The industry sort of hit the pause button this week as it enjoyed the end of a long weekend to start and in general continued to digest the two big acquisitions ,Time Warner Cable by Comcast and DirecTV by AT&T, that are sure to dominate the path forward.
Here is some of the interesting and important news and commentary from the truncated work week:
More and More Smartphones
Smartphones are still selling. IDC projects that 1.2 billion will be sold worldwide this year, which would represent a 23.1 percent increase over 2013. Android, IDC projects, will hold 80.2 percent of the market.
The report offers interesting vendor projections. Though Android, iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry will stay in the same positions during the five years, their rate of growth will shift. Android will have a 12 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). iOS will have CAGR of 10 percent and Windows Phone will grow at a rate of 28.1. BlackBerry will have a -25 percent rate of attrition. Overall, the category will have a CAGR of 12.3 percent. About 1.8 billion devices will ship in 2018.
Subtracting from the Digital Divide
There are two digital divides: One is between rural and non-rural. One is between lower income and upscale urban and suburban locales.
Signs show that both are fading a bit. On the rural side of the equation, a project was announced this week that illustrates the systematic way in which remote areas are being brought into the fold. Light Reading reports that Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative’s Bolt Fiber Optic Services will work with Alcatel-Lucent on a three-year project to bring fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service to a 3,200-mile swatch of northeast Oklahoma.
The project will be partly funded by a $90 million loan from the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Alcatel-Lucent will act as both the supplier and system integrator to the project, which will pass 32,000 homes and begin serving voice and data to customers early next year.
Extra Cash for ExtraHop
The goal of ExtraHop is to push network measurement and monitoring beyond where it is today. It has some wealthy believers: The company said this week that it has raised $41 million in a series C funding round. The round, which was led by Technology Crossover Ventures and includes existing investors Meritech Capital Partners and Madrona Venture Group, brings total funding to a hefty $61.6 million.
Forbes’ Ben Kepes writes that the platform includes input from a number of sources that were not linked before. The idea is that the explosion of networks and applications makes a new approach necessary. Writes Kepes:
Monitoring vendor ExtraHop aims to deliver on this extra value, indeed they don’t even describe themselves as a monitoring solution, rather they’re a vendor of real-time wire data analytics. While that sounds a little buzz-word fuelled, the idea that ExtraHop is trying to socialize is that a modern monitoring platform should actually be about operational intelligence. An appliance-based solution, ExtraHop deliver correlated, cross-tier visibility for the dynamic IT environment of today.
Not Picking Winners
Power cables have always been a necessary inconvenience of mobile and wireless activities. The technology exists to limit or eliminate the wires, but progress has been slowed by competition among three consortia that aim to control the standards for wireless charging. In standards consortia, two’s a crowd and three’s an impossibility.
A way around the log jam may be emerging. GigaOm reports that Broadcom has introduced the BCM59350 chip, which is a power management unit that supports the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). The story cautions that the feature may not be commercialized until late this year or 2015.
Blazing a Trail
And, finally, comes a story about the long and winding – and warm and self-configuring and highly communicative -- road. Computerworld has a story about Solar Roadways, a company that is creating, well, solar roadways. The promise is extravagant: Among other advantages, the solar cells can collect three times the amount of energy that the U.S. consumes, and the need to plow snow is eliminated since the solar tiles are heated. Data, such as dangerous situations or traffic jams ahead, can be sent to drivers on their onboard systems.