In every technology company corporate board room and venture capitalist office, even at trade shows and press conferences, people get excited when they learn some new technology is being designed into devices ordered in the millions by well-known cellular operators and service providers.
For suppliers and investors, certainly, this means they have arrived. Their technology has hit the big-time.
At least, that's the vibe I used to get when I attended shows like 3GSMA Mobile World Congress, the National Association of Broadcasters convention and various cable conferences.
Word was everywhere: Company X's CPU is powering countless digital set-top boxes purchased by Time Warner--OMG! Verizon Wireless has decided to use Qualcomm's MediaFLO network for mobile TV--stop the presses!
For sure, Hollywood studios, broadcasters and service providers are still the glamour part of the news, and they do indeed exert huge influence over the adoption of specific technology standards.
But it dawned on me, while in Amsterdam last week covering the International Broadcast Conference (IBC), this service provider-driven mentality is flawed, and it may be finally fading to black.
What struck me was a couple of numbers thrown out by Leonardo Chiariglione, founder of the Motion Picture Experts Group, during his keynote speech at the IBC.
Chiariglione said "500 million MP3 users were created in 10 years." In contrast, he added, "100 million digital set-top boxes were distributed in 15 years."