When the economy is bad, people tend focus on surviving the present. When it is good (or getting better), attention shifts to the future. The picture is brightening at least somewhat, as illustrated by the good positive jobs report issued Friday, and the telecommunications and IT sectors are looking ahead.
For instance, last week, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler made news on 5G, the next step in cellular, which won’t be here for six years, and Tech Pro Research predicted a jump in next year’s IT budgets.
Here are details on those items and other interesting news and commentary:
Work Starts in Earnest on 5G
An endless progression of next big things keeps coming, and 5G, the successor to LTE, is hitting the news on a more frequent basis. A lot of work remains to be done if the standard is to be operational by the projected date of 2020, and the various elements of the industry seem to be coming to grips with the challenges.
This week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said that using spectrum above 24 GHz – millimeter waves – may be an option. He wants to study the possibility, according to Telecompetitor:
A notice of inquiry about millimeter wave is one of several wireless related documents that Wheeler is currently circulating within the commission. Other documents pertain to distributed antenna systems and the upcoming incentive auction of TV broadcast spectrum in the 600 MHz band.
Wheeler said that early studies say millimeter waves have the potential throughput of 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps). A vote on whether to issue a notice of inquiry will be held in November.
IT Budgets Set to Grow
Tech Pro Research looked into budgets and made some predictions on what may happen next year. The report deals with who makes the decisions: Respondents reported that in 45 percent of cases, the head of IT creates the budget. The CIO made the decision in 26 percent of cases.
The big news, however, is that budgets are on the upswing: 80 percent of respondents said that that budgets were at least equal to last year’s, and 45 percent said that the IT budgets will grow. The report provided insight into what those expanded budgets will tackle:
Improving efficiency and business processes was a clear winner with 63% indicating it as a major priority, and more than 90% claiming it is either a medium or major priority. Increasing productivity through technology was a close second with 90% stating it is a medium or major priority, and 55% marking it as a major priority.
Verizon Backs Down on Caps
October 1 was the day that Verizon Wireless was set to cap network usage on old unlimited plans in an effort to better serve LTE subscribers. Verizon has decided to not do so, however. Here is part of a statement released by the company, as posted by GigaOm:
We’ve greatly valued the ongoing dialogue over the past several months concerning network optimization and we’ve decided not to move forward with the planned implementation of network optimization for 4G LTE customers on unlimited plans.
GigaOm has the backstory: The abandoned plan would have prioritized other users’ traffic in times of congestion over those subscribers on unlimited plans, who were in the top 5 percent of data users. Both customers with those plans and the FCC objected to the plan.
Security and the Health Care Devices
Computer security, or lack of it, is a scary thing. It’s even more frightening when the target of the crackers is inside people’s bodies. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report saying that crackers can, “cause device malfunction, disrupt critical healthcare services, and provide improper access to protected patient information[.]”
A researcher demonstrated how an insulin pump could be hijacked to administer a fatal dose of insulin and a pacemaker given orders to deliver a lethal shock. The FDA said that it released a report to encourage the health care sector to address the device security issue.
Wearables Beyond Watches and Bracelets
And, finally, comes a story about truly intriguing wearables. As part of Fast Company’s Co.Design wearables week, Former Frog Design CCO Mark Rolston was asked to offer four provocative wearable concepts. Rolston, who now runs Argodesign, was told that there was one rule: No watches.
The four ideas:
- Kineseowear is described as tape that can be applied on muscles to do things such as slightly stimulate the person’s left or right shoulder according to what the GPS tells it.
- Ouijiband is a counterweight wrist band that uses a gyroscope and a gimbal to enable a person to do things such as draw a perfect circle.
- Snapchat IRL protects privacy by sensing the infrared light emitted by the autofocus sequence of a camera and responding with a blinding light which, presumably, ruins the shot.
- Lalala is a noise-cancelling headphone with motion tracking capabilities that enable a person to point at something that he or she wants to hear better.
It seems that once the killer app – smart watches, no doubt – is established, more innovative, speculative and exciting ideas will proliferate.
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.