The Washington, D.C., crisis-a-thon (or crisis-palooza) continues, which is good for nobody. While the markets react rationally to an irrational situation—meaning that they go up and down drastically—the world of IT and telecommunications soldiers on. This week, we saw the usual amount of interesting news and commentary. Here are some highlights.
Wireless Charging Continues to Be the Wave of the Future
Wireless charging is important both because it will make life easier for subscribers and because eliminating the massive waste represented by power cables is an important step in the green direction.
But the goal never seems to be achieved. This CNET story about Qualcomm’s move to join the development groups to which it didn’t already belong is important. For one thing, it describes what an influential company is doing. On the other hand, the story is a nice primer on the three consortia.
Qualcomm, which was a founding member of The Power Matters Alliance (PMA), has opted into The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). The bottom line, according to reporter Roger Cheng:
So far, the three camps have all employed technology that isn't compatible (although the PMA and WPC both employ the same kind of technology, called inductive charging). Qualcomm believes that everyone will eventually move to resonance charging, and decided to work with the different groups rather than let even more fractured standards develop.
Intel Introduces Products for Pervasive Web Connectivity
One of the most overused expressions is the “Internet of Things.” However, the phrase stands for something important—especially when it is used in relation to powerful chip maker Intel. This week, the company introduced products aimed at helping create the pervasive web of connectivity that underlies the Internet of Things.
Red Orbit provided the details:
The company unveiled a number of new products and enhancements, including the Intel Atom processor E3800 product family (formerly codenamed “Bay Trail-I”), a family of intelligent gateways with integrated software from McAfee and Wind River, and new features for the low-power Quark SoC X1000 processors.
The story also said that new as-yet-unnamed gateways will be launched by Intel during the first quarter of next year. One will be based on the Atom and one on the Quark processor.
No Presidential Veto on Samsung Ruling
This week, President Obama declined to veto a limited exclusion order banning the importation of some Samsung products that Apple won from the International Trade Commission. That means that the ban, which was set two months ago, has gone into effect. Obama had issued such a veto in a parallel case in which Samsung had won a decision against Apple, said the Ars Technica story.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said that the impact on Samsung would be negligible due to the age of the devices. Newer models, Froman said, had worked around the patents, which related to multitouch technology and headphone jack sensors.
Think Smart About Smart Machines
Smart machines, which this piece at ZDNet also calls the digital workforce, will change things drastically. On first blush, the idea that this trend will take some of the workload off IT departments sounds like good news. But, as Larry Dignan points out in his report on a presentation at the Gartner Symposium and ITXpo, there is a big downside: The more machines do people’s jobs, the fewer jobs there are for people to do.
The recap of the symposium points to a prediction by Gartner analyst Kenneth Brant that smart machines will take over millions of jobs by 2020. Gartner’s advice to IT is to investigate the trend, determine the impact on IT, and be respectful of the human dimensions of the transition on the workers impacted.
Google Glass in the OR
Finally comes the next chapter in a story that sometimes makes folks happy and sometimes has the opposite effect. Depending on the perspective of the person answering the question, Google Glass and similar products from other vendors pose extraordinary security and privacy issues or offer equally extraordinary educational, vocational and entertainment opportunities.
This week, Fast Company posted a video and ran a story on the use of Google Glass by surgeons. The story says that Dr. Pierre Theodore, a surgeon in San Francisco, is using the device to look at CAT scans while he operates. The story notes that Philips and Accenture, the companies responsible for the video, see a great future for the technology in surgical and related settings.