Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Cisco home TelePresence: online school heaven?

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CISCO4

You can just hear the University of Phoenix licking its chops right now.

Cisco expects to have  its home TelePresence system — a living room version of what you have seen in those quirky Ellen Page commercials (see below) — by the holiday season at around $500 (plus some kind of monthly service fee), Cisco Executive Vice President Rob Lloyd said on Thursday at the Reuters Global Technology Summit. He and some other Cisco employees are about to start a round of internal testing.

The system will let two users have a conversation with video. Ok, yes, Skype does that every day over garden variety laptops. But TelePresence, as described by Lloyd, uses your high speed Internet link, and your own flat-screen TV, to deliver crisp video, and overcome that weird latency issue where you and your conversation partner both talk at the same time, and both stop to say “no…you go.”

The key benefit, he says, is that it works over your home TV and brings the myriad tools of the Internet to your conversation. So if you are talking about the family tree, you can bring up photo apps during the chat, or video or other useful information. And for school… its priceless.

When you get the latency too high — I say something, you say something, two seconds later you stop, and I stop and we both stop. We have all been there. You get the latency nailed down, and then you get applications integrated into that — because just talking to someone is interesting, but you probably want to have that integration into a marketplace when you can get service that can take advantage of that. So you want some small business services, some educational capabilities, you want to take some MBA classes from home, connected to a university that is offering some extension services — not on a website, but on a consumer TelePresence – it is going to happen.

200MB? It’s only human nature to want more

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Broadband subscribers want as much speed as they can get their hands on, even if it’s way beyond what’s needed by the most avid downloader of music, keen watcher of video or biggest Facebook addict, reckons cable operator Liberty Global’s CEO.

Maybe he would say that, but Mike Fries says today’s subscribers are signing up for speeds of 100-200 MB to be safe in the knowledge they won’t be left behind whatever the next stage of the Internet — a bit like owning a car with a top speed way beyond the limit.

Watch out school kids, big brother will soon be watching you

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By Paul Sandle

Sit back a minute and think back to your school days — doing homework on the bus, skipping double physics on a Friday afternoon…nice, huh? Well, no more if Pearson prevails.

The reluctant student skulking at the back of the class, copying homework at the last minute or taking a day off, like Ferris Bueller, could find school a lot tougher if his college starts using the publisher’s latest education products.  

Is Rupert Murdoch toast?

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Rupert Murdoch may have a sprawling empire and may be one the media industry’s last moguls but sometimes a small trust-owned outfit can show the big guys how it’s done. And what does that say about the future? Read for yourself.
The Guardian has been a fanastic innovator online, absolutely amazing innovator,” said David Levin, Chief Executive of United Business Media UBM at the Reuters Media Summit.”The big debate is how does Rupert Murdoch’s approach, saying I’m going to try and come off the search engines play, contrast with what the Guardian may or may not do. The Guardian is at the other end of the spectrum.
So, you got people who are webcentric and those who say well, ooh, I don’t like that web thing, I will somehow go off line…they’re toast.”
Rupert Murdoch take heed.

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