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Profile: Haig Krakirian

Aug 19, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: VP, software engineering, Pioneer Digital Technologies, a division of Pioneer North America.
Background: Mr. Krakirian joined Pioneer five years ago after having spent three years as director of engineering with Time Warner Cable Broadband Applications, where he was deeply involved in the Full Service Network project.
The FSN legacy: Mr. Krakirian oversaw the interactive applications component for the Full Service Network. The experiment informed his views on ITV. “It opened our eyes that TV is not a PC and technology was behind the curve compared to where the PC industry was going. The overall usage environment and interface is a totally different experience from TV.
“In the end we said, `We need to rethink software design for TV.’ Video has to always be the focal element. That was what we learned. We learned what doesn’t work is graphic-based applications. You need video streaming or video playback.”
Keep it simple: Pioneer’s PassTime interactive games application was introduced in July by Blue Ridge Communications to 7,500 digital customers in Pennsylvania. “We wanted to focus on games that are simple,” Mr. Krakirian said. “You need to design games that don’t rely on quick response because it takes time for the set-top box [to process that]. High-motion games won’t work. What works are trivia and classic games like solitaire. We are not going after the gaming industry but the casual user with a few minutes to spare to go online to play.”
The introduction of ITV: “I think we are taking the first step to make sure people are comfortable with technology and that it works on their system,” he said. “The next step will be to say, `Yes, consumers want that.’ We’re not quite at that phase because we don’t know or have true numbers to make a decision. [Step No. 3] is to have [operators] make it part of the business model and make subs aware that there is a new set of services available. Overall, most operators know games work but there are challenges on the tech side they need to be aware of-tapping memory and resources that could impact their basic services. I don’t see any major steps toward ITV over the next year. I still see cable operators focused on VOD.”