Mobile Health Care Set to Spike

Carl Weinschenk

The summer is passing quickly, with none of the traditional letup in news and commentary. People, it seems, either no longer treat themselves to time off or take “work-cations.” In any event, here are highlights from the past week.

Opening Up 5 GHz Bandwidth

It’s a surprise when any story starts with this phrase: “A bipartisan quartet of House members.” That, though, is exactly how Broadcasting & Cable describes a letter sent to acting Federal Communications Commission chairperson Mignon Clyburn from two democrats and two republicans. The four requested that the FCC quickly free up 195 MHz in the 5 GHz band for unlicensed Wi-Fi use. The spectrum already is used for cable industry Wi-Fi efforts.

The story says that the freeing up of the spectrum was approved by the FCC in February. The letter, it seems, is a request to expedite the process. Three of the four members who signed the letter are from California. They are Democrats Anna Eshoo and Doris Matsui and Republican Darrell Issa. The fourth signee was Ohio Republican Bob Latta, according to the story.

Mobile Health Care to Soar

Historically, health care is at the forefront of technology initiatives and trends. That truism holds for the explosion of wireless and mobility. Healthcare IT News reports that the IDC Health Insights’ report, “Business Strategy: U.S. Clinical Mobility 2011-2016 – Forecast and Analysis,” concludes that clinical mobility spending will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.7 percent during the term of the study. In total, the vertical’s U.S. market will grow from $2.9 billion to $5.4 billion.

Trends that will affect growth include consumerization of technology, increased availability of electronic health information, infrastructure demands of pervasive computing, and security needs to meet statutory demands, according to the story and report.

AT&T Rounding Out Its LTE Network

AT&T says that it is about a year and counting until it “substantially” finishes its LTE network. On its second-quarter conference call, the company said that by the end of the year, the 4G network will cover almost 270 million points of presence (PoPs, or people who conceivably could be served) in 400 markets. Currently, the carrier’s network offers service to 225 million Americans.

Intel Continues Mobilizing Its Offerings

One of the interesting ongoing stories in the chip sector is whether Intel can adjust to the world of mobility in time to regain its preeminent spot, or whether it will go the way of its old pal Microsoft – a company that retains its big bank account and influence but has lost a good deal of its relevance.

Power conservation is the key to success in the mobile world, of course. This week, Computerworld reported on a new version of Intel’s Haswell chip, which will ship later this year.  This version of Haswell runs at 4.5 watts. The story points out that the wattage figure is arrived at via a measure known as scenario design power (SDP), and that there is some controversy over use of this measure.

It is impossible, of course, to determine how Intel will do with the new chips and other steps aimed at becoming more competitive in the mobile sector. It is impossible to say that the company isn’t trying, however, according to Computerworld:

The Y-series chips are vital for Intel, which needs to grab a larger share of the tablet market as PC shipments decline. Intel is also trying to bridge the laptop-tablet divide via Haswell, targeting the chips at hybrids with detachable touchscreens and keyboards. The market is dominated today by ARM, whose processors are used in most tablets and smartphones.

Making Travel Safer

And, finally, a story on using mobile technology to prevent vehicle accidents and save lives. NBC News reports that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), in response to school bus accidents near Chesterfield, N.J., and in Port St. Lucie, Fla., has recommended that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) develop standards for vehicles to be outfitted with technology that enables them to communicate in a manner that reduces the risks of accidents.

The story quotes an NHTSA official as lauding the technology’s potential, while Senate testimony from an official from The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers raised a number of challenges to implementing such a system. One student died in each of the accidents that prompted the proposal.

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