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A Tale For The New Year – The Angel and The Shepherds



And so it came to pass, that an angel found it necessary to convey a message to humanity. Being of a traditional frame of mind, he sought to appear to some shepherds.

The first he found parked up, down the valley from his sheep, in a Toyota Land Cruiser with the engine running to keep out the cold. He had a strange helmet on his head which hid his eyes and looked to be under some kind of spell.

The angel, having attended anger management only recently, first tapped politely on the glass. Then, however, he quickly moved on to other ways of attracting the shepherd’s attention and picked up the entire Land Cruiser.

“Wow,” said the shepherd, watching the twelfth and final Pirates of the Caribbean title, “this VR stuff is really something else. Could have sworn I was actually at sea there. It almost felt like I was in the storm itself.”

Frustrated, and, frankly, moved to wax wroth, the angel moved on.

The second shepherd was sitting outside by a very large fire and watching a small, glowing screen very intently. A fridge hooked up to a large battery looked suspiciously like it might contain beer.

“5G,” he said not looking up. “Means I can watch the latest Game of Thrones as soon as it hits the servers, even out here. You would not believe what’s going down with Tyrion and Daenerys’ grandkids.”

The angel, at this point, informed the shepherd in an increasingly loud voice what would happen to him if he did not stop looking at the screen immediately.

“Knock yourself out, dude,” drawled the shepherd without looking up from the screen. “I’ve seen the Red Wedding. I know all about carnage.”

A silence swiftly descended across the valley. The shepherd finally looked up.

“Ben, was that you?”

Thinking calming thoughts rather desperately, the angel found Ben, the third shepherd, in bed tending his flock via a drone-mounted camera in the corner of the screen while watching a soccer match.

“I am…” the angel began saying in a stentorian voice, before he suddenly had an idea. “Need to understand these 21st century humans a bit better,” he muttered to himself before heading off down the valley and finding the sheep himself.

Sheep have a tendency to do what you say if you’re an angel. First they moved where he wanted them to go, then they were surprised to find themselves glowing extremely brightly and trotting briskly into new patterns.

Ben almost fell out of bed in surprise. He quickly waved his fingers just so and the small picture in the corner of the screen swapped with the big one.

‘Siri, record,” he yelled as his glowing sheep on his screen first formed a perfect circle and then danced into a pattern that spelled out the words ‘Season’s Greetings’.

“Holy…,” he began to say. “Siri, broadcast this!”

He moved his hands through the air again and the gesture control shunted the picture to various servers where automatic picture recognition tagged the images with a high priority status, realising they were a) live b) topical and c) rather unusual, so they sent them on swiftly to other servers. People started noticing alert flags waving for their attention at the corner of their screens.

The angel (who had done a computing course after the anger management) followed the process and had a further fiddle with the algorithms to insert d) priority override

Which is why a goodly proportion of the human population awake at the time suddenly saw a flock of fiery sheep first spell out the message ‘Season’s Greetings’ and then scroll across each and every screen in a feat of sheep herding never seen before — or since — saying ‘All that stuff about Peace on Earth? Please try and remember that’.

The first shepherd took off his VR helmet, the second put down his tablet, and they both looked down the valley where their flock of luminous sheep had all of a sudden lost the ability to spell once more and were back to milling around and wondering where dinner was.

“Wow, “they said, “no-one’s going to believe this…”

Have a fabulous 2016 full of imagination!


Topics: Virtual Reality, TV Everywhere, VOD, VR, 5G, Cable TV, Cloud, Content, Content Discovery, Content service providers, Game of Thrones, Industry, IPTV, multi-screen, Netflix, Pay TV, TVaaS, User Experience

Merav Cunningham

Merav Cunningham led VO’s digital content strategy and execution, part of VO’s global strategy from 2012 until 2016. She also oversaw VO’s marketing content creation, VO’s blog and all social channels. Merav holds a BA in Psychology from Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland.

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