With CEOs and reporters routinely asking him whether broadband speeds of 10 gigabytes per second are really necessary, CableLabs chief executive Phil McKinney turned to a go-to page in his playbook: he had a short-form video made.
In the three-minute, 11-second video titled The Near Future, a man in an autonomous vehicle text chats and waves to neighbors as his self-driving car delivers him safely to his driveway. When he gets home, he’s fully immersed in a first-person, augmented reality game with his young son. His wife, who is conducting a holographic virtual work meeting, jumps off, puts on her special glasses and joins in. A daughter in the bedroom upstairs is having a virtual sit-down with her grandmother, who’s miles away. They break off the conversation, too, and join the augmented-reality battle. So does the older daughter, who’s involved in an immersive VR learning session.
The point, of course, is that the home of the future is going to require a lot of bandwidth.
“It’s an inspirational video aimed at innovators,” McKinney told FierceCable, just a day after presenting the short at CableLabs’ Summer Conference. “The goal is to inspire them to ask, ‘What could we do with these kinds of speeds?’”
McKinney added, “Even the Silicon Valley CEOs I talk to ask me, ‘What are we going to do with 10 gigs? What kind of services should we be thinking about?’”
McKinney said the early feedback from CableLabs’ industry backers has been solid. And he’s had success with the short-form video format before.
Back in 2006, while serving as CTO of Hewlett-Packard, McKinney made a short for CEO Carl Fiorina and her executive team, Roku’s Reward, showcasing the mobile, augmented-reality journey of a teenager and his friends. The Pokemon Company has credited this decade-old video, created before the release of the first iPhone, as the inspiration for the current Pokemon Go phenomena.
For The Near Future, McKinney got the band back together — most of the members now work for U.K. video shop Ivory — to produce a short that McKinney insists “was not as expensive as you’d think.”
“The real objective here to position cable, and everything we’re doing here, to be the platform of choice for innovators,” he said.