Clover’s Week: Motorola’s Monte Carlo rally

Motorola Mobility’s Monaco showcase found a three-month old company already had a lifetime of experience. Julian Clover reports.

When it comes to devices then Motorola is arguably the best placed to take advantage of the current trend for multiscreen viewing. It can provide you with the traditional set-top box, or at least a more sophisticated version thereof, and take this all the way through to a tablet or mobile. Only the set itself is missing, though even that once had a place in the product line.

In Monaco this week Motorola was busy making up for lost time after last year’s Video Leadership Forum fell victim to the Icelandic ash cloud that had sat over Europe.

After the separation of the company into two, phones and set-tops and everything in between fall under Motorola Mobility. The three-month old company with the 80-year history is looking at ways of maintaining the picture quality, whatever the screen, and will do so through network infrastructure, home devices, and what it calls ‘convergent experiences’.

“There’s an intense focus on the humans… Instead of starting with cool technology were starting with the people who pay money for things,” says Buddy Snow, VP of solutions marketing. Snow says the new approach represents a real switch for the ‘new’ Motorola as opposed to the company that had evolved before the split.

Motorola has also been topping up its knowledge base, acquiring two software companies, SecureMedia to help handle DRM, and most recently Dreampark to ensure its user interfaces are of the highest standard. As we reported earlier in the week there will also be a return to DVB-C set-top production now that Motorola can offer a product that is far more than the low-end devices that characterised parts of the market in the period following digitisation. It is clear Motorola wants to offer operators the whole total package.

It may no longer make the televisions, but Motorola will do everything it can to get a picture to them. This includes a recent 400 Mbps broadband trial with Cox in Las Vegas. Floyd Wagoner, who has responsibility for network infrastructure solutions, says over the last couple of years the focus was on downstream, but now with consumers using a variety of applications, attention was on the upstream path.

Bandwidth at the top of the agenda in the product demos too. The new wireless bridge capable of delivering multiple HD streams – we don’t have to go back too far in time for engineers to worry about delivering one – the reduction in required bandwidth required for HD delivery is a major boost in multiscreen delivery.

The Motorola Medios multiscreen video service management portfolio is at the heart of the device strategy. Its latest addition, the SocialTV companion, helps create a social network for an operator, further binding in the customer, as if the web of connected devices wasn’t already enough to do the job.