Friday, March 30, 2007

Videoconference in three dimensions

It’s neither a dream nor something that you find in an amusement park. 3D videoconference, also called 'telepresence', consists on creating a virtual image of the person at the other side of the line like if he or she were in our own room. Some related examples are 3D movies, which anyway are not having the spread of classical movies, probably because the industry is not concentrating their efforts on them, which might be spectacular but difficult to produce.

Some of the main big players in the industry are interested in this platform like Nortel, Cisco, Ericsson, Lucent, etc. If we compare this proposal with existing mobile videoconferencing, it seems there’s no much hype around this service over 3G networks: still not many people using it. However, if we think in today’s global world where lots of people travel around the world for business matters, don’t you think that these advances in videoconferencing can help to reduce the travel necessities and improve the quality of people’s personal life?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cell cinema

One of the main drawbacks of today's cell phone is its small screen and its limited capabilities when talking about visual content. However this situation is improving. Screen resolution and graphic processors are inevitably arriving to this industry.

There’s a company called Actimagine that patented a video codec that uses low power, therefore suitable for mobile and portable devices. There’s has been a recent launch with a Sony Ericsson phone and it seems that it’s just the beginning of a new era for mobile video. Do you imagine watching films in your while flying in your phone?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Video in your pocket

DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting – Hanheld, there’s for example another version for Satellite) is a technology that enables efficient video transmission over the air. It uses IPDC (IP Datacasting). The idea is to offer a common standard and provide a useful harmonisation for the deployment of the mobile operators. The technology can be integrated in networks such as UMTS.

Video streaming is one of the most characteristic services that 3G networks can offer. The possibilities are quite varied and after the recent success of web initiatives like YouTube, we could say it’s a promising service. Now we should think about the revenue model for it. Users download video for free on the internet, and the industry is already talking about profitable advertising. Mobile video will have to differentiate to offer high quality content anywhere. And how is going to be the acceptance for this offer?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Telecom stars play together

There’s an initiative called Telecommunications Platform Initiative, initiated by Sun MicroSystems in junction with Ericsson and Nokia. The idea is to create a standardized Platform to facilitate the integration of telecom equipment and improve the design, development and supply chain of the networks provided by the networks.

Standardization is fundamental for Telecommunications, and it’s interesting that some of the giants in this world partner to come up with a unique solution. But standards are good also for several other aspects of life. For example, the world is a “babel” of languages, but can you imagine what would happen if not all the world were using a decimal numbering system?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Communications in the sky

Satellite communications are a lesser known means of telecommunication compared to fiber, DSL, wireless, etc. However their possibilities are quite wide. Their have a very broad reach, which makes them really suitable for broadcast applications like Satellite TV. For example, satellite TV is surviving and being profitable despite deploying costs are huge.

But what about transmitting personal communications? The problem is that in this case the capacity is limited because it depends on the number of total communications, while broadcasting uses a fixed bandwidth to transmit data in the downlink. At the same time it requires big power to be transmitted by the handsets… Actually attempts of creating mobile operators through satellites sunk. Now let’s fly with our imagination and think in a future with colonies in Mars and other planets… Then satellites could be the ‘fiber’ that interconnects the world nowadays. Hundreds of satellites deployed in the space acting as repeaters to link planets one to another, does it sound sci-fi?

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