Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Houston's CenterPoint Energy & GE partner to produce Smart Grid System

Houston's CenterPoint Energy and GE team up to produce the Advanced Metering System (AMS) enabling consumers to track and manage electric usage and costs. Utilizing GE Digital Energy's MDS Mercury 3650 radios, AMS will translate electric utility meter info from homes/businesses to the CenterPoint's data center.

With this real time technology, consumers will be able access energy usage/prices and remotely control appliances via the Internet. For March, CenterPoint began installing 145,000+ of these smart meters. By the end of 2009, CenterPoint hopes to update all existing equipment with these new smart meters.

In addition, retail electric providers can offer new consumers products and services after the AMS installation.

For more information, please read K.C. Jones's article "GE Wireless Radios Power Houston Smart Grid Systems" posted to InformationWeek.

Friday, March 27, 2009

CONNECTIONS welcomes new sponsor DiiVA

Parks Associates is proud to welcome DiiVA as a new CONNECTIONS(TM) Silver Level Sponsor.

DiiVA technology combines a reliable, high-speed, bi-directional data channel with an uncompressed video and audio channel. Whereas point-to-point interfaces such as USB and HDMI only contain a Physical and Link layer, the DiiVA standard combines the Physical and Link layers with an additional Networking and Transport layers to make DiiVA devices network capable for use in a personal domain. For end-users this means that a single DiiVA port is capable of connecting and controlling multiple devices on the network. Digital TVs and other CE devices connected using DiiVA connections can offer user-friendly interactive interfaces for consumers who make their choices based on the content rather than connection. Today content is tied to a device like music to an iPod® and movies to a DVD. With DiiVA—which enables a secure home network and a personal domain—content between devices like a TV, phone or PC within the home network can be securely shared.

The name of the DiiVA specification was recently changed from DIVA (Digital Interface for Video & Audio) to DiiVA (Digital Interactive Interface for Video & Audio) to emphasize the interactive aspects of the technology.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Home Connectivity Simplified

As the home connectivity market rapidly grows, consumers are looking for ways to share and distribute digital content throughout the home in a simple and consistent manner. As digital media becomes the primary source of information, education and entertainment, the home computer and the Internet have become the conduit to popular social communities, family photos, music libraries, videos and games. The home computer and its associated Internet connection have become the heart of the digital home, but integration with traditional media outlets like High Definition TVs and stereos remains a challenge.

To read about how to take the computing environment beyond the desktop, and enable a home connectivity solution that is easy to set up, and simple to use, visit: www.icron.com/products/usb_new/home_connectivity_article.php.

View Icron's TV 2.0 white paper at www.icron.com/products/usb/home_connectivity_wp.php.

For more information about Icron Technologies, visit www.icron.com.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pre-show Summit at CONNECTIONS™ addresses market challenges for service providers

Pivot Media to host Pre-show Telecom Executive Summit--

Parks Associates today announced telecom consulting firm Pivot Media will host a pre-show event Telecom Executive Summit@CONNECTIONS: Digital DNA for Service Providers on the first day of CONNECTIONS™: The Digital Living Conference and Showcase.

CONNECTIONS™, hosted by Parks Associates, will take place June 2-4, 2009, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. This executive conference and showcase attracts senior executives from all industries associated with the digital home, new media and content distribution, and mobile applications and services.

The summit will be hosted on June 2, prior to the CONNECTIONS™ opening keynote from Glenn Lurie, President, Emerging Devices and Resale, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. Now that Supercomm is delayed until October 2009, this year’s CONNECTIONS™ event provides an excellent opportunity for telecom executives to gather in early Summer and chart a future course for the rest of the year and beyond.

Pivot Media’s Telecom Executive Summit will feature executives from leading telecom carriers. Session topics include experiences in the digital transition, the challenges in becoming a content provider, the applications key to success, and opportunities in the digital home for improving customer relations and growing ARPU.

Pivot Media’s areas of focus include the independent telecom sector, broadband, IP convergence, IPTV, digital media, and broadband wireless. Pivot Media leverages its telecom industry research, analysis, and knowledge base to help clients recognize and maximize business opportunities.

For more information on CONNECTIONS™ and the Pivot Media Telecom Executive Summit, visit www.connectionsconference.com and www.pivot-media.com.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Five Essential Attributes of Successful CEOs

What makes a great CEO?
Over the past fifteen years I have had the opportunity to work closely with CEOs of companies, both large ($1b+) and small (start-ups). While each CEO brings a unique set of characteristics to the table, there are some commonalities between those that are able to steer their companies to success (whether through organic growth, acquisition, or an IPO) and those that fall short of their potential.

Below is a list of five essential attributes successful leaders possess:
1. Ability to focus on the vision and to communicate that vision to stakeholders
2. Awareness of operational details, however, not involved with them
3. On top of industry trends – an avid reader
4. Hires strong management teams and supports their decisions
5. Meets with customers and can articulate customer needs, challenges and business goals

Having a Vision
Being at the top of the pyramid, a great CEO must be able to clearly communicate the vision of the company in order to inspire staff, investors and customers. As the company flag-bearer, all eyes turn to the CEO for direction and example.

Macro Management
While it is key for the CEO to understand the every-day activities of the organization and how all the parts fit together to move the company forward, the best CEOs do not get dragged into the seductive lure of micro managing granular details. Instead they maintain a highly trained management team that is fully capable of handling these tasks.
This enables the CEO to remain focused on the primary duties of increasing revenues, and meeting the goals identified in the vision.

Leveraging Industry Trends
Staying on top of industry trends through reading, attending conferences and joining trade associations is essential for CEOs to ensure that the direction and vision for the company is on course. The ability to see into the future is invaluable for steering clear of potential threats and capitalizing on future opportunities. This is especially important in the constantly evolving technology industry where the CEO needs to determine which changes will have long-term impact and which are merely fads with little real value.

Develop a Foundation of Strength
No company or CEO is successful without a strong management team. Each member must be a leader that knows and is accountable for his or her job responsibilities (and does not try to do the work of other team members). Quality managers in turn, know how to mentor and acknowledge the accomplishments of their own staffs in order to keep them motivated, involved and on track to meet the business goals of the company.

Customer’s are at the Core
Successful CEOs look beyond their raw technology and focus on finding ways to help customers solve their problems. They describe their products in terms of how they address the needs and challenges of their customer’s instead of listing product capabilities. Great CEOs use their own customers’ words and verbiage. Through weekly meetings with customers, CEOs have an endless supply of anecdotal situations to share with stakeholders that help create a better product and a more thorough understanding of the customer requirements for a successful business relationship.

About the Author
Dr. Phelan is President & CEO of Nadel Phelan, Inc. (http://www.nadelphelan.com) and has 20+ years of experience in global marketing, market research and public relations for high-tech companies including HP, Cisco and Microsoft. She has led scores of companies through IPOs on eight different exchanges, and participated in the promotion of 60+ companies through successful acquisitions (two for over $1B). Dr. Phelan is also an avid photographer and award-winning writer.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

CONNECTIONS™ Europe executive summit features speakers from digital media companies, CE manufacturers, service and solution providers

International research firm Parks Associates announced the final agenda and speakers for CONNECTIONS™ Europe Summit, March 31, 2009, in Nice, France.

This executive event, taking place at the Hotel Palais de La Mediterranee, provides attendees with international consumer research and features interactive discussions on European consumer trends, broadband and value-added services, IPTV and video services, digital media, connected CE, and digital home services and support.

Roger Pitton, Program Director, TV, Video & Music Business, Microsoft Corporation, will deliver the keynote “IPTV and the keys to keeping customers” at CONNECTIONS™ Europe. The event also features the following speakers:

>> Michimasa Aramaki, Director, Industrial Standardization, HD-PLC Alliance
>> Thierry Boudard, IPTV Strategic Innovation Manager, Thomson
>> Richard Bullwinkle, Chief Evangelist, Macrovision
>> Mark Cavicchia, CEO & Founder, WhereverTV
>> Nicolas Decitre, GM: France and Benelux, Jungo
>> Brian Donnelly, VP, Sales and Marketing, Icron
>> Margot Dor, Director, Strategic Projects, ETSI
>> Paul Entwistle, CTO, Pace
>> Milan Erbes, Ambassador, HGI; Standardization & Business Development Manager, DS2
>> Gil Eyal, CEO, Enure Networks
>> Ed Forman, EVP, Products and Services, ActiveVideo Networks
>> Paul Gainham, Director, Service Provider Marketing, EMEA, Juniper Networks
>> Peter Galyas, CTO, Tilgin
>> Stefan Jenzowsky, CEO, moreTV Broadcasting GmbH
>> Art Lancaster, CTO, Affinegy
>> Dr. Ulrich Leiner, Head, Department Interactive Media, Human Factors, Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, HHI
>> Dr. Anton Monk, CTO, MoCA; Co-Founder, Entropic Communications, Inc.
>> Trond Neergard, VP, Sales and General Manager, EMEA, Radialpoint
>> Dr. Randolph Nikutta, Project Field Head "New Media", Deutsche Telekom AG, Laboratories
>> Frederic Onado, VP EMEA, HomePlug Powerline Alliance; COO, SPiDCOM Technologies
>> Eric Plesner, Director, Business Development, IO-Homecontrol
>> Micha Risling, VP, Marketing, Valens Semiconductor
>> Bill Stanley, Director, Operations Solutions, Telcordia
>> Matt Theall, Technology Strategist, Intel Corporation; President, HomeGrid Forum
>> Navin Varsani, Consumer Director, EMEA, Cloakware
>> Ian Walker, Director, Sales and Marketing, EMEA PayTV, EchoStar

Event sponsors include Affinegy, Enure Networks, and HomeGrid Forum. Global Sponsors include ActiveVideo Networks, Affinegy, Cloakware, DSC, HD-PLC Alliance, Icron, Macrovision, MoCA, ProVision Communications, Radialpoint, Telcordia, and Zilog.

For information, visit www.connectionseurope.com.

Press passes are available at http://www.parksassociates.com/connectionseurope.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nadel Phelan Named a Finalist for SC Magazine’s PR Company of The Year Award

Nadel Phelan Named a Finalist for SC Magazine’s PR Company
of The Year Award

Leading Public Relations Firm Recognized for Outstanding Promotional
Campaign of IronKey’s Secure USB Solution

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. March 4, 2009 – Nadel Phelan, Inc., specialist in strategic technology communications, today announced that it has been named a finalist for “PR Company of The Year” in Secure Computing Magazine’s Awards Europe 2009. Nadel Phelan was selected for its creative and effective public relations campaign promoting IronKey’s innovative secure USB solution.

Nadel Phelan is a leading provider of strategic technology communications for security clients in a variety of vertical markets including government, financial services, telecommunications and education. By developing a comprehensive public relations program aligned to IronKey’s business goals, Nadel Phelan supported the growing visibility of IronKey’s innovative solution. Within six months of the campaign’s launch, IronKey had secured over 1000 pieces of coverage and three award wins, reinforcing its position as the leading developer of the world’s most secure USB flash drive with press, analysts, customers, partners and the developer community, while elevating awareness of the thought leadership the executive team brings to the market.

IronKey is a leading developer of mobile data security solutions offering products and services that bring the power of authentication, encryption, identity management, and privacy to consumers and businesses around the world. With industry first deployments including the Silver Bullet Service, which provides the ability to remotely track, deny access or destroy IronKey USB secure storage devices, IronKey is clearly a leading innovator in the mobile security industry.

The SC Magazine Awards Europe are widely considered to be the most prestigious awards program in the information security industry. Now in their fourteenth year, the awards have a long-standing tradition of promoting excellence.

“This award represents a significant level of recognition from an industry leading publication,” said Paula Phelan, CEO of Nadel Phelan, Inc. “We are honored to be a finalist for the prestigious title of PR Company of The Year. Thank you to IronKey’s exceptional product line and amazing team.”

Founded in 1993, Nadel Phelan, Inc. specializes in comprehensive public relations for a roster of clients ranging from venerable industry giants to exciting startups. By combining high-level industry knowledge with in-depth technology experience, Nadel Phelan provides its clients with the strategic and tactical services necessary to establish and maintain marketplace awareness essential in obtaining and preserving a competitive edge. Nadel Phelan is headquartered in Scotts Valley, California with offices in New York, Hong Kong and London. For more information please visit www.nadelphelan.com or call 831-439-5570.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Over 100 million households worldwide to have telco IPTV services by 2013

Microsoft keynote to address Customer Service and IPTV at CONNECTIONS™ Europe Summit--

Parks Associates today welcomed Roger Pitton, Program Director, TV, Video & Music Business, Microsoft Corporation, as the Keynote speaker for CONNECTIONS™ Europe Summit, taking place March 31, in Nice, France.

The worldwide market for telco IPTV services will exceed 100 million households by 2013, a CAGR of approximately 38%, according to international research firm Parks Associates. Mr. Pitton’s keynote “IPTV and the keys to keeping customers” will address the best business strategies to gain and retain customers in the highly competitive European market for these services.

CONNECTIONS™ Europe Summit, hosted by Parks Associates, will take place at the Hotel Palais de La Mediterranee. It has a full agenda featuring consumer data and expert analysis on advanced video solutions, digital media solutions, and connected consumer electronics.

Mr. Pitton has several years of firsthand experience in marketing and selling IPTV services. In his keynote, he will specify the keys to differentiation, including unique content, an unmatched user experience, and the convergence of technology and content, required for sustaining success.

“Europe will have over 38 million households with telco IPTV services by 2013, but the market will be characterized not by its homogeneity but by differences in programming, interactive applications, and value-added features,” said Kurt Scherf, vice president, principal analyst, Parks Associates. “Microsoft’s global reach and its expertise in software make it a key player in delivering next-generation television services, and we are pleased to have Roger at CONNECTIONS™ Europe.”

CONNECTIONS™ Europe Summit Sessions:

European Consumer Trends
Broadband and Value-added Services
Video Services
Digital Media Content & Delivery
Connected CE
Digital Home Tech Support

Event sponsors include Affinegy, Enure Networks, and HomeGrid Forum. Global Sponsors include ActiveVideo Networks, Affinegy, Cloakware, DSC, HD-PLC Alliance, Icron, Macrovision, MoCA, ProVision Communications, Radialpoint, Telcordia, and Zilog.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

CONNECTIONS welcomes Pivot Media

We are excited to announce that we have partnered with Pivot Media at CONNECTIONS™. Pivot Media’s insight into the telecom industry will provide an added insight for attendees at CONNECTIONS™ this year.

Pivot Media will host the Telecom Executive Summit@CONNECTIONS on June 2, 2009, the opening day of CONNECTIONS™: The Digital Living Conference & Showcase. Service providers are entering the next phase of telecom, where they must meet the challenge and demand of their customer’s evolving digital lifestyle. Telecom executives must possess the right ‘digital DNA’ to manage this transition and maximize their company’s digital opportunities. The Telecom Executive Summit@CONNECTIONS will bring executives from leading telecom carriers to discuss and brainstorm the digital strategies that prepare them for today’s reality and tomorrow’s changing future. Request more information.

Pivot Media provides expert coverage and analysis of the telecom industry and offers the connected community insight, knowledge, and direction. The Pivot Media community is comprised of thousands of professionals who need and use telecom industry market intelligence to strengthen their company’s position, make more informed business and investment decisions, and improve their own careers.

Getting CE Connected

There are two types of media use cases driving the digital/connected home concept, where multiple devices access rich media from a variety of sources. In both scenarios, the value of connected consumer electronics (CE) will increase as they evolve into media receivers that can discover, aggregate, access, and display media.

The two scenarios for connected CE are the media server, where connected CE devices access content stored on computers and other storage devices inside the home, and the cloud media concept, where connected CE devices link to access services – television, broadband, etc. – to receive streaming and on-demand content from outside of the home.

The Media Server Concept offers solutions to consumers as they acquire large collections of media, both personal and professional, and seek the best means to backup and distribute this content.

The Cloud Media Concept is less centralized. Consumer electronics receive premium content and application services from access networks. These services include entertainment, communications, and media from closed networks (cable, satellite, IPTV) and the so-called “over-the-top” services riding on top of the open Internet.

The CONNECTIONS™ Europe session How Consumer Electronics Get Connected will discuss both scenarios, how they are likely to influence design and sales of other CE and services, and how they evolve together within the home.

Broadband Experiences: Adding Value to Access Services

The session Broadband: Adding Value to Access Services at CONNECTIONS™ Europe will track the growth of broadband services and their transformation from service providers to “experience providers.”

Broadband has had a transformative effect on how European and U.S. households communicate, consume entertainment, and organize the CE in their homes. At the end of 2008, nearly 60 million Western European homes (34% of homes) and more than 160 million households worldwide had basic home network configurations.

With these high-speed connections, households are able to acquire and manipulate media in new and unique ways – uploading and sharing video, sharing photos online – and the true challenge for service providers is to avoid the impression of being just the pipe or mere amalgamators of different services, an entity that does not command loyalty and is interchangeable with its competitors. They need to assume the role of an experience broker, one that provides exclusive and unmatched access to a variety of different and innovative service combinations – and fulfills a role in the home not easily replaced.

To this end, several carriers in Europe have been aggressive in their RG deployments, particularly in France, Italy, and the U.K. The home networking efforts by telcos in Europe are going beyond data to incorporate multimedia and voice applications, which will give them an expanded presence in the home and help build new relationships with their customers.

Video Usage: Europe versus U.S.

CONNECTIONS™ Europe will feature several sessions – including All Eyes on Video Service Evolution – examining the strategies of the providers driving European-led efforts for online video – and how they differ from the U.S.

These companies include broadband and television providers looking to differentiate and add value to their existing access services as well as content owners such as the BBC, Canal, BSkyB, and broadcasters. Already the European market is shaping up differently than the U.S. market. For one, the European model will likely be more integrated with existing services and less “over-the-top” than is typical in the U.S. While U.S. service providers are all scrambling to provide online video services to complement their existing access services, the Europeans will have more success by integrating so-called over-the-top content with their services and their customer premise equipment.

Such integration of content and services could help counter a worrisome trend in online video for Western Europe. Parks Associates’ Entertainment 2.0 in Europe found a relatively high percentage of broadband households, including almost one-third in Spain, watch videos online only because they are free. If given the choice (i.e., if they have to pay for it), the vast majority of broadband households in Western Europe prefer more traditional means of watching video, either at the cinema or on DVD.

Panelists at CONNECTIONS™ Europe will focus on the implications of this finding as well as ways to counter it or work within to meet customers’ needs while still maintaining a viable business model.

Friday, March 6, 2009

InFocus Partners with Icron to Enhance USB Connectivity of its Digital Projectors

Digital Projection Market Leader Leverages Icron’s USB Extension Technology to Enhance Ease of Use and Connectivity Options

InFocus® Corporation (NASDAQ: INFS), the industry pioneer in digital projection technology, recently announced that it has partnered with Icron Technologies (TSX Venture: IT), the leading provider of USB extension solutions, to enhance consumers connectivity options for InFocus’ DisplayLink™-enabled projectors. DisplayLink™ is a key ease-of-use feature for InFocus projectors, allowing users to “plug and project” from their PC or MAC via a single USB cable in seconds, eliminating the need for toggling, bulky VGA cables or adaptors. The new InFocus DisplayLink™ Extender modules allow InFocus’ DisplayLink™-enabled projectors to be installed up to 330 feet (100 meters) away from the PC or MAC computer source—making it a perfect solution for any application that requires lengthy cable solutions such as large meeting rooms, classrooms, or auditoriums.

The partnership enables InFocus to leverage Icron’s long-standing experience in USB extension to bring a proven, reliable product to market quickly. The InFocus and Icron engineering teams collaborated to support the unique requirements of the DisplayLink™ projectors, including meeting the bandwidth intensive requirements of transmitting content via USB 2.0 over long distances using standard Cat 5 cabling. The DisplayLink™ Extender requires no additional software drivers or external power adapters, making installation and set up easy. InFocus’ IN3100 projector series with DisplayLink™ can be connected up to 330 feet (100 meters) away from the host computer, with no degradation in image quality or performance.

Sold as an accessory, InFocus’ DisplayLink™ Extenders will be available for purchase in March 2009 through authorized InFocus dealers. Pricing information is available upon request.

For more information about InFocus series of projectors with DisplayLink™ USB connectivity and the DisplayLink™ Extenders, please visit www.infocus.com.

For USB extension solutions, branded and private-label products, OEM embedded hardware and Silicon, please visit www.icron.com.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Time Warner tests "TV Everywhere" plan

Cable network giant, Time Warner has a plan to distribute pay TV programming via web sites like Hulu, Yahoo TV, and YouTube. Whether through a mobile device or a computer, viewers will just have to prove they already subscribe to pay TV (cable, satellite or telco's TV offerings).

The "TV Everywhere" plan enables a cable subscriber (or person from that household) to have online access to the programming included in their current cable TV bundle. Full details are still being worked out although the goal is to prevent households from cancelling their cable TV subscriptions. The number of people per account is undetermined. There might also be a web-only option for non-cable TV subscribers.

Regardless of service provider (DirectTV, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, etc.), one would be able to watch content from networks like HBO or TNT. We will also have to wait to see if other cable networks adopt this plan too. However, Viacom and NBCU are moving forward with free cable distribution online because it helps boost awareness and ratings for their shows. Although, Time Warner argues that the trend of consumers ditching pay TV for free online content is an important and increasing issue.

To read more about this topic, please read the Advertising Age's article "TV Everywhere -- As Long As You Pay for It."