I wasn’t sure how to feel when I saw an article posted Tuesday by Christopher Hall on Digital Signage Today entitled, “Market evolution or “marketing hooey”? Intel’s open specs for digital signage players”. After all, the words “marketing hooey” seemed familiar to me, as well they should. I had used them in a post dated October 9th that commented on a press release from Intel regarding their Open Pluggable Specification (OPS). Sure enough, after an examination of what OPS is and was meant to be, the entire paragraph from my post discussing the press release was quoted. That was followed by quotes from two industry experts, David Weinfeld and Alan Brawn (both of whom are friends), that were used by Mr. Hall in a manner to discredit my comments, even though I was not contacted for clarification or response. So let’s clear the air here and add some context.
My comments take issue with Intel’s use of the OPS announcement to promote their higher end Core™ i5 and i7 products and a futuristic prototype, not with the OPS itself. In fact, their press release devotes more space to the prototype that they have been lugging around to trade shows all year than the nuts and bolts of the specification, which is actually about plugs and connectors. A reasonable person reading the Intel release and listening to the embedded video from Pierre Richer could conclude that the prototype was presented as the standard. My beef with their PR tactics need not be revisited here. I stand by my opinions exactly as they were written.
The explanation of the OPS in the DST article is far more complete than in the Intel press release. Some of that added perspective may have been useful to readers of the press release. I have no issue with the specification itself, as I support standards in the industry, and dedicate time to that end with the DSF Standards Committee. I took issue with the implied conclusion that higher end products are the path to being future proof. The original blog post points out, correctly, that mainstream network operators are far more concerned with the cost/performance ratio of hardware than with specific features. I know this because I talk to them every day. I am guessing Intel knows this as well. As the well-documented cost curve of Intel chipsets applies itself to the Core™ i5 and i7 products over time, they will be integrated into more products, replacing their lower cost brethren as the go-to chipsets for mass market media players. OPS is a good start, as detailed by media player maker IAdea, who would have a much greater vested interest (and capability) to evaluate it than I. Intel is great. But implying that a costly prototype is now some sort of standard is misleading.
Mr. Hall incorrectly asserts that my post “called the announcement from Intel pure marketing hooey”. Had he read it carefully, he would have seen that what I said was that the implication that “…you will only be successful in digital signage if you run media players with Intel’s highest-priced (Core™) processors, Microsoft’s newest embedded OS, and NEC displays” was hooey. And it is. I did not say that OPS was hooey.
As for context, I had to wonder where the motivation for the article itself came from, as four weeks have passed since the original post. Did I tug on Superman’s cape? The late, great Jim Croce advised against such behavior. I think that Superman in this case uses his powers for good, and I am certainly not his kryptonite. But I can do without The Daily Planet.