RTIME 2017 Daily Recap - Day 1

Welcome to the first RTIME 2017 Daily Recap

Building your brand's reputation.
Learning how the evolution of precision agriculture is changing the way we feed the world.
Engineering a strategy to monetize Wi-Fi management in homes and businesses. 
Witnessing a historic moment in Super Bowl history. 

These are only a few discussions and moments shared among the RTIME 2017 conference attendees. 

Groundhog Day: Is Technology Advancing or Hindering Our Personal Relationships?

  My closest friends will confirm that I am sometimes not the quickest to pick up on unspoken social cues. While I am capable of deciphering certain FCC-type codes (for example, when the FCC says, “enhanced requirements,” the likelihood is that the result will be “more onerous requirements”), there have been times where I have needed a gentle prompt to be properly responsive (for example, being guided that the correct response to a lady’s, “Is it cold in here” is to offer one’s jacket, rather than, “Nope, feels just fine”). Fortunately, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a wearable that “lets you know how the conversation is going.”

Are Internet-Connected TVs Nearing Saturation?

New Edge  Nearly three-quarters of all American broadband households have at least one television set that is connected to the Internet, The Diffusion Group (TDG) reported this week.

This represents 50% overall growth since 2013, when 50% of all broadband households had an Internet-connected television.

However, on a year-by-year basis, growth is slowing. The number of broadband households with Internet-connected TVs grew 22% between 2013 and 2014, and 15% between 2014 and 2015. From 2015 to 2016, the growth rate was only 4%.

“At 74% penetration, connected TV use is squarely in the Late Mainstream phase of its trajectory,” said Michael Greeson, TDG president and director of research. “Barring any major disruption in TV technology or market conditions, growth will slow each year as the solution reaches saturation.”

It's Nice to Be Important--But More Important to Be Nice

  New Edge  Regardless of the quality of video service offered to an end user, poor customer service can result in customers moving on to other providers.

That is the takeaway from a recent worldwide survey conducted by Paywizard. Foremost among the survey’s findings: 84% of respondents said they would cancel their pay-TV service if a provider lets them down. Further, 24% have cancelled service within the past 12 months due to a poor customer service experience, while 46% have remained loyal to their provider because of a positive customer experience.

“We are seeing a tremendous shift taking place in the pay-TV marketplace, with customer experience emerging as critical to television service providers’ success—in many cases, their very survival,” said Bhavesh Vaghela, Paywizard’s chief operating officer. “With industry projections indicating roughly a billion pay-TV subscriptions are up for grabs this year—and billions in revenue are on the line—it is clear from the research that pay-TV operators today ignore customer experience at their peril.”

Smart Home Tech Favorable to One-Third Americans

  Last week, I arrived home from a trip and watched my kids frantically tap the side of Surfer the Fish’s bowl (Surfer was featured in this New Edge post two years ago). Like all American dads, I had turned the heat down in the house while we were away, and upon our return there was a palpable fear that my interest in energy efficiency had killed the tropical fish. Thankfully (and I say that with a deep interest in self-preservation), Surfer was alive, and shimmied to the top of the bowl when some food was dropped in. Of course, had I been more fully connected, none of this would have happened.

A recent report by Parks Associates finds that approximately one-third of US households favor systems that manage or monitor their home energy usage. The numbers are slightly below the total US households that find security or safety monitoring systems appealing.

I Went to the Beach and I Couldn't Take My Mind Off of School

  This past week, my family ditched our nearly-annual winter trip to Pennsylvania and traded snow for sunshine, spending several days in Florida. We did not go to a single amusement park. Instead, we took advantage of other attractions offered by the Sunshine State, including the Everglades, the ocean, and Kennedy Space Center.

I don’t mean to diminish Disney or the other studio-based venues. My rationale was that travel should include new experiences. What’s the point of going somewhere if the scenery is same strip of Starbucks, Target, Walgreen’s and Kohl’s?

The Risks of Rural Living

New Edge  While living in rural America has numerous benefits, including lower cost of living, affordable housing and abundant green space, a new study recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that rural residents are at higher risk of death from five leading causes than their urban counterparts.

According to the study, entitled “Leading Causes of Death in Nonmetropolitan and Metropolitan Areas—United States, 1999-2014,” the five leading causes of death in the U.S. between 1999 and 2014 were heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke. Together, these accounted for more than 1.6 million deaths (approximately 62% of all deaths) in 2014.

CDC found that annual age-adjusted death rates for these five causes were higher in nonmetropolitan areas than in metropolitan areas between 1999 and 2014. Age-adjusted death rates for unintentional injury were approximately 50% higher in nonmetropolitan areas. While the overall rate of deaths from stroke, heart disease and cancer decreased in both metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas over the period, the rate of decrease in deaths due to heart disease and cancer was slower in nonmetropolitan areas, and the rate of deaths due to stroke was about the same.

“This new study shows that there is a striking gap in health between rural and urban Americans,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “To close this gap, we are working to better understand and address the health threats that put rural Americans at increased risk of early death.”

Home Telecom: 'Telecom 2020: A Vision for the Future'

“Any Content, Every Device, All Networks”

Imagine that you wake up tomorrow and want to watch your favorite TV show. The program will not play. You don’t have the specified device that the content owner now requires this program to be played on. It is only available on a particular device per an exclusive agreement between the content owner and the device manufacturer. Not only is your device prohibiting your viewing, but you also have the “wrong” video provider. The TV program you want to watch is owned by a video provider you don’t wish to use, but the show you want to watch can now only be seen on the video system that owns the program. Bad things can happen if content, devices, and networks are all controlled by the same party.

Scenarios like the nightmare described above is what Home Telecom is constantly fighting to avoid. As an industry leader, we keep our finger on the heartbeat of events that would directly impact our customers. Rules and laws impacting how we communicate are constantly changing. In addition, it seems mega mergers are announced several times a year; the big just keep getting bigger. Home Telecom is constantly monitoring the communication environment, working with our lawmakers and regulators to make sure that any changes in communications laws and regulations are for the better, not the worse.

CES 2017-6: Wrap-Up and Impressions

 There probably comes a point for everyone when the history of childhood is no longer in the peripheral field of vision, but rather pulling away quickly in the rearview mirror. A visit to CES can engage that shift in that perspective.

Reinvention

I remember (and that phrase, itself, indicates such a shift) dropping Kodak 126 film at Cochran’s, the neighborhood drug store, and then waiting a week for the prints to come back. Over ensuing years, I advanced to 110 cartridges and then a series of 35mm cameras, and remained a devoted fan of film even after digital photography became mainstream. It was mostly a clerk at a Washington CVS who precipitated my recalcitrant shift to digital: when I brought a 35mm canister in for processing, he waved the bar-code reader over the DX coding on the side of the canister, mistaking it for a UPC code. When I explained that the film was being submitted for processing, his vacant stare convinced me that the world had moved on without me. Within a month, I was holding a digital SLR, and its film-eating companion was sitting on a shelf.

Perhaps no other innovation than digital photography, coupled with consumer-grade printers capable of producing prints, should have been the death knell for Polaroid. To be sure, Kodak suffered greatly, if not ironically, given their invention of the digital camera in 1975 and their first-to-market DC40 in 1995. But, Polaroid’s mark was instant photography, even if the image was what might now be considered a thumbnail 3” x 3.5” ratio.  And, although connecting a camera to a computer to print a picture may be more cumbersome than simply pulling a print out of the camera itself, digital photography still offered far more instant gratification than even 1-hour photo processing, if for no other reason than the ability to adjust the image before printing.

CES 2017-5: Next Year, I Will Wear Comfortable Shoes

​ ​​  CES spans several venues in Las Vegas. In my opinion, the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) remains the grand-daddy of the venues, since a major portion of the conference programming is collocated there with an enormous trifecta of three immense areas of expo space. To lend perspective, the LVCC provides golf carts to transport attendees from the South Hall to the Central Hall.

The LVCC is where most of the “fun” stuff resides – Sony, Samsung, Monster, and other entertainment firms occupy large swathes of real estate, and the atmosphere is somewhere between a circus and a carnival, tripped out in neon with the volume turned to 11.

The Sands Exhibition hall, about a ten-minute bus-ride away, is where some of the smaller home health care and fitness players camp out. It is also home to Eureka Park, which features vendors displaying wares that are often not yet to market. It is as crowded, but somewhat less frenetic than LVCC.

I split my time yesterday between those venues. And, if I had to sum my impressions, they are consistent with the ones that I formed last year. Except that this year, they are more intuitive.