On the Road with Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications

Carl Weinschenk

It’s Friday again, and one with quite a bit of news happening, including an unexpectedly upbeat jobs report for the U.S. and a record-breaking cyclone hammering the Philippines.

It’s also a week that produced the usual amount of IT and telecom news and insights. Let’s review some of the highlights:

Health Workers Really Do Love Their Mobile Devices

The fact that a premise seems to be a no-brainer is no reason not to verify it. Most people assume that mobile devices are popular among health care personnel and that these devices make their jobs easier.

Guess what? It’s true. A survey of almost 200 health care professionals conducted by NetMotion Wireless and FierceMarkets bore out the thesis: eWeek reports that 93 percent of respondents said mobility was extremely or very important to daily operations. Almost 90 percent said laptops are their chosen device, but 85 percent are thinking about deploying other gadgets.

It’s not surprising that the most sought after device is tablets, at 66 percent. Smartphones are at half that (32 percent). The report said that 79 percent use tablets and 68 percent use smartphones.

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Report Shows Mobile Devices Drive Quarterly Growth; Bing Continues to Gain Market Share

Devices Getting Bigger

For years, devices shrank. Then video—which, of course, is better viewed on larger screens—became the rage. The trend to smaller devices thus reversed itself and is now hitting high gear. The result is a new generation of larger smartphones and phablets, which as the name implies are hybrid phones/tablets.

Computerworld reports on a Canalys study that found that 22 percent of devices shipped during the third quarter had screens of 5 inches or above. That means, as the story points out, that 56 million such devices, mostly from Samsung, were introduced. Canalys said that two-third had 5-inch displays, 31 percent were between 5-in and 6-in and 3 percent were larger. The story suggests that the trend will continue, with big screen introductions by Samsung, HTC, BlackBerry and Apple.

Wheeler Takes Over and Makes an Interesting Appointment

The captain of the ship may not even know what is going on down in the engine room, but everyone—from the people shoveling coal to the passengers—depends on the head person to chart the right course.

That’s a long way of saying that Tom Wheeler, who was sworn in as the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has gotten down to business. He already has lodged one surprise: Wheeler named Gigi Sohn as special counsel for external affairs. Sohn figures to be no rubber stamp. Variety has the background:

Sohn, who has led the public interest group Public Knowledge, had been critical of Wheeler’s predecessor Julius Genachowski for not taking more definitive regulatory action and, more generally, she has warned that the FCC risks irrelevance in the digital age.

That appointment points to a more activist and proactive FCC. What actually happens, of course, remains to be seen.

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications Picks Up Speed

The headline of this InformationWeek story on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V, of course) communications is that it is hitting speed bumps. The body of the piece, however, simply lays out the challenges to this ambitious, and potentially very beneficial, set of applications. The story says that V2V will do such things as automatically warn drivers of a vehicle ahead that is braking hard; warn of automobiles in the driver’s blind spot and warn drivers during lane changes of fast oncoming vehicles.

The challenges don’t seem overwhelming when juxtaposed with those benefits of the technology, which will be tested by the Department of Transportation until February, 2014:

Such V2V technologies are already being tested in the field, but a number of challenges could hinder their deployment. Based on responses from experts, DOT officials and car manufacturers interviewed by GAO, those challenges include finalizing the technical framework of a V2V communication security system; ensuring that the radio-frequency spectrum used by V2V communications will not adversely affect V2V technology performance; getting drivers to respond appropriately to warnings; addressing liability issues posed by V2V technologies; and dealing with public concerns about privacy.

Samsung Bends But Doesn’t Break

Finally, comes a story that shows that Samsung is in the fold, or soon will be. CNET reports that the company plans to extend its bendable technology during the next few years. The story says that plan, which was described at an analysts meeting in Seoul, featured one milestone that already was met and a number of others that it aims to achieve soon.

The achieved objective was the release of a curved display, which is a feature of the Galaxy Round. Next on the list, the story says, are bendable displays. Those are due next year, followed in 2015 by foldable screens. The story links to a FAQ that explains the nuances of the technology.

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