The Price of Privacy….Lower Than You May Think

While four out of five consumers have privacy concerns with wearable Internet of Things (IoT) connected technologies, nearly half of those would be willing to share their personal data in exchange for compensation in the form of a coupon or a discount.

According to a recently-conducted survey by Acquity Group, part of Accenture Interactive, 28% of respondents said that they would be willing to share wearable data with third-party retailers in exchange for coupons and discounts based on their lifestyles.Twenty-two percent indicated they would do so for information on better workouts to reach their goals, 22% for information on the best foods to eat to meet reach their goals and 19% for coupons for fitness gear. Only 9% of respondents said that they would share data with brands for free.

The survey found that far more respondents were amenable to sharing data with third parties: 53% said that they would share data from a wearable device with their doctor, 27% with their family and 17% with friends.

“Our data reveals a gap in consumers’ fears of data privacy and their actual purchasing behavior,” said Acquity Group president Jay Dettling. “To capitalize on these opportunities, companies should focus on specific benefits that sharing data will deliver to customers.”

Gigabit Networks: Addressing the Hype

The broadband industry is awash in gigabit broadband announcements. From large tier one carriers like AT&T to smaller tier 3 carriers like NTCA members Canby Telcom  and GVTC,  gigabit announcements seem to happen weekly, if not daily. Even cable MSOs are getting into the gigabit service arena with Suddenlink announcing future gigabit plans earlier this month.

So, what gives? Well we certainly can’t ignore Google’s impact on this issue with the launch of Google Fiber. Their intentions and tactics may be debatable, but there is no denying the catalyst that Google Fiber has become for the growing gigabit movement.

I also think that competitive pressure has played a role in some markets as well. The cable industry has executed an effective DOCSIS 3.0 campaign against DSL services, prompting some carriers, particularly tier 1 carriers, to respond with FTTH and gigabit initiatives.

This gigabit momentum is not reserved for telcos and cable companies alone. The municipal broadband movement has embraced gigabit broadband. Community Broadband Networks reports over 40 municipally owned broadband networks in operation today that can offer 1 gig service. These publicly owned broadband networks are not without controversy, considering the competitive implications of publicly owned networks.

These and other gigabit related issues will be discussed at the upcoming BroadbandVision show. In fact a keynote panel of gigabit service providers will offer great insight and context into all of this gigabit momentum. We’ve assembled a diverse panel of gigabit service providers, including Cullen McCarty – Executive Vice President, Smithville Communications; Jason Chan – Market Development Manager, CenturyLink; and Randy Klindt – General Manager, Co-Mo Connect, A Subsidiary of Co-Mo Electric Coop. It should make for an interesting discussion.

It’s All Downhill After Age 15….

A recent study by UK communications regulator Ofcom finds that the British demographic with the highest “Digital Quotient” score, or DQ, were those age 14 to 15. (DQ is meant to measure an end user’s confidence with and knowledge of communications technology.) After that peak, the average DQ begins a steady decline.

Young Brits aged 6 to 7 posted a higher DQ than those 45 to 49.

Additionally, only 3% of the total communications time of those aged 12 to 15 is spent making voice calls, compared to 94% which is text-based (instant messaging and social networking.) By contrast, adults spend 20% of their communications time making voice calls. Thirty-three percent of adults’ time is taken up by emailing, versus only 2% of those 12 to 15.

Not surprisingly, young adults spend almost triple the time older adults do on their smartphones each day, 3 hours and 36 minutes daily versus 1 hour 22 minutes.

Another finding of the Ofcom study was that the average person in England now spends more time daily using media or communications (8 hours, 41 minutes) than sleeping (8 hours, 21 minutes.)

The study was conducted by Ofcom of 2,000 adults and 800 children.

Be Smart and Learn About The Smart Home at BroadbandVision 

The “Smart Home” idea got a little more interesting this past week. Samsung announced the purchase of SmartThings, a company that makes an app that “turns your smartphone into a remote to control all of the smart devices in your home.”  Here’s a great review of the most recent version of the app.

Industry analysts noted that the purchase is yet another sign that Samsung is all-in for the so-called “Internet of Things” (IoT, IP-enabled machine-to-machine connections on a massive scale). Last month, Samsung, Google’s Nest, and others, founded an IoT standards group.

As for the IoT, here is a great in-depth discussion of the concept.  A research group recently predicted it would be a $8.9 trillion market by 2020.

So, you can take the links above and read all day (as I just did) about connected devices and the IoT. The possibilities are fascinating, and to some people, frightening from a security standpoint. One estimate says that 70% of smart, or IOT, devices are “hackable,” in other words, having serious security vulnerabilities.

However, if you work for a rural telco, the smart thing to do would be to learn more about the smart home and smart device technology. In October, NTCA, ITTA, and Telecompetitor will present BroadbandVision.  The session entitled “Get Smart: Leveraging the Smart Economy” will discuss the smart home and how broadband service providers are well positioned to leverage this growing business opportunity.  A panel of industry experts will discuss the growing smart movement and the challenges and opportunities it presents to service providers.

I hope to see you there!

The Usain Bolt of Broadband Connections

Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) announced last week that they have established a new world record for data transfer: 43 terabits per second.

For those of you who were absent the day Greek prefixes were covered in high school, a terabit is equal to 1012 bits, or one million megabits. (Fun trivia: “tera” is derived from the Greek word “τέρας,” which—appropriately enough–means “monster.”)

Even more impressive, the Danish researchers accomplished the feat using a single laser. They also utilized a new type of optical fiber which, despite containing seven cores (glass threads) as opposed to the single core found in standard fiber, is no larger than standard fiber.

This latest effort far surpasses the previous record of 32 terabits per second, set by researchers at Germany’s Karlsruhe Institut für Technologie in 2010.

At 43 terabits per second, users could download thousands of HD movies in less than a second. Backing up even a large computer hard drive could be accomplished almost instantaneously.

“The worldwide competition in data speed is contributing to developing the technology intended to accommodate the immense growth of data traffic on the Internet, which is estimated to be growing by 40-50 percent annually,” DTU said in a press release heralding the accomplishment.

How to Text a Landline

The next time you are in Middleton, Wis., the police department wants you to text them if you have a problem. Anyone with a text message-enabled cellphone can type out nonemergency questions or complaints and send them to the same phone number that dispatchers at the station use to answer voice calls. The text is delivered to computers used by the dispatchers, who can then reply or direct assistance as needed. The Wisconsin State Journal covered the story.

How is it that residents can now send SMS messages to a phone number that is not connected to a cellphone?  Zipwhip Inc., a cloud-based text messaging service, directs text messages sent to users’ landline phone numbers to the users’ computers, tablets or smartphones

This might be a fun or convenient product for some consumers, but the technology really shines in business applications. Most companies still have landline telephone service, and their phone number might be part of their brand. Using Zipwhip combines a form of communication customers are familiar with – text messages – with phone numbers customers already use. In other words, customers can contact the businesses with text messages through a point of contact that they already associate with the business. Read more

A New World Record

Bell Labs, the research arm of Alcatel-Lucent, announced that it has set a new world broadband speed record over traditional copper telephone lines: 10 Gbps symmetrical.

Bell Labs achieved the 10 Gbps speed with a prototype technology known as XG-FAST, which utilizes an increased frequency range up to 500 MHz to obtain faster speeds than prior technologies but over shorter distances.

In tests, Bell Labs was able to achieve speeds of 1 Gbps over 70 meters on a single copper pair, and 10 Gbps over 30 meters by using two pairs of copper lines.

“Our constant aim is to push the limits of what is possible to ‘invent the future,’” said Bell Labs president Marcus Weldon. “Our demonstration of 10 Gbps over copper is a prime example: by pushing broadband technology to its limits, operators can determine how they could deliver gigabit services over their existing networks, ensuring the availability of ultra-broadband access as widely and as economically as possible.”

“Achieving 1 Gbps ‘symmetrical’ services…will enable operators to provide Internet connection speeds that are indistinguishable from fiber-to-the-home services, a major business benefit where it is not physically, economically or aesthetically viable to lay new fiber cables all the way into residences,” Bell Labs stated in a press release. “Instead, fiber can be brought to the curbside, wall or basement of a building and the existing copper network used for the final few meters.”

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