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Object From Future

--Origami Ultra-Mobile PC

Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC), previously known by its codename Project Origami, is a small form factor tablet PC. It was developed jointly by Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, and others. According to current baseline physical specifications, Windows-based UMPC devices will weigh less than 2 pounds, with a 7-inch screen size. Details of Origami/UMPC were revealed during the CeBit 2006 in Germany, where Asus, Samsung and Founder presented their UMPCs.

UMPC supports mobile-tuned user interface features such as touch, pen, dedicated buttons, and keyboards. Currently UMPCs run Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, in the future it will run on Windows Vista. Microsoft also pre-installs a special software called the Touch Pack to optimize the touch screen user interface. DialKeys, the virtual keyboard, is included in the Touch Pack Interface.

On the inside, the UMPC includes a 30-60GB hard drive and Intel Celeron M, Pentium M or VIA C7-M processors. Depending on the configuration, a UMPC could feature GPS, a webcam, fingerprint reader, TV tuner and build-in memory card reader. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Ethernet are all supported as well.

The "Origami" project was Microsoft's first step toward achieving a big vision, in which UMPCs will eventually become as indispensable and ubiquitous as mobile phones. In the future, the prices of UMPCs are expected to come down to the $500 range, and battery life is expected to increase from 2.5 hours presently to 8 hours.

Samsung UMPC.JPG Origamitpi.jpg

Research Questions

BASIC Questions

-What is web2.0? Why web2.0? What is Internet TV?
-What is the difference between the current Internet and Web2.0?
-There are six kinds of TV: Internet TV, P2PTV, HDTV, IPTV, steaming video, Cellphone TV.

These are questions that everyone has to prepare himself, however, I find a useful introduction which gives detailed introduction, and it has both English and Chinese version.
English version:
http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html?page=1
Chinese version:
http://www.enet.com.cn/article/2005/1122/A20051122474593.shtml

www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.09/tv.html (introduction of six kinds of TV)

Current Situation

please refer to http://en.wikipedia.org to find out what you are not clear about.
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org

What is the current technology in TV industry?

I searched a lot on the internet, but I find the most useful information is on wikipedia. All information I get for this question is from wikipedia. I just list the exact name for those technologies, if you don’t understand, you can just look it up on wikipedia.

 Starting in the 1990s, modern television sets diverged into three different 
 trends:
--standalone TV sets;
--integrated systems with DVD players and/or VHS VCR capabilities built into the TV set itself (mostly for small size TVs with up to 21" screen, the main idea is to have a complete portable system);
--component systems with separate big-screen video monitor, tuner, audio system which the owner connects the pieces together as a high-end home theater system. This approach appeals to videophiles who prefer components that can be upgraded
separately.

Current Technology:
Terrestrial television (also known as over-the-air, OTA or Broadcast TV)
Cable Television (CATV)
Digital TV (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_television)
All digital TV variants can carry both standard-definition television (SDTV) and High-definition television (HDTV). Other format: eg. Ultra High Definition Video (UHDV)
DTT
Interactive television
eg. VOA (video-on-demand), Enhanced TV (ETV)
Satellite television
Flicker-free

Internet television (Vlogging, Vodcasting, Vodcatching and the Newtube.) IPTV is a part of
Web TV

Important aspects of TV:
1.video monitors
2. connection to computer cases and peripherals

Impacts of new innovation:
PVR (Personal Video Recorder) or DVR (digital video recorder)

When TV programs are produced, how can they be posted to public? How does the workflow works for broadcasting the films to the public?

 Getting TV programming shown to the public can happen in many different ways. 
 After production the next step is to market and deliver the product to whatever 
 markets are open to using it. This typically happens on two levels:</p>

1. Original Run or First Run - a producer creates a program of one or multiple episodes and shows it on a station or network which has either paid for the production itself or to which a license has been granted by the producers to do the same.

2. Syndication - this is the terminology rather broadly used to describe secondary programming usages (beyond original run). It includes secondary runs in the country of first issue, but also international usage which may or may not be managed by the originating producer. In many cases other companies, TV stations or individuals are engaged to do the syndication work, in other words to sell the product into the markets they are allowed to sell into by contract from the copyright holders, in most cases the producers.

In most countries, the first wave occurs primarily on free-to-air (FTA) television, while the second wave happens on subscription TV and in other countries. In the U.S. however, the first wave occurs on the FTA networks and subscription services, and the second wave travels via all means of distribution.
First run programming is increasing on subscription services outside the U.S., but few domestically produced programs are syndicated on domestic FTA elsewhere. This practice is increasing however, generally on digital only FTA channels, or with subscriber-only first run material appearing on FTA.

Unlike the U.S., repeat FTA screenings of a FTA network program almost only occur only on that network. Also, affiliates rarely buy or produce non-network programming that isn't intensely local.


Television production

What follows is the standard procedure for shows on network television in the United States.

Someone (called the show "creator") comes up with the idea for a new television series. This consists of the concept, the characters, usually some crew, and sometimes some big-name actors.

They "pitch" it to the various television networks, hoping to find one that's interested. If a network is interested, they will "order" a pilot (a prototype first episode of the series).

To create the pilot, the structure and team of the whole series needs to be put together. If the network likes the pilot, they will "pick up" the show for their next season (UK: series). Sometimes they'll save it for "midseason" or request re-writes and further review (known in the industry as "Development hell"). And other times they'll pass entirely, leaving the show's creator forced to "shop it around"' to other networks. Many shows never make it past the pilot stage.

If the show is picked up, a "run" of episodes is ordered. Usually only 13 episodes are ordered at first, although a series will typically last for at least 22 episodes (the last nine episodes sometimes being known as the "back nine", borrowing a term from golf).

The show hires a "stable" of writers, who usually work in parallel: the first writer works on the first episode, the second on the second episode, and so forth. When all of the writers have been used, the assignment of episodes continues starting with the first writer again. On other shows, however, the writers work as a team. Sometimes they will develop story ideas individually, and pitch them to the show's creator, who then folds them together into a script and rewrites them.

The executive producer, often the show's creator, is in charge of running the show. They pick crew and cast (subject to approval by the network), approve and often write series plots, and sometimes write and direct major episodes. A whole host of other producers of various names work under him or her, to make sure the show is always running smoothly.

Once the script for a show is written, a director is found for the episodes. The director's job is to turn the words of the script into film. They decide how scenes should be "staged" and where the cameras should be placed; they also often coach the actors, including any guest stars who may be in the particular episode. On television shows, directors are often interchangeable, mainly serving the dictates of the writer.

A director of photography takes care of making the show look good, doing things with lighting and so on.

Finally, an editor cuts the various pieces of film together, adds the musical score, and assembles the completed show.

The show is then turned over to the network, which sends it out to its affiliates, which air it in the specified timeslot. If the Nielsen Ratings are good, the show is kept alive as long as possible. If not, the show is usually cancelled. The show's creators are then left to shop around remaining episodes, and the possibility of future episodes, to other networks. On especially successful series, the producers sometimes call a halt to a series on their own like The Cosby Show and end it with a concluding episode which sometimes is a big production called a series finale.

If the show is popular or lucrative, and a number of episodes (usually 100 episodes or more) are made, it goes into syndication where broadcast rights are then resold.

References: www.wikipedia.org.
I got the answer for this question from wikipedia. If there is something you do not understand, you can still look it up on wikipedia as on wikipedia it always has links to other terms.


What are the stakeholders? Who are the key players of “normal TV”?

The main stakeholders are the Television Network and audience (customer).

Within the industry, a tiering is sometimes created among groups of networks based on whether their programming is simultaneously originated from a central point, and whether the network master control has the technical and administrative capability to take over the programming of their affiliates in real-time when it deems this necessary—the most common example being breaking national news events.

In countries where most networks broadcast identical, centrally originated content from all their stations and where most individual stations are therefore nothing more than large "repeater stations", the terms television network, television channel and television station have become interchangeable in everyday language, with only professionals in TV-related occupations continuing to make a difference between them, if one was ever made. This applies to most countries outside North America and Japan.

With the advent of cable television, satellite television and more recently digital television, the cost of creating a nationwide television channel has been reduced and there has been a huge increase in the number of such channels, with most catering to a small group (e.g. CNN, CNBC, Fox News etc.). However, at least in the eyes of many broadcasting professionals, these are not television networks as such. This is because the term "network" assumes some sort of interconnection between distinct, geographically-dispersed distribution outlets; in contrast, virtually all of the programming aired by these channels is fed, unaltered, from the channel's national distribution center directly to viewers, with only the cable or satellite company as an intermediary.

References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television_network

Driving Forces

Expectation for higher standard entertainment with reasonable cost


In recent 50 years, people’s living standard has improved a lot due to a lot of innovations and new technologies. Moreover, the cost of applications of these innovations continuously decreases with mass production and fast development of more advanced technology. It seems for sure for people that in the future they can live a more convenient and colorful life with lower cost. They expect they can have entertainment any time they want; they hope to have more channels, more high quality programs, and less advertisement on TV; they hope to be interactive; they hope devices can have more functions: and so on.

Enablers:

o Fast development of technology : The fast development of computer, Internet and broadband communication provides people with more choices for entertainment, while the cost of these application is declining. For example, people won’t be content with passive receiving, they would like to be able to interactive. They would hope TV can do more things, such as surf on the internet, video telephone, etc.

o Increasing importance of entertainment : People nowadays don’t just view work as an important part of life, but also entertainment. They cherish their free time after-work and pursue high standard entertainment. Flexible workspaces save people’s time and enable them to have more time for entertainment.

o Large amount of current home entertainment devices : TV has proved itself as the most common and important home entertainment devices for most households. Computer is also becoming more and more popular. It’s less likely that they will throw their TV, anyway, it has influenced people’s living habit so much.

Inhibitors:


o Technology development doesn’t meet people’s needs .
o People are content with old ways of entertainment, as new innovations doesn’t provide a lot of value.
o Cost of new entertainment is too high

Paradigms:

Old: People would be content with the receiving mode of traditional TV.
New: People would ask more features from TV

Experts:

Sources for additional information about this driving force.

Timing:

Since 1950’s

Web Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tv
http://comm.ccidnet.com/art/1522/20050329/229563_1.html

Continuous exploitation for revenue

More and more families are now connected to the Internet with broadband connection. The broadband Internet access provided capacity of about 256 kilobits per second or more, approximately nine times the speed of a modem using a standard digital telephone line. There is great motivation to provide more through the internet than previous, especially business man who are searching for new revenues all the time.

Enablers:

o Technology development: More and more families are now connected to broadband Internet. However, they haven’t used the full capacity of broadband. Innovations would focus on full exploitation of the idle resources.

o Decreasing profit in TV industry: This drives businessmen to search for new revenue. When there is more can be done with the broadband communication, they would not lose the chance. IPTV was viewed as a way to fully utilize the broadband resources and bring more revenues to more stakeholders. More stakeholders are included in the IPTV industry, such as Program producer, Internet service provider, application service provider, TV network, etc.

o Government Support: Many government support the construction of Internet network. As the exploitation and application of idle broadband resources could bring great revenue, government may also support such development.

Inhibitors:

o No secure technology to provide fully exploitation of the broadband resources.
o Not enough families has broadband connection.
o People are not prepared to pay large amount of money on it.
o Government control the Internet.
o Privacy of multimedia.
o Not enough cost-efficient video content. Traditional TV has already provided a lot of wonderful programs.
o Interest conflict between traditional TV network and new Internet providers.

Paradigms:

Old: People are content with current Internet contents.
New: More contents would be provided through Internet.

Experts:

Sources for additional information about this driving force.

Timing:

Early 2000s

Web Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadband_Internet_access
http://comm.ccidnet.com/art/1522/20050405/234031_1.html
http://comm.ccidnet.com/art/1522/20050405/233993_1.html

Governmental control of Internet TV

As broadcasts and videos have great influence on people’s thought. Some governments may censor the contents of those programs. In the extreme, they may prohibit Internet TV. Net neutrality has been translated into law in many countries, such as UK and Japan. There is also push for Network neutrality in US.

Enablers:

o Contents of Internet TV are not healthy, may there be a lot of porns, violences.
o Some people use Internet TV to spread anti-government ideas: If this happens, governments may think about prohibiting Internet TV.
o No technology to censor and control contents of Internet TV: if governments don't have certain technology to censor the contents, they may prohibit it and make it illegal.
o Dealing with interest conflict: if the development of Internet TV influences government’s or state-owned property’s interest, government would enter.

Inhibitors:

o People in the country fight against government’s control.
o World-wide avocations of democracy.
o Internet TV industry is quite profitable, and has a lot of stakeholders .

Paradigms:

Old: Internet TV would develop freely.
New: Government control.

Experts:

Sources for additional information about this driving force.

Timing:

Recent years.

Web Resources:

comm.ccidnet.com/IPTV1/

Learning Log

Scenario thinking is a totally new subject for me. To be frank, I could not really appreciate the usefulness of scenario planning at the first class as I did not have much work experience. Then I discussed with our classmate Brian, who had been a software engineer for several years. Brian told me that it is really very difficult for technical people to communicate with business managers, as managers don’t know much about technology, while technical people use a lot of technical terms. Sometimes you just can’t imagine how difficult it is! Brian told me this course is quite helpful for this kind of communication. After three weeks study, I really appreciate scenario thinking as a collaborative process to create a shared language between technical and non-technical people, which combines both technical side and managerial side.

Although there are only three days’ classes, my mind and my way of thinking about the world really changes. Actually, the case “War on Drugs” impressed me a lot. If I was Ronald Reagan before I have this scenario planning course, I think I will do exactly the same things with what Mr. Ronald Reagan did. Yes, when we look at different issues, we should not just think about one side. We should think about more factors, predetermined elements and also those uncertainties, internal factors and also external elements such as global economy, environmental issues, politics, etc. All these things are not separated. They have connections between each other. This is actually systems thinking. I believe this way of thinking will help me a lot for my whole life. When we analyze situations, we should not just look at the supply side or the demand side. We should look at both supply and demand sides, as these two sides are highly-related. It is impossible to change the whole situation by just suppressing one side. It is also important to identify the most important elements in that situation, which means if this element changes the whole situation will change. Another way to change the situation is changing the rules of those interactions between different elements. Last but not least, if we “speed up”, the whole situation will change rapidly. These are the four keystones to analyze and change the situation:
1. Everything at once.
2. High leverage.
3. Change rules of Interaction.
4. “Speed up”.

Scenarios serve two main purposes1. The first is protective: anticipating and understanding risk; the second is entrepreneurial: discovering strategic options of which you were previously unaware. And in the long run the second one is more important.

There are several steps to make scenario planning. Actually, when we process our scenario planning, we follow these steps: first, clearly define the problem or topic; second, identify research questions that are related to the topic and find answers; third, identify and determine driving forces; fourth, make the system diagram; fifth, choose appropriate methodology to make scenarios from the system diagram; sixth, develop scenarios to stories. If it is a kind of work for an organization, there is the final step to tie scenarios into organizational strategy. In my opinion, this last step is of critical importance. If scenarios can not give benefits to organizations, it is non-sense to develop these scenarios.

Among all these steps, to define the problem clearly is of crucial importance. In fact, when we face some difficulties during scenario plann ing, we should “go back and define the problem”instead of “solve the problem”. During our discussion, we found there is a lot of confusion about what is Internet TV. Are P2PTV (such as the popular Chinese p2p streaming video network pplive) Internet TV? Are TV programs on the website Internet TV? Finally we made agreement that in our scenario planning, the “Internet TV” is “ TV through Internet”, which means all TVs that are delivered through Internet, including p2p, potential “google video” ( “google video” is just one example, here we mean some websites that put TV on their website and people can watch TV through the website), and of course the most exact “IPTV”. Actually “IPTV” is just one part of Internet TV.

The group work with other students is always helpful and of great fun. There are discussions, a lot of arguments, sharing of opinions. There are also issues related about caring about others’ feeling during the cooperation. I think at first, we had some misunderstanding about driving forces. What are driving forces then? In my understanding, driving forces should focus on critical uncertainties. In fact, at first, we had driving forces such as “broadening age span of Internet users”, “broadband expansion”. I think these are facts and are not actually driving forces.

What makes good scenarios? From Prof. Daniel Erasmus’s view 2, those stories should be “Relevant”, “Plausible”, “Consistent” and “Surprising”. Our group made four scenarios for the future of Internet TV, and during the process we follow these four criteria to make our stories. In the process of scenario thinking, it is very important to avoid “official future”. During our discussion about the future of TV, we first got three scenarios, but all three scenarios assume that Internet TV will happen and be dominant in the market. Is this true? In fact, we have determined those driving forces and with all these uncertainties, actually there is possibility that the current TV industry remains the same. I proposed the fourth scenario then.

Moreover, I believe the wiki technology will have significant influence to the Internet and also the way people think and use the influence. The website http://scenariothinking.org is very useful for our work. Everyone can share their opinions through the website. It’s convenient to edit and make changes. Moreover, I found wikipedio is a especially useful tool. I spent a lot of time searching the web a lot to get more information about the technology, the industry, etc. about TV. But finally, I found I was able find most information through wikipedio.

At last, I should mention that I like the “Object From Future” section. I got to know more recent development of technology and ideas. It is great experience to hear my classmates about their opinions about the future.

Literature Review – Systems thinking

What is systems thinking?
“Systems thinking is a mental model that promotes the belief that the component parts of a system will act differently when isolated from its environment or other parts of the system, and argues against Descartes's reductionist view.”3 Generally speaking, systems thinking is a way that tells us how to learn about the complex world around us and deal with it. With systems thinking, the way you think about the world will be different. It will be easier for you to understand and analyze complex problems and effectively influence them. Kauffman’s “Systems One: An Introduction to Systems Thinking” is an easy-to-understand book about systems thinking, very nice book.

The development of systems thinking can be traced back to 1920’s when some researchers started to make researches about the patterns and they found the same general rules of organization. Everything is not just the sum of its parts, no matter how different they are, there are general rules about how they are organized. This is “general systems theory” and the practical usage is “systems analysis”. The two most important contributions are that it provides a way of understanding and dealing with complex problems without having to spent a lot time studying all details.

What is a system?
“A system is a collection of parts which interact with each other to function as a whole”4'. An object or a system can be itself if all the parts are not arranged in a proper way. If something is made up a number of parts no matter how they are organized, then this is not a system, and this is just a “heap”. The most important word in this definition is “interact.” One part of the system will have impact on other parts, and the systems as a whole will have impact on this part, then a “loop” is created. It is also important to know that “collection of smaller units – a system – is more stable than one larger unit”4.

Why systems can be stable? That is because of those negative feedback loops inside the system. Negative feedback is very universal, and it is negative feedback that makes all sorts of systems behave in the similar way. There are some common negative feedbacks such as Active Systems (Self-stabilizing systems always make active responses to changes. However, active responses consumes energy.), Loose Systems, Hidden Systems, Vulnerable systems. Even the most strong negative feedback system can be vulnerable if the information system in the feedback loop is influenced. But we can also utilize this characteristic – if you want to change the system, then this vulnerability is really an advantage. Remember: “the ‘obvious’ solution often makes things worse.”4 Not difficult to understand.

While negative feedback loops make systems stable, positive feedback makes changes and growth to the system. Some examples about positive feedbacks are Money with compound interest, the growth of population, power and knowledge.

The general rules about how complex systems are organized are just two simple elements: positive and negative feedback loops. When we analyze a complex system, we can go first by finding out these two kinds of loops. Moreover, with this similarity, we can easily apply knowledge in one field to another. When we put pieces of negative feedback loops and positive feedback loops together, we can analyze the system with multiple loops. If the system will be stable to will change is according to the competition between the negative feedback loops and the positive feedback loops. However, the complete winning of one side is dangerous because it means a complete ending. In the real life, two sides compete and limit the other but avoid getting the final success. Those factors that influence the relation between negative feedback loops and positive feedback loops are important and is possible to change the system a lot, no matter how small and insignificant these factors are. On the other hand, changes that don’t influence the negative and positive feedback loops will be only temporary.

Simple systems make up complex systems. Characteristics of complex systems includes: self-stabilizing, goal-seeking, program following, self-reprogramming, anticipating, environment-modifying, self-replicating, self-maintaining and repairing, self-reorganizing, and self-programming4. Advantages of complexities are: more information, more flexible, more accurate. Disadvantages are: difficult to maintain and having to spend a lot to get information, etc. One of those problems that are caused by complexity is “the Tragedy of the Commons”, which is the name of the essay written by ecologist Garrett Hardin. It describes the problem that different subsystems have conflicting goals and are harmful to the bigger system. The solution can be either giving decision power to the higher level or dividing the whole problem to small pieces and making individuals only have decision power to that small piece. The second solution is not so effective because the problems of one part won’t be confined just in its own part and usually will enlarge to other parts. Then it maybe better to give decision power to the higher level, however, we should also keep in mind that it is more difficult for the top level to get all information and then utilize it. So there is a trade off. The best rule of the thumb seems to be: “Make each decision at the lowest possible level, but be ready to shift the control of the situation to a higher level if a serious problem occurs”4. It is also important to remember that no society can be perfect – solving one problem almost always creates other4. Indeed, we have to learn to tolerate some drawbacks and unfairness. Other problems of complexity is “the distortion of feedback” ( subsystems lie or distort the information flow that is crucial to the complex system) and “the loss of predictability” (flexibility results in a loss of prediction and actually we pay a price for greater flexibilty).

“From a systems consciousness, we understand that no problem or behavior can be understood in isolation. We must account for dynamics operating in the whole system that are displaying themselves in these individual moments.”5 – Leadership and the New Science, p 139-140.

“At its broadest level, systems thinking encompasses a large and fairly amorphous body of methods, tools, and principles, all oriented to looking at the interrelatedness of forces, and seeing them as part of a common process. The field includes cybernetics and chaos theory, gestalt therapy; the work of Gregory Bateson, Russell Ackoff, Eric Tristy, Ludwig von Bertallanfy, and the Santa Fe Institute; and the dozen or so practical techniques for “process mapping” flows of activity at work. All of these diverse approaches have one guiding idea in common: “that behavior of all systems follows certain common principles, the nature of which are being discovered and articulated.”6 – The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, p 89.

References:

[1] Pierre Wack. Scenarios: Shooting the Rapids. IIBR, November-December 1985.
[2] Daniel Erasmus. A Common Language for Strategy. The Financial Times, 4 May 1999.
[3] Systems Thinking. Retrieved May 2006 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_thinking
[4] Kauffman, Draper. Systems One: An Introduction to Systems Thinking.
[5] Wheatley, Margaret. Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World.Barrett-Koehler, 2001

[6] Senge, Peter, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. Doubleday, 1994.