Holiday weeks rarely produce news both because they are short and because companies don’t want their message to get lost as folks leave work, or at least have their minds on doing so.
But there was some news and interesting commentary nonetheless. Here are some highlights:
Not Exactly Utopia
Visitors to telecom and IT sites are accustomed to reading about highly successful high-speed network projects. However, it doesn’t always turn out this way.
The Salt Lake City Tribune’s website reports this week that The Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) project, one of the highest-profile high-speed networking initiatives, at least until Google Fiber came along, is trying to figure a way to move forward. “Only six” of the 11 member cities have voted to contract with the Australian firm Macquarie Capital to finish the project in 30 months.
The six Utah cities that voted to move forward are West Valley City, Layton, Midvale, Brigham City, Perry and Tremonton. Centerville, Lindon, Murray, Orem and Payson did not agree. The site says their involvement “remains to be determined.”
Remote Patient Monitoring Measures Up
Berg Insight reported this week that worldwide revenues from remote patient monitoring (RPM) reached $5.8 billion last year. The firm counts medical monitoring devices, mobile health connectivity platforms, care delivery software and monitoring services in the category, according to eWeek.
The report said that the use patterns are specific to countries and regions. For instance, remotely monitored medication dispensers are more common in the Benelux and Nordic regions, while the sleep therapy segment has gotten traction in the United States and France.
At the end of 2013, Berg estimates that about 3 million patients worldwide were using home medical monitoring devices. The category is expected to enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 35 percent between 2013 and 2018 and, at the end of the period, be generating annual revenue of $26.5 billion.
Tapping the Education Vertical
Education is among the verticals with the biggest potential for mobile workers. Only the medical/health care area gets more attention. ZDNet reports on the news as the International Society for Technology in Education Conference was convened in Atlanta.
The list of what companies are displaying and deals they have made is weighted toward mobility. Some highlights: Microsoft will deliver 12,900 Dell Venue 11 Pro Tablets with Windows 8 and Office 365 to the Pasadena Independent School District; Dell is providing Chesterfield County Public Schools in Virginia with 32,000 Chromebook 11 laptops; Samsung displayed the next iteration of the Samsung School; Intel unveiled reference designs and Chromebook contracts; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt showed attendees the HMH Player and Apple displayed the latest version of iTunes U.
The common wisdom, which likely is true, is that landlines are fading. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t be useful or that their life can’t be extended. Lightreading reports that Frontier Communications has given its networks the ability to support texting via laptop, desktop, smartphone and tablet apps.
The story says that businesses only need to download a Zipwhip app; no hardware is necessary. The cost is $4.99 per month for 250 texts. Unlimited texting is $19.99 per month. Enterprise-level apps raise the cost to $99.99 per month.
Setting a Timetable for Robots
And, finally, comes a story about how fast the future will arrive. Computerworld reports that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will hold the third phase of the DARPA Robotics Challenge on June 5 and 6, 2015, in Pomona, California.
The story has details on the first two phases. Overall, the goal is to make the robot capable of doing things humans can’t:
The three-part challenge is intended to advance autonomous robots to the point at which they can become active members of search and rescue teams during natural and man-made disasters. Scientists expect that one day robots will be able to largely act on their own to do things like enter damaged buildings, find human victims, turn off gas pipes and put out fires.
The competition has 11 entrants, though more are expected. The winner will get $2 million.