Tag Archives: home network

Transforming Telcos: Telco 2.0

Two weeks ago I found, as a guest post at GigaOM, an interesting article from  STL Partners  on the future of broadband. While I disagree on a few points, it does bring some fresh ideas about the evolution of telcos:

Wholesale. Increasingly important model as we see in wireless with MVNOs reselling capacity from operators. New application service providers could be envisioned to re-sell connectivity as part of a Service, like high-def video streaming with some QoS assurance on top of the basic package. “Postage and packing included” models will proliferate, like the Amazon Kindle, where Amazon pays for the EVDO service on behalf of the end-user.

Two-side business model. Service providers will monetize revenues from new sources, like: advertisement, e-commerce or access to user profiles, location and presence.

– The control of the Home Network. What is simple for techies and early adopters it is still too complex for the mainstream. Telcos are in a privileged position to manage the home network for their customers and make life easy for their mainstream users.

Virtual Networks overlaid on Internet. Broadband Service  Providers can offer best-effort Internet as a standard package to comply with net-neutrality issues, and still deploy overlay networks with a guaranteed QoS for bandwidth demanding or sophisticated usages: Hi-Def Videoconferencing, Hi-Def live events broadcast, etc. This overlay networks could be provided from the telco as a wholesale for Applications providers to re-sell it bundled with their Service.

Where I disagree with STL Partners article is in the inability of telcos so sell applications or media content. IPTV and Mobile TV are in their infancy yet, and operators are still learning. Many telcos have launched successful services, like Telefonica Imagenio (IPTV), AT&T U-verse (IPTV), KDDI Lismo (Music) or Telstra Mobile TV, that demonstrate how user experience in content services can be improved through technology, and this is something telcos do master.

NAS: The new device for home

As we anticipated in our 2008 predictions, the demand for Network-Attached Storage (NAS) devices at home is rapidly increasing.

Apple announcement of Time Capsule, even if not a proper NAS, goes into that direction.

There are two trends we all recognize in our digital style-life:

1) An increasing number of media files (photos, music and videos) that we handle in our computers media libraries. Movies and songs are downloaded on-line. DVDs and CDs are ripped to digital media libraries. No more room for space-consuming DVD/CD physical libraries. And no room for the hassle of inserting discs. Personalized playlists and jukebox-like operation is the rule.

2) The number of computers at home is increasing. From one desktop family PC to multiple personal laptops, plus game consoles, DLNA media extenders, and other home networked devices to come (IP cameras, home robots…)

In that environment, a shared storage attached to the home network is a must so that heavy media files do not have to be stored in each laptop at home. The media files in a central location are accessed through the network by any Media Player: laptops, Xbox 360 or PS3, or other Media Extenders.

Folowing those trends, Microsoft has created Microsoft Home Server. HP SmartMedia Home Server is based on Microsoft software.

As we all get more conscious about energy saving, specially for an always-on device, and as a home server can be simplified as pure shared storage, NAS devices are positioning as a wise low cost solution.

Taiwanese QNAP has designed a low-cost NAS targeted for homes. Apart from shared storage with user replaceable drives, QNAP NAS also features:
– a DLNA built-in media server, so that media extenders can access all shared media
– a Bittorrrent client, manageable through a web interface
– 14W power comsuption in operation (6.6W in sleep mode). Fan-less noise-free design.

Linksys and D-link have a similar products, including the built-in media server, but without the Bittorrent client.

Apple Time Capsule is the latest addition. While bundling a network drive with a 802.11n router is a wise idea ( both are always-on devices), it is meant to only backup the Macbooks at home. No media server, no Bittorrent but stylishly packaged and built to easily integrate with Apple family.

HP SmartMedia Time Capsule  QNAP TS-109 Linksys NAS200
2 x 500GB
1 x 1TB
HD not included
2-bays HD not included
with MS Home Server
(+$105 / 500GB HD)
(+$311 / 1TB HD)
(+$105 / 500GB HD)
Up to 4 HD
Manage users rights
Manage Software
802.11n router
Stylish design
Low power consumption
Noise-free operation
Media server, web,
DDNS and BitTorrent
Media server PnP
Low cost
Power comsuption
No Wifi
High cost
No media server
Only back-ups
Only 1 HD
Expensive in US
Cheaper in Asia
No Gigabit port
Slow back-ups