December 09, 2009

BT & Google's Video Delivery Network for ISPs... and schools?

Media Guardian reports on a service due for launch in Spring 2010 from British Telecom (BT) and Google, allowing Internet Service Providers to host and stream video from their own networks, rather than using the network which is increasingly over-burdened by high quality streaming from BBC iPlayer, 40D, Hulu and, of course, Google's own YouTube and video services:

BT Wholesale is working with BT Retail and two other ISPs – understood to be Orange and Virgin Media – as well as the BBC, Channel 4 and Five, on a network called Content Connect. The idea behind the service is to store popular video content on an ISP's network, rather than relying on the internet, which is becoming increasingly congested, for the delivery of online video.

A logical extension for those in education who can turn the vision into reality, is that schools and education authorities are or can be Internet Service Providers to their institutions. In the same way as Scotland national intranet, Glow, hosts content on a network of cache servers throughout Scottish schools, a Local Authority or small country could ramp up the potential for downloading and sharing high quality video 'online' by not going online at all. Use overnight downtime to download prime learning content overnight to a local area network, and then deliver it quickly at the point of need during the day.

Previously, only large-scale enterprise could envisage this way of borrowing content on the cheap to serve it later at faster speeds. As a service provided by a larger scale programme such as that proposed by BT and Google, the economies of scale they will earn let the rest of us enjoy fast video at a reasonably priced premium.

Could it really change anything?

But, given that television was promised (wrongly) to be the saviour of learning in the 60s, how would you change things in your learning and your students' learning to take advantage of such an opportunity? Are classrooms full of plugged in kids, akin to the average open-plan office of iPod-entangled drones poking at Outlook, what we're after? Or would fast-streaming video be a significant enough innovation to change pedagogy, curriculum and school spaces beyond recognition?


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This simple step will certainly impact a few companies business models who have being trying to deliver a better class of service. Good move though

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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