Friday, April 11, 2014

IoT, a Market of Everything

I'm questioning whether the term "IoT" is more about hype and selling trade shows than a real market opportunity.  As previously noted, there are many real markets and applications that are now put in the "IoT" bucket.

Why do many lead with the "smart refrigerator" as the poster child for IoT?  A smart appliance requires a "smart consumer" which makes it a niche market at best.

What's different now?  Cheap sensors, cheap modems (wired and wireless), cheap broadband connectivity, remote (i.e., cloud) intelligence?

When you put everything in the "IoT bucket" of course it's going to be a multi-trillion dollar market.  It's analogous to tire manufactures including the price of vehicles in their market size calculation.

   To discuss these issues please contact me at

   For a list of previous articles please see

Friday, February 21, 2014

Network PVR a Win for SPs and Consumers

Moving the "storage" function out of the Set-top box and in to the network is a win for both the service provider and for the consumer.  This article, written in ADD solving terseness,  will give the read an overview of the salient points of the benefits of deploying a network-based DVR or N-PVR.  Comments/corrections/suggestions are always welcomed.

What is N PVR?
1.       Network Personal Video Recorder (a.k.a. Network DVR)
2.       A DVR in the Cloud
3.       A user’s programming or content is stored on a server located within a service providers facility instead of stored on a hard disk drive embedded in a set-top box.

Benefits for Service Provider and Consumer
  1. Enables SPs to remove costly storage in every STB.
    1. One less device to fail.
    2. Reduces cost per STB,  less stranded capital
    3.  Reduces power consumption of STBs
      1.   Helps achieve goals set in voluntary agreement (see:
  2. Makes whole home DVR simpler
    1.  All traffic originates from the network to any device (TV, PC, Tablet, Smart phone et al.)
    2. Transparent to user
    3.  Simplifies home networking, re-use existing networks such as WiFi,  No need for a new technology.
  3. Enables TV-Everywhere or video everywhere and advanced video services
    1. A single seamless video experience across all devices/screens.
    2. Pause on one screen; resume on another screen is simplified.
    3. Watch “save” programming on any device at any location.
  4. Enables location-based targeted advertising
    1.  Ads can be “re-inserted” to location user is actually watching stored content.
    2. No need to play Boston Ads if user is watching Red Sox game in San  Francisco.
    3. Enhances advertising packages to ad buyers.
    4. Enhances viewing experience of consumer since ads are more relevant.
    5. Increases ad revenues
  5. Reduces usage and congestion of upstream bandwidth
    1.  Eliminates the need for Sling Box
      1. Sling box clogs limited upstream last mile channels
      2. N-PVR eliminates Sling Box zero revenue traffic
  6. Enables SPs to take advantage of innovations in Content Delivery Systems and advanced caching technologies.
    1. May already be implemented for Video on Demand.
  7. Enables smart phone to become DVR controller
    1.  Guide on smart phone delivered from network
    2.   “record” in network
  8. Leverages investments in cloud infrastructure
    1.  ROI of data centers investment will be enhanced with the addition of N-PVR application. 
    1.  As N-PVR rolls out, cache’s and servers may find themselves in facilities that aren’t as friendly as purpose built data centers.  These may include regional and local facilities such as central offices and head ends.
    2.  Energy issues (e.g., heat) should be addressed.
  10. LEGAL Issue
    1. The Cablevision litigation in the U.S. has been resolved in Cablevision’s favor.
    2. Content providers argued it violated copyright laws.
    3. Cablevision argued it’s the same as a DVR just a different location.
    4. After a number of rulings and subsequent appeals the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case ending the litigation.
    5. Recommendation to SPs…Deploy! 
  11.  Technical Issues
    1.  SP’s will need to have the stored programming in numerous formats applicable to specific devices.  i.e., different resolution and data rates for an HDTV verse a smart phone via 4G/LTE.
    2. Do you translate and transcode on demand or ahead of time? 

   To discuss these issues please contact me at

   For a list of previous articles please see


Monday, February 10, 2014

IoT? Internet of Things....What is a Thing?

Internet of Things, or IoT, is a topical conversation these days.  Companies with vested interest, such as Cisco, have announced this market to be $Billions and $Billions in the not so distant future.   What is the internet of things?  What are the “things”?

The word “thing” is a good one here.  You can add “no” and “every” to the front of it and get other proper words.  So IoT can mean “nothing” and “everything”.   That exactly what it means today

A market of nothing and everything is not a real market.  It’s either a ZERO billion dollar market (nothing) or an infinite billion dollar market (Everything).   Zero dollar markets don’t sell market research reports and space at trade shows.  So the industry tends to favor the infinite dollar market.  So we see reports of IoT being a $19 TRILLION market (Cisco), $14 to $33 Trillion (Mckinsey) and a mere $2 Trillion market (Gartner). 

We’ve seen this movie before.  In the 1990’s the market for “Multimedia” was predicted to be many billions and more recently we hear the market for “Cleantech” will be multiple billions.  Yet, like the term IoT, these words meant nothing and everything

When asked what multimedia applications were the answers were always video editing, video conferencing, training and kiosk.   Not sure about “kiosk” but the other three are not multimedia applications they are specific identifiable markets.

Similarly, what are cleantech applications?  Energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart grid are often the answer.  Here again, these are not cleantech applications, they are specific identifiable markets. 

So let’s drop the hype around IoT and start talking about real markets that combine sensors, IP networks and analytics.  I almost said “Big data”, but that’s another “nothing” and “everything” market.

For further discussion please contact me at

Click here for an INDEX of Articles and Post

Monday, February 3, 2014

Net-Neutrality Overruled! A Win for Everyone!

Why this is good for everyone?

  1. Market Reality
    1. Service Providers are public companies
    2. Broadband is not classified as a "common carrier"
      1. If it was it wouldn't have been deployed
    3. Google, et al, get a free ride and they generate tons of cashs
      1. No one seems to complain about this.
  2. It is fair to the small company!
    1. No difference than numerous other industries
      1. Not everyone can afford to, or wants to, buy a Superbowl ad.
        1. No outrage here?
    2. This will force small companies and start-ups to innovate harder
      1. The consumer will benefit even more.
        1. FCC is all about protecting the US consumer
  3. Service providers will have the incentive to invest in last mile bandwidth
    1. They will get a fair return on their investment
    2. Consumers will benefit again
      1. So will Google
  4. Consumers will benefit
    1. More bandwidth
    2. Better services
  5. Yet, FCC must TRUST but VERIFY
    1. FCC needs to ensure policies and "tariffs" are fair, equitable and non-discriminatory 

Click here for an INDEX of Articles and Post

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Cable TV Set-top Box Standard Goes Into Effect

Validates Greywale Service Provider Energy Strategy Business Drivers!
(go to for additional information)
1.       It was a voluntary agreement.
a.     Agreement was made between the US Department of Energy (DOE), Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, the Consumer Electronics Association and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA)

  2.     It is a “Non-regulatory” standard
   a.     The non-regulatory agreement provides a framework for the DOE and pay-TV industry   to work together on efficient, high-performing set-top boxes that leverage technological improvements.  It achieves what would otherwise be done through regulatory standards.
3.     It sets numerical targets
a.      The target improvement in STB efficiency is 10 to 45 percent, depending on the class of the STB device,  by 2017.
4.     It requires reporting and auditing
a.       The agreement requires the industry publicly report specific set-top box energy use and requires an annual audit of service providers by an independent auditor to ensure boxes are performing at the efficiency levels specified in the agreement.
5.     Originated from non-traditional telecom agencies.
a.     The impetus for this came from the U.S. Department of Energy not the F.C.C.
6.     It has wide industry support
a.        From the U.S. Department of Energy

                                                       i.      “Agreement signatories include pay-TV providers (listed according to number of customers) Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Verizon, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems Corp., Bright House Networks and CenturyLink; and manufacturers Cisco, ARRIS (including Motorola), and EchoStar Technologies. Energy efficiency advocates Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) are also signatories to the agreement.”

(go to for additional information)

Click here for an INDEX of Articles and Post

Friday, November 8, 2013

How Many Years will the “Year of SDN” last?

The valuation of nascent SDN companies is enormous given the state of the market.  One would be lead to think that the market for SDN solutions is imminent.  Is it?  While the business value proposition, beyond “F’ Cisco, has merit the roll-out of SDN solutions cannot, and will not, occur nearly as rapidly as those with vested interest would lead you to believe.

The primary customers for SDN solutions, service providers (SPs) and large enterprises are by nature risk adverse.  SPs have huge geographic disperses networks, investors and bureaucratic regulators breathing down their necks.  Enterprises worry about, among other issues, earnings per share and business continuity.

Given this environment how can SPs and enterprises rollout SDN rapidly?  Their choices are “Rip & Replace” and “Cap & Grow”.   Is the SDN value proposition so great as to justify the former?  I think not.  The question then is how fast can they cap existing investments can and grow the new SDN solution?

Questions to consider include; how many Class 5 switches have been scrapped? How long did IMS take to be fully deployed?   As I’ve stated in previous article1 SDN is not magical that it can violate innovation adoption conventions.  We know the typical SP sales cycle.  Lab evaluation, Lab trial, field trial, market trial, regional deployments.   Each of these can take 12 to 24 months. 

Let us not forget organizational issues as well.   Who’s in the lead for SDN deployment, IT or network operations?  Whose budget will pay for and support the SDN system? 

SDN is not a simple transition.  It’s not replacing one router with a new generation router and reconnecting the cables.  Thus, the question:  How long many years will the “Year of SDN” last?


      To develop winning strategies contact me at

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Greywale Management Releases First Service Provider Energy Strategy Taxonomy

Service Provider Energy Strategy

The energy consumption of telecommunication networks is emerging as a primary concern among network $0.01 per share in net earnings.  With this in mind, energy strategy has reached the board room! 
operators.   The largest U.S. carriers each spend over $1 Billion per year on energy.   One calculation shows that a savings of just 3% would translate in to
Given the scope, variability and diversity of these networks 

Greywale Management proposes the Greywale Service Provider Energy Strategy Taxonomy® to drive future discussions, research and investments and to prevent random acts of green.  Without a clear strategy map, the industry risk high levels of ambiguity and redundancy in these efforts and delays in implementing the much needed energy management techniques. 

Equally important it will prevent “random acts of green”.   Good “green” ideas are everywhere.   Each one may even have value.  Yet, without an overriding energy strategy driven by the taxonomy, service providers will not maximize their investment and business potential.  The use of scarce corporate resources, finances
and management attention may produce an initial euphoria but will lead to long term disillusionment. Moreover, the taxonomy will ensure that these resources and efforts are spent on the right long term solution that also addresses the current needed energy savings for the business.

To download the Taxonomy go to

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Telco Energy Strategy Should Demand Zero Impact on Services

As energy strategies reach the boardroom, service provider management should insist on “zero-impact” on services.  The stakes are too high in the competitive zero-sum game they participate in.  Customer satisfaction, reduced churn and a strong brand are paramount in this environment.  By treating energy as a strategic initiative they will achieve the benefits of lower OPEX, enhance brand and more efficient end-to-end operations.  Tactical energy initiatives will not get funded if they have a perceivable adverse effect on consumer and business services.  These adverse effects could be short lived, as during installation, or long term, if, for example, latency is introduced.   Thus, their energy strategy should demand zero impact on services.

Note the emphasis on “services” instead of “network”.    It would be unreasonable to demand zero impact on the network if you are deploying a new architecture or energy aware protocol.  Yet, with IP (Internet Protocol) the impact on the network should not cause the perceivable impact on services. 

Is zero-impact unreasonable and wouldn’t “minimal impact” be a better goal?  The challenge here would be to define what “minimal” means?  Would it mean X amount of video anomalies per 30 minutes?  Why not X+1?  Would it mean Y dropped calls/tower/minute?  Why not Y+1?  Also, who defines X and Y? Would the CEO, CTO, or CMO define them?  Would international standards organizations set them? 

 Setting the goal of “Zero Impact” sends a clear message throughout the organization of what is expected.  Terms such as “sustainability” and “green” will have clearer meaning.  Green projects that make people feel good but have no financial justification will fail fast so the real winners can progress.  Therefore, telcos and service providers should demand Zero Impact on services.

Contact: Greg Whelan at to discuss.