Current Issue- Full Articles

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • Octopus Camouflage Technology

    An Octopus has special pigment cells in its skin (called chromatophores) and it can control their size and vary their color and even create changing patterns. This can allow an Octopus to avoid predators by blending into the background or to send a predator a warning signal.

    A team of researchers led by Professors from the University of Houston and the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign recently developed a new technology that mimics the camouflage used by the Octopus, squid and other cephalopods. According to a paper published by the National Academy of Science, the technology is “capable of producing black-and-white patterns that spontaneously match those of the surroundings, without user input or external measurement.”

    The project was funded by the United States Navy and obviously the fact that they are paying for camouflage research means one major use is for the military.

    At this point, the technology is far from being deployable. It doesn’t change color very fast yet and even then it can only change from black to white. Nevertheless, the current generation of the technology is a significant breakthrough and scientists are excited about its implications going forward.