Tag Archives: AT&T

Verizon Poised to offer the Digital Media Food Chain: Content Creation to Distribution

The service, which Verizon only refers to as OTT, or over-the-top, named because it will be available to anyone with an Internet connection, as opposed to a television subscription, is the company’s big growth engine for the future. So far, the company has been mum on the details.

The telecom company is readying a mobile and online video service for launch in late summer, and a top exec says there’s nothing like it.

Verizon continues to line up video content from partners as well as through acquisitions, such as AOL.

Source: Verizon mulls mobile video that doesn’t eat into your data cap – CNET

Wireless Carriers: Data Only Plans

Is there any traction on ‘Data Only’ wireless plans which augment your primarily carrier?

E.g. when you reach the allocated capacity of the primary plan, one of N secondary wireless providers may be selected ‘on the fly’ or in  settings.  Each wireless provider may offer their own competitive ‘data only’ plan.  The subscriber may choose a “10 GB for 10 USD.”

Alternatively, the consumer may direct traffic of a certain type, e.g. Network packets for movies to ABC wireless.

Prime example, my family shared plan offers 10 GB to share among the 4 of us.  One of us, for the last two months, chewed up our data plan.   At 75%, 90%, and 100% AT&T sent us warning notifications, which was very good.

After we bust the quota, we are automatically charged one GB for 15 USD.  It may be just me, but that sounds pricey.  Both months I stopped the data component for one of the phones.  Also, a great feature AT&T, but it doesn’t go far enough, block only streaming movies when not in WiFi.  I’d prefer if the middle tier, the wireless solutions management implement the feature.  The kids don’t have access to it as would a device implementation.

Wireless Data Plans, Packet Protocols, Granular Reporting

6 Days Left of my Billing Cycle: 0.3 GB Left (out of 10 GB)

Are you kidding me?! I login to AT&T’s Wireless, myAT&T portal to dive into where is all our data going?  I am able to see quite easily what mobile phone number is eating up our plan, but no additional granular information.  AT&T has a great site with lots of good information to help their customers manage their plans.

However, it seems wireless providers leave it up to the handset manufacturers to interpret the usage of the phones. Makes some sense on an individual level, but as multi line / family wireless plans continue to evolve, the growth of wireless services management portals should be spent on providing consumers transparency into their usage, aggregated and granular.

Packets of [wireless] data, bits of information, have a ‘signature’ as they travel through the Internet ether.  Packet protocol defines where the data/information originates, and it’s destination, as well as any other required information by the application sending / receiving the data.  Wireless carriers’, services management portal should allow consumers to slice and drill down to see how data is being used. For example,

Wireless plans of 10 GB is not a lot with teenagers.  You may want to target areas to curtail usage so you aren’t ‘bleeding data’.  At this time, there is not enough transparency on how data is being used from the wireless provider’s usage platform. The provider should be able to parse data packets to quantify how data is being used, and provide reports, e.g.

June 2015 Snapshot for 212-555-1212

231 songs streamed from ABC, N MB; 23 videos watched on YouTube, 2.3 GB; 34 streamed videos from Netflix, 3.2 GB; 345 emails downloaded, 90 MB;

DAM on wireless services:  Application data packet objects may have visibility through Digital Asset Management (DAM), all objects that can be managed, phone calls to chats from Facebook (except where encrypted).

Now take a piece of paper, write privacy on it, then rip it in half and toss it in the garbage.

The Channel Guide is Dead. Move on Already.

If I have to scroll through another channel guide, or search using an archaic user interface one more time.!.  I will just use my web streaming service instead.  At least the web, video streaming apps have started to innovate how the consumers click through to get their content. TV channel bundled providers (Cable Cos., AT&T, Verizon, etc.)  typically display ‘what’s on?’ in the form of the classic channel guide, or variations of it.   The TVCBP , or TV Channel Bundled providers,  also allow us to get through to content by drilling down into our desired genre.  Finally, the TVCBP allow the watcher to search ‘painfully’ using the TV remote keyboard.

The set top box evolution, such as UI revamp, are at times, slow like a huge glacier moving along in the Arctic.

Changes, here they come

First, the new ‘Media Guide’, is a display page of tiles, similar to Windows 8., Nintendo Wii, Netflix, or Amazon.  Netflix and Amazon are displaying tiled pages.  In each row users are enabled to horizontally scroll through the tiles of movie covers.  These tiled movie rows are grouped by e.g.  recommended movies based on user viewing history to ge

In this new paradigm, we add a level of abstraction to the row, grouping, scrolling carousel model.

Genre or N grouping of channels / media brands coalesce in clouds, such as cloud hashtags.   A person can drill into the ‘content universe’ and select a genre or grouping cloud. A user would navigate network icons in the ‘content cloud’.  Highlighting a network icon plays out the current, live video stream.

The ‘Content Cloud’ within the ‘Content Universe’ is the overarching paradigm.  ‘What are currently the most popular channels to view within the providers viewership’ would have each network icon color coded, e.g. red hot, cool blue.

A genre, or N grouping, has network icons grouped around the category.   Hovering the Set Top Box (STP) remote pointer over the network icon will popup a live stream from the channel.  Drilling down by clicking the channel/network icon,  a tiled view of the current and the next 24h is displayed. The current show has a pop up for the current streamed show, selecting it then plays in the entire screen.    If you hover over any future shows, one of two things occur. If there is a 30 sec promo for the show, a pop up shows the promo. If no promo, the show beauty shot still for the show is displayed. If the user selects the show, current or future, a menu overlays the still or show in progress with options such as record show / DVR.

The UI would also allow the user to create their own tiled pages using their favorite channels, and again,  hovering over the image would allow play out in a popup of the current stream.  The tiles can be sorted by your popularity rating, general popularity rating, ascending or descending title names, and most watched videos from the TVCBP.

If our TV bundled channel providers want to keep and lure new subscribers, then they need to innovate the STB software and think about how you evolve the viewer experience.

 

Data Quota Limits on Member’s of Family Data Plans

I don’t see it when I log in to my AT&T Wireless account…yet, but I was trying to put a cap or maximum amount of the shared data each person in the plan is ALLOWED to use.  A use case, my kids are on my family plan, and I want to limit their data usage.

Another possible case, from a small business perspective, if you add a few lines on your plan, then you may allocate to specific type of employees, such as sales reps., specific amounts of data.  There are several types of widgets can be used, such as a pie chart, and the total pie represents the total data package, and each slice represents an allocation to each member of the shared plan.

Update: I stand corrected, and do see an AT&T Smart Limits for 4.99 USD per month:  Am not sure if the ‘allocation program’ is implemented like the use case I presented.

  • Block Unwanted Calls and Texts: Specify up to ’30’ blocked numbers.
  • Prevent 411 Charges: Easily block calls to 411 Info.
  • Limit Data Usage: Set monthly limits on data usage per billing cycle.
  • Limit Texting: Set monthly limit for number of text messages per billing cycle
  • Limit Purchases: Limit monthly purchases, such as apps and games that are billed directly to your AT&T account. Does not restrict credit card purchases from smartphone app stores.
  • Limit Phone Use By Time of Day: Restrict texting, data usage and outbound calling during specified times of day. Designate allowed numbers regardless of other restrictions – up to 15 numbers.

User Interface Usability and Video On Demand Content from Distribution Portals

Cable and phone companies are competing in their marketing campaigns for high speed and cost.  There are many more attributes, features, they can compare and contrast between their competition to show leading edge.  For example, the industry association may hire an independent user interface usability organization to show who’s system is the most user friendly, i.e. easier to use.  E.g. a study by an independent body declares N has the easiest system to use, and provides the most functionality.

Another measure of comparison between content distributors might be how much content is available on demand, roughly, for Free, Premium, and On Demand, Paid content.  I had all the providers in my area, and found that one interface made it easier to see how much content was available for video on demand, e.g. the user interface made their content more transparent, and it appeared one provider had significantly more content than another.  There are may features video content distributors can highlight in their commercial advertising with a bullet point scroll, video shot.  There are significant feature advantages that may differentiate these providers, and I don’t know why a comparison chart has not been made available.

Mandatory Service for Your Smartphone: Change the Oil Please

As a way to continue to sell into their existing channel, as well as retain their existing customer base, I might try a sales/marketing strategy if I was a wireless carrier, which would bring in existing customers every six months into the store.

Analogous to an oil change for your car, or mandatory service, I would require existing customer base into a participating wireless carrier partner to perform the following on the existing user’s smartphone:

  •  Check the performance of the smartphone upon existing ‘idle conditions’, and determine if there are any application [services] are required to run by querying the user, and uninstalling any currently unused applications.
  • Check the performance of the smartphone upon start up, and see if there are any performance enhancement tools can be installed to the smartphone to help curb the usage of the memory and CPU cycles.  Company may advocate new third party products for the smartphone platform.
  • Depending upon the timing and the available deals, company may advocate any third party peripheral products, such as a car charger,or an male to male jack to plug the sound into your car to play music; a Bluetooth headset, or help connect your phone to your cars existing Bluetooth system.
  • Depending upon the timing and the available deals, company may advocate for an upgrade to the existing smartphone, either the Operating System or the hardware.
  • The company may try to sell another line into the package; i.e. sell additional lines, or new features that may be available at the current time, or conversion from a single to a family / multiple line package.

Where is My .fon Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD)? .tel doesn’t cut it.

Every phone number in the world should have an IP address and a domain name associated with it, hence the gTLD proposal for .fon for every phone number.  Things like us.emergency.fon = 911 would be possible.   In addition, a group of cloud vendors would be awarded management of sections of these domains, which may be aligned to the phone number carrier, or if they don’t have the capability, they can ‘sell’ or ‘lease’ out the resource to a third party Internet Provider and Cloud Vendor, similar to the way we sell mortgages, or the mortgage companies sell off our mortgage.

Not only would the service of management of the domain name correlated to an IP address and a phone number, but each IP would have a virtual image managed in the cloud, which could provide to the consumer, cloud storage for storing public and private documents, as well as a ‘home page’, cloud computing cycles for the consumers public and private applications, as well as enabling the services: VoIP, text and email messaging.

These services may be provided free for some basic subset, and the extended subset would charge the customer, e.g. for additional cloud storage space.  In addition, the client may choose to move their service to another provider.  A public index.html home page, and a private index.html home page could be created, so a person may design their own portal, e.g. containing widgets, frequently used numbers, news widgets, etc.  These pages scale downward to a mobile device or up to a high resolution image, e.g. addressable HD television.

Android Powerful VoIP Phones Giving Cellular a Raspberry Very Soon

I was reading the article by CNET, Samsung: Galaxy S4 for U.S. has four cores, not eight, and said, well that’s just not nice.  I would have also said fair, but hey, life isn’t that fair, is it?  Then I remembered about a few guys at my last few companies who build their own PCs.  Then I thought of this recent craze called, Raspberry Pi, you might have heard of this inexpensive computer.  The wheels started turning and I though, well, I want 8 cores, and maybe 32 megabytes of RAM, then I thought, hey why not more?

Now, I pulled back the reigns.  How can I build a phone?  What are the barriers?  For one, what are the mechanics that I can’t handle?  Well, there’s this whole concept of carriers, bands, and regulated waves.  Solved, in limited form.   I put together a phone that uses Voice over IP (VoIP).  There are tons of hot spots all over, and every day the number grows and grows.  The operating system, is that a problem, probably not.  The article  I saw the other day from CNET, Android originally designed as smart-camera system, also was another piece to the puzzle.  The Android mobile OS is Open Source, and I thought amazing, it’s Open Source.  Open-source software (OSS) is computer software with its source code made available and licensed with an open-source license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change and distribute the software for free to anyone and for any purpose.  Many of the other challenges, screen, and other components, are relatively not too bad of a challenge.  So what I might end up with as a prototype is a VoIP phone from the 1980s, a brick phone.  Well, not that impressive.  Several companies, such as Avaya, and Cisco have been doing this a long time.  Then I thought, if the Raspberry Pi Foundation can make a small computer inexpensively, anyone  would be able to make a small VoIP phone as powerful as they want.  Coming soon from a Geek near you.

Raspberry Pi
Raspberry Pi

O2’s Tu Go Gives a Power Play to Mobile and Land Line Companies

BBC News – O2’s Tu Go aims to challenge Skype and other Voip apps.

Tu Go’s technology is an intriguing approach:

  • Mobile Co. Benefit: VoIP Data Transfer runs down your mobile provider minutes.  It is unclear if it runs down both the data and the minutes; however, it is implied.
  • Consumer Attractor, According to Company: Phone number goes with you where ever you go, and rings on smartphones, and computers that have the application launched.
  • As an expansion to O2’s Tu Go there is an interesting opportunity where mobile companies that are also under the same umbrella company, like Verizon Wireless, and Verizon FiOS, can also ring your home phone .  AT&T  as a secondary example, may also may take advantage of this opportunity as they have both a wireless unit and ‘land line’ phones, through U-verse. I may be over thinking this idea, as Tu Go may be able to as easily link the number in your home to your ‘portable’ number, to ring them in parallel.
  • Consumer potential detractor: Typically, the quality of VoIP is less, so other than the article stated consumer attractors, I am unsure the overwhelming benefit, even if the minutes are used instead of the data plan. The consumer can use their mobile phone in lieu of the the Tu Go application.