Saturday, February 17, 2007

P2P powered Devices … coming soon?

Last night, I came across PBS's Robert Cringely post Appearances Can Be Deceiving: What's that 40-gig hard drive doing inside my Apple TV? on P2P technology incorporated in future generation of Apple TV.
If the Apple TV is plugged in it is turned on. Did you notice that? That means the hard drive will have at least the capability of running 24/7. Now envision a BitTorrent-like file distribution system that is controlled primarily by iTunes, rather than by you or me. A centrally controlled P2P system is VERY powerful because it allows for the pre-positioning of content.
His discussion of P2P powered devices is very interesting to me as few months ago, I presented similar thoughts in a series of posts on GridNetworks and what they can do to stand out in overcrowded P2P online video streaming market.
The second method, more likely to work for GridNetworks, is to pre-install or embed the player in to as many devices as possible, preferably the type of devices that are almost always on, almost always connected and publicly available to participate in content distribution without compromising owner-user experience.

They need to focus on embedding their player in to any device that has storage capacity and a network port. This may be the differentiation GN needs to stand-out in overcrowded P2P based online video streaming market.
Cringely's post is echoing same thoughts as I mentioned before about the success factors for GridNetworks, a startup in P2P space. Actually, he also gave a nice prop to GridNetworks in his post.
There are products like this already in operation, such as GridNetworks from Seattle or Mike Homer's Kontiki network, now part of VeriSign. It isn't rocket science, but to succeed, networks of this sort need lots of nodes, especially nodes that remain on 24/7.
Steve Rubel finds the idea interesting but doesn't think that Apple will have P2P based IPTV because of its focus on consumer products.

He may be looking at IPTV with similar business model as Cable TV. Instead, Apple IPTV most likely will be similar to combination of Apple iTunes and Apple TV with delivery between the two managed by someone like Akamai or GridNetworks.

Some may consider P2P for consumer applications only. In my opinion, P2P and Grid have wider applications in enterprise with open source projects like Cleversafe for dispersed storage.

Also see,

Challenges of High Quality Video Delivery
Success Factors for GridNetworks
Success Factors for GridNetworks … contd
Success Factors for GridNetworks … closure

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