Press Club

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Rosslyn-based Bitpath is working to roll out a 21st-century use for a midcentury technology: TV broadcasting.

The company says the architecture used by TV stations to broadcast their programming can also support the secure and efficient transmission of data. After all, TV and radio broadcasters and mobile phone service providers all send information wirelessly the same way, using radio frequency spectrum.

“We’re trying to be innovative and smart about how radio frequency spectrum is used,” said John Hane, the president of the startup.

The ability to repurpose broadcast TV for data services already has approval from the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the broadcast airwaves. But broadcasters have yet to jump on the new tech because they are too small and too decentralized — relatively speaking — to do research and development and provide the services at a national scale, Hane said.

Bitpath was founded to do just that, he said. The startup is developing a platform comprised of a nationwide network of TV stations and aims to market it to companies that could benefit from better and safer data services. Bitpath is funded by big players in the TV industry, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Nexstar Media Group, which are keen to roll out this technology.

And Hane said Bitpath may be fully operational soon.

“We’re going to be launching services next year,” the president said.

The Bitpath logo (courtesy Bitpath)

This innovation to broadcast comes as more “smart” devices come online and are competing for fast, high-quality data streaming, while big mobile providers are rolling out 5G to support the rising data demand. But no matter how fast these networks get, the networks still have to transmit data through individual streams, which Hane said slows things down.

“The nice thing about the broadcast architecture, it never slows down,” he said. “That releases the cell network to be used for critical uses that can only be carried that way.”

People gravitate toward internet, even when broadcast makes more sense — for instance, streaming a big sporting event — because they are accustomed to the customization the internet provides. Bitpath’s innovations integrate the efficiencies of broadcast with the personalization of the internet, Hane said.

Consumers will one day see the tech in action in a variety of ways, he said. Regional TV stations will be able to air more personalized political advertisements or weather alerts. GPS resolution on devices will get more precise, improving a navigation app’s ability to pinpoint where a driver is and thus the quality of the directions. And security can be enhanced for certain applications.

“You associate TV stations with providing TV. That’s the majority of what they’re going to do, but a small amount of their capacity can provide amazing new services,” Hane said.

Hane says mobile providers were able to pioneer this territory because they were not as regulated as TV broadcasting is.

“Cell networks have grown so fast, because there’s been so much investment in them,” Hane said. “We use them for just about everything, even when we don’t realize that it doesn’t make the best economic sense.”

For Bitpath’s project to work, it has to make sure the hardware is consistent enough for e-commerce companies, car manufacturers and banks to buy in.

“They’re going to want fully developed services, and a platform that just works the same everywhere,” he said. “They’ll have one point of contact, one set of standards, one set of operations, and one point of support, but the capacity actually is comprised of stations all across the country owned by 20 different owners.”

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With Arlington National Cemetery closed to all visitors other than loved ones of the deceased, the cemetery’s annual Easter sunrise service will be broadcast online.

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall announced the planned live stream (which will be hosted on its Facebook page) this morning:

The annual Easter Sunrise Service, hosted by Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, will be live-streamed via Facebook beginning at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, April 12, from Arlington National Cemetery.

The Easter Sunrise Service has annually been held in the cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater, but given the closure of the cemetery due to the COVID-19 threat and the fact that the amphitheater is undergoing renovations, this year’s service will be virtually live-streamed from the Tanner Amphitheater, the cemetery’s historic structure built in 1873 that served as the cemetery’s main public meeting space until the completion and dedication of the Memorial Amphitheater in 1920.

The Easter Sunrise Service is a non-denominational worship service and will begin with the call to worship at 6:30 a.m. by Chaplain (Colonel) Michael T. Shellman, the Senior Army Chaplain at Arlington National Cemetery.  The U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains, Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Thomas L. Solhjem, will deliver the Easter message. To maintain the required mandate for social distancing and to keep the number of personnel participating in the service under ten, the chaplains will be joined by just three members of the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” and a sign language interpreter.

According to one of the Easter Sunrise Service coordinators, the deputy chaplain at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Chaplain (Maj.) John Lee, the heart of the Easter message is hope.  “Everyone needs hope,” said Lee. “Human life is not perfect, we all have life challenges. Through resurrection you still have hope to start again.”

In case of inclement weather, the service will be live-streamed from the joint base’s Memorial Chapel located on the Fort Myer side of the base in Arlington, Va.

Please access the JBM-HH Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jbmhh/ at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, April 12, to view the live feed. You don’t need a Facebook account to view the service.

More on Arlington National Cemetery’s visitor restrictions, and a look at springtime at the cemetery, below.

Photo by Tim1965

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Morning Notes

Morning clouds over Pentagon City (photo courtesy Valerie)

ACPD Anti-DUI Event During Bar Crawl — The Arlington County Police Department will be holding an interactive anti-drunk driving event from noon to 5 p.m. during Saturday’s Halloween bar crawl in Clarendon. Part of N. Hudson Street will be closed as a result of the anti-DUI event. [Arlington County]

Dems Hoping for 100,000 Clinton Votes — Arlington Democrats are hoping their get-out-the-vote efforts result in 100,000 votes for Hillary Clinton in the county. Arlington could be the difference-maker in the race, determining whether Clinton wins or loses the key swing state of Virginia. In 2008 Barack Obama won 82,119 votes in Arlington. [InsideNova]

Live Election Broadcast — For the first time in our history, ARLnow is planning live video coverage of Tuesday’s election results. From about 7:30-9:30 p.m., assuming no technical difficulties, we will be broadcasting live from the local Democratic victory party at Sehkraft Brewing in Clarendon. Expect analysis of the local election results and interviews with elected officials, candidates and civic figures from all sides of the political spectrum. The live video feed will be included in our election results post that evening.

Arlington Alert Charity Promotion — Thanks to a sponsorship from the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union, during the month of November a donation will be made to one’s local charity of choice when you sign up for emergency alerts via Arlington Alert. [Arlington County]

Fort Myer Commuter Fair — About 88 percent of those who work at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall travel to their jobs by themselves. To try to encourage more carpooling and transit use, the county-run Arlington Transportation Partners recently held a Commuter Fair at the base. [Pentagram]

James B. Hunter Award Winners — The winners of this year’s James B. Hunter human rights awards were just announced. The winners were: Tiffany Joslyn (posthumously); Joan Ritter, MD; Bridges to Independence; Edu Futuro; the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington; and Busboys and Poets in Shirlington. [Arlington County]

Photo courtesy Valerie

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WAMU 88.5 FM’s Kojo Nnamdi hosted his “Kojo in the Community” program in Arlington last night. The show just finished airing, and there were so many topics raised over the course of two hours that it’s hard to summarize everything. Look back over this web site for past four months and you’ll get a taste for about half of the discussion.

Kojo started out by talking about the past and present of Arlington. Long-time residents spoke in wonder of the pace of development over the past 20 or so years. Many people lamented that the development is hurting the area’s diversity by making it more expensive to live here. Despite Arlington’s push for affordable housing, it seems there are many who feel that not enough is being done.

There were other assorted complaints, but almost universally, those in attendance at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish said that they really like it here. Of course, many of the speakers were people who either work for the county or are part of community organizations — people who are in their positions in the first place because they are passionate about the community.

During the course of the discussion, one thing became clear: we in Arlington think we’re pretty smart. Multiple speakers referenced how intelligent the residents of Arlington are — which is empirically true, if you look at census data. But it was notable how many people raised it as one of Arlington’s key characteristics.

Another part of the program focused on the future of Arlington. From the redevelopment of Crystal City to revitalization and streetcars on Columbia Pike, to the ever-present change-of-government debate, the discussion was wide-ranging and all-inclusive, like a community planning stream-of-consciousness.

There was no shortage of residents with something to say during the two hour discussion. This community is vibrant and interesting (and, dare I say, intelligent) enough that Kojo could have probably been here for 20 hours and people would have still had new topics to raise. Thanks to WAMU for the giant pat on the back for Arlington. It is nice to live here, after all.

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Kojo Coming to Town

WAMU 88.5’s Kojo Nnamdi is coming to Arlington next week as part of the Kojo In Your Community series. He’ll be asking the question: “What makes Arlington, Arlington?”

The two-hour live broadcast will focus exclusively on Arlington and how it’s “a county of contradictions — a blue county in a red state; home to the Pentagon and communities of people from around the globe.”

The discussion will take place at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish (3304 Washington Blvd) from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15. The public is encouraged to attend and participate.

Photo courtesy WAMU.

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