The cable business is predicated on franchises awarded by municipalities, which leads operators to focus their holdings regionally. It’s a new world, of course, but those geographic footprints remain.
It comes as no surprise, then, that Charter is buying Bright House Networks – but only if Comcast finishes off its deal for Time Warner Cable. The idea is that the second deal only makes sense from a clustering point of view if the first one closes.
Other highlights from tech news this week include:
Cable Moves Wait on Comcast/TWC
The dominos are lined up—the question is whether or not the first one will be kicked over. WirelessWeek reports that Charter Communications has agreed to buy Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion, but that the deal is dependent upon Comcast’s purchase of Time Warner Cable going through. It’s complicated, according to the story:
Should the Comcast-TWC deal go through, Charter and Comcast will end up swapping some systems, an arrangement that will transfer control of several million Comcast subscribers to Charter and Charter-controlled Greatland Connections (which similarly will come into existence only if the Comcast merger is approved). Charter said BHN’s networks will be largely contiguous with its own after the system swaps with Comcast.
This is not the first time this type of situation has arisen in the cable market, so more dominos may follow.
Wi-Fi Makes Shoppers Happy
People love the Internet and, for that reason, it is being shown a lot of love by retailers. A study conducted by IHL Group on behalf of EarthLink Holdings indicates that companies of all sizes reap rewards if they upgrade their Wi-Fi infrastructure. The survey, which used input from more than 100 businesses of various sizes, found that 28 percent of retailers reported an increase of 2 percent after deploying Wi-Fi and that almost half enjoyed an increase of 3.4 percent when it was offered to employees.
It’s interesting that the impact is even more pronounced when the employees – rather than shoppers – get access:
The survey results suggest that employee WiFi is a bigger positive driver of sales than customer WiFi, indicating the importance of a creating a connected, flexible workforce that is untethered from point-of-sale stations.
More Efficient Wireless Charging
An advance by Ossia raises the likelihood that a far more practical approach to wireless charging is within reach. Computerworld reports that the company said in 2013 that its antenna and chipset could accept power wirelessly over a distance of 30 feet. This week, Ossia said that it had refined the concept. The Cota chipset, the company says, is easily integrated into mobile devices and enables charging from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth transmitters.
Cota uses the device’s existing antenna for charging. This is a big deal because it eliminates the need for internal coils that are required by devices currently on the market. It seems as if the company has thought of all the angles:
The Cota receiver chip also includes power management capabilities that manufacturers can leverage to reduce component costs, required circuit board area, and time-to-market, making the industry's most robust wireless power technology also the easiest to integrate.
Telematics fits into the big picture of machine-to-machine (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT). Indeed, these are in some cases synonymous. This week, Sirius XM and AT&T made moves in the telematics area, according to Twice.
Sirius XM said that it will introduce a platform with 2016 Nissans. The first model covered will be the Maxima. Services will include vehicle security, vehicle health monitoring, remote access services and other services. The site said that AT&T is teaming with Autonet Mobile for 4G services such as door management, Wi-Fi, parental controls, software updates, and the ability to check vehicle diagnostics via cellphones.
Meet You at Starbucks
And, finally, comes a story about something that makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Concur, which eWeek says calls itself “the world’s largest provider of cloud-based travel and expense management services,” found that the top business meal and meeting locale is Starbucks. The story says that the fact that Starbucks is everywhere—with 21,366 locales worldwide—is a big reason it holds the title.
Concur added that there is a tremendous amount of daily repeat business. This suggests that people on the road are often holding back-to-back meetings at the coffee shops.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at email@example.com and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.