It was one of those weeks in which no blockbuster technology stories claimed the headlines. As is common, however, a good share of interesting, smaller stories and insightful commentary was available. Here are some highlights.
Time Warner Cable Moves to Hotspot 2.0
One of the goals of the Wi-Fi sector is to make the experience of using the technology as easy as using cellular service. Roaming capabilities are a big part of creating such a seamless environment.
While in the process of being acquired by Comcast, Time Warner Cable has moved to implement this seamlessness with its Hotspot 2.0. According to Multichannel News, the operator has implemented the technology in most of its more than 33,000 hotspots in Southern California; New York City; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Kansas City, Kan.; Myrtle Beach, N.C. and Hawaii. The cable operator has also bolstered security on the hotspots.
Building Automation Revenues Building
Navigant Research reports that networking and communication equipment for the category with the stodgy name of “commercial building automation systems” will generate annual revenue of $34.7 billion by 2021.
The release says that revenue will reach $21.3 billion this year as it works toward the 2021 total. China will drive much of the growth: The firm says that it will construct the “equivalent of two Chicago-sized cities per year through 2025.”
The Intel-Net of Things
Intel’s first quarter of 2014 demonstrated that the company is serious about the Internet of Things (IoT) and that the attention is paying off. According to Datamation, the company reported that its recently formed IoT group experienced particularly strong growth in the in-vehicle infotainment and retail sector, which grew 32 percent compared to the year-ago number. The company acquired wearable device maker Basis to strengthen its position in the IoT sector. It recently shipped its first Quark system-on-a-chip for the category.
For the first quarter, Intel had earnings of $12.8 billion, a 1 percent year-over-year gain. Net income rose 5 percent to $1.9 billion, which was 5 percent better than a year ago.
In another story on quarterly reports, Re/code has an upbeat assessment of Yahoo’s progress. What’s particularly interesting is that the story looks forward to a potentially important step in the mobile realm, an effort by Yahoo to muscle out Google:
And, according to sources, the lodestone of two internal projects aimed at building a viable mobile search engine and monetization platform is to convince Apple to make Yahoo the default search engine on its Safari browser on the iPhone and iPad.
Nothing is imminent, but Re/code outlines the work being done by CEO Marissa Mayer to pull off the coup. If it happens, it would be an important step from two perspectives: The value of the deal itself and as a symbol of a Yahoo rebound.
You’re So Vein
And, finally, comes a story about using what is within you to stay secure. During a week in which there was a reminder that fingerprint-based biometric security is shaky, a student at Lund University in Sweden developed a security process based on the user’s veins:
Interested parties can sign up for Quixter at any store that supports it. Signing up requires sharing your phone number and Social Security number, connecting the service to a bank account (via a debit card) and then scanning your palm several times. To use Quixter, a user sets her hand down into a plastic, hand-shaped cradle for a quick moment and punches in the last four numbers of her phone number, using a keypad below a small screen. An infrared light scans the palm to verify identity.
The eWeek story says that veins are as unique as fingerprints and that the process takes less than five seconds.