Close
Close

Latest Headlines

Published

The problems facing an LPWAN startup

Riot was invited to Digital Catapult’s startup presentation evening. On display were 12 startups hoping to court investor interest, for future funding rounds. But the evening highlighted key challenges for startups in the LPWAN space, concerning coverage and potential margins on products. Digital Catapult is a UK government backed organization, that aims to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) grow and scale faster. The UK LPWAN market is still nascent, more so than other European countries. The lack of LPWAN network connectivity is hard to overlook, and presents a large challenge to some of the startups. The evening gave the companies a chance to present their products for five minutes. They ranged from devices aimed at public bicycles, pet health…

Read more

Published

Stanford study finds 50% cost reduction opportunity in DERs

  Stanford University has published a report detailing how targeted incentives, such as payments to specific groups of customers, to encourage the installation of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) have the potential to cut the utility costs by 50% – a model that should persuade utilities to ramp-up their smart grid investments, to achieve those cost reductions. By taking a targeted approach to DER, as the report suggests, the utilities can make large savings on energy and infrastructure bills. Utility DER incentives, have tended to be untargeted in the past, and more like blanket offers. The Stanford model suggests that is not necessarily the most effective approach for a utility. DER can cause savings by reducing energy purchasing costs and reducing…

Read more

Published

Google brings Glass back from hibernation, with pure enterprise focus

Still housed inside Alphabet’s X moonshot division, Google Glass Enterprise Edition (Glass EE) has been relaunched – sort of. Back from a forced public-facing retirement, the augmented reality (AR) wearable is now being targeted squarely at the enterprise – as an aid for workers who might already have their hands full. Glass was ‘graduated’ from X, after Google gave up on its consumer vision, but the sort-of-new Enterprise team has been firmly housed inside the incubator. While Google, now Alphabet, ended the public beta for Glass, it didn’t really stop working on it. The beta drew a lot of attention from businesses that recognized the potential for a hands-free voice-enabled screen and interface, and in the two years that have…

Read more

Published

Capitol Hill opens the door to autonomous driving

A US Congress subcommittee has approved a bill to allow automakers to deploy up to 100,000 self-driving cars, which would not need to meet existing vehicle safety standards – a significant win for the automotive industry, which massively increases the potential scope of testing for both startups and incumbent automakers. The bill also bars state legislatures from imposing additional driverless car rules, meaning this should be the norm nationwide. If the legislation makes it through a Congressional vote and onto the President’s desk, it will help to accelerate the development of autonomous vehicle technology. Allowing automakers to test up to 100,000 vehicles is a step change on the current regulatory situation. Currently, states have the power; issuing approvals to automakers…

Read more

Published

IBM’s downward spiral continues, Watson still not the answer

With IBM’s share price down 7% in 2017, and down 3% following the announcement to $149.15, CEO Ginni Rometty still holds the inglorious achievement of not presiding over a single quarter of revenue growth. Job cuts and foreign exchange adjustments have helped bring operating expenses down by some 6% to around $6bn, and Big Blue is still posting profits – but Wall Street is still wondering when the downward trend will level out, and is not confident that IBM has the answer. The Q2 2017 revenues were down 5% compared to Q2 2016, to $19.3bn, which was below the figure that financial analysts were anticipating – and the steepest fall in the last five quarters. All five of the reporting…

Read more

Published

Bluetooth finally gets mesh networking, to challenge 802.15.4

It’s been a long time coming, but the Bluetooth SIG has finally released Bluetooth 5, the new version of the protocol that brings significant range and bandwidth improvements, as well as the new mesh networking features that will allow Bluetooth to challenge the likes of Zigbee, Z-Wave, and Thread in emerging IoT markets. With around 92% consumer awareness, Bluetooth is likely only second to WiFi when it comes to brand visibility. It has a major advantage here over rival radio protocols, thanks to this consumer familiarity, and assuming the SIG’s messaging is on point, Bluetooth 5 and its mesh capabilities should enjoy considerable success in the smart home. As long as smartphones continue to function as the main interface between…

Read more

Published

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Samsung Electronics America has announced the availability of its voice-based feature Bixby on Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices in the US, from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and US Cellular. The Bixby software update allows users to navigate apps, set reminders and taking photos using a combination of voice commands and touch. Bixby will be integrated across core Samsung apps, and will have support for additional languages. US cable TV provider and ISP Cable One is eying Mississippi as the next area of launch for its Piranha Fiber service – offering up to 2Gbps of symmetrical internet speed for businesses and claiming to be the first of its kind available in the state. Piranha Fiber is delivered over a Passive Optical…

Read more

Published

Industry nervous of Chinese investor links to US movie theaters

We still hold the acquisition of a major stake in US and European cinemas as little more than an error of judgement and that the 2012 purchase of the bulk of the shares in AMC Entertainment by Dalian Wanda of China, was an arrogant misstep. The logic is simple – in China we are growing more and more multiplexes of Cinemas, whereas in the US and Europe many cinema chains are up for sales or closing down. One conclusion is that the Chinese know better how to run them. Our own conclusion was that Dalian Wanda has just refused to accept that the golden age of the cinema is over. At the same time, China wants to create its own…

Read more

Published

Katzenberg take note – Short form content has no place on mobile

The thing about motion picture industry gurus is they don’t know jack about tech. This week one of the big names behind DreamWorks, Jeffrey Katzenberg was talking to investors at the Allen & Co annual event, trying to drum up $2 billion for “short form” mobile content. Going back more than 15 years people have been obsessed with short form content being appropriate for phones, when each year more and more people watch longer and longer content on phones. The older generation of content consumers, with failing eyesight and an aversion to smartphones, seem to think that you can only watch short form content on the phone. The truth is very different. Apps provide the antidote to boredom, none better…

Read more

Published

Sky strikes Liberty Global with Swiss sports OTT launch

Sky Deutschland has given the board at its new partner UPC, part of Liberty Global, some major strategic thinking to do, as the company announced the launch of a dedicated sports OTT service in Switzerland this week. It is another clear show of intent from the German pay TV operator – and the Sky group as a whole – for pinning a core part of its future business on delivering sports content over the internet. The service, set to launch next month and nameless as of writing, could be destined to launch in most European countries where Sky does not yet have DTH operations. It could even have the potential to be as big as Discovery Network’s Eurosport in a…

Read more

Published

Glass EE – AR at work, Google Glass gets 2nd chance

Google Glass appears to be on the verge of a comeback, in Enterprise at least, a move that will perhaps prove the concept of Augmented Reality, and perhaps lead to an adjustment of the tactics of VR firms. Faultline Online Reporter has said for over a year that VR will be stillborn if it is tied to using the smartphone as a viewing platform. People can only use such a device to see 1 degree of freedom at a time, and need to sit blinded with a screen strapped to their heads to enjoy it. That way lies mild titillation and the odd gasp, not an industry. Top end headsets are much the same – they support staying stationary and…

Read more

Published

Apple forces Taiwanese ODM firms to act in concert on Qualcomm

This week Apple has managed to get its suppliers to lodge anti-trust actions in the US District Court of Southern California this week, a court known for its “home court” rulings in favor of Apple. But while Californian legal actions have stripped Samsung of about $1 billion on Apple’s say so over patent actions made against indefensible software patents, what they show is that Apple is increasingly desperate, and that it is just a matter of time before the anti-trust finger is pointed fairly and squarely back at Apple. Foxconn’s parent Hon Hai Precision Industry, Wistron, Pegatron and Compal will be wincing at the uncomfortable position that Apple has put them under – file a counterclaim or draw Apple’s displeasure,…

Read more

Published

Arris submits to Kudelski patent might

The first half of 2017 has been a successful one for Swiss security company Kudelski Group, winning multiple pay checks from operators and vendors alike by getting them to license its OTT video distribution patent portfolio. The latest to fall victim is Arris, on the back of a huge win for Kudelski earlier this month at AT&T. Getting signatures from the world’s biggest set top manufacturer and the largest pay TV provider in the US in the space of a month shows just how successful Kudelski’s litigious strategy has been recently, particularly in toppling US firms. At this run rate, Kudelski could be nearing $100 million from patent license payments for 2016 and 2017 combined. Delivering a one line press…

Read more

Published

How much nonsense can be talked in a week by Title II haters?

There is a bit of a phony war of words going on in the US around Net Neutrality. On the one side cable executives are going on about there being a fall in the Capital Expenditures of cable operators since the Title II regime came in, on the other pro-cable politicians are being vilified by poster campaigns talking of broken promises over privacy bills and net neutrality. Everyone knows that capex goes up and down based on a handful of issues. In an early next-gen technology market like DOCSIS 3.1, costs go up, and in the merger of CMTS and QAM, around CCAP, spending is combined into one device and might go down. They key thing is that it is…

Read more

Published

Making fun of futurists is immature, but we can’t help ourselves

We are trying as hard as we can not to be bitter, nor to laugh out loud at the predictions that are coming out of a new Future Visions report, sponsored by UK entrepreneur Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson. Basically Sir Richard has appointed 6 of what he calls the world’s “greatest futurists, technologists, business pioneers and strategists,” to consider the best future of tomorrow. The 6 are Dr. James Bellini a TV broadcaster, (who is also a qualified executive coach – how do you qualify for that?) He is attributed with saying “Could human hearts really come from a 3D printer?”; Araceli Camargo, who calls herself a Cognitive Neuroscientist, which sounds hugely impressive until you realize it means being keen…

Read more

Published

Blockchain might easily improve digital advertising

Advertisers are introducing blockchain technologies to ad tech platforms and private marketplaces in hopes of straightening out some of the complicated mess that now defines digital advertising. A handful of companies have announced they’ve used blockchain in a number of ways to combat ad fraud and improve efficiencies in the digital advertising sector. Some players are using blockchain to deliver more transparent attribution and verification for digital advertising; others are using blockchain-based currencies to enable global ad purchases without worrying about exchange rates; others say it can be used to share audience data between firms and platforms while protecting privacy. To date, most of the fuss has been around using blockchain to combat fraudulent behavior in digital advertising by making…

Read more

Published

Viacom shows signs of life, 8 months after meltdown

After years of struggling with ratings, revenues and distribution, Viacom is showing signs of life again. The company beat Wall Street’s dire expectations on revenue and earnings for Q2, but the company is still suffering advertising revenue declines – as are most of the other networks. And while ratings dips continue to plague most pay TV networks, two of Viacom’s strongest channels, Nickelodeon and MTV, have both seen some ratings rebounds recently. The signs of new growth were enough to spur Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar to give accolades to the company: “Turning around ratings in media companies in itself tends to take a long time, but doing so in the midst of secular shifts and in a demographic that is…

Read more

Published

Discovery closes on Scripps deal, maybe 3rd time lucky

Consolidation among pay TV networks was always going to lead to further consolidation among US TV networks and this week Discovery Communications and the Scripps Network are rumored to be in talks once again for a merger. They have been repeatedly in on off mergers for about 3 years. The overwhelming reason is that when you have plenty of leading TV channels which are known to have audience pull, you have a better chance of being able to land pay TV retransmission deals at the right level of revenue. The story broke in the Wall Street Journal and was repeated in Reuters. Discovery is famous for its Discovery Channels, and other channels such as TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science…

Read more

Published

Deutsche tests 1 Gbps G.fast from Adtran – but still no service

US broadband equipment maker Adtran has put out 4 releases showing momentum in G.fast and broadband – and for the first time directly referred to its relationship with Deutsche Telekom. The statement in itself is somewhat confusing in that it says that Adtran and Deutsche Telekom are testing G.fast innovations including the latest 212Mhz versions of the chips and also coordinated dynamic time allocation (cDTA). Our information is that it has yet to test these on the same chips, and it has testbeds on both 106 MHz cDTA and separately on new 212 MHz chips, before the end of the year it is likely to get its hands on devices that can do both. Interestingly Deutsche Telekom holds the answer…

Read more

Published

Netflix plows money back into content – investors grin and bear it

Netflix’s original content strategy is clearly paying off, and so it should at an annual spend of $6.6 billion, with an additional $16 billion set to be siphoned into original investments over the next five years. Yet, despite the celebrations, there has been some concerned noises coming from the investor and analyst communities that prolonged investment in original content at this scale will mean Netflix will be recording negative free cash flows for years to come, with little return. The shareholders would have Netflix convert its original content investments into cash cows – but that could be potentially disastrous. Netflix’s share price soared to over $183 for the first time after its record breaking results were released this week. The…

Read more

Close