I’m not the biggest fan of watching TV on a tablet or cell phone. I know that people do it, but I still prefer the more traditional experience of a large television or even a decent computer screen. So normally the announcement of the new Belkin Wireless Dyle Mobile TV Receiver would not be all that interesting. However, I live in Houston, at the receiving end of Hurricane Alley. Such a device could be a handy item to have on-hand in a powerless, post-hurricane situation.
This little device mates to the 30-pin connector on suitable Apple devices. That includes the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad, iPad 2, or iPad (3rd generation) allowing you to receive local TV signals without any 3G, 4G or Wifi connection. It retails for $129.
Looking back a few years to the time after Hurricane Ike, local TV news was a important source of information. When we were without power for tend days we lived on an 8 KW generator shared with our neighbor.
That situation highlighted the need to conserve power, using only the essential things around the house. We initially ran the refrigerator, lights as required, our core network components and a laptop.
Preface: This is a wee bit off topic, but I haven’t ranted in a while, and you may find it worthwhile in the end.
For many months I’ve been toying with the idea of using streaming video as an alternative to some of the training and demonstration activities that haunt me in my working life. Historically, sending staff and gear to some distant location was the primary means of selling the gear, or post-sale, conducting end-user training.
In the past year one of our more experienced sales staff has found that demonstration given by remote means can be very effective. Initially this was merely his response to having limited access to my time, but it’s also become a way for him to get ad hoc demo’s accomplished on very short notice.
Video calling has been around for a long, long time. However, it’s yet to become commonplace. There have been studies, some very recent, that suggest that people really don’t want or need it. Yet Skype reports that a substantial amount, around 40% if I recall correctly, of their call traffic involves video. Of course, events like last years volcanic excitement in Iceland highlight how valuable video can be when travel is impossible.
Beyond the more general cases I have my own reasons why video could play an important part in my working life. It happens that I travel a lot in the course of my work. The scope of my working duties is divided three ways; pre-sales demonstrations of hardware/software systems, post-sales commissioning, installations & training, and finally end-user support activity. The demonstration aspect of my travel could be reduced significantly if I were able to deliver the demonstration via online means.
We need as many VUC people as possible to register so that LifeSize has a sense of our level of interest. Eight of those who register will win the webcams, which are to be distributed prior to the call.
I don’t always agree with TMC’s Rich Tehrani, but with respect to Cisco’s UMI I do believe that he has the situation nailed when he posted, “10 Reasons Why Cisco Umi Telepresence Will Fail.” In fact, I think that stopping at ten was a kindness in Cisco’s direction.
There are so many players in this space that simply do consumer electronics better than Cisco that I simply can’t see UMI getting much traction in it’s current form. Starting with Logitech other companies will soon be in the space with better devices…better user experience…better support…better prices…just plain better.
Cisco today introduced umi, it’s effort to bring telepresence from the board room into the living rooms of the world. Umi (pronounced like “you me”) attaches to an existing HDTV via an HDMI connection and is said to support HD video calling.
Depending upon your available bandwidth umi can provide 720p or 1080i video streams. They quote 720p as requiring 1.5 mbps in each direction, while 1080 requires 3.5 mbps. Those numbers suggest the umi is not supporting the H.264 High Profile compression profile that Polycom has used on their systems. H.264 High Profile makes more efficient use of bandwidth, according to Polycom it’s bandwidth requirements are as little as half that of competitive systems.