Will Streaming Media shed its skin?

The following is an excerpt from an interview with John Maxwell Hobbs, head of Creative Development at Ericsson Cyberlab
Posted February 9, 1999

Adnan Ashraf

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Located in New York's financial district and Silicon Alley, Ericsson CyberLab NY is a fast-prototyping business development facility focused on emerging Internet technologies and applications in business markets. We spoke with Creative Director John Maxwell Hobbs about concerns that intranet managers will face as they develop video-conferencing and other streamed-media applications.

"I believe that videoconferencing will soon replace standard telephony in office environments, and in the home shortly after that. Voice or text only communications will still be used in mobile and compromised bandwidth situations. "

- John Maxwell Hobbs

Intranet Journal: What role do companies like Activate, Globix and Encoding.com play in the relationship between content providers and streaming media?

John Maxwell Hobbs: They function in the same way that Webhosting companies function. They provide hardware, bandwidth, systems administration and encoding services.

IJ: Do you agree with RealNetworks' Rob Glaser when he suggests that television is going to migrate to the Web?

JMH: Yes and no. I believe PC is one of the worst possible devices to do anything on, let alone watch TV. I believe that the Web is superfluous to the delivery of streaming media content - the Internet is what is key. What I foresee is the ubiquitous use of IP to deliver media to a wide variety of rendering devices, some of which will resemble a traditional TV set.

IJ: If in the near future, TV stations migrate their programming to the Web, what role will a company like Activate or Globix play? For instance, would you anticipate yourself in a relationship with NBC, or an independent multimedia content producer, or both?

JMH: I believe that TV networks will be delivering the Web over their digital broadcast spectrum, and in that way will be running their own over-air "Intranets". If they use the Internet, it will be mainly for advertising. The Internet and the Web as we know it will function as a democratic distribution medium - anyone can broadcast, but will have to share bandwidth. As far as a business relationship - I would say both.

IJ: Basically, what I'm trying to figure out is where do companies like Activate, and Globix fit into the future broadcasting paradigm? Is it fair to put Activate and Globix in the same class?

JMH: I think they will function as they do now - technology contractors for people who don't have the time, interest, or resources to handle it themselves.

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