It was a typical late summer week, with no big news. Indeed, it seems that the IT and telecommunications industries are taking a breather before diving back in after Labor Day.
Still, Amazon announced its acquisition of Twitch, and some sites provided other worthwhile analysis. Here are some highlights:
Information Security Spending Rising
Gartner reports that worldwide spending on information security will hit $71.1 billion this year, an increase of 7.9 percent over last year. Data loss prevention is the growth leader, with an 18.9 percent jump, according to eWeek.
Mobile, cloud, social and information categories will drive spending through 2016. Spending will rise a further 8.2 percent next year to reach $76.9 billion.
Mobile is deep in the mix, according to Gartner research director Lawrence Pingree:
More than 32 percent of respondents prioritized mobile security followed by cloud and data security, and Gartner expects mobile security to continue to remain strong as digital business initiatives, mobile business enablement and mobile back-office function integration continues to expand, Pingree noted.
The Broadest White Space Trial Yet
White space transmissions, or the use of high-quality bandwidth formerly reserved for broadcast television, has a tremendous amount of promise. Big companies, including Microsoft and Google, have been developing the technology for years. Some of the trials have been in remote locales. That doesn’t mean, however, that the results aren’t relevant around the world.
It’s very complex technology, because different shards of bandwidth are available in different places, and what is available shifts during the course of a day. Engineers have been working for years to develop procedures for meeting that challenge.
Microsoft and Adaptrum are working with MyDigitalBridge to conduct what Telecompetitor says the companies claim is the largest trial to date. The test is in Namibia, covers more than 9,400 square kilometers, and is sending data between 28 schools, which is a distance of 8 to 12 kilometers, at speeds of 5 Megabits per second (Mbps) to 10 Mbps.
Amazon Picks a Path
Gaming-oriented social networks don’t have too much to do directly with IT and telecommunications, but particularly big deals are worthy of note. This week, Amazon said that it will buy Twitch. Commentary after the announcement centered on the idea that the investment suggests that Amazon has found a strategy and it increased its chances to be around for the long haul:
The move, which includes a price tag of $970 million in cash, may seem odd to the online retailer’s main customers, but it indicates Amazon wants a bigger piece of a multi-billion dollar gaming business. Buying Twitch, a site that live streams people playing games like League of Legends and DOTA 2, lets Amazon tap into the most loyal consumers of games — the hardcore gamers.
Lots and Lots of Smartphones
These are the salad days for smartphones. IDC reports that 1.25 billion smartphones will ship worldwide this year, which represents a 23.8 percent increase from 2013, when 1.01 billion shipped. IDC numbers say that emerging markets are the driver: This year, 920.8 million, which is 73.5 percent of the total, will be from those areas. That number will grow to 1.4 billion and 79.5 percent by 2018, the release says. IDC also projects that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2018 will be 12.7 percent.
The driver isn’t surprising, especially considering the dominance of developing economies:
The catalyst here continues to be Android devices, which are expected to account for 88.4% of this volume.
Two takeaways: One is that it is amazing that so many new devices will be sold during the next few years, considering the level of penetration now. The other is that the vendors that don’t pay attention to the refocusing on less developed economies and readjust their business plans accordingly will have a troubled road.
It’s Not Who’s the Boss…It’s What’s the Boss
And, finally, comes a story about teamwork—when one of the teammates is not human. A story at Computerworld describes an MIT study that looked at how humans and robots work together. There were three types of three-member teams: One in which the humans gave tasks to the robots, one in which the robot allocated tasks to one human while the other worked autonomously, and a third in which the robot told both humans what to do. Perhaps surprisingly, the third scenario was favored:
MIT reported that the fully-autonomous condition proved to be not only the most efficient, but also the method preferred by human workers, with the people saying, the robots ‘better understood them’ and ‘improved the efficiency of the team.’
Clearly, there are many variables. Humans may not like to play second fiddle for long. Much would depend on whether the tasks assigned to the humans are interesting, and whether the robots will give them a liberal number of days off.
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 [email protected] and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.