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I have never been a fan of New Year’s Eve celebrations. Perhaps it is genetic: My uncle, never one to turn down a reason to celebrate, referred to New Year’s Eve as “amateur night” and stayed off the streets. But I think my own curmudgeonly attitude results from the fact that I can’t remember ever having a really fun time on New Year’s Eve.
Oh, I’ve tried. One year I went into Manhattan and watched the ball drop in Times Square.(Once per lifetime is enough, thank you.) Another year, I went to Miami, where they have a similar “ball drop” event, except they use the “Big Orange” and it gradually rises to the top of a beachfront hotel. I’ve even welcomed the new year in Dam Square in Amsterdam, surrounded by drunken people smashing glass bottles at my feet.(Fun, fun!)
I have tried celebrating the arrival of the new year with different cultures at different times of the year.In Thailand, I have been soaked with water during their mid-April Songkhran festival. And I have distributed red envelopes to the children of my friends in Ho Chi Minh City during the Vietnamese Tet holiday.
The last few years, I have typically celebrated New Year’s Eve in California or Florida or Texas – cheering on my favorite football team and its 83-year-old coach.
On the whole, though, I’d rather be home in bed.
Some years ago, I made a tremendous realization: While watching New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world, I came to the conclusion that there should be some “official” time to start the new year – some time that could be used wherever in the world one happened to be. And, of course, it makes sense that the “official” new year should begin when the clock strikes midnight in Greenwich, England – the home of time.
Since then, I have often celebrated the beginning of the new year by listening to the programming of the BBC (first on shortwave radio, later on the internet) as they broadcast the midnight chimes of Big Ben.Since this happens at 7pm (19h) where I live, I can quite cheerfully complete my New Year’s Eve celebrations in time for a full night’s sleep.
This year, though, I am asking myself why I should be satisfied merely listening to the chimes of Big Ben – why shouldn’t I have the complete multimedia experience? I expect that the BBC will broadcast video from downtown London, but British licensing rules may make it difficult for me to watch that online in the US. CNN will carry a few seconds of the event, but not enough to get the true experience. On the morning of January 1, I will be able to find many video clips posted on YouTube, but that doesn’t help me if I want real-time satisfaction.
At Dialogic, we talk a lot about the applications of some of our video technology. I think that “lifecasting” – having a user of a mobile device broadcast live video from wherever he or she may be, sharing what is going on at that very second – is quickly becoming one of the hottest apps of the new decade. Better recording functionality (either in phones or in purpose-built devices like Cisco’s Flip), improved wireless networks with expanded upstream bandwidth, and simpler operation (recording, uploading, and sharing within social networks) will combine to make video lifecasting the next success story in consumer electronics. Dialogic and our customers stand ready to provide the network technologies to make this possible.
So, for this New Year’s Eve, I’ll satisfy myself with the few seconds of London video that I can see on CNN.For next December 31, perhaps I will be able to convince my colleague Martyn Davies to zip into London so he can “lifecast” the celebration for those of us who cannot be physically present in the UK.
In the meantime, I join with the rest of my colleagues at Dialogic in wishing you the very best for a successful and healthy 2010.Happy New Year!