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Homerider shows surge in smart water meters, early NB-IoT trials

The smart water utility market has shown impressive growth in the past year, as utilities begin to grow their smart metering deployments. According to figures from Homerider, a Veolia subsidiary, the proportion of connected meters leapt from 1% of 1.1bn in 2015, to 8% in 2016 – potentially setting the stage for significant LPWAN growth, if issues surrounding technologies and business models can be resolved. At LPWA 2017, Riot spoke to Bruno Hamamlian, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Homerider, the Veolia subsidiary and a leading provider of smart water solutions, to get his take on smart water metering and the available LPWAN technologies used to connect these meters to the cloud applications used to improve operational efficiency. Hamamlian reminded…

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Intel’s Movidius machine-vision lands in DJI Spark mini drone

DJI has unveiled its latest drone, the rather small Spark. Powered by a Movidius Myriad 2 processor, Intel has quietly notched up another win for its machine-vision silicon – as its strategy of giving eyes to chips gathers pace, on the back of its recent Mobileye acquisition. Drones have huge Internet of Things potential, and while early days for the sector, offer a hugely transformative technology opportunity for enterprises. Drones are a key part of Intel’s diversification strategy, alongside automotive and AI-based technologies. Both feature machine-vision as a key requirement, using cameras to carry out object recognition for navigation tasks, and rely on advanced silicon to provide the performance needed to carry-out these functions in live environments – without the…

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NXP, u-blox, Commsignia announce V2X module collaboration

Commsignia Inc, NXP and u-blox announced that they would be collaborating to meet customer demand for Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology, with a new joint offering aimed at automakers looking to connect their cars to things. The collaboration boils down to NXP delivering its 802.11p RoadLINK radio chipset in a u-blox module, with Commsignia providing its V2X software stack on top. The collaboration simplifies the purchasing the decision for OEM’s and automakers, looking to implement V2X technology, with a more all-in-one V2X solution. Potential improvements in safety and efficiency are driving interest in V2X communications, especially in collision avoidance and improved traffic routing applications to avoid congestion, as well as vehicle-platooning for more fuel-efficient travel. This new collaboration between…

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LPWAN industry claims $5 NB-IoT modules, still has some way to go

This week, Riot attended LPWA 2017 and was struck by the number of participants mentioning $5 NB-IoT modules as if they were already in the pipeline. From our conversations with chip module vendors and chipset makers, realizing this $5 price is still a work in progress and by no means assured. Manufacturers may be willing to accept some early losses, in order to kindle demand that should eventually lead to a volume-play victory, but the wider LPWAN market is very conscious of the catch-22 nature of these IoT networks – where demand only arrives at a certain price-point but that demand is required to create the volumes that bring the price down. Consequently, someone with deep pockets might have to…

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NB-IoT emerges as MNO preference, Sigfox hits $0.50 p.a pricing

Riot attended LPWA 2017 in London, soaking up the collective thinking of the ecosystem through two days of talks. What follows is an account of this industry mindset, which appears to have undergone subtle changes in the past year. The key takeaways are that metering, industrial, and agriculture appear to still be the most compelling use cases, a $5 NB-IoT module is now expected and treated as a given, and more MNOs are pursuing NB-IoT than LTE-M (formerly Cat-M1). The two-days saw a lot of new detail come to the fore, chronicling the shifts in the wider low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) ecosystem as the licensed and unlicensed stakeholders bring their cattle to market. Notably, a change in the nomenclature sees…

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OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

It appears that Comcast is prepping for the 4K era finally on its pay TV network and is now listing something called the XB4 DVR on product support pages for X1. This is likely to be the Arris supplied XG1v4, a six-tuner 4K DVR, says Light Reading. Comcast has never been keen to arrive early at 4K due to the strain it may place on its cable network for little benefit but it may now be ready to launch its first 4K-capable DVR. Comcast has made limited number of on-demand titles available in 4K for X1 users using Samsung TVs. Comcast has always said that its 4K push, when it came, would include High Dynamic Range, so expect that too.…

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TV networks explore ‘no-sports’ bundles as games move online

While Internet video providers Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Google have all made clear their intentions to acquire more pricey and audience-drawing sports content, Viacom, Turner and AMC are reportedly now in advanced talks to create a skinny streaming bundle that doesn’t offer any sports programming. Viacom’s new CEO, Bob Bakish, has called the prospect of a no-sports Internet TV service a “transformational opportunity to bring in a new entry segment at a much lower price point,” echoing comments made recently by Discovery’s David Zaslav that he sees room in the US for a skinny TV package that costs $8-$12 per month. If such a bundle ever comes to fruition, it would challenge long-standing conventional wisdom around the role of sports…

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Ooyala, Brightcove squabble over LatAm marketing secrets

Few were probably aware, Faultline Online Reporter included, that Ooyala had any presence in Latin America whatsoever, until this week when the Telstra-owned company filed a lawsuit against its bitter rival in the OTT technology space, Brightcove, for allegedly stealing its Latin American business strategies. Faultline Online Reporter is more accustomed to covering patent lawsuits than marketing spats, where the former usually provides some form of solid detail on what has been infringed, but this week’s filing is vague in detail. We cannot come down on either side, but Ooyala seems clearly very bitter about something. Perhaps this is a single individual leaving one company and joining the other and taking some marketing materials with them. It claims Brightcove has…

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Altice faces $670m fine for hasty PT takeover, says sulky EC

Acquisition hungry telco Altice has been tripped up by the European Commission for how it went about implementing its takeover of telecommunications operator Portugal Telecom – alleging that the French firm jumped the gun before receiving official approval. The Commission’s Statement of Objections reeks of regrets that the takeover did not turn out how it expected, or that it ever allowed the deal to go through in the first place. The merger has not been a smooth ride, as the EC initially came to blows with the Portuguese Competition authority in 2015, which did not agree with how the Commission was handling the case, and there was an outstanding request by the authority to take it off the Commission’s hands.…

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Apple and Nokia fast track IPR deal closure by doing business

The pattern of Apple’s negotiations over patents is annoying to some, downright unreasonable to others, but it follows a pattern – withhold payments until it gets what it wants and then pay up. The deal signed this week with Nokia followed that pattern, because it fundamentally had little to fear from Nokia – out of the handset business – at least for the most part. The two announced they have settled all litigation related to their intellectual property dispute and agreed a multi-year patent license. This means that Apple has agreed to pay Nokia money – more money than it expected, and given that Nokia has made a statement about updating its capital structure program next quarter – the deal…

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Prize for perfecting in-flight WiFi set at $32bn by 2026

In-flight WiFi in Europe is an elusive luxury today, reserved only for the high-end airlines which charge top prices for the privilege, while WiFi on planes in the US is a much more common amenity. A report published this week claims that in-flight connectivity will be installed on every 2 out of 3 commercial passenger aircraft by the end of 2026 – representing a $32 billion revenue opportunity. The expectations of passengers that all forms of transportation should now provide reliable WiFi services is increasing rapidly, and the shift to deploy this at scale on aircraft will be met by the roll out of HTS (high-throughput satellites), according to Northern Sky Research’s (NSR) Aeronautical Satcom Markets 5th Edition report. Airlines…

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Randall Stephenson imagines what he will do with Time Warner

After all these years of Faultline preaching to people that long form content is destined for phones, we finally have the ultimate luddite in AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, suggesting Game of thrones episodes would be better on mobile if it was cut down to 20 minutes. This man clearly neither uses a mobile, listens to his staff, or watches Game of Thrones. As such he should not be running AT&T and we invite him to resign. The list of statements out of Stephenson’s mouth which demonstrate his inability to understand consumers include recent praise for Donald Trump, a past claim that anyone not watching adverts is stealing TV programs, the idea that net neutrality is not needed, and the fact…

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Sky plans to up audience research 7-fold at UK ad conference

The excellent Connected TV World Summit 2017 held in London last week was subtitled “An industry transforms itself” and the session on advertising on the Thursday morning specifically gave you a feeling that slowly everyone was getting to grips with the way advertising is changing – finally. This is a slow world where culture can take precedent over technology and where habits die hard, but there is still a lot to do technically to reach that promised land, where two plus two equals five – and advertising as a market actually grows, on the back of programmatic and digital, rather than simply displaces, dollar for dollar, linear TV advertising. The biggest bold statement of the day was about measurement and…

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US intrigues: Amazon eyes Dish, T-Mobile moots a four-way coalition

The twists and turns of the US telecoms and media markets get ever more tangled. There has been discussion for several years about whether T-Mobile should merge with Sprint or a cableco – now the firm hints it might do both. Meanwhile, Amazon has long had the potential to move markets in the US, though its venture with satellite firm Globalstar was thwarted by regulatory opposition. Now it may be reviving the fortunes of another satellite player, Dish Network, with rumors that it will be the anchor tenant for a new wholesale network in Dish’s spectrum. Amazon has a king-maker role here, wishing that every Fire based device came bundled with its own connectivity for downloading content. This is something…

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Turner takes lead as TV networks pivot away from ratings

Traditional TV’s advertising model is experiencing significant shifts, and that trend was made no more clear than during Turner Broadcasting’s upfront presentation this year. Turner is hoping to drive more value for its US advertisers by pitching cross-screen “omnichannel” advertising opportunities with premium content and highly engaged audiences. “We’re no longer in the Nielsen, day part, CPM game,” said Turner Networks CEO and chairman, John Martin, speaking at the recent MoffettNathanson Media and Communications Summit in New York. “We’re in the fan-engagement business.” Turner and the other TV networks are feeling the effects of declining ratings and increased pressure from advertisers. While content consumption is on the rise across age demographics, viewers aged 18-49 are watching less linear TV each…

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Viewers demand satisfaction – slap Comcast face with glove

We have seen customer satisfaction surveys in pay TV before and Comcast’s recent efforts in this area have been talked up hugely, but the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) still puts Comcast in second to last place in the US. While the ACSI talks mostly about how Pay TV has fallen across the board in the level of satisfaction scores awarded, compared to say smartphones and wireless networks, we want to ask how the Comcast message that it will change it spots in customer care has just not come through as yet. Comcast management has consistently talked about investing 100s of Millions of dollars on customer care and how this has worked because Comcast has been the most resistant…

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EU drops axe on geo-blocking – upsets studios, delights consumers

The European Parliament has approved a draft law that geo-blocking, the act of offering an online content service in one European Union (EU) country and that country alone, will be scrapped in the first half of next year. Coupled with the recent law to end mobile roaming charges in the EU as of next month, the OTT industry as a whole stands to flourish in Europe over the next few years. However, the losers here will be the content creators, which argue that the removal of geo-blocking will weaken the financial value of content, as well as the pay TV operators, as the ruling will trigger a small spate of cord cutting for consumers with two or more properties in…

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Amazon takes very different skinny bundle route to Netflix

When we last wrote about Amazon channels we gave it low bandwidth and ranking, because the deal was essentially that in January 2016 Amazon Prime customers could buy Starz, Showtime and HBO on their own, for an unbundled price. Since then Amazon has added more of its own channels, such as an Anime channel added in the US in January this year – but we still failed to feature it as big news. But Amazon has pulled much the same trick in the UK, Germany and Austria this week, but with a greater variety of channels, many of them local to the offering, and it has effectively said if you are a Prime customer and already pay something to us,…

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AirTies deal with Broadcom could eat into Quantenna’s WiFi share

Turkish WiFi pioneer AirTies has inked an alliance with semiconductor designer Broadcom to collaborate on managed mesh WiFi systems, offering operators and ISPs the intelligent capabilities required to support mass carrier grade WiFi deployments. The partnership could put Broadcom in the driver’s seat to potentially steal operator deals away from rival chip company Quantenna, as well as help secure the Tier 1 accounts in the US at which AirTies has hinted in the past. Most AirTies products already use Broadcom or Quantenna chips, loaded with AirTies’ software, but this week’s announcement marks a deeper pledge of allegiance. The deal will see all of Broadcom’s wireless product lines, including gateways, set tops, routers, DSL, GPON, and DOCSIS, all installed with AirTies’…

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Qualcomm extends Apple legal attacks to iPhone manufacturers

The legal quagmire in which Qualcomm and Apple find themselves got more murky last week when the chip giant added four iPhone manufacturers to its litigation targets. The company has accused Foxconn, Pegatron, Wistron and Compal Electronics of “breaching license agreements and other commitments” and alleges they are not paying for rights to Qualcomm’s technologies. It is seeking damages and a commitment to comply with the terms of their contracts. Qualcomm said in its statement that the manufacturers have been told not to pay by Apple, even though some of the licensing deals pre-date the first iPhone sale in 2007. It also claims that the manufacturers are continuing to make payments to Qualcomm for use of its technology in non-Apple…

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