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Geoff Daily

App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

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May 8, 2007 1:07 PM

Reflections on the Expo

Expo Reflections

With the Expo come and gone, I’ve had some time to reflect on the events that transpired there and what they may portend on a grander scale.

1. Broadband as utility. As I invited people to speak in Fort Wayne, I encouraged them to leave Powerpoint behind and show off their broadband apps running live. When network issues sporadically dropped session rooms from 15Mbps to less than 200Kbps, I came to quickly respect one way in which broadband is increasingly becoming like a utility: the need for it to work whenever you turn it on.

This isn’t an argument for commoditized networks that act as nothing more than dumb pipes but instead an effort to stress how important reliability has become for businesses built on broadband, like, for example, a conference about broadband applications.

(Thanks to a bevy of great speakers and nimble moderators the network issues were not a major problem, and things were going well enough the morning of May 1st to support live demos of videoconferencing by Adobe Connect and SightSpeed, home movie editing by StashSpace.com, security camera access through a mobile phone by SecureCom, an eICU robot for remote patient monitoring, and a walkthrough of two electronic medical record systems.)

2. So many and so few applications. I managed to fill up two and a half days worth of sessions with nearly 90 speakers covering everything from telemedicine to egovernment to consumer applications, and we were really only scratching the surface. Every individual session could’ve filled up a conference of its own, and due to the constraints of time we had to leave a number of notable topics on the cutting room floor. Broadband applications have the potential to touch upon basically all facets of society.

Yet at the same time, I couldn’t ignore the sense of how nascent the market for broadband applications really is. Even for applications featuring mature technologies that represent multiple years of development, rarely do you find an application developer who has captured a significant fraction of their potential customer base. Some of this has to do the continually expanding marketplace; some with developers’ focus on development over marketing. But all in all the sense I got was that we have a long ways to go before society is able to reap the full benefits of the 21st century broadband-empowered economy.

3. Network operators and applications developers working together. My personal goal for the Expo was to try and facilitate as many conversations between network operators and applications developers as possible. I’m a firm believer that where we’re going to start seeing a lot of exciting things happening with broadband applications is when the developers of these applications are able to come together and partner with network operators.

One of the highlights for me at the Expo was the session we had on the morning of May 2nd about just this subject. On this panel we had Ken Tysell, executive director of Three Screen Services for AT&T;; Lars Krumme, EVP for HomeMovie.com/StashSpace.com; and Scott Lomond, president and COO of SightSpeed all sharing the same stage discussing why it’s a great thing for both sides to work together (more effective marketing for developers, greater innovation for network operators in the services they can offer) and how best to establish and grow these relationships (start with a purely marketing arrangement to test customer demand for an application, then explore opportunities for tighter integration).

You’ll be hearing a lot more about this nexus of applications and networks over the coming months both on AppRising and in my articles for KillerApp.com. From left to right we've got Scott Lomond, Ken Tysell, Lars Krumme, and that's me pontificating at the podium.

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