Can IoT Play A Role In Radio- and TV-Related Devices, Usage, Spectrum, and The Like?3/11/2015 4:45 PM

This includes all forms of spectrum-based technology – including audio and video providers – to assist them in their transition to a world where embedded sensors in and on devices, measure and transmit data for analysis, reporting, and other uses, to a computer server that can serve that processing and calculation chore globally. The goal is to improve audio- and video-related efficiencies, pricing, revenues, and safety.

Telecom Play

This begs the question: Just what is the opportunity of the Internet of Things to become involved in tomorrow’s worlds of audio and video and data distribution? Actually, the answer is simple: The opportunity is…and I’m trying to avoid hyperbole here…substantial.

Which begs the next question: Just why?

IoT + Video Events

Yet, before tackling that question of Why IoT and Audio/Video have a future life together, readers are notified that the author will be conducting two events in the months ahead that will deal with this topic and question, and give them a chance to observe it firsthand.

First on the calendar for Tax Day, Wednesday, April 15, 2015, at the National Association of Broadcasters’ NAB 2015 Show in Las Vegas, Room S-222, is a Super Session entitled “Broadband and The Internet of Things: Realities and Myths.” Joining me on stage as a panelist and commentator will be former Republican FCC commissioner Robert McDowell, Esq. Other panelists include XG Technology CEO, George Schmitt; Cisco’s director of Smart Connected Vehicles, Andreas Mai; and Paul Donahue, chairman of the Southern Calif.-based tech firm, MelRok, and co-founder of HD Radio. MelRock is a provider of a patented Universal Internet of Things platform for energy and media. The website link that describes this NAB 2015 event in deeper detail is

The second event dealing with the Internet of Things is the national cable show, rebranded in 2015 as INTX 2015, in Chicago, May 5-7. The author is helping NCTA bring a super-connected IoT vehicle to the INTX exhibition floor for display all days of the show, and a general keynote to the company that brings that vehicle (Note: if there is a vehicle company that has impressive eMobility and/or iMobility vehicle displays, and would like to entertain a general session keynote address at INTX 2015, please contact me directly at, and title the email subject “INTX Chicago Interest.”)

IoT and the FCC

The Internet of Things also ties in nicely with the growth and developments in and expansion of broadband across the world, and especially across rural America. Deemed a basic right by most, a robust and reliable Internet connection, by landline, wireless, or even satellite, has grown fundamentally important to a decent quality of life in our country today.

Once that connection is established, basic data delivery is important for Internet of Things purposes, such as that sensor tacked on to the inside of a farm fuel tank, telling the petroleum supplier automatically, daily, and without human effort, when a truck should roll to refuel that tank and keep that farm running. As opposed to sending a worker out in to minus degree weather to manually check that measurement, the IoT does it cheaper, it is more efficient, it is more reliable, and it is safer. This is a basic IoT mantra. As more concern arises about the security and safety of everything, the IoT connection might well be used to send a live audio, but increasingly a live video, of the contents of that tank….which is one tiny among many such examples of where data, audio, and video will collaborate with the Internet of Things!

It is the main job of the Federal Communications Commission to help the United States make best use of the spectrum that is required for these purposes. Spectrum management is in its early stages today as it relates to the Internet of Things. Along the line, themes of localism, diversity, and competition prevail among many FCC employees.

McDowell + IoT

Former FCC commissioner Robert McDowell, Esq. is a partner with the law firm of Wiley Rein in Washington, DC. At a Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Assn. Leadership Luncheon organized and moderated by the author during the 2015 CES in Las Vegas, one question bore down on the idea of the Internet of Things and the future of video distribution. Mr. McDowell opined that with IoT uses such as movies, we will watch via devices implanted inside our eyeballs, which is technology that already exists. He also added 1) there will be privacy concerns, 2) totalitarian regimes will hate it, and 3) consumers will be greatly inspired by it. Using the ultimate metaphor, McDowell likened the Internet to Things to “…something like fire (for the good and bad)…it can warm you and cook your food, but also it can burn down your teepee.” In light of caveats like this, it will also be fascinating to see how the current FCC folks stoke that localism, diversity, and competition with the heat from the Internet of Things.

Want More?

As noted above, between now and June, two additional events will tackle the idea of video providers learning how to use this new “fire,” called the Internet of Things. We’ll see you at NAB 2015 in Las Vegas April 15, then we’ll see you at INTX 2015 in Chicago May 5-7.

Jimmy Schaeffler is a telecom/media author and chairman and CSO of the Carmel-by-the-Sea-based streaming/broadband, broadcast, and pay TV/video consultancy, The Carmel Group (

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