At an all-day, freewheeling Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) event in Denver yesterday, panelists discussed everything from cord-cutting to innovation cycles to some surprising facts about social media. Some of the plums CT Reports gathered include:
>> Marti Moore, vice president/Strategic Program Management Office, Charter Communications, bringing us up to speed on the MSO: "We don’t call ourselves a cable company anymore. We call ourselves a broadband and entertainment company. We’re going to be rolling out TiVo. We’ve put together a roadmap for an IP-based network. We’re a little behind on some of our mobile because of the bankruptcy. At some point next year, we’ll be rolling out a tablet app. We’re definitely planning to catch up with the rest of the industry."
>> Nim Patel, president of Mobile Accord, talking about SMS texting as a way to reach people: "There are only two numbers that are going to follow us around for the rest of our lives: our Social-Security number and our mobile-phone number with portability. If you create a connection via text, you know you’ll have that connection going forward."
>> Beth Harrison, director of advanced services at Home Shopping Network, mentioned the newest buzzword (or buzz acronym): automatic content recognition (ACR). The technology allows content owners to identify their content on any device, regardless of the source of the video. She added, "EBIF was really important for us, to transact using your remote control. It’s a silent transaction. You’re husband doesn’t need to know. We have four or five shop-by-remote products."
>> Anne Dirske, Alticast’s director of technical services/Application Solutions, who’s been conducting a cord-cutting experiment with her sister Sara, talked about alternative TV technologies they’ve tested. They liked Roku for the sheer amount of content it can access. "This is Input One in our house," said Dirske’s sister. Added Dirske, "It’s the one device that our parents can actually use." But after paying for Netflix, HuluPlus and Amazon Prime as well as being billed for Internet service, their experiment has been more about a transition to streaming. They weren’t saving any money from cord-cutting.
>> Motorola Mobility’s Senior Director of Solution Architecture Robert Scheffler wowed the audience with the Motorola ATRIX 4G smartphone. With its 1-GHz dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM, the phone is a pocket computer. It can be connected to a HDMI-compatible HDTV or to Motorola’s Laptop Dock to access personal files and emails or to search the Web.
>> Jon Radloff, vice president/Video Product Development at Comcast, described in a nutshell Comcast’s process for adopting new technologies: "Comcast goes hunting for new technologies that are high growth or high revenue or margin potential, and looks to see if there’s a fit. We do this three or four times a year — talk to startups. We usually do this in two to three days back-to-back. We jam in a lot of data, kick a lot of tires, then retire to Philly and do a lot of business modeling. How would we bundle that with our services? We whittle it down to a few ideas we would invest in and then take it to key executives."
>> Finally, Rebecca Rusk Lim, vice president/Interactive Experience at Turner Broadcasting, showed a YouTube video that said social media has overtaken pornography as the Number One activity on the Web.