Smartphone Sales Shrink

    Something happened at the end of last year that hasn’t occurred since early in 2012: Smartphone sales declined, according to Germany-based GfK.

    In general, slowdowns in mobile devices actually are lower rates of acceleration. Now, however, the North American market has actually encountered an overall slowdown, according to the report on the GfK study at ITWorld. The researchers say that smartphone sales during the fourth quarter were $23.9 billion, which was down from $25.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014. The U.S. market was down to $20.5 billion from $21.8 billion for the fourth quarters of both years.

    The same theme dominated unit sales. The firm said that 1.1 percent fewer phones were sold in North America and 1 percent fewer in the United States. Latin America was the other region that experienced a decline.

    Getting Ready for the IoT

    Jack Waters, the CTO of Level 3 Communications, has outlined what he sees as three shifts that must take place in order for the Internet of Things (IoT) to thrive.

    He says at Network World that consumers and cities must become hardwired with fiber. The second need he sees is that Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) must take root. So far, he said, the progress is not too great. That eventually will change:

    Over time, as the number of IoT devices increases and IPv4 addresses grow more scarce, financial and competitive pressures will rise accordingly, eventually leading to economic incentive for IPv6 transition.

    No story of this type is complete without a mention of security. And, indeed, Waters’ third step to IoT network readiness is a significant upgrade to security.

    More than 40 Percent of Companies Using the IoT

    The Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t the technology of the future. It is the technology of right now.

    A Gartner study says that 43 percent of businesses will adopt the IoT platform by the end of the year. The survey of 465 IT and business professionals found that 29 percent currently are using IoT technology, 14 percent plan to use it by the end of the year, and 21 percent will implement it after 2016.

    The piece also suggests the likely users:

    The industries that have glommed on or are planning to the use IoT are the so-called heavy industries of oil, gas, utilities, and manufacturing. According to the study, 56% of survey participants in the heavy industries are expected to implement IoT in 2016.

    Commentary said that the fact that IoT use is still less than half has to do with the need to identify tangible uses for the technology and the time it takes for companies to actually roll out platforms.

    Wearables Gain

    Since the line between consumer and professional equipment no longer exists, it is important for planners to understand what people like, since what they use in their leisure hours is brought to the office and on to the loading dock.

    Wearables are one of the things people like. IDC reports that the category, which includes smart watches, smart clothing, footwear and eyewear, reached 78 million devices shipped last year. That represents a 171 percent increase over 2014.

    The concept seems to have been accepted by many. The next challenge is expanding beyond early adopters. The products must change as well, Computerworld suggests:

    A major part of that growth will depend on whether wearables vendors can make their products more stylish, IDC said. An IDC survey released this week of 1,500 U.S. consumers who intend to buy a wearable device on the next six months showed that vendors need to put a major focus on aesthetics rather than just technical features. So far, even Apple’s first attempt to add style to the smartwatch hasn’t been a major draw.

    Videoconferencing in the Cloud

    eWeek reports that Vidyo is offering videoconferencing-as-a-service (VCaaS). The VidyoConferencing service is housed at the company’s data center and accessed via the cloud.

    Another cloud-based service the company unveiled this week is the Vidyo platform-as-a-service (PaaS), making application programming interfaces (APIs) available that developers can use to create custom applications.

    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.

    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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