Five States Opt Into First Responders Network

    AT&T has announced that five states – Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Virginia and Wyoming – are the first to opt into the FirstNet first responders’ network.

    FirstNet (technically, The First Responder Network Authority) aims to improve emergency communications, which often melt down during crises. It is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce. AT&T has agreed to invest $40 billion in the project over the next 25 years, in exchange for use of the 20 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band that FirstNet has been allocated. FirstNet will get priority when the spectrum is needed.

    States have until mid-December to decide whether to opt in or not. RCR Wireless reports that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved rules for states opting out.

    Small Businesses Most Dissatisfied with Telecom Services

    J.D. Power released a survey that found that small businesses are “significantly” less satisfied with their telecommunications providers than enterprises.

    The 2017 U.S. Business Wireline Satisfaction Study found that small businesses report longer wait times for customer service help, lower problem resolution rates, and less dedicated account support, according to the press release. Commentary in the release suggests that small businesses are getting services similar to residential customers, while enterprises get far better service.

    The survey divides business into very small (1 to 19 employees), small/midsize (20 to 499 employees) and large enterprise (500 or more employees). The key finding is that the group with the smallest number of employees gave their telecommunications company a 729 score; midsize companies gave their providers 787 points; and large enterprises, at 815 points, were the most generous.

    Siri, What Was I Thinking?

    The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) reported in an article this spring that computers are learning to mind read.

    Network World says that CAS claims that it has taken steps toward telepathic connections between a person and the computer. This is a step up over functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which read activity in the brain, usually for research purposes.

    The device being tested can identify numerals and symbols being detected by the subject’s brain. The approach is called Deep Generative Multiview Model (DGMM) and seems to be a step in ongoing initiatives:

    This isn’t the first time computers have been used to try and envisage what humans think, but the Chinese scientists claim their method is the most accurate. They say it’s because of their attention to the visual cortex — the part of the brain that lights up in three-dimensions when a person sees something. It functions a bit like how a computer reads ones and zeros, the article explains.

    Digital Transformation Affecting the Workplace

    A large study of the goals of digital transformation in the workplace by Dimension Data provides content and insight on the unsurprising conclusion that gaining competitive advantage and improved business processes are important drivers.

    The Digital Workplace Report: Transforming Your Business study involved 800 organizations in 15 countries on five of the seven continents. Those two goals were cited by 40 percent of the respondents.

    Businesses increasingly see artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and other technologies as keys. For instance, 64 percent use analytics to improve customer service and 58 percent use it to benchmark their workplace technologies. About 30 percent of the companies in the study have implemented digital transformation to the point that they are enjoying its benefits.

    Google Glass Reborn for Industry, Health Care

    Google Glass, which eWeek dubs “one of Google’s most spectacular consumer flops,” has found a new home in industry and the health care sector.

    Glass Enterprise Edition can be clipped to eye glass or googles. It has been tested by more than 50 companies during the past two years, including GE Aviation, Volkswagen and Sutter Health.

    Google hopes Glass succeeds at work. Clearly, many of the reasons it failed in the consumer sector — poor marketing, bad product design, lack of use cases, privacy concerns and high price — can be avoided or will be absent entirely.

    Doctors at Dignity Health are using Glass and an application from Augmedix to take notes while interfacing with patients. GE workers are using it in partnership with Upskill to provide technicians building airplane engines with videos and animations. And DHL and Ubimax are using it to instruct workers on the placement of packages.

    Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.


    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.

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