Oooh, that's splice-y!

I’d like to introduce this blog in a way that makes sense to the world outside of my own mind – the evolution of this blog is somewhat convoluted today, as is the time in which we are now working – and especially so, as I am about to launch a new business on Wall Street in New York City, during a financial crisis

I am currently working on building out an HD fiber solution pointing to Azzurro, here in New York City, from a Wall Street conference center.

Verizon Business HD DVTS field engineers came to the space in Wall Street last Friday to do a site survey, they followed fiber through shaft-ways and floor boards and determined that the fiber was live but they couldn’t track down exactly where the splice led to.This is common in New York City, apparently the fiber in question was first dropped in 01/2008 and the engineer who did it is no longer “available” to fulfill the work-order. A random splice that leads to somewhere, just not exactly sure where somewhere is.

Although my active background focused on Enterprise technology, having served 7 years at JPMorganChase HQ in NYC, I spent a lot of time working in and around the Enterprise infrastructure building out their streaming media solutions – through 3 mergers, multiple integrations and “refresh” projects – and I tell you what… the corporate enterprise and the infrastructures we find in the large cities translate quite literally by a matter of scale, only varying by the number of “boxes” and dependencies crammed into what some may just sum up as the “cloud” – I reject the whole concept of the cloud – they do translate quite literally, with all the same vulnerabilities, bubble-gum hybrid cross-connects and good intentions.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Don’t let your eyes glaze over

I notice my friends just smile and nod when I try to engage them in conversations about the importance of a stable, scalable and dynamic infrastructure – for streaming media professionals and now all of the Broadcast Media, the infrastructure is what makes it all happen 24/7 in HD. It won’t be such a distant issue when you turn on your television in order to watch the big PPV game, and your cable operator has lost the two-way broadcast connectivity with your set top box (Frequency out of range) – then it will be YOUR issue. In the mean time, let’s think about how to proactively acknowledge what may seem like minor issues today, minor issues that could potentially amplify in scale as broadcasters and consumers move onto new networks, that could intensify and eventually become huge risk factors.

UPDATE:  10/17/2008 ****  This article just posted on CRAINS

FCC fines Time Warner for blocking channels

Time Warner Cable Inc. and Cox Communications Inc. each received fines for using a technology that prevents some customers from accessing certain channels.

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For example, the situation with Verizon I mentioned previously, that scenario got my wheels turning and I thought, what a great metaphor for the broadcast industry and how we are bursting ahead! We know we are moving ahead very quickly, it is fiber afterall, we are just not quite sure where we are going to end up!

GORILLA ENGINEERING: Only on weekends…

The situation with Verizon is not the first time I found myself watching an engineer peer up a shaftway or crawl under a floor panel only to hear him say, “Not sure where it’s going, but it’s going somewhere” – when it was Time Warner Cable at my Chelsea townhouse, the engineer asked if he could disconnect everything while I run up-stairs and call him on his cell, so he could reconnect each cable, line-by-line, in order to track down which cable is going where by process of elimination – well that worked in a 4 story building with a total of 5 STB‘s and 1 RoadRunner connection; however, you can’t just unplug every connection in a 40 story office building in Wall Street and triage one connection at a time, or can you?

They have some brilliant minds at work that will figure it all out, map it and fix it… but the infrastructure in New York City is a mess. Go up to any NYC rooftop and take a good, long look around those cables flung over the roof tops and and phone lines hanging on the fire escapes, that is our communications infrastructure… an angry squirrel could take down your command center if you are not careful!

THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE

I was working on a project to bring some broadcast and streaming services to and from Istanbul, Turkey – a quick forensics on the infrastructure in Turkey made me think, “this is just another Enterprise unto itself” – and the cables over the rooftops and across the lamp posts can be mapped, triaged, optimized… When I was told that there is no geo-restriction in Turkey, we quickly found that wasn’t truly the case – it is probably just not an openly discussed public policy on the government platform;however, on the ISP level, you can’t get in and out without the blessings of the policy controllers on their networks.

We have these issue here in the good ole’ USA, in case you haven’t heard or suspected – Comcast admitted to throttling bandwidth for sites that they deemed bandwidth hogs. If Turkey doesn’t want to be “seen” by US metrics gathering systems, etc. it won’t be, per se… There are so many battles being waged in this arena, I won’t go back to it unless something outrageous happens that impacts Broadcast, specifically. I promise i will try to anyway 😉

THE FINAL SPLICE

The random networking models that are merging and emerging are getting “spliced” together at times in a haphazard fashion, amalgams are then formed and the results are what are driving the new broadcast business model.

The line between streaming and non-streaming broadcast media technologies has blurred… in such a way, where you really need to squint your eyes at the future, lean forward and try to follow that splice to see where it is going.

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