, the transmission record was set around 3 Tbit/s, equivalent to approximately 40 millions lines; in late 2000, the record was at 6.5 Tbit/s, allowing the transmission of 1 million motion pictures over a single fiber at a time.
As stated by french pioneer and researcher Emmanuel Desurvire in his paper "Optical Communications in 2025", presented at ECOC'05 : " 20-years objectives can only be reached though tech-driven research and there is an urgent need to get started."
It seems AlcatelLucent got started again, leaving marketing behind the labs' s doors for the sake of the whole Fiber Optics industry.
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)
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.
So, Skype' users have been unable to use their favorite peer-to-peer communication network for two days because of the... Microsoft Windows Update routine. Read the real story behind last week' massive disruption here.
Okay, Windows is not directly involved : it was *just* a trigger in this case, which actually helped Skype to detect a bug into its network' self-healing process.
Nevertheless, I can't keep thinking that without Windows the World would be a kind of better place. Hey, would you accept to get your car patched every single week ?
I hear the Anti-Macs : " Windows has 95% of the market, blah blah blah... " Fair enough. However, take this : Even if Mac OS had those 95% yet, it wouldn't cause such damage. Simply because... there is no such regular updates. Because there is no need for such security patches. Keep in mind : life is way easier with a Mac. You know, the Customer-Focused thing...
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 ?...
The post "Top-Ten Quotes by Raymond Loewy" becoming more and more popular (thanks to Google and PresentationZen :-), here is a new tribute to Loewy's extraordinary vision. Just a brief overview of the Father of Industrial Design' taste for Beauty.
For more information, visit the Official Web Site of Raymond Loewy here, Loewy Design here, Loewy Group here, and the Raymond Loewy Foundation here.
According to Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer at yesterday's financial earnings report, " there will be a product transition [he] can't get into."
So, the Mac-iPod-iPhone maker is up to something. My take is that the actual iPhone is the first item of a brand new product line, aimed at mobile communications. Obviously, I'm not the only one on that ;-)
Japan Telco & R&D leader NTT was the first to come on the market with a new type of fiber aimed at Fiber-To-The-Home easy deployments. That is due to the fact that FTTH roll out started earlier in Japan than in the US. The question is : how about Europe, and France especially ? Local Telcos and ISPs seem not to be concerned by technics, and the local fiber optics industry has been almost wiped out after the crash, back in the early 2000's. So, no industry, no innovation, no innovation, no more industry. Time to do something, Mr President !
The SW Developers community was kind of disappointed when Apple decided not to set up a SDK software development kit for the iPhone, preferring to enable third-parties Web applications using Safari, Apple's Web browser (which, by one of the smartest à-la-Sun Tzu moves ever, also runs on MS Windows now). An offense to all the guys used to think VisualBasic...
Among several other interesting stuff, there is one idea which seems to be a real killer : Storing iPhone apps locally with data URLs. It opens the door for amazing vertical applications for professionals - I can't wait putting my hands on an iPhone and create a fiber testing solution on it ;-)
Still sticking to VisualBasic, anyone ?
Searching for information on the Global Information Grid, I found this awesome/mind-opening/think-out-of-the-box article : "Network Maps, Energy Diagrams : Structure and Agency in the Global System", by Brian Holmes.
Holmes describes current researches aimed at mapping networks of all kinds, from the obvious Internet to illegal sea-going immigration routes to pedestrians' s everyday itineraries in Amsterdam.
To document its very detailed yet comprehensive explanations of the background and applications, Holmes links to lots of websites which are worth the visit. Among all those sites, you may check this one : Each frame of this movie-map is a snapshot of Internet usage across the world during a few hours time; five different images were compiled every two days, over a period of some eighteen months. The result is an extraordinary visual experience. The ISPs turn green and advance toward the center as their connectivity increases; the link lines shift as the routing structure reconfigures to meet the moment’s demands. We watch the diurnal flux of the Internet, and feel the complex, disjunctive rhythm of the global information machine. It’s like the pulsing of a hive, a planetary brain: the cognitive and imaginary activity of untold millions of individuals, establishing far-flung connections.
To give you the flavor, here's the introduction :
The Internet is the vector of a new geography – not only because it conjures up virtual realities, but because it shapes our lives in society, and shifts our perceptions along with the ground beneath our feet. Networks have become the dominant structures of cultural, economic and military power. Yet that power remains largely invisible. How can the networked society be represented? And how can it be navigated, appropriated, reshaped in its turn?
Reflecting in the early 1980s on the spatial chaos that technological and financial developments had impressed upon contemporary cities, Fredric Jameson pointed to the need for “an aesthetics of cognitive mapping” to resolve “the incapacity of our minds, at least at present, to map the great global multinational and decentered communicational network in which we find ourselves caught as individual subjects.” He conceived this cartographic aesthetics as a collective pedagogy, whose challenge would be to correlate the abstract knowledge of global realities with the imaginary figures that orient our daily experience. Epistemological shifts, pushed forward by the use of sophisticated technical instruments, would need to be paralleled by the deployment of radically new visual vocabularies, in order to produce a clearer understanding of contemporary symbolic relations (social roles, class divides, hierarchies) and a fresh capacity for political intervention in the postmodern world. Only by inventing “some as yet unimaginable new mode of representing” could we “again begin to grasp our positioning as individual and collective subjects and regain a capacity to act and struggle which is at present neutralized by our spatial as well as our social confusion.”1
Twenty years later, what has become of the mapping impulse? What new forms of cartography have arisen to chart the virtual/real spaces of the present? What kinds of agency do they permit? What modes of social organization do they foster? Can critical and dissenting maps be distinguished among the established and dominant ones?
Full article and much more, here.
"A power outage hit downtown San Francisco Tuesday afternoon, leaving thousands of residents without power and knocking popular Web sites such as Craigslist, GameSpot, Yelp, Technorati, TypePad and Netflix offline for a few hours", says Erica Ogg for C|Net
Anyway. " Never Give Up " was the title of this never-to-be-published post. So, never give up, Folks !
Watch this video, created by the FTTH Council in the US. Straight to the point : is the Internet as we know it today ready for the new huge amount of data that is coming out from all those new online applications. Such as video, for instance...
Microsoft co-founder & Chairman Bill Gates and Apple co-founder & CEO Steve Jobs shared the stage last night at the fifth edition of D: All Things Digital , the Wall Street Journal’s executive conference .
When asked what the greatest misunderstanding about their relationship was, Steve Jobs says "We've kept our marriage secret for over a decade."
A joke maybe, yet most probably a pretty smart hint what's coming next at Apple : the takover of Microsoft. Hey, have you ever seen a win-win marriage those days ?
* see here for explanation.
Photo Credit: Dan Farber/ZDNet
Market Research & Consulting firm IIR Telecoms is organizing the FTTx* Summit, to be held June 18-21 in Munich, Germany. The event covers four main areas: Operator business strategies, FTTx deployment strategies, Content, applications & media, and Operations & municipal networks. In addition, two technical briefings for building content-based businesses within a company: Triple Play business development, and Deploying and optimising hybrid fibre and fibre networks to deliver IPTV, VoD, HDTV and interactive services.
More information here. You may also contact Dan Collins, Business Dev Manager @ IIR here.
* FTTx : Fiber-To-The-Something. Curb, Building, Pedestal, Home, Desk, you name it. No matter the letter, it is your future, and it happens today ;-)
The European Space Agency launched a competition, seeking the ideal playlist for astronauts flying around the Earth in the International Space Station. The good news ? The Automated Transfer Vehicle ATV will sport an iPod dock, like a Volvo, a Volkswagen or a Mercedes. Shall the Nautilus offer iPod-connectivity and Obiwan wear a Suffle in his shuttle, Apple will soon expand its reach toward the Whole Universe ;-)
As I'm not under 18, I can't compete. However, here's my Top-Ten Tunes For Astronauts (that's the beauty of the Internet : I never thought I would be thinking about such a playlist before reading MacDailyNews last night...):
#10 Earth Song (Michaël Jackson)
# 9 Rhapsody In Blue (George Gerswhin)
# 8 Night Fever (Bee Gees)
# 7 Crazy (Gnarls Barkley)
powered by ODEO
#6 Walking On The Moon (The Police)
# 5 Men In Black (Will Smith)
# 4 I Say A Little Prayer (Aretha Franklin)
#3 All Night Long (Lionel Richie)
# 2 Come Fly With Me (Frank Sinatra)
#1 Fly Me To The Moon (Frank Sinatra)
powered by ODEO
Here is the official ESA press release :
Send your playlist to space with ATV!
25 April 2007
If you think you can come up with the ideal playlist for astronauts flying around the Earth in the International Space Station , ESA wants to hear from you.
Which songs do you play if you want to feel happy? What about if you’re feeling lonely or sad?
Everyone has a list of favourite tunes which they listen to when they want to be lively and noisy, or quiet and peaceful. But what if you were suddenly transported 400 km above the Earth, to a collection of cylinders in the sky known as the International Space Station (ISS)? What music would you take with you for entertainment as you floated around the world 16 times a day?
ESA is launching a competition to find a set of 10 tunes that is out of this world. All you have to do is write down a song selection that you think would be most suitable for the astronauts on the ISS to listen to. Before you decide, try to put yourself in the shoes of the men and women who live on the Station and put together a playlist that would cheer them up, inspire them, etc….
The winner’s playlist will be downloaded onto an iPod and sent to the ISS in ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), which will be making its maiden flight later this year. The 20 tonne craft, named ‘Jules Verne’, after the famous French science fiction writer, will be delivering about seven tonnes of cargo to the astronauts living in the International Space Station.
Ten European countries are participating in the ATV programme: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The competition is only open to young people under 18 years of age.
Entries are only accepted from nationals of the following countries which are participating in the ATV programme: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
The deadline for entries is 10 May 2007.
The winners will be announced in June 2007.
Relatives of ESA staff members are not allowed to take part in this competition.
The decision of the judges is final.
The Grand Prize for the overall winner will be a trip to see the ATV launch in Kourou, French Guiana (South America) as well as having their playlist sent to space on board the ATV.
One prize for the best entry from each country. Each national winner will win a day trip to the European Astronaut Centre in Germany.
How to enter
Entries can be submitted via the entry form here.
I have posted the following question on Linkedin last night. Already got a handful of answers :
" I'm looking for investors and/or venture firm to do a Test & Measurement startup aimed at FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home networks testing & maintenance. Based on a * paradigm shifting * business model, making money on software and services instead of hardware boxes. FTTH market worldwide : huge. Concept : to be extended to any networking technology, e.g. WiFi, WiMax, etc. "
A : Amanda O'Garrow (email@example.com) wrote:
" Hi Marc
we are interested in learning more can you send some information to firstname.lastname@example.org Keith is the network and IT specialist.
A : Patrick Hollister wrote:
" Hi Marc,
I suggest you chat with my good freind and former groomsman Scott. "
A : Bruce Niven wrote:
" Hi Marc,
We are very close to NTT who are well on their way in their roll-out of FTTH in Japan. I'd be interested to hear more about the idea, but the telco's aren't stupid - they'll know what costs more in the long term so you have be saving them money somewhere.
A : Duane Sword wrote:
" Spirent acquired a company doing security testing as a service, not as a product (Imperfect Networks)
Empirix offers a remote Voice load and benchmarketing/baselining service, not as a product, this is known as Hammer On Call.
The incumbent in transport/access/fiber testing already offer a suite of product, service and variants of managed test services, consulting, leasing and pay-per-use including EXFO, Sunrise, Agilent, Anritsu and JDSU.
VP Product Management
Low-Cost, Open-Source, Web 2.0 : those are the main keywords of the Testing 2.0 project.
Dear FiberGeneration readers, shall you be interested or willing more information, please drop me an email.
Fellow french blogger Jeremy Fain is organizing a 1-week trip in the Silicon Valley, to be held by the end of this year.
Says Jeremy, " It will be a week-long study trip focusing on the business of innovation & technology (entrepreneurship, venture capital, software, computer networks & hardware, consumer electronics & Internet, telecommunications) and actually take place between Sunday, 25th November 2007 and Sunday, 2nd December 2007. "
Shall you be willing to meet with the most influent people of the Silicon Valley today, don't hesitate to leave a comment here or drop an email to Jeremy at the address here.
Reading CNET the other night, a headline grabbed my attention : " Record exec: Mobile industry could learn from Apple "
A report by Marguerite Reardon of CNET News.com. Quote Marguerite :
In a keynote address at the CTIA Wireless trade show, EMI's Eric Nicoli warned the industry that it would not reach its potential if mobile operators, handset makers and content providers don't work together and put the customer first. He said they need to make sure that every product they develop for consumers is one that people want, is easy to use, and provides value at an affordable price.
"We will not reach our goals if we carry on as we have been doing," he said. "Not to diminish what we have achieved so far, but there are important challenges to address if we want to take this business to the next level. And that means we must put the customer at the forefront."
"Apple makes stuff that people love to own," Nicoli said. "They love the simplicity and user-friendliness of the iPod and iTunes. Apple doesn't employ any sorcery or dark magic to achieve this. They listen to what consumers want. And that shouldn't be Apple's unique privilege."
Very interesting indeed. Those folks at the Mobile industry are definitely not Average Joe, they have MBAs - at least, they play golf with their peers of Wall Street, their business is driving the whole Telecoms industry at large - at the end of the day, we need fibers to carry mobiles 's signals. So, how come they forgot a simple fact, which even self-made-men like myself do know and apply every single day since the very begining ? : " It is the customer who determines what a business is...What the customer thinks he is buying, what he considers value, is decisive--it determines what a business is, what it produces, and whether it will prosper." Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, 1974, p 61.
Maybe they were driven by bozozity until the very moment Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone ? By claiming that " [the Mobile industry] need to make sure that every product they develop for consumers is one that people want ", Mr. Nicoli
admits that they all tells his pals at the Mobile Industry that they failed listening to their customers. Now, he also made a giant step towards recovery : he is learning. He's learning that the Mobile industry has he tells them they have to learn about its their own mistakes, its their competition (Apple is coming after them with the iPhone), and its their environment.
So, what is learning, in business ? I found no better way to explain the whole idea than what Hal Stitt, my coach during my Musketeers years at Agilent Technologies, says :
" learning as a winning business strategy means learning more and learning faster than your rivals do about your customers, your competitors, your business environment and the opportunities available for your business to win customers. "
Hal likes to describe the whole concept with this diagram, based on Peter Drucker' assessment which claims that it's the customer who decides the winner.
I like it too, for it is crisp and clear. Plus, according to my own experience as a customer in B2B since 20+ years, it is exactly the way it works : a short loop, involving both the customer and the vendor in a constant dialog, always makes this vendor successful.
Perhaps the guys in the Mobile Industry were more used to a more rigid process, such as this one :
Definitely not a KISS ' Keep It Simple, Stupid ' approach, such as the one developped by David Kolb in the early 80's : -------
In this diagram, replace " Concrete, Experience" by " Customer ", " model " by " Application ", " Test " by " Feedback ", and " Reflect " by " Product ", and you get another representation of Drucker's model. Please note that I didn't put the accordingly modified diagram on purpose : do it yourself, you will better... learn ;-)
Back in 2001, Hal Stitt has published a white paper " About Learning " . I am pleased to post the first three pages, for it explain the whole idea :
LEARNING VERSUS KNOWING ORGANIZATIONS
Contrasts and Comparisons
Most organizations we have seen and read about over the past 40 years have focused more on knowing than on learning. Knowing is a state, learning is an action. Learning changes the state of knowing.
Knowing organizations promote and hire people mainly based on what they have done, on what they know. Less value is placed on the person's ability to learn. Training focuses on skills and processes with a direct impact on job performance. Little or no effort is put into training people to learn, encouraging learning, or rewarding learning.
Management effort in knowing organizations focuses on getting better and better at what the organization does, instead of what it could become. Effort is more likely to be put on careful measurement of results and comparing them with expectations than on encouraging learning. Knowing organizations put people in jobs to get results, to fix problems, to turn around failing organizations. If sales are not up to expectations, they will bring in a sales manager who knows how to fix that. If manufacturing is not meeting expectations, they will bring in a new manager who knows how to fix it. If the company is not meeting investors' expectations, they will bring in a new CEO who knows how to fix that.
In knowing organizations, learning is seen as down time. It interferes with performing.
Learning organizations hire and promote people based more on their ability to learn than on what they already know, more on what they can do than what they have already done. Learning organizations realize that results are related to actions by probability. They realize that just because something worked in the past doesn't mean it will work in the future. They realize that just because something worked in another company or another organization doesn’t mean it will work in your company or in your organization.
Knowing is not transferable across organizations or over time. The situation changes, but knowing is static. Learning is transferable. Learning is dynamic. Learning includes learning about changes in the situation.
Sun Tzu's quote is often misunderstood. The time at which your must know the enemy better than yourself
is at the time of the battle. In war, what you knew yesterday, last week, last month, last year can get you killed. In business, it just means your customers buy from your competitors.
Learning organizations see learning as a competitive sport. If they can learn more and learn faster than their competitors, they can outperform those competitors.
Innovation is a core business function. Innovation is the engine powering successful competition. Learning drives innovation. Without a stream of new learnings, innovation only happens by accident.
What your organization will learn outweighs what it already knows.
We see three fundamental reasons why what your organization will learn is more important than what it already knows:
Knowledge and experience were gained in the past. There is no logical reason to believe the future will be like the past.
A very high proportion of knowledge and experience is similar among competitors. It is too often a very weak differentiator.
The belief that the organization already has the answers leads to arrogance and complacency, which leads to defeat.
Learning is the root of competition
Your organization is either learning and innovating better than your competitors, in the eyes of your customers, or you are a target for those who are. Learning leads to innovation, which leads to winning—if you innovate better than your competitors, in the opinion of the customers.
The most valuable learnings lie outside your organization *
Getting good information first hand from good sources outside the organization, but within the system the organization serves, is a core behavior of learning organizations.
Learning only counts when it affects behavior
We do not advocate learning for learning's sake. Learning has no value to the organization unless it affects behavior. Not learning or learning the wrong things is bad enough, but we believe learning the right things and not acting on the learning is the worst possible outcome. It kills morale and motivation in the people who have learned something vital to the organization's success if they are prevented from acting by decision makers who have not. It's ludicrous! The people who have learned something vital are the people the decision makers should be motivating.
The purpose of learning is to win
We believe the most important purpose of learning is to create changes that will create wins. That is diametrically opposite to the purpose of hierarchical organizations: to develop and maintain order and control.
All businesses learn about their businesses. But the winners learn more about their customers and competitors than their competitors do. To win, most customers must prefer your products and services over your competitors. You cannot get customers to prefer your products and services by focusing your learning on your own organization— by looking in your mirrors. It requires learning about your customers. It requires understanding your customers well enough to know what your organization can do for them in the future that they will prefer over the offerings of your competitors.
*note : helping clients do that is one of DeltaNet's core strengths. To contact Hal @ DeltaNet, click here.
Peter Drucker' official biography here.
--- updated Apr. 2d, 2007, after EMI announcement on DRM-free ---
Thanks to MacDailyNews for the heads up :
Koloroo today announced the release of the first widgets that run on any iPod with a color screen. TipKalc is an easy-to-use tip calculator with instant check-splitter and KolorWheel is a color utility that provides scientifically formulated color schemes to match a web page, home decor, shirt or outfit ... in fact, just about anything. Both widgets can be loaded onto an iPod from either a PC or Mac and are available at an introductory download price of only $4.99 and $7.99 respectively.
More info: www.koloroo.com
My take : now I can start developping an OTDR for the iPhone platform.
As many of us around the Planet, I do prefer using emails and IM rather than plain old telephone for business. Electronics communications allow me to keep track of the discussions, archive threads, etc.
For instance, I like to use Skype for interviews : the 'View Chat History' feature is a great tool for reviewing the records. Emails : since the NeXT Cube (I bought one, back in 1993) and its wonderful Mail app, which is the ancestor of the current Mac' Mail app, I use my email client as a datawarehouse. I keep history of my different jobs in there, together with key files such as presentations, I send draft ideas and memos and to-dos to myself, etc. By the way, I'm not the only one to use Mail this way : have a look at this guy here (hint : it's about a Leopard).
Also, electronics means less paper, which is quite a nice trick for someone who wants
to save the Planet (not Superman, me ;-) to help saving the Planet.
Anne Zelenka of WebWorkerDaily has recently posted three articles which summarize the ' style & etiquette ' of the modern communication tools. It's so true. And fun ! Enjoy reading " How to Annoy People Using Instant Messaging ", " 27 Tips for Teleconferencing ", and " How to Screw Up An Email Negotiation " as much I did.
Last year, Wired has published a long article : " Steve Jobs' Best Quotes Ever ". Here are my ten favorites. At the end of the day, those quotes tell who is Steve Jobs (did I ever told you that I would like to work for him before I die ? ;-)
I suggest that you read the date first, then read the quote :
you will then notice how funny or visionary it was.
Also, note that I sorted the quotes in perspective with the resurgence of the Cupertino firm since Jobs' s return at the head of the company... 10 years ago.
ps : BrainyQuote has some interesting stuff too (e.g. the 3 at the bonus track at the end of this post).
"Apple has some tremendous assets, but I believe without some attention, the company could, could, could -- I'm searching for the right word -- could, could die." -- On his return as interim CEO, in Time, Aug. 18, 1997
"You know, I've got a plan that could rescue Apple. I can't say any more than that it's the perfect product and the perfect strategy for Apple. But nobody there will listen to me." -- Fortune, Sept. 18, 1995
"The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament." -- Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company, by Owen W. Linzmayer
"Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it." -- Fortune, Nov. 9, 1998
"It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them." -- BusinessWeek, May 25 1998
"The desktop computer industry is dead. Innovation has virtually ceased. Microsoft dominates with very little innovation. That's over. Apple lost. The desktop market has entered the dark ages, and it's going to be in the dark ages for the next 10 years, or certainly for the rest of this decade." -- Wired magazine, February 1996
"Why would I ever want to run Disney? Wouldn't it make more sense just to sell them Pixar and retire?" -- Fortune, Feb. 23, 2004
"It's better to be a pirate than to join the Navy." -- Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple
"There are sneakers that cost more than an iPod." -- On the iPod's $300 price tag, Newsweek, Oct. 27, 2003
"We made the buttons on the screen look so good you'll want to lick them." -- Jobs, on Mac OS X's Aqua user interface (Fortune, Jan. 24, 2000)
bonus track, DRM-free ;-)
personal comment : the latest is another piece of evidence that Steve Jobs and Raymond Loewy have something in common...
Two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal posted a freaking good article on "How Steve Jobs Played Hardball In iPhone Birth" with Cingular (now AT&T). Shall you have only 30 seconds before you, you can get the flavour of this article by reading the Quoted section here in one of my favorite daily newspapers : Good Morning Silicon Valley.
I ain't comment on the iPhone' s multi-touch user-interface enabling a new revolution (it's well done here ), Steve Jobs being a genius (read here and here) , or Apple playing a giant chess game against Microsoft ( here, here, and here - and more).
Actually, the most interesting part to me is this one (at the end of the article) :
Usually, carriers catch more than a glimpse of the products their handset partners are working on. They get to provide input on what applications or features might make the device more marketable.
Not this time. Several small teams within Cingular worked on the project, but each handled its own specific task without knowing what the other teams were up to. Employees had code-names for the project to avoid mentioning Apple by name, says a person familiar with the matter.
Cingular sent a team of technical personnel to Apple's offices to test the device, making it sure it would work on the carrier's network. That rigorous process is normal for the release of any phone. But this time, technicians weren't allowed to handle or see the actual phone. Instead, they were given access to a dummy version that would only allow them to do the necessary network tests.
I was suspecting Steve Jobs and his team to use such secretive technics during the development phase of their strategic new products. Why that ? Simply because it happens that I had a similar idea back in the early 2K's at Agilent Technologies (nope, I'm not saying that I'm another Steve Jobs : there is no other Steve Jobs ;-)
At this time, we were to develop a brand new product, strategic for the future of our business unit. As a member of the Apple Developper Connection program, I was used to the methods the Cupertino firm put in place for Mac OS X (the 10.0 release) : regular beta seeds, beta testing program, feedback collection, etc. Hence the idea to use the same process for our new product : create a beta testers community, send them each new build of the firmware, get them engaged with the product development timeline, etc.
More : to avoid leaks - the Telecoms world is a small world... - I wanted to get the applications (i.e. the core value of this new product) tested by separate individuals, in such ways that no one would know what the others were doing. Also, using a fake hardware was planned, so nobody would learn about the real thing - see here : this product features a stunning design still unmatched by its rivals, five years after its official launch...
Unfortunately, we couldn't implement this program : our product didn't run under MS Windows or any of the commercial OS at this time (not speaking of Linux or Mac OS : the Test & Measurement industry is living in a MS Windows world...). So, we were simply unable to get people outside of the company to test a single line of code. Kind of Mission:Impossible made really impossible !
Today, the landscape is totally different. The emergence of the Web 2.0 has changed the way we can develop new applications, even those to be implemented onto a fiber optics test handheld. Design your app as a Web-based one, and you're done : APIs, widgets, snippets, etc. It's all there, available, and easy to deploy, test, and use. That's what Apple did with the iPhone, by the way : consider each function (e.g. phone, internet, camera, etc.) as an application per se, then consider it as being called as a widget... Assign one guy or one team per widget, and you reach the ultimate secrecy level : nobody will know where this stuff is going to be implemented, and how it will be used !
Actually, I will use this proven method with the developments at Testing 2.0.
Dear French Web 2.0 fellows, my apologies ! In my recent post ' What We Do (Not) ', I forgot one freaking cool startup : vPod.tv ! I thought the WebTV actor was a new infant from the Kingdom of Spain. I should have known better : the son of a very close friend of mine is working at vPod. Mathieu, aka " Mat ", joined the startup last year, as software developer. I spoke with Mat on Friday. An top-developer, Mat is also a very good salesman : he convinced me that vPod.tv is a french startup with a brillant future worldwide.
To start with, I think they've got it all : a smart business model, a whole-solution offer for both end-users and clients (vPod.tv provides a full-range of B2B services for companies looking for a webTV portal - see below), and a Apple-like user-experience, thanks to the combination of superb user interfaces, ease of use, and flexibility. Hey, they even provide an API for set-top-box, allowing users to watch the WebTV on their own TVs !
Of course, I am going to use vPod.tv as my preferred tool for sharing and embedding my own videos.
Shall every France-based Web 2.0 startup provide such a high-level of both quality and capabilities, I would change my mind regarding the Silicon Valley. Nevertheless, I am afraid vPod is kind of unique here.
vPod.tv on the show here :
Earlier this week, I had to explain my vision of the Optical Fibers Communications industry, with its own cycles being tight to the ones of the Telecoms industry at large. For instance, I am convinced that the actual deployment of FTTH Fiber To The Home networks all over the World (well, in some parts of ;-) marks the end of a cycle and the begining of a new one, which will last at least 20 years.
To be brief (I will come back on that later someday), my take is that once FTTH will be the standard, a new fiber will emerge that will be aimed at long-haul transmissions. Featuring ultra-low loss, say an order or two of magnitude vs. today's fibers, this new fiber will pave the way for entirely new solutions for cabling, splicing, installation, testing, etc. In other words : it will revamp the whole Fiber Optics industry.
This discussion made think about an article I wrote back in the early 00's, when I was with Agilent Technologies, for the magazine ' Telecoms Plus International '.
note : Fiber Optics novices, please feel free to call me (Skype welcome) for explanations ;-)
The Light Fantastic
Over the past five years, the drivers in the fiberoptics industry have moved from research and development to marketing, and financial security has taken precedence over engineering innovation. Hot technologies such as DWDM have not been fully realized due to the fixed goals of lowering costs and increasing ROI, which will very likely remain the dominant trends for the next 18-24 months.
Key players cannot remain stagnant, however: new domains and segments must be exploited. The "last mile" - the "broadband access network" - must be addressed. The principal challenges facing the Installation and Maintenance (I&M) specialist, therefore, are twofold:
i) In I&M, customers are seeking one-stop specialists and any valuable provider of test and measurement equipment must be prepared to offer "drive-through" I&M solutions
ii) The much talked about last mile boom is near, with the industry beginning to climb out of the economic downturn. There will therefore be a great need for new, specialized tools for technicians, and I&M companies must be ready for this.
The fiber optics I&M industry has an almost magical quality about it. By virtue of the very nature of what it entails, the market will continue to grow and will always exist. The question now is: where will it go ?
The Old Timers
A quick glance at the fiberoptics industry over the mid-80's - mid 90's decade, between the first singlemode long-haul systems and the Telecom Act and the telecommunications market deregulation in Europe, shows that until 1998 this industry was pretty much technology-driven. Every single progress in transmission capacity or regeneration span length was due to improvements in the fiber manufacturing process or in the laser technology. For instance, the quick migration from the first 'long-haul' optical transmission systems on multimode fibers in the early 80's to the first singlemode systems around 1985 has been possible thanks to the availability of the first 'good-quality-enough' singlemode fibers and the 1310nm laser diodes. Telcos and carriers were able to double the regeneration spans from 10-15 km to 30-40 km, making optical transmission cost-effective for their trunk networks. The apparition of the 1550nm lasers one or two years later was a tremendous step forward: the 50 miles (80km) barrier was reached, allowing the service providers to install high-capacity (at this time... 200 Mb/s) optical systems between the major cities of their territory. The first commercial EDFA optical amplifiers entered the long-haul arena in 1992-93, almost immediately followed by the first WDM transmission systems: incumbent telcos all over the planet then deployed their optical core networks with SONET/SDH systems. The foundations of the Information Superhighways were ready.
The New Deal
A couple of years later, in 1995, two major events were to change the face of the Telecommunications world : The US Telecom Act, that will be released by the Federal Communications Commission in 1996, and the termination of the patents regarding telecoms fibers manufacturing processes, that will expire before the end of 1995.
The first paragraph of the FCC's Telecom Act is pretty clear : ' The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is the first major overhaul of telecommunications law in almost 62 years. The goal of this new law is to let anyone enter any communications business -- to let any communications business compete in any market against any other. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 has the potential to change the way we work, live and learn. It will affect telephone service -- local and long distance, cable programming and other video services, broadcast services and services provided to schools' [FCC, http://www.fcc.gov/telecom.html]. The door was then open for a never-seen-before competition in the telecoms arena. The forthcoming deregulation in Europe, scheduled to start January 1st of 1998, was also a key element in the tremendous tornado that lead to the New Economy world at the edge of the 21st Century...
In the meantime, Corning and Lucent Technologies (formerly as AT&T) were to lose the patents which protected the manufacturing processes of the SMF Standard Singlemode Fibers, a.k.a. ITU-T G652, and the DSF Dispersion Shifted Fibers, a.k.a. ITU-T G653 since... the 70's. Together, Corning and Lucent owned roughly 90% of the telecom fibers market, providing all major service providers across the planet with state-of-the-art G652 and G653 fibers. Their strategy to overcome a situation where the production of those mainstream products was now open to everyone was to develop new fibers for new needs: here come the famous non-zero-dispersion-fibers, a.k.a. ITU-T G655, aimed to resolve the issues of intrinsic dispersions within the fibers at 10Gbit/s and beyond. The DWDM systems which were to be deployed by the various players boosted by the US Telecom Act and the European Telecom deregulation had now their own transmission media: those *new fibers*...
The New Economy
1998 : the Telecoms industry runs at full-speed with the deployment of optical links across oceans and continents, the Internet penetrates the consumer market with free access services, and Marketing goes to Fiberoptics Technology !
For instance, for the first time ever fibers have a name, no longer a obscure number: Corning' s LEAF or Lucent' s TrueWave for the new ITU-T G655 fibers. Also, for the first time since the first commercial applications in the early 80's, optical transmission systems are based on proprietary technologies: although the famous 'ITU Grid' was meant to guarantee some interoperability between equipments from different vendors, all major WDM systems suppliers but one, Ciena, were providing turn-key solutions that include fibers, cables, hardware, and transmission equipments. Each Network Equipment Manufacturer, or NEM, was then using a specific region of the wavelength grid defined by the ITU-T authority, locking out its rivals of its installed base.
This was a perfect solution for the numerous new entrants in the telecommunications marketplace, who could then entirely rely on the NEM for the complete network' construction food chain, from design to system turn-up and maintenance. The fact is that those new service providers or carriers were penetrating the optical communications business from scratch, almost without technical knowledge nor experience in this domain. Hence the critical role played by the optical system supplier, who could both offer its new technologies and help the new entrant to build its own value proposition.
The Magic of Fiberoptics technology was gone.
This was the time of the New Economy Virtuous Circle, when investors brought tremendous financing into the new entrants, who signed tremendous contracts with the network equipment manufacturers, who got tremendous financing from investors.
The New Era
But this was also the beginning of a terrific vicious circle, which ended-up with the 2002' divestiture of almost every of those new entrants could they be services providers competing against the incumbent telcos or carriers leasing their fibers to those two segments.
The reason is simply the same than for the numerous start-up companies who started with the Internet expansion and died with the Internet-bubble explosion: a nice business plan with bright ideas but no market, read no customer, no end-user. Being really serious for a second: beginning of the 21st Century, half the planet do not use a telephone, majority of access to the Internet are made from the office and not from home, and most of the cell phones are used by teenagers for instant voice chatting.
So, as a matter of fact, this reality recently blew up in front of the Telecom Act's babyboomers, who all quit - or are quitting - the business, leaving behind them beautiful up-to-date telecommunications infrastructures, with brand new singlemode fibers that are future-proofed, and enough bandwidth capacity to seamlessly and simultaneously carry the UMTS and Internet communications to the subscribers.
This is the time of Customer-focus, it is the time to listen to the end-user, and most of all, it is the time for plenty of new services and applications, especially in the test & measurement arena.
Let us go through the fantastic opportunities we face now as the Magic of Fiberoptics is back!
The Great Magic Circus
Ever heard about 'fiber characterization' those days? One of the hottest topics of discussions between
carriers or service providers and their suppliers, could they be network equipment manufacturers or test and measurement companies. Two major reasons for this demand: on one hand, the ongoing consolidation within the telecoms industry leads the operators to sooner or later integrate networks infrastructures that have been deployed by former rivals, hence the need for expertise by specialists. On the other hand, the same have to cope with limited resources in terms of instrumentation and workforce, a critical issue reinforced by the fact that fiber characterization requires both high-end solutions and skilled engineers.
Aimed at the complete description of the physical status and actual optical performances of the fibers, the fiber characterization applies to existing optical infrastructures and also to new networks: expertise of optical cables installed during the mid 80's and 90's decade, qualification of existing fibers for WDM transmission, and fine-tuned analysis of new cables for dispersion compensation.
The expertise of existing fiber-plant is both a complete check-up of the health of the cable and the verification of the capability of the fibers to carry certain transmission systems like WDM at 10 Gbps per channel. It consists of several verifications, such as visual inspection of the cable plant itself, and lots of different tests, such as fiber signature, chromatic dispersion, polarization mode dispersion, and spectral loss measurements. All procedures that require high-level of expertise, by skilled engineers and technicians with enough background to deliver the proper conclusions, so the service provider or the carrier can ensure his optical infrastructure is able or not to sport that kind of system.
On new installations, the goal of fiber characterization is a bit different: the singlemode fibers produced since 1998 are aimed at high bit rate transmission, say 10Gbps TDM, featuring perfectly controlled dispersion parameters with low PMD and low CD. Measuring those parameters helps to verify if dispersion compensators must be eventually used, and where. On top of this 'basic' requirement, the fibers can also be characterized for the next generation systems, like the famous 40G - 40Gbps per channel on long-haul WDM systems.
A quick review of the optical networks infrastructures around the planet shows that more than the half of the fibers count will have to be characterized within the next couple of years, either by network operators willing to integrate existing cables sporting 'unknown' fibers, or service providers looking for key technology differentiators, such as 40G systems. That is a reason why so many carriers and service providers are seeking for help from their traditional partners and suppliers.
So, what is it for a market where the demand is high - fiber characterization - but only a few suppliers can deliver - experts at network equipment manufacturers or test & measurement companies: a perfect marketplace to be for high-growth profitable business! Long-lasting business or not, that is the question. The answer is most probably 'Yes', due to the fact that the complexity of optical networks increases when in the meantime the average skill of available workforce decreases...
With behemoths like Global Crossing or Worldcom in the tornado, the turmoil agitating the telecommunications marketplace since months seems to drive the entire industry to an incredible u-turn, backwards the 1996’ Telecom Act. Investors’s confidence gone away, the telecommunications landscape will pretty much look like the computing industry : a hand-full giants sharing 90% of the market, developing and deploying new solutions and services with help of a cascade of primary and secondary contractors and sub-contractors. An excellent opportunity for small companies to become key players...
The major incumbant telcos are to be back in the spotlights, with almost all their rivals born from the Telecom Act wiped out. They will then have to integrate thousands of fiber miles in their own networks, opening a fantastic door for engineering and consulting firms to help them with expertise, fiber characterization, and documentation.
Core networks consolidated, access networks almost completed, the telcos will master the entire optical infrastructure from long-haul to the last-mile. The competition no longer that hard, they will then have the unique opportunity to control the very bottleneck of broadband access : the last mile. With so many fibers now waiting for a signal to carry, the “new” services providers will have to find some way to turn them from ‘vacancy’ to ‘occupancy’...
--------- end ---------
Yesterday, I met with the co-founder of a Web 2.0 startup here in Paris, France, doing WebTV kind of new venture. She is looking for someone able to set up the entire technical infrastructure, from the software apps to the video servers to the fibers, etc.
During our discussion, a couple of things came to my mind. For instance, what are our strengths in the new Internet, us Frenchies. Okay, dear American readers, no bad joke, I am serious. What is it that make us shine in this Web 2.0 world ? Apart a handful of websites or tools such as Netvibes, what do we do ? I am afraid the answer is : not that much. Our country is not suited for High-Tech. We have lost the leadership in the Telecoms sector, we are losing it in the Automotive industry, we are facing major issues in the Aerospace domain (see Airbus ' turmoil). Are we leading something in the fast-growing Green industry ? Nope. At least, not yet - not before the forthcoming Presidential elections here. Okay, enough complaints, it's time for act ;-)
So, my advice to her was : go to Silicon Valley. There is willingness to move ahead there, to innovate, to create, to build the Future, no matter this one will last one year, one IPO, or one handful of decades... Investors are back, money seems to be flooding again along the Bay Area, and the fun is there again. For concrete information on that trend, read the recent article : " Tech IPOs: They're back! ", by Michael V. Copeland, Business 2.0 Magazine.
I really believe a ticket to SFO would be worth the investment. What is 1.5k euros bill (i.e. total expenses for a business week in the Bay Area) compared to the richness of contacts one may initiate in the Valley ?...
ps : anyone knowing about a Netvibes kind of site for video/TV feeds ONLY, please drop me an email !
Being both a Cycling fan (I am cyclist myself) and a Bay Area lover (I was living in San Francisco during the 1906 earthquake - I'm serious : I firmly believe I died during the resulting fire... and that's the reason why I want to go back there for the rest of my - actual - life), I watch the Tour of California live on... the Net.
The race's website < www.amgentourofcalifornia.com > offers outstanding features packed in the Tour Tracker 2.0 tool, developped jointly by Adobe and CSC. As the press release claims :
Launching Feb. 18, the site's Tour Tracker 2.0, designed specifically for the Amgen Tour of California, will employ the latest technology from founding partners CSC and Adobe to provide the ultimate viewing experience for cycling fanatics and casual observers alike. Tour Tracker 2.0 is a lightweight Flash-based application built using Adobe Flex technology that is pioneering a new generation of rich Internet applications. Tour Tracker 2.0 requires Adobe Flash Player, which is installed on more than 700 million personal computers worldwide. Some of the features will include:
- Full-screen capable live video stream of each stage from start to finish (provided by Adobe)
- Enhanced user interface featuring elevation, route, rider and peloton positions, and text race commentary (provided by Adobe)
- Archived stage video clips
- GPS photography for each stage that pinpoints highlights along the route (provided by Adobe and CSC)
- GPS tracking for top riders and official vehicles (provided by CSC)
- GPS data will provide first-hand knowledge of the top rider positions along the route and overall peloton location, as well as elevation information, general speed and overall miles from the finish
- Minute-by-minute textual race commentary exclusively reported by VeloNews
- Two audio channels, including live audio commentary from sports journalist JoE Silva and former cyclists Robbie Ventura and Chris Gutowsky, and an official radio tour stream that lets listeners hear what race officials hear
- Mobile (WAP) site for information and text updates for each stage so fans on the go can access race information from mobile phones and devices
The question is : what does a post on Cycling do on FiberGeneration ? Actually, this : the point is, the Amgen Tour of California website is a perfect example of what a Testing 2.0 website for end-users (read : Telcos) should be. Sites maps with GPS tracking and data, live video feeds of the network' s installation, video and photos archives, audio commentaries, dedicated site for access by mobile users, etc...
I have posted a call for innovation on Usenet' sci.optics.fiber newsgroup here. Of course, it is about Testing 2.0
The reason I did that : eleven years ago, I posted a call for participants for the Fiber66 project on this very newsgroup. In less than 6 weeks, I got 40+ positive replies. That was before Internet became part of our daily life.
So, my bet is that things will roll out faster today, thanks to Web 2.0.
I'm a happy Web 2.0 man : since yesterday, I'm an official Coghead Beta Tester ! That means prototyping of Testing 2.0 apps will be easier, as well as... beta testing. What a wonderful world : using beta stuff to produce other beta stuff ;-)
Post-Scriptum : for more information on Coghead, please read this detailled article by TechCrunch.
"Pipes is a tool that lets the average user build easily what programmers have been hacking together for a while: Custom combinations of the RSS feeds now nearly ubiquitous across news sites, blogs and other information services."
Used together with widgets, Pipes is going to be the fundamental brick for the forthcoming revolution in professional custom apps, built by the end-users for the end-users. Thanks to Pipes, you will be able to aggregate multiple data from multiple sources into one single window. Within the next couple of years, everything will be ' Web 2.0-based ' : every single information on the Web will be available as a RSS feed. So will be the enterprise' s data : all RSS. Therefore, it's pretty easy to figure out how people will manage the information flow : by themselves - or with the help of small consulting firms (by the way : Web 2.0 could sign off the end of the Big IT firms).
ps : I bet Apple has brought Yahoo! on board of the iPhone with some leapfrogging ideas based on Pipes in mind.
When I discuss with friends, neighbors or colleagues, about Global Warming and the necessary changes in our way of living, I often hear the same reactions : it will cost us more money, it will force us to shut down hundreds of industries, it will create legions of jobless people, etc. I keep answering : "no". For me, the question is pretty simple : either we continue as in the past and we go right into the wall, either we all stand up together for a dramatic paradigm shift and we save the Planet, thanks to... Technology. New technologies coming out of R&D labs, old technologies used a different way, etc. : those will lead us to innovate and... create new tasks, new functions, new jobs.
Al Gore, speaking at the Silicon Valley Joint Venture event in San Jose, Calif., said there's still time to combat the expected effects of climate change. He said the investment and innovation that built the high-tech and biotech industries is now needed for green tech. Watch the video posted on C|NET here.
Ever wondered where the US Telecoms industry is going ? Stephen Colbert has the answer ! Watch him explaining the recent disappearance of Cingular for the sake of... AT&T, and you will really see the true meaning of the word 'consolidation'...
Original post where I found this video, by Garr Reynolds of PresentationZen : here.
ps : I'm pretty sure that we will see the same movements in Europe soon. For instance, how about only two telcos in France within the next 18 to 24 months (think of the potential failure of FTTH deployment for one of the actual players ?...). Enjoy the ride !
According to LightReading, Google faces some reliability issues with its WiFi network deployed last year in the city of Mountain View, California. Due to interferences with other WiFi nets, residential users can't access to Google' s free-of-charge hotspots. Sources tell Light Reading that "Google is in the 'talking and exploring' phase with powerline home networking, especially with Spain-based PLC chipsets maker DS2, who recently released the first 200Mbit/s solutions to the market.
Full article here.
My comment : Powerline technology is going to make it, whatever the final decision by Google will be. Simply because PLC is the easiest/simplest/cheapest way to create the broadband home network that all the new services - think TriplePlay and HDTV - enabled by the FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home massive deployments will require. My take on that ? By 2008, Apple will release the first consumer electronics device with embedded 200Mbit/s powerline connection - think of a universal set-top-box combining Airport, AppleTV and whatever new marvels Mr. Jobs has in his pockets for the year to come ;-)
ps : see my comics here