Spring has arrived. Those are words that most of us have been eager to hear as this most unpleasant of winters droned on. Besides that welcome news, a nice mix of interesting news and good analysis in IT and telecommunications also arrived this week.
Here are some highlights:
Incumbent Video Providers Down, But Not Too Much
Cable operators and telephone companies have been losing subscribers to over-the-top (OTT) providers. But they haven’t lost subscribers to the extent that the incumbents feared.
According to a Leichtman Research Group study reported upon at Multichannel News, the top 17 cable and telephone companies added 2.6 million subscribers last year, which represented about 95 percent of the total from 2012. The study showed that the cable companies added 82 percent of the new subscribers last year, compared to 88 percent in 2012. The telcos added 480,000 subscribers, which was an increase of 146 percent compared to 2012.
App Stores Must Be Judged
App stores are still a relatively new phenomena, but one that is well ensconced in how the mobile world works. Mary Branscombe at ZDNet suggests that the way in which folks judge whether or not a particular app store is successful must be reconsidered. Basing judgment on the total number of apps available may be the way in which people and businesses have considered stores to date, but this measurement is no longer good enough. Branscombe says:
That doesn’t tell me how many of them are useful, well written, actually functional, not just copies of each other, checked for malware, not pumped out from a cruddy template, going to get updated or actually useful.
Branscombe goes on to discuss the shortcomings of the current way of judging app stores in depth and suggests that better procedures must be found.
Mobile Advertising Increases Radically
The total dollars spent on mobile advertising are dramatic. According to eMarketer, expenditures will hit $31.5 billion this year, which is a massive increase over last year when $17.96 billion was spent. And that number was 105 percent over the previous year, according to eMarketer’s numbers, which were reported at Newsfactor.
The story says that mobile ad spending will represent almost a quarter of the total digital ad spending worldwide. Facebook and Google lead the pack. Newsfactor notes that this is no surprise.
White Space: White Hot
White space is a promising technique in which the spectrum between television channels is used for wireless applications. It is challenging, however, because the same spectrum is not available in each locale and, even in a particular area, available spectrum often changes during a given day. Figuring out how to determine what is available and when has been the subject of much research during the past few years.
However, the rewards are great: The spectrum, since it originally was reserved for television, is high quality. The common wisdom is that the work likely will pay off. Telecompetitor reports that New York City-based startup ASA Networks says that the technology is generating excitement in rural upstate New York, according to Director of Marketing Joe Plotkin:
When Plotkin and colleagues made a presentation about TV white spaces equipment at an upstate event prior to making their white spaces plans ‘we were swamped by town supervisors and county executives saying “help us,”’ said Plotkin.
The story says that ASA currently is serving Gallatin, NY, which is about 100 miles from New York City, but plans to expand coverage in the future.
And, finally, comes a story about keeping up with the demand for speed. The Washington Post reports that researchers at the California Institute of Technology have developed lasers that they say can increase the speed of backbone networks by a factor of four.
The announcement comes with a good pedigree: One member of the team is National Medal of Science winner Amnon Yariv. The Network World story says that quadrupling speed only is a preliminary increase.
The great increase in data carry capacity is due to advances enabling the laser to operate closer to a single frequency. Presumably, this pristine operation enables the loading of additional data.