It’s another Friday in a summer that seems, if anything, to be accelerating. Again, we have no shortage of important news and interesting commentary this week.
Faster Wi-Fi at Starbucks
Starbucks is about to add a bit more caffeine to its Wi-Fi connections. This week, the company said that it will switch from AT&T to Google and Level 3. Speeds will increase by a factor of 10, the story at CNET said, though the precise increase in a particular store may be a bit more or less, depending upon need.
The switchover, which will take 18 months, will start with new facilities and then extend to existing Starbucks. There are about 7,000 Starbucks in the United States.
This Round Goes to Samsung
It may be something of a sidelight because the devices in question are older, but an intriguing dust up between Apple and Samsung will come to a head next week, according to InformationWeek.
Earlier this year, The International Trade Commission (ITC) upheld a decision that the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 breach a Samsung patent on how signals are sent and received. Therefore, devices cannot be imported or sold by Apple in its stores or on its website as of Monday. Third-party stores can only sell those already on hand.
The story said that the ITC apparently does not agree with Apple’s argument that the patents are “standard essential” and immune from banning. President Obama or U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman can stay the ban. The story said that neither has indicated that he would.
The Problems with Mobile Enterprise Apps
According to a Mobile Helix survey, IT decision makers in the U.S. and Great Britain are aware of the benefits and rationale for developing enterprise mobile apps or mobilizing existing apps – but aren’t developing those enterprise mobile apps due the cost, complexity and security concerns.
The firm, according to eWeek, found that 65 percent of the 300 IT decision makers queried cited development costs, 63 percent cited security concerns, and 48 percent cited support and maintenance costs as gating factors to development and adoption. The fact that three reasons were mentioned at such a high level is a sign that resistance is unlikely to fade away.
The importance of the findings for three constituencies was mapped out by Galen Gruman at InfoWorld:
For vendors, the data are worrisome because it means there aren’t that many IT customers for their mobile app creation and management wares. For users, it means they can’t be as productive when on a mobile device, which in turn limits business effectiveness and flexibility. For IT, it likely means further irrelevance, as users find commercial apps or build their own departmentally — in a return to the “departmental computing” phenomenon of the late 1980s and early 1990s that saw dBase programmers in every department.
New Paths to Wireless Customer Service
Though it doesn’t directly pertain to business services, the results from the latest J.D. Power and Associates wireless customer satisfaction survey say something to which IT departments should pay heed.
The top line finding is that AT&T, for the first time ever, had a higher overall score than Verizon Wireless. Beyond that, however, the firm found that online chat, at 42 percent, is the top channel for customer service. It almost doubles the runner up, which is email at 23 percent. Along the same lines, 17 percent of full-service customers have used YouTube to resolve a problem.
The bottom line is that social networking is a growing way in which people deal with organizations. IT departments should consider this as they decide how to interact with the people they manage.
Rabbit Ears Survive
And, finally, a story that in a way looks backward, not forward. Usually, the last link of the week looks at some futurist technology or cool (and perhaps scary) advance. This week, however, the choice is to look at an old technology that many thought was gone, but which soldiers on.
Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) research released this week found that 7 percent of people still use broadcast antennas to receive television programming. No smartphones. No tablets. No cable. The release cited previous CEA and Nielsen studies to show that the percentage of antenna-only households – small in the grand scheme of things but, nonetheless, close to one in every 10 households – is holding steady. The release said that 16 percent of households used antennas in 2003.