Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Affordable telemedicine solution from Net Medical Xpress and Tely Labs

USA: Net Medical Xpress, a developer of medical IT solutions and services, has implemented Tely Lab’s telyMed videoconferencing system as part of its new range of remote, telemedicine-based clinical and diagnostic programs for hospitals.

By adding the unique capabilities of the telyMed video collaboration capabilities, Net Medical Xpress physicians can now undertake virtual live consultations, diagnoses and patient interactions, bringing beneficial and potentially life-saving specialist services to facilities where these were previously unavailable.

Since Net Medical Xpress began using the telyMed product in early 2012, the hospitals they serve have been able to avoid transferring patients to other healthcare facilities in 106 out of 114 video consult cases, a 93 percent success rate.

These include four instances of administering the clot-busting drug tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) - which can be fatal if not correctly prescribed - following video diagnoses with remote specialists.  So far, client hospitals have generated retained patient revenues of more than ten times the costs of the Net Medical Xpress service using Tely Labs’ telyMed solution.

“The telyMed appliance is the first video calling solution that makes it simple, secure and affordable for healthcare organizations to connect to remote medical teams for potentially lifesaving interactions,” said Dick Govatski, CEO of Net Medical Xpress. “If hospitals can quickly gain access to expert diagnosis, take immediate remedial action, and not disrupt patients’ lives by transferring them to facilities far away from home, it’s a winning formula.”

Disruption in Korean production could have catastrophic impact on global electronics business

USA: What would happen if half of all global production for dynamic random access memory (DRAM), two-thirds of NAND flash manufacturing and 70 percent of the world’s tablet display supply suddenly disappeared from the market?

The answer would be chaos, with the worldwide electronics supply chain grinding to a halt and stopping major market product segments in their tracks, including smartphones, media tablets and PCs.

For high-tech companies, this could be the outcome if current tensions escalate to the point of war on the Korean peninsula, resulting in the disruption of South Korea’s technology manufacturing base. While IHS regards such a major conflagration and disruption as unlikely, forward-thinking technology firms are planning for such a contingency, just as they are preparing for other natural and man-made disasters that could impact their businesses in the future.

“However, South Korea now plays a more important role than ever in the global electronics business. And with the supply chain having become more entwined and connected, a significant disruption in any region will impact the entire world. Because of this, it is important for companies to understand the magnitude of South Korea’s role in the global electronics market—and to prepare for any contingencies,” said Mike Howard, senior principal analyst for DRAM & memory at IHS.

Leading technology firms Samsung and SK Hynix are headquartered close to Seoul, the capital of South Korea, which lies only about 30 miles from the border with North Korea. Both companies have major manufacturing operations in the area as well.

“Any type of manufacturing disruption of six months would prevent the shipment of hundreds of millions of mobile phones and tens of millions of PCs and media tablets,” Howard warned.

Memory loss
Fully 66 percent of industry revenue for the dynamic random access memory (DRAM) market, as well as 48 percent of total NAND flash revenue, belonged in 2012 to the two South Korean memory titans Samsung and SK Hynix. While their combined share of both in the NAND market has remained fairly level for the last three years, the collective portion in DRAM of the two entities has been steadily rising.

Such a high proportion of global production could not be easily or quickly replaced by manufacturers in other regions.

The Icheon facility of SK Hynix is located approximately 30 miles southwest of Seoul, while Samsung’s massive manufacturing complex at Hwaseong is within 24 miles of the capital.

DRAM plays an essential role in products including PCs, media tablets and smartphones.

While some gadgets could have their amount of memory reduced—a smartphone with 32 gigabytes (GB) of NAND could be downsized to 8GB, or an 8GB laptop reduced to 4GB—other devices must have the memory for which they were originally designed, especially where DRAM is involved.

“A server with only half its intended DRAM is essentially half a server—and a smartphone cannot have its DRAM quantity changed, as it needs the original amount for which it was designed,” Howard noted.

Display disaster
An equally bad situation could occur in the large-sized display market, which is heavily dependent on South Korean suppliers, especially in the media tablet market.

LG Display and Samsung Display of South Korea together held a 49.6 percent share of unit shipments of large-sized liquid crystal display (LCD) panels in the fourth quarter of 2012. Large-sized panels are defined as those that are 10-inches or larger in the diagonal dimension and are used in products including televisions, notebook PCs and desktop monitors. Also included in the category are and 7-inch and larger displays used in media tablets.

South Korea accounts for 70 percent of global supply of tablet display unit shipments.

“Inventory and production capacity for media tablet displays currently are at a high level,” said Sweta Dash, senior director, display research & strategy, for IHS. “Because of this, a short-term disruption of South Korean production would have a minimal impact. However, a long-term stoppage or reduction of production would have a major effect and dramatically reduce global tablet supply.”

Phone hangup
Samsung at present is the global leader in smartphones as well as in total handsets, while fellow South Korean manufacturer LG Electronics ranks No. 6 in both categories. Together, the two companies account for more than a 30 percent market share for cellphones and smartphones.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Zicom launches inTouch, a revolutionary new ‘push video alarm system’

INDIA: Zicom Electronic Security Systems Ltd., one of India’s biggest electronic security companies, has announced the launch of their latest offering – a push video alarm system called inTouch.

A breakthrough innovation in video and intrusion alarm systems, inTouch has been designed keeping in mind the safety of working couples, children, and senior citizens. It is also a powerful business intelligence tool for retail stores across the country.

The inTouch Push Video Alarm System utilizes a PIR (Passive Infra Red) sensor for detection of human movement. This is much more reliable form of motion detection compared to a camera picture. The PIR systems offer a major advantage in terms of the decreased incidence of false alarms. inTouch allows you to move freely and do your daily activities without any fear, instead of constantly worrying about security of your near and dear ones, your home and your valuables.

Apart from securing residential houses, inTouch is an ideal system for retail stores stocking expensive products like jewellery, watches, and mobile phones. Designer boutiques, high-end salons, and other such outlets, especially those situated in crime-sensitive areas, can also secure their premises through inTouch.

It is tailor-made for those who require remote managed services and a video alarm system rather than just a surveillance tool. In case of an undesirable event such as burglary, an emergency response is automatically triggered by inTouch and a copy of the video is also served on the Zicom server.

The new inTouch Push Video Alarm System will be available at all  Zicom’s business verticals like channel and DST as well as retail chains such as Kohinoor and NEXT.

Wacom's DTK-2241 interactive pen display targets electronic documents workflow

CANADA: Wacom announced the DTK-2241 interactive pen display, a premium communication tool designed to streamline the electronic documents workflow within education, healthcare and business settings.

The successor to the DTU-2231, the new device offers improved pen performance, a higher quality HD LCD with a wider viewing angle and five customizable ExpressKeys for an intuitive and interactive experience that adds impact to digital communication and presentations.

Paperless workflows in a variety of customer-facing business situations continue to grow at an extremely rapid pace. Electronic handwritten signatures are used for terms of service contracts, agreements and other applications. By viewing terms and conditions of the deal on Wacom's DTK-2241 and signing electronically on the screen, business professionals gain record-tracking efficiencies and cost-saving benefits by reducing the dependency on paper.

Healthcare professionals are often required to deliver complicated information to patients. Wacom's DTK-2241 improves the process by enabling hospital doctors, GPs, ophthalmologists and dentists to write, annotate and draw directly on patient charts and x-rays. This makes explanations clearer, more impactful and easier to understand.

In addition, it is an excellent solution for healthcare administrators managing the electronic medical records process.  Procedure consent and insurance forms can be easily viewed and signed on the DTK-2241, greatly improving the patient experience and the overall quality of care.

Educators in colleges and universities, as well as in corporate settings, strive for greater audience engagement. With Wacom's DTK-2241, presenters can turn static material into active and engaging content. By writing with the digital pen directly on the screen, new ideas, comments, sketches and diagrams can be spontaneously added throughout a session, creating a lively and more collaborative environment.

The DTK-2241 gives presenters an opportunity to further engage with their students by letting them face the audience, rather than turning away as would be the case in a traditional blackboard setting. When connected to a projector, the DTK-2241 also ensures ideas and information can be shared with audiences of any size, making it suitable for lecture halls, training rooms and boardrooms.

Monday, April 29, 2013

China becomes world’s leading PC market in 2012

USA: China rose to the top of the PC market for the first time ever on an annual basis last year, relegating the United States to second place with a lead of more than 3 million units, according to an IHS iSuppli PC Dynamics Market Brief.

PC shipments in 2012 to China amounted to 69 million units, exceeding the 66 million total reached by the United States. Only a year earlier in 2011, the United States was the leading global destination for PCs.

Beyond its large size, China’s PC market exhibits distinct characteristics that set it apart from the computer trade elsewhere, possessing a vast untapped rural market and unique consumer-purchasing patterns. While desktop PC shipments lagged notebooks around the world, the two PC segments were on par in China in 2012, with an even 50-50 split.

“The equal share of shipments for desktops and notebooks in China is unusual, since consumers in most regions today tend to prefer more agile mobile PCs, rather than the bulky, stationary desktops,” said Peter Lin, senior analyst for compute platforms at IHS.

“The relatively large percentage of desktop PC shipments in China is due to huge demand in the country’s rural areas, which account for a major segment of the country’s 1.34 billion citizens. These consumers tend to prefer the desktop form factor.”

The market will change gradually as desktop PCs face rising competition from the high value proposition presented by notebooks. Notebooks will then surpass desktops in the country by 2014, tracking more closely with the worldwide desktop-to-notebook PC ratio of 36 to 64 percent.

Desktop vs. notebook
The desktop vs. notebook pattern of consumption in China is only one example of the distinctive hallmarks of the country’s dynamic PC market. In another indicator, China also has approximately a 50-50 proportion in consumer vs. commercial PCs, compared to the 65-35 percent ratio for the rest of the world.

A third pattern unique to the China PC market is the preferred notebook display size of 14 inches, which accounts for more than 70 percent of notebook PC shipments in the country. For the rest of the world, the 14-inch makes up less than 30 percent.

A fourth pattern of note is the attach rate of PCs with a pre-installed operating system, especially for notebooks. While mature PC markets in other parts of the world claim a 90 percent attach rate, the proportion for China comes out to lower than 50 percent, with the ratio even lower in the desktop PC market.

Despite such exclusive behavior, the China PC space shares one common trait with the worldwide PC market. Like the rest of the world, demand in China remains weak as consumers migrate to using mobile devices like cellphones. China’s PC market is projected to grow only by 3 to 4 percent this year.

Even so, a vast market opportunity continues to exist for PCs in the country, in the form of potential first-time buyers mostly residing in the countryside. The government already plans this year to invest some 40 trillion yuan—equivalent to some $6.4 trillion—to build rural infrastructure in the next 10 years, and PC original equipment manufacturers can take advantage of the initiative to build out and expand from the cities, IHS believes.

China is also on track to retain its position as the largest PC market in the world for the foreseeable future unchallenged and alone—further providing PC brands a rare opportunity for expansion, counter to the myriad travails they face in the rest of the world.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

UK faces a current and future cyber security skills gap

UK: A significant lack of skilled workers is hampering the UK's fight against cyber-crime, says the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

New research by the IET suggests that while cyber security threats are slowly gaining recognition among SMEs, they are only accorded a high priority by a minority of organisations and there is a clear need to raise both awareness and the protection of software embedded in their products.

Hugh Boyes, the IET’s cyber security expert, said: “With increasing threats to systems and new vulnerabilities emerging daily, we are working to raise awareness among the UK engineering and technology community of the need to improve the cyber security of both our critical national infrastructure and all the technology we use.”

The IET surveyed 250 Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to gain insight into current cyber trends. The survey found that only half of the SMEs were aware of the Government’s Cyber Security Strategy.

Of the 250 companies surveyed:
* Only 14 percent said cyber security threats were the highest priority and already felt they had sufficient skills and resources in place to manage the threat.
* Only 30 percent felt they had sufficient protection against potential threats to software embedded in their products.

The IET is supporting a number of initiatives aimed at tackling these problems. The Trustworthy Software Initiative is a public-private partnership which aims to make available a wealth of knowledge, experience and capabilities that already exist in the UK about trustworthy software development. As part of this initiative, material is being developed for use on computer science and engineering degree courses to explain the principles of trustworthy software development.

The IET is also leading an initiative with the BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT, The Institute of Information Security Professionals (IISP), e-skills UK and the Information Assurance Advisory Council (IAAC) to develop a scheme to provide sponsorship for cyber security MSc courses at selected UK universities.

ICANN to open Istanbul hub, covering Africa

TURKEY: Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) president and CEO, Fadi Chehadé announced that the organization will open its first hub office in Istanbul, Turkey.

The announcement marks a significant moment in the evolution of ICANN as it prepares to spread its operational functions across three global headquarters -- Los Angeles (current location),  Istanbul and Singapore.

“ICANN is becoming increasingly international in terms of our outlook, policies and the makeup of our staff.  Now our global hub strategy will take our internationalism to an improved operational level,” said ChehadĂ©. “These hub offices will become part of the core fabric of ICANN.”

The Istanbul hub office will be led by David Olive, ICANN’s VP for Policy Development. A number of current ICANN staff will relocate to Istanbul over the coming months and local staff also will be hired.

Ramco migrates its ERP solution to Microsoft’s SQL Server 2012

INDIA: Ramco Systems, an enterprise software product company focused on delivering ERP on cloud, tablets and smartphones announced its adoption of Microsoft’s SQL Server 2012.

This solution will offer huge cost benefits and time savings as it is extremely simple to install and businesses can transition from their legacy systems to full-blown ERP solutions in a few weeks. Ramco’s relationship with Microsoft’s technology offering started 15 years ago when Ramco’s first full-suite ERP product was launched in 1997.

Ramco has been using Microsoft technologies to technically enrich the offerings and is amongst the first to move its enterprise application to SQL Server 2012. The company is also enrolled in Microsoft’s TAP program and is testing its new in-memory technology, codenamed ‘Hekaton,’ that will be integrated into the next SQL Server database.

SQL Server 2012 helps meet industry requirements for mission critical availability while enabling blazing-fast data warehouse query performance. SQL Server 2012 also helps customers expand beyond the database with a cloud-ready information platform to quickly create and scale innovative Hybrid IT solutions across server, private or public cloud.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Boston bombing likely to boost spending on video surveillance equipment

USA: With history showing that high-profile terrorism events like the Boston bombing can drive increased government spending on security, global sales of video surveillance equipment could exceed the booming growth already predicted for the market.

Worldwide revenue for the video-surveillance equipment market is projected to rise to $20.5 billion in 2016, up a resounding 114 percent from $9.6 billion in 2010, according to the current forecast from IMS Research. Even so, IMS now is in the process of updating this forecast, taking into account recent events like the Boston bombing, which could impact spending and conceivably fuel additional growth.

“The growth outlook of the video-surveillance industry is subject to significant variances,” said Paul Everett, senior manager, video surveillance, for IHS.

“This is because the market is dependent upon the vagaries of several intertwined factors that are difficult or impossible to predict, including economic conditions, government spending and notorious terrorism incidents. While it’s too early to tell exactly what impact the Boston bombing will have, past events—like 9/11 and the London Underground bombings—have led to increased government spending on video surveillance for public spaces, particularly in the transport sector.”

Government funding and legislation play a major role in total video-surveillance spending, even though economic factors are also an important consideration. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued 11 grants for physical-security equipment and video surveillance that have generated millions of dollars of spending.

The banking and retail sectors are also major spenders on video surveillance and have a major influence on overall market growth. For example, as a result of the financial meltdown and economic downturn of 2009, U.S. and worldwide spending on video surveillance declined during the year.

The development of new technologies also is contributing to rising spending on video surveillance. Currently the market is undergoing a transition from analog to network solutions that enable network-based control and the monitoring of security and surveillance. By 2014, the global market for network-based video surveillance will climb to $7 billion, surpassing for the first time ever the analog segment at $6.5 billion.

Network systems provide a range of advantages compared to analog.

One major benefit is the use of megapixel security cameras able to capture high-definition images that improve the accuracy of video surveillance and security. Another enhancement is the use of network video recorders and external storage technologies, which make for more efficient and less expensive caching compared to on-site digital video recorders. Furthermore, network video surveillance systems also can be integrated with access control and other non-surveillance technologies for a fully integrated system.

Digital power market booms as technology spreads to consumer and lighting areas

ENGLAND: The global markets for digital power supplies and digital power integrated circuits (ICs) are projected to boom from 2013 to 2017, as their use in IT infrastructure increases and as the technology expands into lighting and consumer-oriented applications including PCs, appliances and cellphones.

Global market revenue for digital power supplies will rise to $12.4 billion in 2017, more than three times the $3.7 billion predicted for 2013, according to a new report entitled, “The World Market for Digital Power” from IMS Research.

Revenue this year will soar 37 percent from $2.7 billion in 2012. Explosive growth in digital power ICs is also forecast with revenues increasing more than fivefold from 2013 to reach $2.6 billion in 2017.

“The digital power market is currently one of the fastest-growing segments of the power management industry,” said Jonathon Eykyn, power supply and energy storage analyst at IHS. “Early adopters of digital power components include information technology and communications infrastructure applications such as servers and telecommunications/data-communications equipment. But now digital power is also entering the consumer realm, as other sectors adopt digital power solutions.”

Digital power trip
Manufacturers at present mainly employ analog power-management systems. However, they are migrating to digital technology because of its flexibility and programmability, which leads to increased performance and reliability. This will reduce hardware complexity, cutting the amount of time and effort to design systems and ultimately lowering the cost of electronic systems.

“Digital power can reduce the overall bill-of-materials cost by reducing the number of discrete components, reducing the overall footprint, increasing power density and providing the capability to monitor as well as optimize power levels and system requirements while in operation,” Eykyn said. “All this can help accelerate time to market for a range of products.”

Power to the people
Severs now is the largest single market for digital power, accounting for an expected 33 percent of market revenue in 2013. This segment will rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44.8 percent from 2012 to 2017.

The fastest-growing application for digital power will be lighting, with the segment anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 146 percent from 2012 to 2017. The increase will be driven by the rising usage of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting solutions, which lend themselves to digital power control and monitoring.

Meanwhile, digital power in notebooks and tablet PCs will rise at 99 and 82 percent CAGR, respectively, during the same period. Major home appliances will surge by 76 percent and cellphones will increase by 52 percent.

Power chips for power players
The rise of digital power supplies will fuel the rapid growth in the market of associated semiconductors.

The digital power IC market is projected to grow at a faster rate than the digital power supply market because the chips are used in end equipment at the board level and also in digital power supplies.

Money and power
One obstacle to even faster adoption of digital power supplies is their perceived expense.

A total of 27 percent of manufacturers and designers surveyed by IHS indicated that cost is still the largest barrier in the market.

This highlights the lack of knowledge from some potential implementers regarding the overall cost savings that digital solutions can provide, and shows that there is still some way to go in educating designers at electronics manufacturers.

NEC re-inforces system integration business in India and beyond

INDIA: NEC Technologies India Ltd (NTI), a wholly owned subsidiary of NEC Corp., is taking on a vital role in developing solutions, providing system integration and supporting global pre and post-sale operations. NTI, formerly NEC HCL System Technologies, a  joint venture between NEC and HCL Technologies, has formally started its operations from today, April 26, 2013.
NEC Technologies India Ltd is developing innovative solutions and support operations aiming to expand the global business of the NEC Group.NTI aims to double its footprint in India within the next two years.  It will focus on providing solutions for emerging opportunities in the retail, security, smart energy, e-governance and infrastructure fields.

“NEC Technologies India will be at the forefront of the NEC Group’s global system integration business,” said Takaaki Shimizu, senior VP at NEC Corp. and chairman of the board of NEC Technologies India. “India is the cross point of Asia and Western markets and the new company will play a strategic role in business creation and standardization of our solutions for global markets.”

”We see enormous potential in NEC’s global resources and strengths, including advanced technologies, products and solutions. We will customize existing products and solutions for both India and global markets in order to participate in new economic opportunities being created in markets throughout the world,” said Anil Gupta, CEO and MD of NEC Technologies India.

Product development and system integration services for Global and Indian markets will continue to be the company’s core target areas. NTI in addition, is focusing on developing a wide range of solutions for the Indian and global Markets around NEC’s advanced solutions for enterprise and public businesses.

NTI also plans to expand its current focus on large eGovernance and infrastructure projects in India while supporting the global subsidiaries of NEC in their respective markets.

Sony unveils 2013 home audio product line

USA: At a special listening and audition event, Sony Electronics introduced its 2013 Home Audio product line-up, highlighting the STR-DN1040 Audio/Video Receiver and the HT-CT660 Soundbar.

Available in June, both products boast of Sony's legendary commitment to quality sound, and are packed with connectivity and accessibility features. The STR-DN1040 receiver, priced at $599, and the HT-CT660 soundbar, priced at $399, will be available at Sony Stores, as well as retailers nationwide.

"Our rich audio legacy leads consumers to expect continued innovation and performance from Sony audio products," said Neal Manowitz , director of Sony Electronics' Home Audio group.

"The newest AV receiver in our line has the simplest, most user-friendly interface, which when combined with a world first and only AVR feature set of built-in Wi-Fi, AirPlay and Bluetooth connectivity, raises the bar with respect to usability, and does so with knockout sound performance. Likewise, the new soundbar extends the Sony line and brings theater-like, high-definition sound to any room in the house, with Bluetooth ease and convenience."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Panasonic announces pricing and availability of new wireless speaker systems

USA: Panasonic announced the pricing and availability of the new NE (Network Era) Series of wireless speaker systems.  The SC-NE1, SC-NE3 and SC-NE5 feature the ultimate in sound quality with full wireless connectivity.

Panasonic's new NE series has the latest in advanced networking features with enhanced high-quality sound for the ideal listening experience as well as a curved aero stream port to control the airflow and reduce the noise emitted from the ports, resulting in clearer, more robust bass. This new wireless speaker concept is designed with the consumer in mind, allowing for streaming music without the need to dock the device.

The NE5 includes docking/CD unit with a lightening pin connection to seamlessly work with the iPhone 5 /iPod touch (5th generation).  It also includes a USB terminal making it possible to connect with a wide range of music devices, while both the NE5 and NE3 can be synced through DLNA, AirPlay and Bluetooth for other Apple or Android devices.

AirPlay allows users to wirelessly stream music from an iPad, iPhone, iPod or MAC/PC directly into the device through a wireless LAN network. The new Panasonic Music Streaming app makes it easy for a user to control all the music streaming directly from their smartphone or tablet, no matter what wireless connection they use.

Paying smartphone and tablet gamers will surpass number of paying gaming-optimized handheld gamers this year

USA: International Data Corp. (IDC) published the Worldwide Gaming-Optimized Handheld, Smartphone, and Tablet Gaming 2013–2017 Forecast, a comprehensive report on the current state and future direction of smartphone, tablet, and gaming-optimized handheld (GOH) hardware and software.

The forecast details the outlook for Apple, Google/Android, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, and a wide range of game developers and publishers from a mobile and portable gaming perspective through 2017.

The GOH market category, typified by Nintendo's 3DS and Sony's PlayStation Vita, has recently been overshadowed by gaming-capable smartphones and tablets and this trend is likely to continue. IDC research shows, for example, that the number of paying smartphone and tablet gamers will surpass the number of paying GOH gamers worldwide in 2013 and rise at a rapid rate through 2017.
The number of GOH bundles shipped, meanwhile, should fall at an average of nearly 7 percent per year over the next five years. The installed base of GOH's is being overwhelmed by smartphones and tablets that are used for (primarily casual) gaming.

If there's a silver lining for devices like the 3DS and Vita it's that the GOH category should lead in a crucial metric through 2017: average revenue per user (ARPU). Total mobile/portable gaming revenue, including digital and packaged game software, GOH hardware bundles, and direct advertising revenue going to platform suppliers and game developers/publishers, is forecast to approach $23 billion in 2017.

"Android remains quite fragmented but the platform is on its way to becoming a massively popular gaming platform in Asia/Pacific in particular," says Lewis Ward, research manager of IDC's Connected Consumer: Gaming service.

"In order for Nintendo's and Sony's gaming-optimized handhelds to remain ahead of smartphones and tablets on key metrics such as ARPU, these companies and their game card developer and publisher partners will have to redouble their efforts in a number of respects. Digital distribution has reached an inflection point in mobile and portable gaming, and future success will largely boil down to finding a unique balance of freemium business model excellence and that ability to deliver compelling social experiences."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spurred by Google Glass, IHS forecasts nearly 10 million smart glasses to ship from 2012 to 2016

ENGLAND: Initiated by the arrival of Google Glass and magnified by Google’s efforts to promote application development for the product, the global market for smart glasses could amount to almost 10 million units from 2012 through 2016.

Shipments of smart glasses may rise to as high 6.6 million units in 2016, up from just 50,000 in 2012, for a total of 9.4 million units for the five-year period, according to an upside forecast from IMS Research.

Growth this year will climb 150 percent to 124,000 shipments, mostly driven by sales to developers. Expansion will really begin to accelerate in 2014 with the initial public availability of Google Glass, as shipment growth powers up to 250 percent, based on the optimistic forecast.

Smart glass products like Google Glass are wearable computers with a head-mounted display.

Google Glass this month began shipping to application developers who registered as early backers and paid the $1,500 price tag. This is expected to spur innovations in applications that should take Glass from early adopters to the mass market. As the developers get to work and Google encourages venture capitalists to back them, shipments will begin to surge to high volumes, according to the upside forecast.

However, the success of Google Glass will depend primarily on the applications developed for it. If developers fail to produce compelling software and uses for the devices, shipments could be significantly lower during the next several years.

“The applications are far more critical than the hardware when it comes to the success of Google Glass,” said Theo Ahadome, senior analyst at IHS.

“In fact, the hardware is much less relevant to the growth of Google Glass than for any other personal communications device in recent history. This is because the utility of Google Glass is not readily apparent, so everything will depend on the appeal of the apps. This is why the smart glass market makes sense for a software-oriented organization like Google, despite the company’s limited previous success in developing hardware. Google is betting the house that developers will produce some compelling applications for Glass.”

The glass is half full
According to the optimistic scenario, developers will succeed in producing augmented reality applications for smart glasses that provide the user with information that can be safely and conveniently be integrated into casual use. Such applications typically are known as augmented reality, which involves adding a layer of computer-generated data to real-world people, places and things.

“The true success of Glass will be when it can provide some information to users not apparent when viewing people, places or things,” Ahadome said. “This information may include live updates for travel, location reviews and recommendations, nutritional information and matching personal preferences, and previous encounters to aid decision making. The upside for smart glasses will arise when they become a powerful information platform. In many ways, this is exactly what Google already does via other mediums, and also is why the upside scenario seems more likely.”

Broken glass
Under a more pessimistic scenario, IHS forecasts that only about 1 million smart glasses will be shipped through 2016.

According to this outlook, applications for smart glasses will be limited to some of those already displayed by Google in its Glass marketing. These include scenarios where smart glasses become more of a wearable camera device than a true augmented reality system. In this case, smart glasses will be mainly used for recording sports and other non-casual events, like jumping out of a plane, as demonstrated at the Google I/O developer conference in 2012.

However, Glass will face competition from alternative wearable camera devices already in the market, such as GoPro Hero or Recon MOD Live.

While the wearable camera market was worth more than $200 million in 2012, it is not the multibillion-dollar market that smart glasses can achieve with wider applicability.

“The less frequently consumers interact with any personal communications device, the less valuable it becomes,” Ahadome observed. “If smart glasses become devices that are used only occasionally, rather than all the time, they become less attractive and desirable to consumers.”

18 million DVB-T2 STBs expected in 2015 to help satisfy next digital transition milestone

USA: By end 2012, North America and Western Europe had effectively made the transition to digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcasts.

The next milestone year (2015) was established by the ITU and a number of countries in Eastern Europe and Middle-East Africa are hoping to satisfy this goal. With a later start to digital services a number of countries in these regions are starting with DVB-T2, avoiding the conundrum facing established DVB-T markets looking to migrate to the newer technology.

“If remaining analog shutoff timelines go largely as planned, we expect over 18 million DVB-T2 STBs will ship in 2015,” comments senior analyst Michael Inouye. “Other potential factors, like spectrum reallocation for mobile broadband in Western Europe, might increase the demand for DVB-T2 boxes, but this likely won’t be a significant factor until the latter half, if not past the 2018 forecasting window.”

While most countries have settled on a DTT technology, the path to digital is less consistent in other regions where multiple DTT technologies are present and future analog shutoffs span a wide timeframe (2015 to 2020s).

Aiding the digital transition, Pay Terrestrial DTT operators subsidize the price of free-to-air set-top boxes in order to gain subscribers. For instance, in Sub-Saharan Africa both StarTimes and GoTV (a service of Naspers, parent of MultiChoice) have launched Pay DTT platforms using a subsidized set-top box selling for about $35 while free-to-air boxes sell for approximately $60.

Practice director Sam Rosen added: “Integrated televisions will certainly play a role in digitization, but set-top boxes, by necessity, are still the driver used to fully satisfy most ASO goals. Proactive work from government agencies in the form of subsidies and consumer education remain vital components to a successful ASO, best suiting the lower cost STB as the digitization vehicle of choice. After 2015 we do expect demand for DTT set-top boxes to decline, but circumstances beyond ASOs could shift the outlook higher.”

China’s advanced driver assistance systems market set to more than triple by 2019

CHINA: The market for automotive Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in China is forecast to boom to $3.1 billion in 2019, up from $971 million in 2013, driven by rising demand for convenience and safety features among Chinese motorists, according to a recently published report by IMS Research.

The China ADAS market will triple in value within six years from the present. Growth rates will mostly be in the 19 to 20 percent range during the initial years of the forecast, moderating to a still-robust 13 percent in the last two years, as shown in the attached figure.

Fitment rates for most ADAS products are currently very low in China, typically installed only in luxury and some high-end light vehicles due to their high cost. However, most ADAS mechanisms are predicted to see a big increase in China in both shipments and fitment rates starting this year until 2019.

This is due to the growing awareness of driver safety from both consumers and vehicle manufacturers. Some of the ADAS products set to enjoy growth in the country are adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection and self-parking systems.

“Similar to other regions like Europe and America, particular regulations and C-NCAP assessments will greatly drive the deployment of some ADAS products in China,” said Michael Liu, senior analyst from IHS Automotive.

“Tire-pressure-monitoring systems (TPMS), for instance—although not usually considered as part of ADAS—will explode in the China market and quickly reach 100 percent penetration by the end of the forecast period, up from a current fitment rate of only about 4 percent. This is due to the possibility of upcoming mandatory regulations in China, even if the regulations are not likely to extend to many other ADAS products. In fact, more basic safety systems such as electronic stability control will be deployed before ADAS.”

While the overall ADAS market is set for tremendous expansion, not all ADAS products will enjoy strong growth. Systems like driver monitoring, high-beam control, night vision, multiview systems and intelligent speed adaptation will encounter a slower market because of high product costs, unique driving behavioral patterns in China and low consumer awareness or acceptance.

To date, most ADAS products are currently imported into China either as a system awaiting installation in cars, or as already fitted into imported light vehicles. Two reasons account for this phenomenon. Not only are transportation costs overall very low compared with the cost of ADAS products, ADAS sales in China are also not big enough to justify local ADAS manufacturing.

With market demand for ADAS growing in the country, some system suppliers are expected to transfer production to China. Even so, imported systems will continue to account for the majority of ADAS units in the China market during the forecast period.

Snow Software optimises the cloud

UK: Snow Software, a leading provider of software asset management tools, has set a new standard for software asset management (SAM), by extending its solution to enable license optimisation of cloud-based applications.

Available now, Snow License Manager Version 6.2 has been designed to address the growing complexity of today’s IT environments and provides users with a central hub and toolkit for effective software license management and optimisation.

Increasing numbers of organisations are migrating software applications to the cloud in order to achieve cost savings. Snow License Manager 6.2 enables them to benefit from additional cost reduction opportunities, by optimising their use of web applications and cloud based services in the same easy way as traditional applications.

Now, for the first time, IT departments who have adopted cloud based business applications, including Office 365, Salesforce, will have the ability to manage the licenses purchased and also ensure they are not paying for additional licenses unnecessarily.

In addition to license management and optimisation for cloud-based applications, Snow License Manager 6.2 offers the following features:

Enhanced support for virtual applications: includes Microsoft App-V, VMware ThinApp and Citrix XenApp. This feature allows users to benefit from virtualization without losing control of licenses.

Support for the latest Microsoft platforms: Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft SQL Server 2012.

Cisco enhances Videoscape architecture in India with video delivery platform from Apalya

INDIA: Cisco has added live TV and mobile video capabilities to its Cisco Videoscape architecture by integrating the Video Delivery Platform from Apalya Technologies Pvt Ltd, a leading managed service provider of video streaming to telecom operators, handset manufacturers and content owners.

This capability was demonstrated last week at the Cisco Video Summit in New Delhi, an annual event for the company’s customers and partners in the cable and broadcast sector.

To demonstrate Cisco’s commitment to delivering best-of-breed solutions to multi-system operators (MSOs) in India, who operate multiple cable or direct-broadcast satellite television systems, Cisco has also made an investment in Apalya. This investment was done along with existing investors IDGVI (IDG Ventures India), IUVP (Indo US Venture Partners) and Qualcomm.

With the uptake of 3G services in the country and the introduction of 4G services, the demand for data and video, on mobile, is growing significantly. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), global mobile data traffic will grow 13-fold from 2012 to 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month in 2017, and mobile video will represent 66 percent of all mobile data traffic. In India, video is expected to be 40 percent of mobile data traffic by 2016, up from 15 percent at the end of 2011.

Apalya’s Video Delivery Platform, based on the Videoscape architecture, optimizes the content to be suitable for viewing on all screens, integrating it with content from mobile operators, content owners and mobile advertisers, and creating new revenue streams across the new media value chain.

ASUS and Intel launch 7-inch ASUS Fonepad with 3G mobile data and voice-calling in India

INDIA: ASUS India, together with Intel India, announced the availability of the ASUS Fonepad in India.

The Fonepad is a co\mpetitively priced Phablet with 3G connectivity and calling features of a smartphone, with the versatility of a 7-inch tablet. Powered by the latest Intel Atom processor Z2420 with Android 4.1, ASUS Fonepad features a vibrant HD display with IPS technology for wide viewing angles and outstanding clarity.

ASUS Fonepad is ideal for people who value both the voice communication features of a smartphone and the entertainment opportunities offered by a tablet, but prefer the convenience of carrying just one device.

ASUS Fonepad is a sleek, compact tablet with a metallic design that can be held comfortably in one hand, thanks to its light 340g weight and slim 10.4mm profile. Powered by the latest Intel Atom processor Z2420 with full Android compatibility, ASUS Fonepad features a perfect balance of performance and energy efficiency, with hardware-accelerated 1080p HD video decoding and up to nine hours of battery life.

The 7-inch screen features 10-point multi-touch, and a crisp 1280 x 800 HD resolution for crisp, readable web page text and incredibly detailed photos. IPS technology ensures vibrant color with 178-degree wide viewing angles, and images that are clear and bright, even outdoors.

Built-in 3G with HSPA+ mobile data means ASUS Fonepad is an always-connected mobile device for seamless web browsing, fast downloads from Google Play Store, and smooth streaming of audio and video. Thanks to its full 3G telephony support, ASUS Fonepad can also be used for voice calls using the built-in noise-cancelling digital microphone or an optional Bluetooth headset.

With just one mobile data plan to pay for, running costs are also much lower than those of a separate smartphone and 3G tablet.

ASUS Fonepad has 8GB of storage capacity and has an SD card slot for up to 32GB of additional storage.  It features a 1.2-megapixel front facing camera for easy video chat and a 3-megapixel autofocus rear camera with 720p HD video recording. ASUS SonicMaster audio technology with MaxxAudio 3 processing by Waves ensures clear, well-rounded sound quality.

Kapil Sibal calls for development of electronics products useful for the common man

INDIA: Kapil Sibal, Union Minister of Communications and IT met Ambassadors and Heads of Chambers of Commerce of Countries, which are leaders in the electronics sector.

He shared the new policy initiatives launched by the Government to promote investment in the Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector. US, UK, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Israel, Korea, Japan, Taiwan were represented. The meeting was also attended by J. Satyanarayana, secretary, Department of Electronics and IT, M Farooqui, secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Ajai Chowdhry, former HCL Infosystems chairman, and other officials.

Welcoming the delegates, Shri Satyanarayana said, that Government of India is giving special attention to the promotion of Electronics Manufacturing in India. The sector has potential to attract investment of nearly $100 billion over the next decade or so. Government permits 100 percent FDI through the automatic route for electronics manufacturing. It is with this objective that the Cabinet has approved the National Policy on Electronics (NPE) 2012.

Farqooui explained the recent policy initiatives under the National Telecom Policy, which also encourages investment in manufacturing R&D in the telecom equipment.

Sibal invited these countries to send trade delegations in the electronics sector so that they can get familiar with the new opportunities in the sector and to participate in leading industrial events in the country. He also requested the Ambassadors to identify a nodal officer in their embassies in India to deal with enquiries relating to the electronics sector. He also assured that if there is adequate interest, Department of Electronics and IT would set up country-specific Desks to address investment issues relating to those countries.

One such Desk has already been set up for Japan. He also encouraged collaboration between Electronics Sector Skill Council and their counterpart organizations in these counties. Shri Sibal also offered to set up Electronic Manufacturing Cluster which could provide specific social amenities for Korea, Japan and Taiwan, apart from providing industry specific infrastructure. He also emphasized the need for collaboration in R&D and innovation in the field of electronics to develop products which would be customized to the needs of common man. He particularly emphasized the need for developing products in the area of medical electronics, education, green energy and financial inclusion.

The Ambassadors welcomed the policy initiatives and assured full co-operation to create greater awareness in the area of electronics.

UK video rental market plunges in 2013 as half of country’s Blockbuster stores close

UK: The market for Blu-ray (BD) and DVD rental in the United Kingdom is expected to plunge by 22 percent in 2013, as half the country’s Blockbuster video stores shut down in a restructuring initiated by the company’s new management.

The UK market for physical-video rental will drop to £202 million in 2013, down £57 million, or 22 percent from £259 million in 2012, according to a newly updated forecast from IHS. While the market is generally on the decline, 2013 will bring the sharpest predicted annual decrease for the 11-year period from 2007 through 2017.

By the end of 2013, only 264 Blockbuster stores will be open in the country, down 50 percent from 530 in 2012. Blockbuster is the largest video rental chain in the country.

“The year 2013 is set to become a watershed for the U.K. video rental market as a result of the wholesale closure of Blockbuster UK stores,” said Tony Gunnarsson, senior video analyst at IHS. “The massive downturn in the store-based video rental market represents a significant loss to the video market and will result in a major decline and radical transformation of the UK video market overall. From 2013 on, the UK physical-video rental business increasingly will be dominated by online rent-by-mail subscription services.”

Both DVD and BD transactions are due to decrease across the store-based sector this year. DVD rentals will fall by a steep 53.2 percent to 15.4 million. BD is set to drop by an even larger 61.3 percent to 2.8 million respectively.

Blockbuster gets busted up
After filing for administration in January 2013, Blockbuster's administrators Deloitte announced two separate rounds of store closures, including some 224 sites. In February 2013, supermarket chain Morrisons purchased 49 of these former Blockbuster stores in its drive to increase its store presence in southeast England.

Out of the remaining Blockbuster stores, Gordon Brothers acquired a total of 264 locations, including a number of Blockbuster outlets earmarked for closure that will now remain open.

Pay-TV killed the video store
In 2012, rental stores were responsible for 41.3 percent of the video rental market based on consumer spending. In the latest forecast for 2013, however, the store-based sector is now projected to generate just 24.7 percent of the overall market. This tilts the market toward the online sector, which will see its share of market increase massively from 58.7 percent in 2012 to 75.3 percent this year.

At the same time, the lost rental business won’t result in customers that used to rent at Blockbusters automatically signing up to become rent-by-mail customers with online providers, IHS believes. Rather, those customers are more likely to turn to a host of other video platforms, primarily pay-TV services.

Video rental market winds down
In the longer view, the UK rental market will return to a normal trend of decline after 2013, with spending on renting physical video shrinking at an annual rate of under 5 percent until 2017. By then, the retreat in spending is expected to be slightly more negative at 7 percent.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

PromiseUP app debuts on iOS to thwart broken promises

RUSSIA: PromiseUP , developer of software that more accurately and thoroughly tracks the promises we make, today launched as a free iOS app on the App Store. PromiseUP adds a level of simple organization – and tangible incentive – to the promises that we make to our friends, our family, and to ourselves, thereby holding promise makers accountable for what they say they will do, when they say they will do it.

PromiseUP lets users quickly create custom promises with themselves or with others, use virtual currency (UP$) to determine the wager, and set a time limit for when the promise must be completed.
For example, a user might promise her coworker: “I promise I won’t be late for work this week” with a bet of $250UP (each new account is given $1000UP). At the end of that week, PromiseUP asks whether the promise has been kept, and the $UP are transferred to the winner. The virtual $UP can be traded in for real prizes from PromiseUP’s growing UP-Shop  inventory.

“A kept promise is a thing of beauty,” said Ivan Kochetov, CEO of PromiseUP. “Unfortunately, like Kate Winslet’s character in Titanic promising a drowning Leonardo DiCaprio that she’d “never let go,” too many of the promises we make ourselves and our friends end up broken, forgotten, or both. We founded PromiseUP on the belief that following through on promises solidifies friendships, relationships, and pushes our own goals forward in a meaningful way. Our promise is to give users an intuitive, worthwhile platform to be better connected to the promises they come across daily.”

LG bets big on futuristic products

INDIA: LG Electronics showcased its diverse range of futuristic products at LG Tech Show- 2013, its first ever technology spectacle in India. LG displayed advanced line-up of cutting edge technology and innovative products across categories.

Amongst the displayed products was, the world’s first 55 inch OLED TV, Pocket Photo Printer, Aramid Home Theatre, X Boom audio system, the largest capacity Laundry washing machine, LG’s PC line-up of Tab-Book-H160 & LG Z360 Ultrabook and Optimus G Pro.

LG Electronics India ­ ­ showcased the World’s largest and slimmest, next-generation 55 inch OLED television capable of delivering truly stunning picture quality. At Only 4 mm thin and weighing less than 10 kilograms, LG's OLED TV produces astoundingly vivid and realistic pictures because of its superior WRGB technology. It has kick-started a whole new era of next generation of high-quality televisions with this product.

The company showcased another innovation called the LG PD233 Pocket Photo, a smart mobile printer. This portable printer can be connected to smartphones or tablet- Pcs with Bluetooth, NFC or an USB stick. The perfect smartphone companion delivers high quality photo prints and provides excellent wireless connectivity, making it the ideal companion for both Android and iOS smartphones.

The LG Home Appliances division aims to expand the horizon by ­ continuously developing products based on consumer insight. The LG Laundry washing machine is the fastest and largest capacity front-load washing machine with 6 Motion Direct Drive Technology. This washer enables consumers to wash more clothes per load including large, bulky items such as king-sized comforters. It consumes less energy and water compared to any conventional front load washing machines.

The Tech Show also displayed LG Evercool refrigerators, a product customized to meet the needs of Indian consumers suffering from long power cuts.  It comes equipped with LG’s patented Power Cut Evercool technology, which has an ability to retain cooling for up to seven hours without electricity. The range is energy efficient and saves up to 20 percent energy.

Optimus G Pro became an instant hit in South Korea, with 500000 units sold within 40 days of launch. The newest and feature-packed phone LG Optimus G Pro is a combination of style and a unique mobile experience. Optimus G Pro carries on the premium heritage of the entire Optimus G series, with 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display it runs on Android Jelly Bean.

Equipped with 4G LTE, the smartphone offers the largest battery capacity in its class at 3,140mAh, allowing Full HD viewing enjoyment for hours on end. The mobile phone has an upgraded 13 megapixel camera on the back with LED flash and 2.1-inch front-facing cam. It has 32GB of internal storage, further expandable up to humongous 64GB.

LG also shared its strategy to become a global leader in the B2B market. It showcased the latest addition to its display technology in the projection arena called "Hecto" Laser display. It is a masterpiece of home theatre design, with 1080p screen resolution, capable of creating a 100-inch screen from just 22 inches.

Thanks to LG’s laser-based technology which gives incredible contrast. It also has the capability of an all-in-one home theatre to go with a digital tuner and 10w speakers built-in, with three HDMI inputs, an RS-232 port and Smart TV capabilities.

LG’s impressive PC line-up exhibited consists of LG Tab-Book (H160) and LG Z360 Ultrabook, combining powerful performance with design excellence. It is equipped to handle both work and entertainment applications. The LG Tab-Book (H160) is an impeccable combination of a tablet and a notebook. Running Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, the compact 11.6-inch device offers everything a conventional tablet does.

The device has an impressive 10 hours of battery life, 15.9mm thick and weighs in at 1.05Kg. Z360 Ultrabook from LG is slim and compact, with a 1080p IPS display and at 13.6mm thickness. It has Windows 8 OS, with the new 4th Gen Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processors. The Ultrabook is capable of booting up in just eight seconds.  Also on display is World’s First 21:9 IPS Ultrawide Monitor and other exciting range of products like Personal TV and PC accessories.

Akamai releases Q4 2012 ‘State of the Internet’ report with Nordic highlights

SWITZERLAND: Akamai Technologies, a leading cloud platform for helping enterprises provide secure, high-performing user experiences on any device, anywhere, released its Fourth Quarter, 2012 State of the Internet Report.

Based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform, the report provides insights into key global statistics including connection speeds, attack traffic, and network connectivity and availability, among many others.

The Fourth Quarter, 2012 State of the Internet Report includes new observations on Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, analysis of Phase II of the Operation Ababil attacks, and examinations of Internet disruptions in Syria, Bangladesh, and Senegal. The report also reviews mobile browser usage by network connection type collected by Akamai IO.

European highlights

Global Internet penetration
Nearly 700 million unique IPv4 addresses from 240 countries/regions connected to the Akamai Intelligent Platform in the fourth quarter of 2012. This represents 4.2 percent more than in the third quarter of 2012, and 13 percent more than in the fourth quarter of 2011. Given that a single IP address can represent multiple individuals in some cases, Akamai estimates the total number of unique Web users connecting to its platform during the quarter to be well over one billion.

Reviewing year-over-year changes in European countries appearing in the top 10 country/region listing, the report reveals growth levels ranging from double digit growth of 21 percent in Italy (ranked #9 globally) to the more modest growth of 7.6 percent in the UK (ranked #5), 4.3 percent in France (ranked #6), and 3 percent in Germany (ranked #4).

Attack traffic and top ports attacked: Europe accounts for just under 25 percent of observed attack traffic
Akamai maintains a distributed set of unadvertised agents deployed across the Internet that log connection attempts, which the company classifies as attack traffic.

Based on data collected by these agents, Akamai is able to identify the top countries from which attack traffic originates as well as the top ports targeted by these attacks. However, the originating country as identified by the source IP address is not intended to imply attribution. For example, an individual in the United States may be launching attacks from compromised systems in China.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, China was again responsible for the largest volume of observed attack traffic, accounting for 41 percent, while the United States – which accounted for 10 percent of all observed attack traffic - held onto the global number two spot (10 percent).

The top European country responsible for attack traffic was Romania (ranked #7 in the global top originating countries/regions listing) which accounted for 2.8 percent of observed attacks, followed by Italy (ranked #9) which was responsible for 1.6 percent, and Hungary (ranked #10) which was responsible for 1.4 percent.

Port 445 (Microsoft-DS) remained the most targeted port in the fourth quarter, receiving 29 percent of observed attack traffic. Port 23 (Telnet) was again second at 7.2 percent.

Observations on DDoS Attacks: Attack volumes grow by 200 percent compared to 2011
For the first time, the report includes insight into DDoS attacks reported by Akamai customers. Data from this quarter’s report will serve as a baseline for future comparisons. Akamai customers reported 768 DDoS attacks in 2012, up more than 200 percent from 2011. Of those, 35 percent targeted companies in the Commerce sector and 22 percent focused on Media and Entertainment companies.

Enterprise companies, which include financial services, were subject to 20 percent of the reported attacks; 14 percent targeted High Tech and nine percent of reported attacks were directed toward Public Sector agencies. The 768 attacks were reported by 413 unique organisations, indicating that many organisations were targeted more than once – some significantly more.

European broadband connectivity: Switzerland and the Netherlands continue to lead the European pack
In the fourth quarter of 2012, European broadband connections to Akamai at speeds of 4 Mbps or greater remained extremely strong with adoption rates exceeding 45 percent in most European countries. Switzerland (ranked #2 globally) and the Netherlands (ranked #3 globally) jointly top the European leader board with 82 percent of all connections at 4 Mbps or above, followed by the Czech Republic (ranked #6 globally) with 72 percent.

Year-over-year changes were generally positive across all surveyed countries in the EMEA region, with the exception of Turkey and Italy - both down 0.2 percent.

High broadband (over 10 Mbps) adoption continued apace; during the fourth quarter of 2012 more than half of the European countries had 10 percent or more of their connections to Akamai at speeds above 10 Mbps. Switzerland tops the European leader board with 23 percent of connections above 10 Mbps, followed by the Netherlands with 21 percent, and Sweden with 19 percent.

European countries also achieved positive year-over-year changes in average peak connection speeds, with growth in excess of 10 percent being seen in all countries. Impressive year-on-year increases were observed in the UK (up 44 percent to 30.5 Mbps), Spain (up 40 percent to 27.8 Mbps) and Austria (up 40 percent to 25.9 Mbps). Ireland had the smallest year-over-year change (up 12 percent to 27 Mbps).

Romania had the fastest European average peak connection speed for the quarter (42.6 Mbps), followed by Switzerland (34.2 Mbps) and Belgium (33.4 Mbps).

“Looking back across the year, we observed strong growth of our key connectivity metrics around the world. We believe that this points to greater availability of broadband connectivity, as well as increased speeds on those connections. This is supported as well by the long-term trends observed over the five-year history of the State of the Internet Report,” explained David Belson, the report’s editor. “This combination of improved broadband availability and higher speeds opens the door for greater innovation in how the Internet is used by both businesses and individuals around the globe.”

Mobile connectivity: Austrian mobile provider delivers fastest average connection speeds
The fourth quarter of 2012 saw average connection speeds on surveyed mobile network operators range from a high of just over 8.0 Mbps to a low of 345 Kbps. An Austrian mobile provider posted a nearly 9 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in average connection speed, growing to just over 8 Mbps and taking the top spot as the mobile network provider with the highest average connection speed.

Examining the average peak connection speed data for the quarter, a Spanish provider achieved an impressive 32 percent quarter-over-quarter increase to 44 Mbps, displacing the previous leader – a Russian provider - to take the top spot.

Mobile devices using Android Webkit accounted for the largest percentage of requests (35.3 percent) of devices on cellular networks connecting to the Akamai Intelligent Platform. Devices using Apple Mobile Safari represented 32.6 percent. When analyzed across all network types, the ratios were markedly different with Apple Mobile Safari accounting for 58.7 percent of requests and Android Webkit responsible for 21.7 percent.

Nordic highlights
Average peak connection speed
Sweden’s fourth quarter average peak connection speeds of 28.4 Mbps, bolstered by a 5.3 percent quarter-over-quarter increase, continued to place it firmly ahead of the rest of the Nordic region. Finland and Denmark were in close competition (26.5 Mbps and 26.1Mbps) while Norway remained in 4th place with average peak connection speeds of 24.8 Mbps, despite a 7.3 percent quarter-over-quarter increase.

Average connection speed
The Nordic ranking for average connection speeds experienced some shake-up in the fourth quarter. Having held #1 position for the previous two quarters, Denmark dropped to #3 with an average connection speed of 7 Mbps, outranked by Finland (#2 with 7.1 Mbps) who, in turn, was overtaken by Sweden for the #1 spot, boasting an average connection speed of  7.3 Mbps (up 7.4 percent from the third quarter).

High broadband connectivity
Similar disruptions were witnessed in the region’s high broadband connectivity. Crashing from first place in the last quarter’s rankings to #4, Denmark suffered a 14 percent drop in adoption, the second largest quarterly decline in the EMEA region.

In contrast, the remaining three countries all experienced two-digit increases in the rate of their high broadband connectivity. The greatest of these was Sweden who replaced Denmark as #1 with a 16 percent improvement from Q3, followed by Finland (#2 with 13 percent) and Norway (#3 with 12 percent).

Sanovi further expands its advisory board

INDIA: Sanovi Technologies, the market leader in IT Disaster Recovery Management (DRM) software, announced the appointment of Laxman Kumar Badiga to its advisory board.

This follows close on the heels of the appointment of two senior industry leaders just over a month ago to its Advisory Board, signaling Sanovi’s aggressive approach to the market and move to co-opt industry leaders in a core group that will advise the company on its expansion plans to global markets, and client servicing models.

Badiga was previously the chief operating officer of $250 million healthcare company, Anthelio Healthcare, where he was responsible for global operations including customer management. Prior to that, he was with Wipro under multiple roles ranging from initiating software services in Europe, large account management, creation and managing of vertical services, software product development and services, managing global resourcing and productivity office, to the CIO role along with all operations.

GFS Chemicals expands product line for electronics manufacturers

USA: Specialty chemical manufacturer GFS Chemicals Inc. is expanding its commitment to electronics manufacturers with a domestically produced electronics-grade Ceric Ammonium Nitrate ((NH4)2Ce(NO3)6). The chemical is now available off-the-shelf in a purity grade suitable for specialty electronic applications.

"As a company, we understand the needs of electronics manufacturers," says J. Steel Hutchinson , the third-generation owner and president of GFS Chemicals. "Product consistency, predictable and responsive delivery times, competitive prices and a secure supply chain. We can now meet those needs with an electronics-grade Ceric Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) product suitable for etching applications."

CAN is typically used to make a chrome etchant for the manufacture of electronic microcircuits. GFS now produces the chemical in both commercial and electronics grade and can produce higher purity products for customers with more stringent trace metal requirements.

The new electronics-grade product is suitable for common electronic etching applications and can be used as feedstock by etchant manufacturers who want to offer a range of CAN-based etchants.

Monday, April 22, 2013

ETL Systems wins Queen’s award for international trade

UK: Growing overseas sales representing 75 percent of total revenues have helped Herefordshire-based ETL Systems win the prestigious Queens Award for International Trade for a third time.

ETL is an experienced global designer and manufacturer of RF distribution equipment for satellite communications. Their 69-strong business is located close to the BT satellite earth station at Madley, in England, and has a purpose built secure factory offering 3D mechanical, RF and Microwave CAD design, along with full testing facilities.

The successful British brand, recognised internationally for quality, has posted impressive new or increasing orders in the Ukraine, Slovenia, Poland, Argentina, Indonesia, Japan, New Caledonia, and Chile and significantly increased sales in the US.

It is a satellite specialist and designs and manufactures equipment for the broadcast, telecoms, satellite communication and government sectors.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Telstra Global’s cloud solution powers Flat Planet’s expansion in Asia

AUSTRALIA: Telstra Global, a leading global supplier of managed network and hosting services, announced an agreement with Flat Planet to provide cloud-based Virtual Contact Centre (VCC) services to support its global expansion.

Flat Planet, Australia's leading virtual talent company, provides Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services to customers across Australia, Asia, North America and Europe.

Telstra Global's VCC service is an innovative cloud-based software solution combined with world class voice and data networks, which enables BPO contact centres to improve customer service. Flat Planet is Telstra Global’s first external customer on the VCC global platform.

TomTom completely re-designs GPS sport watch

THE NETHERLANDS: TomTom has launched a new range of GPS watches to deliver at-a-glance performance information for runners, cyclists and swimmers.

The new, ultra-slim TomTom Runner and TomTom Multi-Sport GPS sport watches feature an extra-large display, full-screen graphical training tools and the industry’s first one-button control to make it easier for users to access the information needed to stay motivated and achieve their goals.

“We know that most GPS watches on the market are too bulky and complicated to use while training.” said Corinne Vigreux, managing director, TomTom Consumer.

“Just as we developed easy-to-use navigation products that changed the way that people move from A to B, we have developed a range of ultra-slim GPS sport watches that are far more comfortable to wear and far easier to use.  Runners and multi-sport athletes can now view their performance information at-a-glance, making it easier to achieve their fitness goals.”

Acromag's Ethernet I/O simplifies interfacing discrete sensors and actuators to monitoring/control systems

USA: Acromag's new BusWorks XT Series Ethernet I/O Modules interface discrete I/O signals directly to an Ethernet/IP, Modbus/TCP or Profinet measurement and control system network.

An innovative new module design features dual Ethernet ports, removable front-facing terminal blocks, and support for a rail power bus. A USB port provides an easy connection to a PC for fast configuration and setup with free Windows software. Two models offer sixteen digital I/O channels supporting any combination of inputs and outputs for monitoring or control functions involving discrete devices (on/off, high/low, open/close).

The XT1110 and XT1120 have sinking or sourcing outputs, respectively, and read-back capability to verify the status. Suitable for use in harsh environments, modules operate from -40 to 70 degrees C with noise immunity and surge protection. CE and UL/cUL Class 1 Division 2 Zone 2 hazardous location approvals are pending. All units are attractively priced at $320 in US or only $20 per channel.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pay-TV operators can stave off OTT threat with multiscreen and CDN investments

ENGLAND: Despite the dire competitive threat posed by over-the-top (OTT) services, pay-TV operators can thrive by investing in additional service offerings that should include multiscreen services to more than make up for the erosion in their customer base, according to the IHS Screen Digest TV Intelligence Service.

Speaking at the IHS PEVE Entertainment 2013 Conference, Guy Bisson, research director for television at IHS, noted that although European cable operators have lost 1.4 million households, they have gained 17.8 more revenue-generating units (RGUs), during the five-year period from 2007 through 2012.

While cable operators in Europe and other regions are expected to lose more households in the coming years, RGUs will continue to increase, driving revenue growth for the industry. The attached figure presents the IHS history and forecast of cable households and RGUs for the 27 countries of the European Union.

“The pay-TV industry today is facing an increasingly competitive environment that is not helped by the recent entrance of platform-agnostic OTT services like Netflix, Amazon and others,” Bisson told the audience at PEVE.

“To stave off this threat, pay-TV operators during the past few years have been offering services based on the triple-play of television, Internet and telephony. However, operators now need to offer new services, including mobile telephony, Wi-Fi access outside of the home and multiscreen, OTT-like access to video on the move. These services will be required for pay-TV operators to continue cultivating new RGUs in the future.”

Multiscreen represents a particularly effective means of competing with OTT
“If a pay-TV operator is facing competition from Netflix, multiscreen represents the first step in fending off the competitive threat,” Bisson said. “By making pay-TV less TV-centric—i.e., allowing access on tablets, laptops and smartphones, and enabling TV to be moved around the house and on the road—multiscreen becomes an attractive alternative to OTT. However, to deliver multiscreen content effectively, pay-TV operators will have to take the next step, investing in their own content-delivery networks (CDN).”

A CDN is an Internet-based network that uses servers to deliver video content to users with high availability and high performance.

“Embracing the CDN will become increasingly important for pay-TV operators as a means of delivering mass-market television to multiple platforms over the Internet,” Bisson said. “As operators add multiscreen services to their portfolios, building CDNs makes sense and allows them to transition their operations into a lucrative new area. By doing this, pay-TV operators can transform the Internet from a threat into an opportunity as well as open up new business opportunities by servicing the content distribution needs of their content partners.”

MRO data key to unlocking cost savings and operational efficiency for asset-intensive companies

USA: Maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) groups at many companies  are facing a major challenge: toxic MRO master catalogs stuffed with incomplete data on replacement parts, a problem that drives up costs and creates large-scale problems for multiple corporate divisions.

To combat this problem, companies must engage in a comprehensive effort to standardize and enrich MRO data, adopt a sustainable MRO data-governance model, and develop a strategy for MRO lifecycle management, according to John Ferguson, certified maintenance and reliability professional for the IHS Supply Chain service.

Speaking last month via a live IHS webcast event entitled “Understanding the Cause & Effects of Toxic MRO Foundational Data,” Ferguson described the magnitude of the MRO-parts challenge and outlined possible solutions to the problem.

“Companies must recognize the importance of solid MRO foundational data, and they have to understand the correlation this has to other areas of their business,” Ferguson said. “Once they get the foundation right, other related goals or initiatives in operational excellence will be much easier. The lack of emphasis on MRO data quality results in inefficiency. Organizations waste an inordinate amount of time and resources in trying to make other pieces of the MRO lifecycle and maintenance and reliability work with master data that ranges from being poor quality to being downright ‘toxic.’”

Chain reaction
The problem of MRO inventories is massive, with stockpiles growing by 9 percent per year globally. Based on industry inventory data analysis, an estimated 55 percent of MRO inventories have not moved in the past three years—and 30 percent of MRO inventories that are currently in stock will never be used. Furthermore, 6 percent of MRO items make up 90 percent of the annual spend for companies in general.

However, the majority of reorder points as well as reorder quantities are incorrect, as are the lead times, presented in the attached figure. An estimated 62 percent of orders points are wrong—with 81 percent and 97 percent of order quantities and lead times being erroneous.

Crisis in a ball valve
During the event, Ferguson demonstrated the inefficiency of conflicting MRO data by showing the varying product descriptions of a single MRO part: a ball valve.

“A toxic catalog of replacement parts can affect other business processes,” Ferguson said.  “A classic example—using actual data from a client—shows a ball valve and six different ways it was described within their MRO master catalog. The same part had multiple records with different descriptions, part numbers, and prices. This left the client with duplicate, inconsistent descriptions, affecting its capability to search and access information, as well as to get a foundation in place for getting to higher-level MRO process.”

These types of catalog inconsistencies prevent companies from locating required parts for scheduled and unplanned maintenance work. When parts cannot be located, companies purchase excess parts, causing inventories to balloon.

To prevent such negative ramifications on operations—and to leverage MRO data in support of corporate-wide initiatives that can improve efficiency—companies must put their MRO data into an accurate, consistent and structured format, free of duplicate parts.

Building the foundation
However, this process only serves as the basis of a set of other steps that companies must take to get engaged in MRO best practices. Following the process optimizing MRO data, companies must adopt a sustainable MRO data-governance model along with enabling technology that seamlessly integrates into their enterprise resource planning (ERP) and enterprise asset management (EAM) systems to dynamically synchronize their MRO data.

Next, companies should optimize MRO inventory. This can lead to more balanced inventory levels, and allow companies to conduct criticality analysis and make impact assessments.

Finally, companies need a systematic approach for classifying, managing and optimizing all aspects of their MRO value chain, including MRO materials master catalog data management, strategic sourcing, procurement, critical spares identification, balanced inventories, asset dispositioning strategies, and inventory and storeroom best practices.

“Once you get your foundation solidified, then you can get into optimizing your inventory and looking at spend analysis, such as what your maximum cost level should be and what your orders should be based on your usage history,” Ferguson said.

“You can also get into more advanced MRO practices and use the foundation you’ve put in place to support broader corporate initiatives, like maintenance excellence, procurement excellence and other more efficient ways of doing business. “These actions all have positive aspects on the bottom line and shareholder value."

March large-sized panel shipment surged 17.1 percent MoM, 12 percent YoY

TAIWAN: According to the latest survey by WitsView , the display research division of the global intelligence provider TrendForce , the total large-sized panel shipment in March 2013 attained 68.6 million units, growing 17.1 percent MoM and 12 percent YoY.

After the bottom of the large-sized panel shipment in February, March was supported by the May 1st restocking in China and international brands’ distribution demands for new spring models, having the LCD TV panel shipment climbing 23.6 percent MoM to 20.52 million units.

The monitor panel shipment was lifted 18.6 percent MoM to 14.26 million units by the downstream clients; especially the demand for Apple’s new generation of iMac grew significantly. The above 10.1” NB panel shipment was still impacted by some brands’ continuous inventory digestion, seeing a weaker-than-expected procurement momentum, and the total shipment was 13.58 million units, growing 16.4 percent MoM, much lower than the projected 21 percent.

The tablet shipment supported the demand for panels as major PC makers have launched new models one after another. Especially the 7” and the 8” shipments grew largely, helping the total March tablet panel shipment to reach 18 million units, surging 9.8 percent MoM.

WitsView’s research manager Jeffy Chen says that Taiwan panel makers’ LCD TV panel shipment performance was remarkable as Innolux and AUO were supported by surging Chinese orders in addition to AUO benefitting from orders of major makers such as Samsung and Sony, showing respectively, 35 percent and 30 percent growths in TV panel shipment from February.

Chinese panel makers were also encouraged by the demand for May 1st, and CSOT, BOE, CEC-Panda enjoyed respective shipment growths of 12 percent, 24 percent, and 88 percent. respectively. The Korean maker LGD saw its March TV panel shipment attaining 32 percent as it held a higher proportion of Chinese clients than SDC, while SDC had merely an 8 percent growth.

Looking ahead to April, the large-sized panel shipment will show a temporary correction in April after the March peak, Chen adds. As the May 1st demand in China will end, the TV panel shipment will decline 5-6 percent from March, while the procurement for the IT panels will turn soft due to some brands’ quarter-end financial settlement.

In addition, the leading Korean BLU maker HeeSung Electronics’ fire accident in the Nanjing plant may result in LGD’s unsmooth NB and tablet shipments, and the overall monitor panel and NB panel shipments will decline 7 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

On the other hand, the tablet panel demand may be dragged down by Apple’s control over the 7.9” panel inventory, dropping more than 15 percent from March.

For younger European consumers, clicks are outpacing bricks

UK: Despite coming of age during hard economic times, younger European consumers that are 25 through 34 years old are more likely to engage in online spending than other groups, and are helping propel the growth of e-commerce in the region, according to a leading IHS expert speaking at the IHS PEVE Entertainment 2013 Conference.

E-commerce retail sales in major European economies expanded in a range from 125 percent in France to 37 percent Germany during the period from 2008 to 2012, as presented in the attached table. In contrast, total retail spending declined in most European countries during the same period.

Across the continent, consumers in the 25 through 34 age range are driving the expansion of e-commerce, with approximately 85 percent of people in this group on average for the UK, Germany, France, and Norway engaging in online purchasing in 2012, up from 75 percent in 2008. Residents aged 35 through 44 used online purchasing at the second-highest rate, at 80 percent on average in 2012 for these countries, up from 66 percent in 2008.

“Hard times have disproportionately fallen on the young in Europe and these consumers are not doing that well financially because of the recession,” said Chris G. Christopher, Jr., director, global and US Consumer Markets at IHS, in his presentation to the PEVE audience.

“However, they still do buy certain things with their discretionary income. And when making these purchases, these younger age cohorts have a higher propensity to buy online, rather than using brick-and-mortar retail outlets. Because of this, “clicks” increasingly are outpacing “bricks” among European consumers.”

Christopher noted that younger consumers also are leading the way in online purchasing in other European economies. In general, Northern European countries are ahead of Southern nations in terms of online purchasing, he added.

Income gap
Incomes for European consumers aged 18 through 24 and 25 through 49 began falling in 2007 in the United Kingdom and in 2009 in Spain, Norway and Poland. Consumers in these age ranges have fared better in Italy, Germany and Portugal, with their income flattening out, rather than declining, in 2009.

Unemployment rates for consumers aged 15 through 39 were in the double digits in 2010 in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Poland. Spain is faring the worst of these large economies, at almost 25 percent. Germany and Norway performed much better at 9.8 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.

Generation gap
Beyond their economic travails and affinity for online purchasing, younger European consumers have other key differences with their older counterparts.

For instance, European men and women are waiting longer to get married, with the average age increasing dramatically.

European women in general are getting more education than men, with females more likely to graduate from college than men in most countries.

Women in the region also are waiting longer to have children. The total fertility rate has fallen below the 2.0 children per woman mark for almost all major economies, indicating that population growth is either shrinking or very weak.

Leadcore adopts Hantro video IP

CHINA: VeriSilicon Holdings Co., Ltd. (VeriSilicon), a leading custom silicon solutions and semiconductor IP provider, announced that the Hantro G1 Multi-format Decoder and Hantro H1 Multi-format Encoder have been adopted by Leadcore Technology Co. Ltd (Leadcore), a leading TD-SCDMA and TDD-LTE telecom technology and solution company in China, in its series of high performance application processor chips.

Hantro Video IPs enable Leadcore's products to achieve full HD, 60 frames-per-second video decoding and encoding capability, while supporting multiple video formats such as VP8 for WebM and WebRTC, H.264, MVC, MPEG-2/4, DivX, VC-1, RealVideo, AVS, and more.

"We have been working with Leadcore since their inception," says Dr. Wayne Dai , President and CEO of VeriSilicon. "We are confident that the 12th generation of Hantro video hardware decoder and encoder is the best choice for mobile internet devices to meet increasing demand on video performance."

As an eco-system partner of WebM Project, a Google initiative to promote open and royalty free media format, VeriSilicon can commercially license the Hantro G1 Multi-format Decoder and Hantro H1 Multi-format Encoder products to worldwide semiconductor companies and modify and enhance the Hantro Video IP through architecture modifications and feature enhancements. Hantro Video IP is deployed in more than one billion chips worldwide and used by more than 70 semiconductor companies.

"Hantro IP enables us to demonstrate the power efficiency and cost effectiveness of our video capability. We appreciate VeriSilicon's excellent technology strength and strong customer support," says Jitang Liu, VP of Leadcore. "Our products support multiple video formats including VP8, and have been used in many well known smart phones and tablets."

Attacking and defending, 8” tablet will control an 11.9 percent market share in 2013

TAIWAN: As the sales for desktops and NBs have been weakening, tablets have become the crucial production line for brands to achieve target sales. According to WitsView , the display research division of the global intelligence provider TrendFroce , in an attempt to meet consumers’ diverse and various needs, tablets’ crucial features change year by year.

The 2011 focus was the lift in the resolution, the 2012 key point laid on the attractiveness of low-priced products, and the bright spot for this year is expected to be the emergence of new sizes. Based on the current development of the tablet market, the 8” products take a posture of both attacking and defending, and the segmentation of this new size must be the next battle field among brands.

WitsView’s research director Eric Chiou says that the main striking force to 8” tablets is from the replacement effect of 7” tablets. Currently, the 7” tablets show remarkable diversity and even can be described as flooding, and the price-cutting among brands results in an unprofitable scorched earth for the 7”, he adds.

The most important feature for the 8” tablet promotion is the application of the narrow bezel design. The narrow bezel helps to minimize the dimension of the 8” as small as the 7” and allows a bigger diagonal by 1 inch and a larger display. If it works with the similar pricing strategy, the scene that the 8” tablet replaces the 7” will soon be on the stage.  

In addition that it is positioned as the successor of the 7” tablet, the 8” is seen as a weapon for the non-Apple camp to fight against iPad mini. With its slim shape and stylish design, iPad has gained quite traction among consumers. In view of sizes, the 8”, slightly larger than 7.85” iPad mini, shows more advantages in spec. In view of prices, the 8” tablet is priced USD 50-100 lower in average than iPad mini except for the products with special functions and spec. The 8” tablet has its clear intention in targeting iPad mini with its larger size and lower price tag.

Chiou indicates the 8” tablet not only invades the mark aggressively but is a key tool to fight against the Phablet that approaches urgently. The large-sized Phablet with an above 6” display is first launched by the second tier smart phone brands, but with the ideal sales results, the global smart phone leader Samsung has also announced to reveal the 6.3” product to respond, showing the segment of the Phablet has established.

With the smart phone sizes growing, the squeezing effect among sizes should first take place in the small-sized tablet market. Taking the 6.3” for example, the 7” tablet’s viewing area is only 23% larger, and the small difference makes the 7” tablet in an awkward position. Contrarily, the 8” has a 61% larger viewing area than the 6.3”, allowing more comfort when either reading or video watching. The much clearer segmentation can naturally ease the spreading fire brought by the Phablet.    

Based on WitsView’s estimates, the 8” tablet is still in the design-in phase in the first half of the year, accounting for 4.5% of the overall tablet shipment. But form the second half of the year, brand forerunners, including Samsung, acer, HP, Lenovo, and Asus, will showcase products of this size to join the arena, and the proportion for the 8” tablet will grow to 17.6 percent.

In view of yearly performances, the market share for the 8” was merely 2.6 percent in 2012 and lifts largely to 11.9 percent in 2013. Undoubtedly, the surfacing of the 8” products will be the main play for the tablet market development this year.

Australian CIOs say cloud services adoption is currently marginal but momentum is building

AUSTRALIA: Despite media hype to the contrary, ICT remains predominantly an in-house affair for Australian CIOs, according to global analyst firm Ovum.

In a recent report* Dr Steve Hodgkinson, Research Director for Ovum’s Asia-Pacific IT research, describes the results of a survey of 63 CIOs who attended the third SE-Corp CIO Strategy Summit in Melbourne in February. He says: “We asked CIOs about how they sourced a range of ICT activities and were surprised to find that three-quarters of the activities were currently provided by an in-house ICT department”.

Hodgkinson states: “It is always difficult to assess the true rate of cloud services adoption – and to sift fact from fantasy. This survey was conducted as pre-event research for CIOs attending the summit, so it provides a good qualitative assessment of their views on current and target sourcing approaches across a spectrum of 50 ICT activities. These spanned the categories of data center, network, application development, information management, applications and end-user services. The results reveal a rather prosaic focus on traditional in-house IT operations.”

Ovum's report reveals that 74 percent of ICT activities are currently provided primarily by an in-house ICT department, although this figure is projected to decline to 61 percent during the next 1–2 years. Shared services arrangements account for around 9 percent of ICT activities, and this is not projected to change much during the next few years.

Outsourced arrangements currently account for 13 percent of ICT activities, and this figure is projected to rise to 20 percent during the next one to two years across a range of services – primarily focused on data center, network, and application development services.

Around 4 percent of ICT activities are currently sourced as cloud services – primarily software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications – but overall this proportion is projected to rise significantly during the next few years. Cloud sourcing of data center and application services, in particular, is expected to comprise more than 15 percent of the ICT mix.

Hodgkinson states: “The reality for this group of CIOs is that ICT management is still about managing the people, processes, and technologies of the in-house ICT department. It is therefore not surprising that a shortage of people and skills was regarded by CIOs as one of their major challenges. However, outsourcing and cloud services are projected to account for one-third of ICT activities overall in the next one to two years. Change is definitely coming, while perhaps more slowly than expected, and momentum for cloud services in particular is expected to build during the next few years.”

Hodgkinson recommends: “CIOs with ICT sourced substantially in-house are advised to start gaining skills in the procurement and management of cloud-sourced services sooner rather than later. New mindsets and skills are required, particularly for counterparty risk management and systems integration, and these skills can only be learned with hands-on experience”.

He states: “It’s really all about organizational learning and more agile thinking. Also, the experiences of early adopters are that cloud services can be better, faster, less expensive and, overall, less risky. Given this, there are productivity and innovation opportunity costs associated with delaying cloud services adoption.”

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

With Sprint Nextel bid, Dish vies for domination of burgeoning US market for multiscreen pay-TV services

USA: Making a bid to dominate the booming U.S. market for multiscreen pay-TV services—an area that is expected to more than triple its scope from 2012 to 2015—Dish Networks has forwarded a $25.5 billion to offer to buy wireless carrier Sprint Nextel.

The proposal represents a competitive offer for Sprint Nextel compared to a recent bid from Softbank, which consisted of $12.1 billion in cash and $8 billion in new capital from the Japanese firm for a 70 percent stake in the US carrier.

A potential Sprint Nextel acquisition would give Dish the essential bandwidth required to take a leadership position in multiscreen services.

The number of multiscreen devices accessing services from pay-TV networks in the United States is expected to surge to 338 million units in 2015, up from 112 million in 2012.

Multiscreen is defined as a service that allows the viewing of video on multiple platforms beyond the traditional mode of televisions connected to cable or satellite set-top boxes (STBs). The multiscreen device category comprises a range of products, including smartphones, media tablets, portable media devices, video game consoles, personal computers and Internet-enabled televisions (IETVs).

“Dish sees strong growth potential in the areas of convergence, multiscreen and connectivity across all platforms, which it sees as the main rationale behind a potential merger with Sprint Nextel,” said Dexter Thillien, senior analyst, mobile communications at IHS.

“Beyond the greater scale and efficiency that a combined carrier would bring, Dish sees the possibility to offer content both in and outside the house as a clear path to leadership for the company, as the explosion in data traffic is being led by video demand. The satellite pay-TV provider has always wanted to enter the wireless space, because it can diversify its current offerings—and because wireless has seemed to be the most sustainable path to growth in the US market. Dish has acquired spectrum over the years, but the company was always aware it needed a partner to launch services given that rolling out a network from scratch would have taken too much time and money.”

Clearing the path to domination
Dish has always stated that it needed a partner if it wanted to expand its current spectrum holdings. The company had put forward a counteroffer to Sprint for Clearwire as a way to try and get both companies to the negotiating table and discuss a partnership. But with its offer likely to be rejected and leaving it with nothing, Dish decided that the best way forward was to make a full bid for Sprint, which is likely to fully own Clearwire in the short term, and as such put itself in direct competition with Softbank for the carrier.

Full spectrum
“Spectrum represents a crucial aspect of the proposed acquisition, as Dish hopes to combine its current holdings with those of Sprint and Clearwire, and create a carrier whose spectrum depth of 230 megahertz (MHz) will dwarf its rivals in the market,” Thillien said.

Dish owns 45MHz of frequency, split between 40MHz in the satellite 2 gigahertz (GHz) band and 5MHz in the unpaired E-block in the 700MHz band, which it acquired during a 2008 auction for $711 million. Coverage requirements mean Dish must cover 35 percent of the population by mid-June, a condition it is likely to try to amend as part of its deal for Sprint. This would give the company spectrum in low, medium and high frequencies.

The 700MHz spectrum is of special interest to Dish for differentiation, as it sees three segments with strong growth potential: bundling, fixed broadband and mobile TV.

Making a bundle
On the bundling front, DISH could create the first compelling quad-play opportunity in the U.S. market. Multiplay services have lower churn than standalone services, but the other converged operators have yet to offer strong offers bundling both fixed and wireless services.

The cable companies have abandoned their wireless aspirations and have decided to enter partnerships with Verizon as part of their spectrum deal, while AT&T and Verizon have not pushed quad-play—even in areas where they offer fiber services. Opportunities do exist in that segment, with pricing and network quality of the utmost importance to attract consumers, while the cross-selling will also result in lower costs for acquisition, retention and marketing.

Broad opportunity in broadband
In terms of fixed broadband, Dish sees opportunities in both underserved and underserved areas. Cable and fiber have focuses on the denser areas, leaving the more rural parts of the country with either basic DSL or no service. Dish wants to offer a broadband through its outdoor antenna, bring 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) to these homes as Verizon has done with HomeFusion. This would mean the service won’t directly compete in some areas with cable or fiber and even DSL technologies which are unlikely to be rolled out.
However, Dish will have to compete with similar fixed-wireless LTE services, which both AT&T and Verizon will look to roll out to more areas as they further reduce investment into fixed networks.

Going mobile
As for mobile TV or video, Dish will look to utilize its 700MHz holdings in the E-block and provide an offer which is not currently on the market.  The carrier will use a broadcast system to provide services to end-users, and the combination of satellite spectrum will create an efficient hybrid network which will only need a point of signal for several devices.

Dish can also leverage its spectrum to offer unlimited out-of-home video services, on top of specific content, thanks to the rights it owns as part of its pay-TV strategy. If Dish decided to bundle video services as part of an overall plan for end users, this could create strong competition for the other carriers that have attempted to monetize data through either add-ons or greater usage with data caps.

Let’s make a deal
Dish’s offer will be put to Sprint’s board, and should it accept it, Softbank will be allowed to make another competing offer the company. The Japanese company is likely to remain present in the fight for Sprint, and Dish’s deal could be seen as another way to get Sprint and Softbank to discuss partnerships, though in a much greater and confrontational scale than with the Clearwire counteroffer.

There are still many twists and turns to the story, but Sprint will have a new owner by the end of the year, with both prospective owners looking to create a different type of services to US customers. Dish will face some obstacles to its bid, and will need to invest heavily to ensure a strong quality of service to customers, should DISH be successful with its convergence strategy.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.