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VON Day 2: Pulver Keynote

Jeff has started by welcoming all of the delegates from both the voice community, and the new delegates from the video community.

He has started by talking about a little history.  Voice is an application, he says, but we’ve known that for 10 years. We get a little history vis a vis the VON coalition, and the reaction that the industry had in the mid 90’s.  The incumbents tried to shut down internet telephony, and regulate VoIP as if it were telco service.  Jeff’s point is that as VoIP disrupted the telephony industry, video on the net is about to disrupt the entertainment industry, and we should expect a similar reaction.

Jeff talks about a few more areas where innovation is happening at the edge.  In fact, he talks about Telio and Vonage as arbitrage plays at the edge, which is an interesting idea.  Notionally, the services provided by these companies are an arbitrage play for local service.

Jeff’s contention:  Like voice, video is also an application.  TV over IP is not the same as IPTV.  IPTV is solely about empowering incumbent telco’s to compete with cable.  TV over IP is about user content creation.  As the tools improve, the quality will also prove, Jeff contends.  Absolutely!  It reminds me very much of the comments made yesterday by AOL’s Ragui Kamel at the IM panel. 

The same energy that has gone into voice, is now evident in video. 

What has held video back has been two gaps — a skills gap, and an access to technology gap.  Until recently, video editing and content creation required highly sophisticated and expensive equipment.  Moore’s law is bringing those tools to the masses.

He shows us the ViVidas streaming hi-def trailier for Ghost Rider.  High definition video, projected on a massive screen.  It looks pretty good.  There were a few buffering problems I could see, but Jeff’s point is that video is real, and it’s coming to the network.  I would have to concur.  I’ve seen the standard definition version of this video, and it plays flawlessly.  Perhaps high definition is a stretch today, but it’s definitely true that you can play standard definition video.

Jeff’s point:  you don’t need a studio, you don’t need producers.  You can do video yourself. 

What about the concession stands?  The people who sell popcorn, for instance.  New revenue streams are possible from contextually driven advertising, Jeff contends.

Never one to shy away from the regulatory issues, Jeff issues a clarion call to the industry.  He warns that regulators will try to regulate video, and calls on the industry to move ahead.  “Don’t let the threat of regulation get in the way.  We have to fight,” says Jeff.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of the speech was the switch, momentarily, to Second Life, where the whole speech is being broadcast live to avatars in the conference center on Pulveria, Jeff’s Second Life island.

Vintage Pulver.  A mix of vision, a few windmills to be tilted at, and a few preconceived notions poked hard.

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