August 22, 2011
Volume XXXVI, Issue 4
Solid State Networks Powers Highwinds GDN
Highwinds, a leader in content delivery network (CDN) and cloud-based IP services, this week unveiled Highwinds Game Delivery Network (GDN), a vertically focused reinvention of its CDN for online game publishers.
Due to its expertise in the online game publishing industry, Highwinds has been working closely with long-time partner Solid State Networks on various technological aspects of the GDN platform.
Solid State Networks' software, known as the Solid Publisher Suite, includes CURRENT, CURRENTpro and DIRECT. CURRENT and CURRENTpro enable download, install, update and launch capabilities via a streamlined user interface. DIRECT offers the same functionality as CURRENT and CURRENTpro, but adds a fully customizable launcher interface that can be used to engage players with promotions and innovative ways to monetize games.
The design philosophy behind Solid State Networks' products is to enable new ways to engage gamers directly; to boost player conversions; to deliver the ultimate game acquisition experience; and to offer new ways to monetize games.
The first CDN specifically tuned for game delivery, Highwinds GDN couples content delivery services with industry-specific software differentiators to address the unique needs of online game publishers.
Highwinds GDN integrates Highwinds' global CDN and a gaming software stack that enables faster downloads, lower delivery costs, fewer abandonments, an integrated download manager, and real-time analytics, all from a single-source provider committed to online game delivery innovation.
"GDN is an industry-specific reinvention of our CDN," said Steve Miller, Chairman and CEO of Highwinds. "Highwinds GDN represents a new technology portfolio for the online gaming industry. It's the culmination of our proven track record in delivering game content to global users, our investment in market-specific software development, solid gaming industry partnerships, employees who understand the unique needs of the online gaming industry, and our commitment to keep raising the technological bar."
The Highwinds GDN was presented this week at the Game Developers Conference Europe.
uTorrent Breaks 100 Million Monthly Users
Excerpted from TorrentFreak Report
BitTorrent just confirmed to TorrentFreak that its popular uTorrent client has broken the magical milestone of 100 million active monthly users. This makes uTorrent the most used BitTorrent client around, and it also shows that BitTorrent as a means to download has become more mainstream than ever before.
By comparison, this is more active users than the much-hyped social network Twitter, and almost quadruple the number of users uTorrent had three years ago.
uTorrent has come a long way since it first saw the light of day nearly six years ago. What began as a minimalist and no-nonsense client targeted at an already BitTorrent-savvy crowd, is now an application that does far more than downloading alone.
Over the years uTorrent's target audience has also changed. BitTorrent was still a geek thing in 2005, but today its users include hockey moms, grandparents, and many others who are not generally classified as computer experts.
"This is a big milestone for uTorrent and adds to what has been a tremendous year of growth for the client," Shahi Ghanem, Chief Strategist at BitTorrent told TorrentFreak.
We're grateful for our users and we want to thank our global community for their amazing support. We take every bit of user feedback to heart when building uT and we remain committed to keeping it the world's fastest and lightest BitTorrent client," Ghanem added.
Although the 100 million milestone is already quite an achievement, one of the main challenges in the future is to keep even more newcomers on board. Previously it was reported that hundreds of thousands of people download uTorrent every day, but that a significant percentage of this group don't become regular users.
To tackle this problem of "bouncing" users, uTorrent has made changes to its client in recent months that aim to keep more novices on board. An example is the "simplified view," allowing users to minimize parts of the uTorrent interface to focus attention on the most essential client features. And that's just one of the many changes the company has made.
Later this year will see another change in course for uTorrent as BitTorrent launches a paid version of the client. Branded "uTorrent Plus," this version of uTorrent will come with several added features including the ability to convert videos and transfer files to external devices. More details on this project are expected to come out in the coming weeks.
Report from CEO Marty Lafferty
We encourage you to join us at OMMA Global, the semi-annual gathering of MediaPost insiders being held from September 26th through 27th in New York, NY, where the most up-to-the-minute news, information, and ideas about the hottest online sectors - mobile, social, video, direct, display - will be well organized and presented for easy access and consumption.
This will represent the DCIA's first participation in this prestigious event, which offers a different kind of exposure for distributed computing industry participants along with access to many new and stimulating parties engaged in cutting-edge deployments of our technologies. We are very excited about the energy of this show, with its theme of "hyper-connectivity:"
"It's here. It's everywhere. And it's also all the time. Media has gone hyper-connective, and the ubiquitous connections are leading advertisers, agencies, and technology platforms to develop new forms of messaging, story-telling, and branding that leverage every port or pixel to which a consumer is connected."
Sound like hype? It's actually "hyper-connectivity," meaning it is no longer about when and where, so much as what you are saying to whom. OMMA Global New York will explore the always-on, ever-connected, constantly back-channeled nature of marketing, media, and advertising.
The conference offers opportunities to attend thought-provoking keynote sessions, dive deep into tracks for specific topics to master, and mine the minds of leading-edge sponsors through their own special workshops and exhibitions. Attendees will be in a great company of industry-leading teachers and acolytes.
OMMA Global actually represents a two-day intensive tour de force of all of MediaPost's separate conferences rolled into one. It is for those advertisers, agency executives, brand managers, marketing managers, media planners, buyers, creative directors, sellers, marketing services suppliers, and related technologists who aim to be leaders of the interactive marketing revolution.
We are no longer merely a connected society; we are a hyper-connected society. Not only are the devices we carry always connected to the Internet; increasingly, they are also connected to each other. And as more of our precious digital information is stored on remote servers rather than on hard drives, our need for unfettered, 24/7 access to our digital lives is becoming more imperative.
This hyper-connectedness, or digital ubiquity, is empowering consumers like never before. The Arab uprisings, which were largely coordinated via Facebook and Twitter, are one great example. UK civil unrest represents a more disturbing instance of this same phenomenon.
If hyper-connectivity is bestowing new power on consumers everywhere, then what fundamental changes is it making to their behavior? How will consumers 10-to-15 years from now be different than today? What role will media outlets and governments play in shaping that future?
"Create once, publish everywhere" used to be the dream of media hyper-distribution across countless platforms and devices. But have you seen the price of building an iPad app lately? As media companies follow their customers onto social media, phones, tablets, e-readers, set-top boxes (STBs) and even cars, that old digital adage has proven easier said than done.
The hyper-connected user needs information that conforms to place, time, circumstance, and use-case, and this new reality affects all aspects of media workflow, product design, and business models.
How will an industry already reeling from the effects of the last web-based digital "revolution" handle the R&D investment, staffing, partnerships, and monetization challenges that "content everywhere" poses?
Media plans were always supposed to connect the media dots, determining the best places and times for a brand to reach consumers. But what happens when consumers are always on, always connected, and when the media they are connected to are also seamlessly connected to each other?
At OMMA Global, leading agency executives will explore how they approach planning in a world where consumers are always connected, in control, and expect their media to be as smart as they are.
Creating for audiences increasingly segmented by trans-media use is a challenge in the age of the always-connected consumer. How do brands and agencies work together to design creative in the context of competing costs of different media platforms and stay highly relevant in each?
Three case studies will each feature a brand and its affiliated partners, who came together to meet the challenges posed by a hyper-connected world.
What do you get when one of the world's largest technology companies partners with one of the world's largest entertainment companies to launch its new product through a connection with live music? A community of hyper-connected, digital tribalists poised and ready to translate their band loyalty to brand loyalty.
Explore such a collaboration that launched a new technology through a tour sponsorship with one of the world's most popular rising bands, including a potent combination of social media, fan/band engagement, contests, and VIP experiences.
So where do agencies and creatives go from here, in this always-on world of ever-connectedness?
Agency CEOs and CCOs will explore and defines the key elements of campaigns required to reach the hyper-connected consumer. What are the creative tradeoffs in an age of hyper-connectivity, and what are the implications of the connected consumer for brand stewardship?
These executives will provide insights into the road forward, highlighting what it will take to succeed simultaneously across media platforms, including the people and structural issues inside the agency and the brand.
We hope to see you next month in New York for this new and different perspective on the implications of cloud computing on media. Share wisely, and take care.
AppFog Gets $8 Million
Excerpted from Cloud Computing Journal Report by Maureen O'Gara
Year-old PHP platform-as-a-service (PaaS) hoster AppFog, (originally PHP Fog), has gotten an $8 million B round led by Ignition Partners with participation from new investors Simon Crosby, Citrix' former data center and virtualization CTO, and VC Matt Ocko as well as existing investors, Madrona Venture Group, First Round Capital and Founders Co-Op.
That makes $9.8 million altogether.
Ignition gets a board seat and Ignition managing director Frank Artale will fill it.
The money's earmarked for integrating broader technologies - it wants to support Node, Ruby, Python, Java and .NET - which explains why it's changed its name - and adding to the development team working on AppFog, the technology that powers PHP Fog.
Industry analysts have told the start-up and its backers that PaaS is beginning to eclipse bare-bones Infrastructure-as-Service (IaaS) and should be in for "big growth," especially in the enterprise market.
Its widgetry simplifies application lifecycle management and offers users application portability across IaaS providers.
AppFog claims nearly 20,000 application developers who have created and deployed about 10,000 applications using its platform.
Cloud Computing Promotes Economic Growth & Job Creation
Excerpted from SIIA Digital Discourse Report by Mark MacCarthy
Can cloud computing spur economic growth and job creation? In SIIA's recent report, Guide to Cloud Computing for Policymakers, we say that the biggest benefit of cloud is "the boost it can give to other economic activity through the provision of more effective and less expensive computing capabilities."
It's worth emphasizing this point and reviewing some recent economic studies that back it up.
A recent study by Federico Etro finds that cloud computing tends to increase business formation in European economies. Cloud computing reduces the costs of entry into a market by shifting fixed capital expenditures on information technology into operating expenses that depend on the size of a company's output, spurring the formation of new firms.
It's easier for companies to get started when they can buy the computing services they need rather than invest in expensive large-scale computer hardware and software.
Etro considers the effects of two possible routes for cloud computing's diffusion in Europe: a slow dispersal that reduces the fixed costs of entry by 1% and a rapid one that reduces these costs by 5%. In either case, the contribution to economic growth is significant.
After one year, even a slow diffusion of cloud computing increases annual economic growth by five basis points (0.05%). After five years of rapid diffusion, annual economic growth is four-tenths of one percent (0.4%) higher than it otherwise would be.
A rapid diffusion of cloud computing would create almost 400,000 additional small and medium sized business in Europe after five years, Etro estimates. The bulk of these new firms are concentrated in wholesale and retail trade and real estate and other business activities.
It would create a short-term increase of one million jobs in Europe, and reduce the European unemployment rate by one-half of one percent (0.5%). Though it's true that the efficiencies of cloud computing could reduce the number of people performing IT-related tasks, the overall effect would increase jobs. He estimates that 8 jobs would be created for every job lost.
These are impressive results. But they derive from examining only one benefit of cloud computing - the reduction in capital costs that allow new firms to enter the market. Another European study by the Center for Economic and Business Research takes into account the economy-wide costs savings and new revenue opportunities made possible by cloud computing in five European countries.
Cloud computing reduces costs for existing firms by reducing their capital expenditures, their labor costs, and their power costs (since they no longer need to service large in-house computers). Cloud computing also allows existing companies to scale to bring products and services to new markets and meet unpredictable short-term demand peaks.
Companies can leverage cloud computing to earn extra revenue that they might otherwise have missed if they had to invest in new computing equipment or software in order to expand output.
CEBR takes these effects into account, along with the new business formation effect, and estimates that adoption of cloud computing will generate a cumulative increase in output of E763 billion in these countries, and an increase in employment of 2.3 million between 2010 and 2015.
By 2015, annual economic benefits are predicted to be in excess of E177 billion and the annual increase in jobs expected to be 446,000.
Which sectors stand to gain most from the cloud?
A follow-up study by CEBR breaks it down. Distribution, retail & hotels accounts for E233 billion of the cumulative economic gain through 2015, and government, education and health will gain the largest number of jobs - 801,000 - over this period. Banking has the second highest economic gain with E183 million and manufacturing is the second biggest beneficiary of job gains at 501,000 jobs. So the economic benefits are wide-spread.
These results are no doubt promising, but all studies of the impact of a new technology should be subject to some degree of uncertainty. We can never make perfect predictions of what lies ahead.
But these reports suggest that cloud computing can have substantial benefits for economies struggling with issues of growth and unemployment.
The policy implications of these studies need to be made explicit.
The message to policy makers is to be alert for policies that can inhibit the growth of cloud computing. As our earlier study noted, dissipating the economic advantages of cloud computing by imposing inefficient localization requirements or limits on cross-border data flows will hurt those who depend on enhanced computer services to flourish and provide jobs.
Policy makers seeking to maximize economic gains in hard times should avoid these counterproductive requirements.
Amazon Exec Predicts Cloud Computing Revolution
Excerpted from Business News Daily Report by Mike Wall
Cloud computing will bring about an IT revolution akin to the industrial shift ushered in by the centralized electrical grid, experts say.
Before the grid was set up in the 19th century, American businesses typically generated their own electricity. Similarly, many companies today manage and maintain their own data centers to collect, store, analyze and share information.
But just as the electrical grid obviated the need for company-specific generators, the growth of cloud computing capabilities should consign most on-site data centers to the dustbin of history, according to Andy Jassy, Senior Vice President of cloud-computing giant Amazon Web Services.
"We're at the beginning of a titanic shift," Jassy told a crowd at the 2011 NASA IT Summit this week. "We believe that most of the computing is moving to the cloud."
This shift is occurring because cloud computing saves companies time and money and makes them more flexible, Jassy said.
Traditionally, companies have had to spend a lot of capital to set up and manage their own data centers, according to Jassy. They had to guess at their future capacity needs when doing this - and these guesses had to be fairly accurate, lest the company waste money maintaining excess infrastructure or incur customer wrath by not having enough.
But cloud computing frees firms from that capital outlay, and from the need to make spot-on predictions. Companies just pay a cloud provider for whatever services they need at the time, and they can scale up or down quickly. Essentially, the cloud allows users to rent, rather than buy, capacity.
As a result, companies can focus their limited resources on needed missions rather than on infrastructure maintenance, Jassy said. And firms have easy access to vast computing power, enabling improved data analysis.
"The cloud allows you to find all the diamonds in the rough in that data," Jassy said. "It's a big game-changer."
Of course, Jassy is not an unbiased observer, since Amazon Web Services would love to herd more businesses into the cloud. However, some users back up his assessment of the cloud's potential.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), for example, has embraced the cloud with open arms. Last year, JPL scientists began using cloud capabilities to handle and analyze data gathered by the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
And JPL, which works with Amazon Web Services along with several other cloud vendors, has also employed the cloud to help prepare for its next Mars rover mission, JPL IT chief technology officer Tomas Soderstrom said. That mission, called Mars Science Laboratory, will drop the car-size Curiosity rover onto the Martian surface in August 2012.
Soderstrom echoed Jassy's belief that cloud computing is the wave of the future, and that more and more businesses and government agencies will get onboard soon.
"The cloud is a total game-changer, and we're right at the beginning," Soderstrom said.
New Streaming, Cloud Services Changing Music
Excerpted from Plain Dealer Report by John Soeder
When U2 performed last month in Pittsburgh, John Hannibal was in charge of the music at a pre-concert hotel party. It didn't matter that his personal collection of 8,000 CDs was more than 100 miles away, back home in Olmsted Falls.
Someone requested to hear the Stooges' 1969 debut album. No problem. With his iPhone hooked up to a clock radio, Hannibal cued up Iggy Pop & Co. instantly via Spotify, a new Internet music-streaming service that uses peer-to-peer (P2P) technology.
"It's a total game-changer," said Hannibal, an audio-video consultant who also co-owns a mobile DJ business and runs the Radio Hannibal music blog.
"When the iPod first came out, you could put 20,000 songs in your pocket," said Hannibal, 53. "Now, with Spotify, I have 15 million songs in my pocket. It's just insane!"
And Spotify isn't the only recent development that has music-loving, tech-savvy early adopters dancing for joy. Earlier this year, Amazon and Google introduced cloud services that allow users to store their digital music collections on remote servers and stream tunes from wherever they happen to be via various devices, including mobile phones and tablets.
Apple plans to follow suit with its own iCloud, coming this fall.
Put it all together and 2011 is shaping up to be a watershed moment in music consumerism, right up there with the dawn of Napster in 1999 or the arrival of the iPod and iTunes in 2001.
For years, prognosticators have looked forward to a time when a "celestial jukebox" would let you hear any piece of music, anytime, anywhere.
Online services are changing the way consumers get music. Here are some of the latest options:
Spotify. This music-streaming service lets you listen to 15 million songs. Basic service is free; paid plans range from $4.99 to $9.99 a month and spare you from advertisements. Launched in the United States last month, three years after Spotify made its debut in Europe.
Cloud Services. These repositories store your digital music collection and allow you to access it from virtually anywhere.
iCloud. 5 gigabytes of free storage. No charge for storing music purchased from iTunes, which has a library of 18 million songs. If you want to upload songs that you got elsewhere, you'll pay $24.99 a year. Apple's entry into cloudland is set to launch this fall.
Music Beta by Google. Lets you upload up to 20,000 songs from your music library at no charge. To get started, you'll need to request an invitation from the Google's Music Beta website. Launched in May.
Amazon Cloud Drive. 5 gigabytes of free storage. No charge for storing music purchased from Amazon, which has a library of 16 million songs. Additional storage space available, starting at $20 a year for 20 gigabytes. Launched in March.
Welcome to that future. "We're finally there," said Bob Lefsetz, a music-industry analyst who publishes the Lefsetz Letter blog.
With Spotify getting consumers used to the idea of playing music that you haven't necessarily purchased -- either as an MP3 or a compact disc or whichever format floats your boat -- some predict that the whole notion of actually owning music soon will become as quaintly archaic as the Victrola.
"We don't need to own music," said Lefsetz, who can't remember the last time he bought a physical album.
"This is the best time to be a music consumer. We used to comb record stores, trying to find obscure records. I remember trying to get Frank Zappa's 'Lumpy Gravy.' I couldn't find it for years. I ended up buying an import version.
"It used to be that to check something out, you had to buy it. Now it's free, and everything is at your fingertips."
Spotify has been all the rage in Europe since 2008. It made its US debut in July.
It's solely a streaming-music service, which means that you can't download any of the 15 million songs that Spotify licenses through deals with major record companies and small indie labels alike.
But you can listen to an awful lot of music. At no charge, with some restrictions. Or to your heart's content, for a modest fee.
Cloud Music: Rdio Killed The iTunes Star
Excerpted from CloudTweaks News Report by Lorraine Carpenter
You may have heard of Apple's iCloud, the Amazon Cloud Player, and Google Music Beta, remote music storage services for smart-phones, laptops and desktop computers. Rdio is another such service, lesser known but at least equally connected, and with one major advantage over its competitors.
Founded by the creators of Skype and Kazaa, Rdio has recently signed deals with Verizon and Telus to make the cloud service an optional feature for telecom clients. There's a rumor that Rdio is going to be integrated into Facebook, which would be a bonus for the music-free social network and a coup for Rdio.
But for now, Rdio's claim to fame is that it's the only service of its kind available in Canada. Canadian laws - and, presumably, the fact that Canada is a smaller market - have kept the other companies at bay, at least initially.
Apple, which has already announced plans to launch iCloud in the UK next year, will probably come around, as it's the only company in the music-cloud market to have inked deals with the four major record labels prior to launching. The rest, Rdio included, are dealing with licensing issues as they come up. But if you're wondering whether Rdio is the Netflix of music clouds, its Canadian library a shadow of its American counterpart, the answer is thankfully no.
For a monthly flat-rate of either $5 (web only) or $10 (web and mobile), users have access to a collection of roughly 10 million streaming songs, which you can cache for offline use (on your desktop Rdio or app), with no limits on the number of plays. Rdio will match your iTunes collection, importing all the music you already own - and that it has legal access to - to your music locker in the sky.
Somehow, it imported my obscure Quebecois electro-pop (Automelodi), but not my Polaris Prize-nominated Acadian hip hop (Radio Radio); it recognized the first album by underrated 90s Britpop band Marion, but not the second, which was an import; every album by Montreal's top Morrissey-inspired band, The Dears, is there; sadly, their female, West Coast counterparts, Vancouver's The Organ, is marked "Not Available."
What Rdio recognizes in your iTunes corresponds directly to the content of its own library, and clearly it's not an issue of indie vs. major or popular vs. obscure. You can add the soundtrack to the original Tron movie, by avant-garde classical composer Wendy Carlos, but if you want Arcade Fire's Grammy/Brit/Juno-winning 2010 album The Suburbs, no dice.
Rdio doesn't expect you to do it all yourself. You can see lists of new releases, most popular Rdio albums and recommendations based on your collection. You can also build playlists and see other people's playlists, and "follow" and be followed by other subscribers who appreciate your "Awesome Mixtape #6."
If this sounds nearly too good to be true, be warned that Rdio has its kinks, from minor (the music player stalled and the search engine timed out, a couple of times apiece) to major (when I first subscribed, all the music was marked "preview only," a succession of 30-second clips). The former was likely a fluke, possibly an Internet hiccup, whereas the latter was a major glitch, albeit one that was resolved after a few e-mail exchanges with Rdio's friendly tech support.
So, 10 million songs for pocket change, even with the occasional glitch? I'd say it's more worthwhile than Netflix, and I'm subscribed to that, too.
Dispelling the Perception of Complexity
Excerpted from TMC Net Report by Brandey Smith
In this interview, Michael Stilwagner, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Wynne Systems, talks to managing editor Brandey Smith about the simplicity of the cloud computing model, the cost savings associated with it and the continued importance of customer support.
Smith: Do you think the popular release of Apple's iCloud will further enhance awareness of the cloud computing concept and make offsite storage of data more comfortable for rental business owners?
Stilwagner: We expect that Apple's iCloud will educate people on how "simple" and "in-reach" cloud computing is, dispelling the perception of complexity.
Smith: Does Apple's iCloud offering mean that smaller rental businesses with fewer locations will soon be best served by utilizing a similar cloud model for their software implementation and data storage? In other words, since iCloud is designed for individual users, do you expect similar cloud offerings to follow that offer affordable cloud benefits to small businesses?
Stilwagner: We have already seen a multitude of cloud offerings Application Service Provider Software as a Service made available within the past few years. Our own SaaS offering has been growing at a fast and steady rate for the past 10 years. I believe the ease of use with Apple's iCloud will generate a buzz about similar solutions that may be available within the rental industry.
Smith: Explain how all the outside data management that the cloud provides will affect a rental business' IT costs. How much of an annual savings do you think a small- to medium-sized rental business might expect to achieve when it no longer requires onsite IT personnel?
Stilwagner: The cost savings factor with cloud computing is huge. It not only removes the need for an IT staff, it removes the cost of ownership for servers, backup systems and the related software. Many small and medium companies may not have dedicated IT personnel. That role is filled by a senior person whose time is better spent as a business knowledge worker than a makeshift computer system operator. This is an area where soft costs are obviously recouped because the cloud provider takes on these roles.
Smith: How important is customer support to consider when selecting a new software provider? Give me an example of a situation when support was invaluable.
Stilwagner: The experience, reliability and availability of a customer support staff are very important factors to consider when selecting a new software provider. All of us have been in that frustrating situation where you are on hold with a vendor that is not familiar with the scenario or the industry jargon, which adds frustration to the issue you need resolved.
Support and client services people hired from the equipment industry translate "rental speak" to "system speak" and vice-versa. Consider the availability of the support so that when you have an emergency are they available 7x24x365.
Smith: Describe the very latest technologies that rental businesses are benefiting from both in terms of hardware equipment/devices and software features. What do you see coming?
Stilwagner: With so many wireless devices on the market, people are becoming more and more mobile. Mobile solutions that gather and provide data from the field will continue to grow and soon become necessary and common tools within the rental industry. Smart-phones and tablets are replacing hand-held computers because of cost and, more importantly, user acceptance.
Smith: Explain how software is developed so that it not only meets a rental company's current business needs, but is equipped to grow as the business continues to grow.
Stilwagner: Software must be able to adapt and grow with your company. Our job as the software provider is to observe industry trends and create a product that is always two steps ahead of current demands. Having a product that easily allows you to add a new language, a new currency, transition to and mold to each user will prove invaluable. All of this is based on a stable platform.
Smith: Without a good foundation, the new will fall down quickly. What advice would you give to rental businesses that are still using relatively out-of-date legacy software systems that don't offer the latest integrations and efficiencies?
Stilwagner: Sit down and really analyze whether or not your solution is giving you what you want. If the answer is yes, great! If not, take the time to determine where your money is being spent. Call different software providers to see what the industry has and where it is going. With the advancements and ease of use that come with cloud computing, it will be easy to justify the investment.
Telcos Offer Cloud Alternative
Excerpted from Computer Weekly Report by Bill Goodwin
Telecommunications companies (telcos) are providing businesses with a credible alternative to established IT suppliers, according to analyst firm Ovum.
Large telcos are an increasingly attractive alternative for businesses looking for added value, high availability cloud services, said analyst Mark Giles.
"They are coming to cloud from a managed service point of view. They are making substantial investments in cloud, in building data centers," he said.
Verizon and other telcos are differentiating themselves from other cloud providers by offering to manage both cloud services and telecommunications for business clients, as part of a high-availability package.
"For larger players like Verizon and AT&T, it's the fusion between IT and telecoms. They want to move into managing some of the IT applications in the enterprise - managing IT and communications.
Cloud combines the two because it is very dependent on the network," said Giles.
As part of the package, telcos generally provide monitoring services to give businesses feedback on the performance of their cloud service. This means clients do not need to invest in their own monitoring services, said Giles.
"They are working more robust service level agreements (SLAs) around cloud," he added. "They are more likely to provide customization that might include public and private cloud, as well as consulting services."
The downside is that IT departments can expect to pay a lot more for a telco cloud service than for basic cloud services offered by Amazon, for example.
Amazon makes sense for organizations that want to use the cloud to develop IT projects. It allows them to ramp up or reduce computing capacity easily to meet their needs. But it lacks the robustness of cloud services offered by telcos, said Giles.
"For those with a test and development use case, a service from a telco is not so attractive. It is when you move into more business-critical applications, even some of the very data heavy mission-critical applications, that businesses require the robust service of a telco," he said.
Smaller regional telcos are offering add-on cloud services to businesses as a way of retaining customers. SFR in France, for example, has signed a partnership with HP to provide cloud services as an add-on, following competition from rival telco Orange, said Giles.
"The good thing about small to medium sized (SME) telcos is that they have strong relationships with their customers, and this is something they can leverage," he said. "Sometimes local experience and local knowledge can trump global coverage. You might see some regional players doing better in local regions."
Easing Latin America into the Cloud
Excerpted from Light Reading Report by Paul Rainford
Cloud computing presents a real opportunity for operators to "rise up the value chain" in Latin America, according to new report from Pyramid Research.
The latest edition of Latin America Telecom Insider, "Why Cloud Computing Services Are Good for Operators and SMEs in Latin America," examines what the advent of cloud-based services means for both operators and their potential clients in the region -- whether large companies or small businesses.
The report's author, Senior Analyst Jose Mercado, asserts that far from being an obstacle to the growth of cloud computing, the downlink speeds currently endured by the vast majority of smaller firms, which at less than 2 Mbit/s are quite low, actually present an opportunity for operators to bundle cloud services with better broadband offerings.
The report makes it clear, however, that there are still major cultural barriers to overcome before SMEs in the region take the cloud to their hearts. Data security was cited as a particular concern for smaller corporate customers by the three fixed-line Mexican operators featured in the study.
"In Mexico, there is a lack of knowledge about what cloud computing is and how it can support their operations," says Mercado. "And it's not clear to them if they will save money or not once they decide to migrate from their existing operational model.
"Many companies are not very confident about leaving all their data and IT management to another company," he says. "This loss of control over their IT infrastructure and security concerns are major issues for all companies, whatever their size."
Axtel SAB, one of the featured operators, identified IT knowledge as a major stumbling block for SMEs, as many of these smaller companies did not have access to the advice that would help them spot the particular aspects of their business that would benefit from the cloud.
Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex), also featured in the study, acknowledged that the cloud option might not always be the cheapest in the short term, though long-term cloud adoption reduces capex. The report states: "Telmex mentioned that a virtual desktop could be more expensive today than a traditional PC, but in the long run, and taking into consideration all the applications and updates, the total cost of ownership will be lower."
Mercado points out, however, that whatever cultural barriers they might face, the operators he interviewed all felt they had a competitive advantage over their services rivals in one important respect. "They [the three operators] mentioned that because they own 'everything' -- the access point, the network, the data centers and the apps -- they can provide a true point-to-point service-level agreement (SLA) without compromising on the quality of the service.
"All three expressed how important cloud services are and will be for their business, and because they have had a long-term relationship with most of their clients, and a well proven billing system, they are confident that most of them will decide to stay with them."
But before all that happens, the operators in Latin America with cloud-services dollars in their sights clearly have an education job to do.
Motorola Doesn't Just Do Android - It Can Also Make Google TV
Excerpted from Business Insider Report by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
The main story in Google buying Motorola is Android. Another big one is patents--Motorola actually invented the cellphone 30 years ago, as our friend Dan Frommer points out at SplatF.
But there's another titillating thing Google notes in the blog post explaining the move: "Motorola is also a market leader in the home devices and video solutions business."
That sounds like something that could help Google TV.
Google TV is Google's attempt to remake the TV and turn TVs into Internet devices (that way it can get a piece of the TV advertising market, which is still bigger than the Internet ad market).
The problem with Google TV, which has also frustrated Apple, is the go to market strategy. With a free, excellent OS, it's relatively easy for Google to get carriers and OEMs to buy into Android. And so consumers follow.
But where it comes to TV, most people have just one box under their TV. And that box comes from their cable company. And cable companies aren't going to buy into Google TV, because its goal is to disrupt them and turn them into a dumb pipe. So Google TV has been a flop.
If Motorola already makes a bunch of TV boxes and other home networking devices, that could be a way to get Google TV devices into people's homes.
Fox Urges Pay TV Subscribers to Lobby Providers for Online Access to Shows
Excerpted from Multichannel News Report by Todd Spangler
Fox Broadcasting is encouraging pay-TV customers to demand that their providers participate in its "TV Everywhere" service, in a tactic reminiscent of campaigns surrounding retransmission-consent negotiations.
On Monday, Fox stopped providing new episodes at Fox.com and Hulu.com for free to everyone the day after they air, making them available only to subscribers of participating "TV Everywhere" distributors (as well as Hulu Plus) for eight days following their TV premiere. So far, only Dish Network has an agreement with Fox for the authentication service.
Fox provides a brief notice ("Why Isn't My Provider Listed?") at its site explaining the change -- www.fox.com/watchnewepisodes -- as well as on "locked" episodes of shows in that eight-day window.
"Frustrated?" the Fox notice reads. "Join your fellow subscribers and let your TV provider know that you want access to all full episodes on FOX.com. We will send an e-mail when your provider's status changes."
Visitors are invited to fill out their zipcode, select their provider, and enter their name and e-mail address to be notified when their provider has joined the Fox program.
A form letter -- which Fox purportedly will send to the provider selected -- reads: "Dear [Provider], I want to continue watching full episodes on FOX.com but you are not one of the participating providers. As a customer of [Provider] I want you to know that I expect to have access to these episodes included in my subscription."
Fox spokeswoman Gaude Paez said the broadcaster is "in talks with other distributors about the service" and that the company hopes to announce additional partners soon.
Coming Events of Interest
TransmitCHINA Talks - September 14th-16th at the Great Wall of China. International leaders, thinkers, innovators, and creators will have an exclusive opportunity to hear a cross-section of preeminent thought leaders from some of the world's most innovative organizations in the digital and creative content ecosystem.
NY Games Conference - September 21st-22nd in New York, NY. The most influential decision-makers in the digital media industry gather at this event, now in its third year, to network, do deals, and share ideas about the future of games and connected entertainment. Lively debate on timely cutting-edge business topics.
Digital Music Forum West - October 5th-6th in Los Angeles. CA. Top music, technology, and policy leaders come together for high-level discussions and debate, intimate meetings, and unrivaled networking about the future of digital music. Digital Music Forum is known worldwide.
Digital Hollywood Fall - October 17th-20th in Marina del Rey, CA. Digital Hollywood (DH), the premier entertainment and technology conference in the country, once again welcomes the Variety Summit, which has been co-located with its past three DH events.
Future of Film Summit - November 7th-8th in Los Angeles, CA. An exclusive group of industry thought-leaders discuss the current state of the industry, and how film and transmedia deals will be struck in the coming years. This is a unique opportunity for creatives, producers, buyers, and film financiers.
Streaming Media West - November 8th-9th in Los Angeles, CA. Attended by more than 2,500 executives last year, SMW covers the entire online video ecosystem from content creation and management, to monetization and distribution. The number-one place to come see, learn, and discuss what is taking place with all forms of online video business models and technology.
World Telecom Summit 2011 - November 9th-11th in Singapore. The 2011 program will focus on topics that demonstrate innovation across the telecommunications industry, both on a commercial and technical level, to improve profitability and quality of next generation technologies and customer experiences.
Future of Television - November 17th-18th in New York, NY. Top television and digital media industry executives discuss the increasing importance digital media for the future of the television industry. Topics include viewer trends; programming for non-traditional platforms including online video, VoD, HD, IPTV, broadband and mobile.